How to get ahead in advertising

This fascinating lecture by Ji Lee, now the creative director of Google Creative Lab, is an inspiration to every frustrated creative out there. Less than a decade ago, Lee was at an ad agency attempting to push the envelope and innovate but, for corporate reasons, was scraping the barrel and stagnating (see how easy it is to descend into a morass of cliches?).

Recognising that he was in something of a rut. Lee did what many of us can only dream of having the courage to: he went out himself. His idea was to extend the cretive process to ordinary people by launching The Bubble Project – a guerrilla campaign that pasted speech bubbles onto adverts all over New York. Eventually, people began to fill in these empty speech bubbles with all manner of creative slogans from the hilarious to the downright silly.

Lee had crested the wave of a new optimism that was coming with the rapid rise of the internet. He had tapped into a participatory mood (we have expressed scepticism about the various claims made for the revolutionary power of the internet but it’s unquestionable that the flow of information precipitated by the web has rapidly increased and unleashed new possibilites) that on the face of it was was comment-free but amalgamated a series of opinions and voices on a host of topics.

The video sees Lee tell us about how he overcame the frustration of his earlier career and how he went about the Bubble Project.

The Information Empire Strikes Back

The next phase in social networking and politics has arrived: states are fighting back

As was noted in our previous blog post –‘Egypt, the internet and the washing machine’, which put the use of social media in the Middle East revolutions in an historical context by reminding us of the use of the washing machine in women’s liberation – the topic of social networking and its effects often provokes fierce debate, with sides regularly and mutually castigating one another. However, some less-publicised developments around the world hint at a second round of hauling over the coals.


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Don’t believe the hype…

It’s hard not to like Jocelyn Bell Burnell. In fact, it’s hard not to love her. A devout Quaker devoted to social and spiritual issues as well as being bone fide genius, Bell Burnell missed out on winning a physics Nobel Prize for her discovery of pulsars (the Prize instead going to her supervisor), to which her response was: “I am not myself upset about it — after all, I am in good company, am I not!”



In our courage to speak, we must also have the courage to listen

Hundreds of protesters  gathered in Times Square yesterday to protest against an upcoming hearing by New York’s Republican congressman Peter King on “the extent of radicalisation within the American Muslim community”. The protestors believe that the hearing will unfairly single out Muslims in general rather than focusing on extremists who constitute a small minority.


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Egypt, the Internet and the washing machine…

“We have to go back to the child…”

“All children should enjoy the right to survival, to liberty and the right to education”, says writer Michael Morpurgo in this impassioned speech. But how can we achieve this in the age of the Big Society…?


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Maybe they’re born with it…

Creativity in the crib: Babies learn languages faster and use them more creatively than adults, but where does this ability come from…?

Psychologists used to believe that humans were ’empty shells’, born without any innate creativity. But new research suggests that babies have surprising abilities to learn languages. Better than adults, in fact…


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To clear your arrears of £600…press 2

By the time you finish reading this blog, someone will be declared bankrupt.

No, you haven’t misread that. Every four minutes one person in the UK will be declared insolvent or bankrupt. And if the predictions of interest rate rises are correct, things could get a lot worse. (This won’t necessarily happen: economists often can’t predict things better than anyone else).


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Big society…or big dream?

Image from Jan Gavin’s post, ‘Support for the coalition crumbling’

David Cameron’s speech has left a lot of listeners starving for substance. Reiterating his pledge to this “different way of governing”, the Prime Minister gave a confident speech, calling the coalition’s much-hyped Big Society slogan his “absolute passion”.

However, the web was ablaze with listeners who had little reverence for the Prime Minister’s big idea. One Tweeter commented: “Tories stress that bigsociety and cuts are separate issues. Yes, but refusing to acknowledge that latter undermines former is just stupid”, whilst another pointed out the uncomfortable fact that “20 out of 43 libraries in David Cameron’s own county face axe”. Tweeter Barc_alpha summed up the dissatisfaction across the web, saying: “The problem with the BigSociety is the belief that communities can be created – they already exist but need enabling with support, not cuts”. The most popular response has been the circulation of Guardian political cartoonist Steve Bell’s comic take on the Big Society Bank.


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A mind once stretched by a new

idea never regains its original



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