hello – come in and make yourself at home

The Woodies have a blog. It’s a kind of collective. Not sure we’re about to start a revolution baby, but we might kindle a small debate or two and perhaps raise a smile. Anyway, rather than just blogging corporate Woodreed by fielding our top Woodie (as so many other companies seem to do in a thinly veiled attempt at impressing with their profundity), we wanted all our individual voices to be heard. An agency’s most valuable assets are its people after all. Everyone’s got something to say here and with us everyone’s ideas and opinions matter.

Each week someone different will be blogging. It's mostly about stuff that rocks our world as well as the flipside – the things that just don't cut it with us. We'll blog about inside and outside – inside this glorious industry where we work and outside in the real world.
It's a bit of an experiment, so go with us on this one.

Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A picture paints a thousand words. Or in this case about 100.

Our Monday morning Woodreed workout set us the task of writing 100 words about Manet’s "A Bar at the Folies-Bergere". 1 minute to think then just simply write for 5 minutes or so.

There was such a range of responses, from description to dialogue to humour. Particularly amusing was Patrick’s version where he wove in the previous week’s workshop where we’d been dissecting the best and worst of the SuperBowl’s commercials.  What was impressive was the speed in which we all managed to organise our thoughts at 9am on a post clocks going forward Monday morning. Well done Woodies!

Here’s a selection…

What is she thinking? She us gazing distractedly and concerned as she talks to the moustached man in the tall black hat.

Who is he? Is he controlling her or is he perhaps bringing her news ? His face, like hers, impassive.

Neither smiles, neither speaks

In the hubbub of the Parisian night – two silent people. All around life goes on, colourful,  noisy and brash. Prostitutes sit at the bar waiting for their next few Francs.

Is he her love, lost, or something more sinister? Or perhaps something more benign – her brother or an uncle.

It can be whatever you want it to be.


“It’s over”


“I’ve met someone else. Someone who appreciates me for who I am, doesn’t judge me for what I am or where I’ve come from. Someone who doesn’t want me to be anyone but who I am”

“It’s the drink talking”

“It isn’t that, I haven’t had a drink all night, I’ve given it up, and you know that. I know it’s hard but you can’t change me, I won’t change and you won’t change my mind”

“But I love you”

“No you don’t, you don’t love anyone really….except yourself”

“Think of all the times we’ve spent together. The walks along the Seine, last summer on Ile de Re?

“Just memories. Pack them up, put them away, move on”

“Au revior Cheri/e”


After Scarlett Johansson appeared in her career-ending Sodastream advert she found herself in the Ragged Trousers bar serving Newcastle Ale on her left and Lambrini on her right feeling as if she were in a painting from the 1880s…

Why oh why had she ditched Oxfam she thought as she looked down at the locals in the bar. Sodastream had gone out of business soon after the ad ran and Oxfam had put an end to poverty using all the support from outraged viewers of Scarlett’s ad. The bar was owned by Oxfam and all their profits going to a good cause and she had to wear this flower uniform as punishment.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Accentuate the positive... eliminate the negative

We recently asked the workforce of a client of ours who has admittedly been going through some tough times (really tough) in recent years "What 3 words spring to mind when describing the organisation?" 

The words they came up with were overwhelmingly negative. No great surprise, we knew the workforce was likely to be in a fairly low place.

We also asked "What makes you proud to work here?"  We then analysed the results in terms of what they said. Over 80% of the comments were positive in tone with just over 10% negative and the balance neutral. 

Despite the negativity there was a hunger and a will to find something positive to say - and most people managed to do just that. It's an interesting insight into the need we have to feel part of something which we can align ourselves to and be a proud of.

That's where an organisation with the integrity to live the values grounded in their brand comes into play surely?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Out of the mouths of clients......

Here at Woodreed, we love and respect our clients, but sometimes we affectionately giggle when they assume the role of a Creative Director.

I have always made a habit of noting down some of more humorous comments clients have made when reviewing creative.

Here are just some of them:

"I could have done that logo on my PC!""

"Nothing like a bit of drop shadow"

"I don't like green, it reminds me of my Auntie Hilda's cardigan"

"I like it, but I'll see what my wife says tonight, she likes interior design"

"Can you try it on two lines so it looks like a cat's face (I love cats!)"

"Can you incorporate the Union Jack into it?"

"How would that work on a pair of gloves?"

"Can you tell me the typeface, then I can 'ave a go at it?"

"It reminds me of a colon"

"I love it, but can you try it in a different typeface, a different colour, not use the roundel and try it in a square (and use caps)?"

"Do you know what, it looks like someone picking their nose!"

"is that a Letraset font?"

'"I know it's got to appeal to kids, but it is slightly infantile"

"I wish I could doodle"

"So, you've given me 12 ideas...is that it?"

"How would that work on the radio?"

Has anybody got any more?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Down with strikes, up with advertising

I always love a trip to London Town. Inspiration everywhere, I always manage to come back with something. Yesterday it was mostly wet hair and a broken umbrella but also this little beauty.

I'm a massive fan of TFL advertising. Look at this beautifully simple on system poster on the underground. For me it's a perfect example of what we mean by a single minded big idea in advertising, the one us types constantly search for. For me it ticks every box. One simple idea – the iconic coloured tube line executed a myriad ways to all sorts of people conveying all sorts of messages. Pah to the rain, I’ve got my TFL ads.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Release your inner voice

I ran a little workshop at Woodreed recently where we were having a bit of think about the importance of tone of voice by playing around with the copy of some ads.

We looked at the original copy and identified the tone of voice. We then debated the ‘anti-voice’ and rewrote the ads in the new voice.

We looked at a whole bunch, but I’ll share just the one for hair care brand Aussie. Here’s the original copy for its ‘Miracle Recharge Frizz Remedy’ where the tone of voice, so we thought, was ‘quirky, witty, exciting and optimistic…’

"Car parks locker rooms rooftops the moon.  Now there is nowhere you can't give your hair a quickie between-wash boost (Okay maybe not the moon).

Behold Aussie’s new miracle recharge collection

A gaggle of eight lightweight leave in conditioning sprays packed with luscious extracts of Aussie exotica.
Need a fix of defrizz? A spritz of shine dashing straight out from work?

A dash of miracle recharge on wet or dry hair and suddenly you're re-jzhoojzhed (technical term)

It's just the thing for girls who are always on the move even if the cupboard is stationary"

Here’s how it might sound in its anti-voice (Lacklustre, vanilla, dull, pessimistic).

"Like all the other shampoo companies, our staff in Sheerness have mixed a bunch of chemicals together to produce a spray shampoo to get rid of smelly grease and grime.

It’s like all other hair care products and comes off a production line in a bottle, which you can carry anywhere in your bag – if it’s big enough and you want the extra hassle of having to rummage through the phone, keys, tissues and lipsticks. 

We have eight different coloured bottles, which do the same thing and smell a bit like flowers.

Of course it will cost you more and probably take up more of your time as you’ll still have to wash your hair properly.

But if you are too lazy to wash your hair in the morning, you could give it a quick spray before you get to the office to fool people for a couple of hours"

Ok so it was just a bit of fun, but it really helped remind us that it’s not just what you say, it’s the way that you say it that makes all the difference to how you want your audience to feel.

After years of devoting my life’s work to putting the brand at the heart of internal as well as external comms, it still makes me raise at least one eyebrow, perhaps sometimes two (and that takes some doing I can tell you) at how many organisations are still forgetting the importance of using the right tone of voice inside to their people as well as to customers.  It’s well documented that emotional engagement is four times more powerful than rational in rallying the troops, but people still insist on dishing out the same old cold rational communication to their own people saving their deliciously on brand engaging voice as the exclusive preserve of their customers.

Keeping your corporate voice on track doesn’t have to leave you hoarse, but it does take a bit of effort up front. Woodreed often work with clients to help put their corporate voices through their paces, especially those who have multiple departments creating comms inside as well as outside their organisations.  The emphasis is on the practical application of tone of voice and sessions are run with copywriters on hand providing clients with a set of tools to enable them to deliver tone of voice inside and out with ease.

If you would like to know more or just generally shoot the breeze on all things tone of voice, please do get in touch cdahl@woodreed.com  

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Adobe have done it again!

I left the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite seminar last month feeling inspired, excited and driven to learn and use this tool asap.

Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite family is an inspiring new tool that in short allows you to “expand your brand’s influence with rich digital content that captivates customers, employees, and stakeholders.” 


Communication can be brought to life through the creation of a visually rich digital environment made up of dynamic, interactive and measurable content including slide shows, film, product rotations, animation and more.

All this is packaged in an app or a publication such as a digital magazine built using this tool. The content can be viewed on all major mobile platforms and easily shared on social networks.

Take at look at the following statistics:

  • 91% of all people on earth have a mobile phone
  • 56% of people own a smart phone
  • 50% of mobile phone users, use mobile as their primary Internet source
  • 80% of time on mobile is spent inside apps
  • 72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week

In an increasingly mobile world Adobe has created a publishing gem that allows us to respond to these statistics by assisting us in the delivery of our integrated mobile strategies that help businesses grow and increase revenue.

Friday, 3 January 2014

If dog breeds became brands.....ha ha (sorry, woof woof!)

So there we were then, a festive Christmas lunch, the whole family discussing how exciting it was that my daughter and her boyfriend had bought their first flat together in Battersea.

Very presumptuously my daughter started considering about what dog would be viable for them to have in the future, and whether of course their choice would be made easier to make, given that Battersea Dog's Home was virtually next door.

We all started debating about the size of the flat, the location, in fact everything apart from the actual practicalities of having a blooming dog in Central London!

My first suggestion: "A border terrier?"

Astonishingly, my daughter's boyfriend quipped: "Not keen on that brand!"

My wife gently giggled and teased: "How can a dog be a brand?"

My daughter's boyfriends head spun round to meet here gaze: "Of course it can be a brand, anything can be a brand if it has values!"

I quickly quipped in: "So, what values does a Border Terrier have then?"

He took a slow sip of his Merlot, contemplated the question and replied: "Well, a Border Terrier is industrial, nosey, unpredictable, fiery yet loyal and affectionate".

I put my Woodreed hat on and mischievously challenged him "So what would it's proposition be?"

He'd obviously been thinking ahead: "A loyal affectionate servant that would be willing defend and attack when appropriate".

My daughter decided it was time to put her six penneth in: "Yes I agree! A Labrador values would be affable, gentle, endearing, earnest and always peckish!"

And in no time at all we were discussing the brand values of as many breeds as we could! Such a thought provoking and entertaining lunchtime.

Bulldogs, boxers, spaniels, poodles............

Any ideas?