Pica pica

10 November 2016 : Pica #zero

Ideas with wings

Eurasian magpie

The art of brand building, the subject of this blog, has attributed aspects that have no foundation in the truth or it’s inherent attributes.

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29 November 2016 : Pica #001

The case for Co-creation.


In large organizations “our idea” beats “my idea” and co-creation sessions are the key to collective ownership.

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22 December 2016 : Pica #002

Free overtime is not free.

Nothing is free

The way we do business must include fair pay for work, or the perceived value of what we do crumbles.

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14 January 2017 : Pica #003

Brand building is teaching.

The winning brand building formula.

Create a curriculum and consider different kinds of aptitude and motivation.

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18 February 2017 : Pica #004

Take a stand or be bland.

Cause marketing radicals unite!

Cause marketing is powerful and shouldn't be toyed with.

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27 March 2017 : Pica #005

All together now!

This really happened

An exercise in customer-centric, multi-function planning in a deeply siloed organization - through co-creation.

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20 April 2017 : Pica #006

You may call me a dreamer.

Bad experience through advertising

If you provide content to a user you should control and be responsible for the experience, in every aspect including the advertising.

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28 April 2017 : Pica #007

When a picture becomes a thousand words.

Augmented reality

Some 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day and soon the ability of machines to identify objects and people within images will allow data extraction and exploitation of every one of those pictures.

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12 May 2017 : Pica #008

The taste test, so logical that it failed.

Coke vs Pepsi, the people win

Research, using brain imaging technology, proves that human experience makes rational marketing ideas backfire.

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26 May 2017 : Pica #009

Beware cyclists. Cyclists beware.

Michele Scarponi, Nicky Hayden and Julia Viellehner bicycle deaths.

A road safety awareness concept inspired by the recent spate of fatal bicycle accidents.

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26 June 2017 : Pica #010

The five stages of loss and overcoming resistance to change.

49% of managers say internal opposition is cause of lack of digital change.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. How co-creation helps avoid this.

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31 July 2017 : Pica #011

The path to great ideas is paved with great questions.

GIGO Garbage In Garbage Out.

If you work with brands and you write or respond to RFP’s these 8 questions are the key to effective solutions.

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21 August 2017 : Pica #012

The huge cost of a poor RFP.

The RFP system is sick.

My previous Pica elicited some stimulating response. In summary I got two kinds of objection that I have decided to examine here.

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19 September 2017 : Pica #013

The future of brands is integrity - Here’s why.

Ethical solidity and reliability are key to a brand's future success.

Brands which protect their integrity and retain trust will flourish.

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8 October 2017 : Pica #014

Alignment through group creativity.

Co-creativity is the right glue for uniting work teams.

When confronting change or critical situations, encouraging a team to co-create may sound like a recipe for caos but done professionally it produces powerful cohesion.

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21 October 2017 : Pica #015

Angela and the essence of a brand.

A brand is a conveniently small placeholder for a bigger idea.

“Ask for Angela” is not a brand but it reminds us what a brand should be.

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10 November 2017 : Pica #016

Behaviour change. There’s an app for that.

Choose an app, choose your behaviour.

I have a question regarding the first therapeutic app approved by the FDA.

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23 November 2017 : Pica #017

Drunk driving.

Ride-sharing without caring.

Uber and Lyft, two similar services with very different brand images.

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8 December 2017 : Pica #018

The art of being N°1.

Unverified reviews are worthless.

A restaurant in a shed reveals what unverified public opinion is really worth.

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12 December 2017 : Pica #019

Hasta la victoria Patagonia!

Activist brand.

Why it’s good for a brand to threaten to sue the Trump administration.

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1 January 2018 : Pica #020

Don’t be a Milkshake Duck

Preception and reality can longer be strangers.

The key to survival in 2018: integrity and trust.

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16 January 2018 : Pica #021

Corporate culture: the frenemy within.

Corporate culture hinders innovation

A survey from The Economist Intelligence Unit, investigating the tension between strategy and culture, highlights the common incidence of issues that co-creation can resolve.

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12 February 2018 : Pica #022

Lies, lies, lies.

Self-deception makes qualitative market research hard to believe.

Everybody lies, to themselves and to others. Creativity can help uncover hidden truths.

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28 February 2018 : Pica #023

Disruptor Rex.

A better future comes through design not greed.

A story of mice and men who moved too fast and broke too many things.

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14 March 2018 : Pica #024

The wolves and the vultures.

Predator investors target advertising agencies.

Hedge funds bet big against major advertising companies but maybe the worst is past.

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26 March 2018 : Pica #025

AdAge put my concept on a Times Square billboard.

Concept by PJC in Times Square NYC.

When AdAge asked the advertising and creative community to come up with ideas to support “March For Our Lives” I was among the many who responded.

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1 April 2018 : Pica #026


Ginsberg's Howl revisited for the digital age.

With sincere apologies to Allen Ginsberg, a satirical revisitation of the first verses of Howl.

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19 April 2018 : Pica #027

What Facebook should do next.

Divisive content gives Facebook a sore thumb.

Balancing the right to speak and the need to control divisive content is a bigger issue for Facebook than the current data scandal, resolving it will require an ambitious approach.

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03 May 2018 : Pica #028

“We begin bombing in five minutes.”

When grovelling is as offensive as the original offence.

When the truth is out, don’t deny it. Own it.

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19 May 2018 : Pica #029

“I'm (Not) Only Sleeping.”

Why do we care more about our phone battery more than our own energy?

Research shows that, if they aren’t rested, humans are rubbish at divergent thinking.

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30 May 2018 : Pica #030

GDPR all sewn up.

Legal GDPR mail is a fail

My tailor handled GDPR better than any big brand.

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20 June 2018 : Pica #031

The eye exam.

Graphic design is an important branding tool

Design is not a detail and great design requires attention to detail.

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29 June 2018 : Pica #032

Hõt Dõg Water™

Functional foods murky truth

How dysfunctional can the marketing of functional foods be?

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22 July 2018 : Pica #033

Does Victor Hugo follow cute kitten memes?

AI replacing human market research

Machine learning and behavioural data make a powerful yet ambiguous combination.

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03 August 2018 : Pica #034

A knight and a knave.

Burberry bland brand redesign

The Burberry brand has received a major redesign, that destroys its heritage.

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28 August 2018 : Pica #035

The big future of healthcare is disease prevention. Part 1.

To prevent or to cure?

The next big thing in healthcare will be disease prevention but can pharma companies deliver it?

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05 September 2018 : Pica #036

The big future of healthcare is disease prevention. Part 2.

Healthcare prevention will work when monetary incentives are in place.

Economic incentives in healthcare should change to link industry revenue to disease prevention and outcomes, instead of drug sales.

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08 October 2018 : Pica #037

Loyalty is dead, long live loyalty.

Can your brand inspire loyalty?

Marketing appropriated the word loyalty for incentive schemes but true brand loyalty is a very different and special thing. Loyalty can’t be bought, it must be inspired.

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15 October 2018 : Pica #038

Mind the gap.

Deliver what you promise or suffer for it.

The gap between brand promise and brand experience, in the U.S. alone, costs brands between $460 million and $860 million in annual revenue.

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04 November 2018 : Pica #039

The data doesn't support that.

RFP process still broken.

“The world's worst RFP”, a new video from Zulu Alpha Kilo, takes a satirical look at the current state of the agency selection process.

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10 November 2018 : Pica #040

Contented with my content.

Celebrating the many powers of personal brand content.

Twenty-four months have passed since I wrote Pica #zero, what benefits have I seen from regularly composing essays?

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03 December 2018 : Pica #041

What you measure affects what you do.

Good CSR will be increasingly important for brands.

The overall impact of a business must be properly measured for a corporation to be properly valued.

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16 December 2018 : Pica #042

Technostalgia and Upgrade-rage.

Technology has lost its magic.

My nostalgia for the feeling of marvel and excitement at unwrapping a cool piece of tech, co-exists with a desire for my tech to stop evolving uselessly, tripping up my routines without adding any value.

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30 December 2018 : Pica #043

Does Advertising Work?

Controversial Nike ads drive sales.

99% of those who work in finance do not understand advertising - a flaw that negatively impacts their investment decisions regarding consumer brands.

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08 January 2019 : Pica #044

It transpires that you can annoy most of the people, most of the time.

Creepy Ads for Lunar New Year in China are another disaster for Burberry.

Burberry bungles again with a ‘creepy’ Chinese Lunar New Year brand campaign.

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31 January 2019 : Pica #045

Strive to surprise.

The element of surprise has gone missing from advertising.

Advertising should be surprising to be enticing because boring is never convincing.

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10 February 2019 : Pica #046

The Super Bowl, Sanremo and the Year of The Pig.

Big national television events still have impressive audiences.

A collection of recent media viewing statistics and a some reflections on what they mean.

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25 February 2019 : Pica #047

Riding the Zeigarnik effect to breakthrough ideas.

Unfinished tasks put your subconscious to work.

Learning to live with the mental tension of unfinished tasks is an important ability for those who aspire to be creative.

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16 March 2019 : Pica #048

FOF beats FOMO.

Millenials just wanna stay at home.

In a society that records and comments on almost every moment the Fear Of Failure (FOF) is winning against the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) and this will be increasingly significant for many brands.

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29 March 2019 : Pica #049


The Apple brand essence has radically changed.

The world’s most valuable company has morphed from “Think Different” to “Don’t think about it”.

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8 April 2019 : Pica #050

That which can’t be taught but can be learnt.

Creative groups are more valuable to business than creative individuals.

What can be done today to ensure teams are prepared for the healthcare company workplace of the future?

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23 April 2019 : Pica #051

Coping with Attitudes.

Customer attitudes matter.

An individual’s attitude to a brand seriously affects their perception of everything that the brand does, the Brand Relationship Scale is a framework for considering different common customer attitudes.

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11 May 2019 : Pica #052

Confessions of an admirer.

It takes two to make a brand romance.

The embarrassing truth about why I want a Bentley.

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26 May 2019 : Pica #053

It was fifty years ago today.

Lennon said about peace, sell it like it's soap.

Reflections on the anniversary of one of the most momentous acts of advertising ever.

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16 June 2019 : Pica #054

The Certified Crazy Ones.

Certified skills are the future of advertising.

The advertising industry urgently needs an international professional association that promotes minimum standards of labour.

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24 June 2019 : Pica #055

Funny Money.

A global currency controlled by private enterprise will have too much political power to remain neutral.

Libra is a make or break move for the Facebook brand, here are three reasons why it should fail.

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08 July 2019 : Pica #056

Efficiency has killed creative effectiveness.

Creativity in advertising is being used badly and is increasingly ineffective.

‘The Crisis in Creative Effectiveness’, a new report from IPA, is required reading for anyone who has brand responsibilities.

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26 July 2019 : Pica #057

Malignant mediocrity.

Bad advertising inspires the wrong people to want to create advertising.

It used to be a coveted and exciting job, is a career as an advertising creative still as desirable?

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10 August 2019 : Pica #058

Corporate karma.

Brand reputation is based on corporate karma.

An epidemic of atrocious corporate behaviour is destroying brand trust and value, simultaneously many companies are eliminating the CMO position - they should consider instating CKOs.

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23 August 2019 : Pica #059


An idea to raise awareness about mass shootings.

A failed attempt to end gun violence and an appeal to arms producers and distributors to erect a national cenotaph.

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12 September 2019 : Pica #060

Pharma companies deserve to be perceived as heroes, not villains.

The tarnished image of the pharmaceutical industry deserves to be restored to reflect its social utility.

The public perception of pharma is grim, caused by decades of being opaque, inscrutable and the subject of overwhelmingly bad press - it’s time for the industry to act collectively to restore a public image that does it justice.

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29 September 2019 : Pica #061

You hear silence when you expect noise.

The wisdom of architects applied to advertising.

A phrase I consider beautifully profound prompts some reflections on perception, decisions and experience.

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16 October 2019 : Pica #062

Tone and manner.

The body language of brands.

Consistent tone and manner is the key to unambiguous brand actioning and perception.

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31 October 2019 : Pica #063

Graphic horror.

The tortured letters of badly spaced words are victims of ignorance and indifference.

Sensitive souls and egregious ghouls delight in tortured typography.

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21 November 2019 : Pica #064


Getting the right work requires the right amount of time.

All deadlines are not created equal.

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23 December 2019 : Pica #065

Don’t you know it’s Christmas?

There is a time, a place and a way of doing things that brings results - ignore expectations at your peril.

Christmas is a context: a state of mind, a time loaded with expectations. Failure awaits those who ignore context.

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06 February 2020 : Pica #066

Just Another Brick in the Walmart.

Robots are the future of retail, they must look good.

Within the next six months, Walmart will install over 1,000 robots in its stores, aesthetically they are a missed opportunity.

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18 February 2020 : Pica #067

Kentucky Fried Crocs.

Brand affinity marketing is not for the weak.

Brand collaborations are only beneficial for brands that are clearly defined.

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09 March 2020 : Pica #068

The Red Zone.

In epidemics as in sales, behaviour is influenced by belief, which is influnced by communications.

We need information to understand events but also narratives to make sense of them. The dire cacophony generated by the current epidemic highlights a collective disorientation.

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29 March 2020 : Pica #069

WHO Myth-busters.

United Nations Covid-19 information designed by Peter Comber.

On March 27th, for the first time, the UN launched an Open Brief to creatives to help spread public health messages with six ‘mini-briefs’. I chose to work on the ‘Myth busting’ brief.

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11 April 2020 : Pica #070

Mind the Gap.

Keep your distance to keep the Coronavirus away.

I have created a new subject for the UN Open Brief on Covid-19. This time I responded to the ‘physical distancing’ brief.

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28 May 2020 : Pica #071

Future Programmatic.

Automatic advertising creates tasteless brand invasions.

The New York Times points to a better future for users, publishers and brand building.

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23 June 2020 : Pica #072

The ambitions of Creative Commitment.

Can Creative Commitment thinking replace ROI focused short-termism?

I witnessed the live presentation of the Creative Effectiveness ladder and oh, what a beautifully quixotic thing it is.

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The ambitions of Creative Commitment.
I witnessed the live presentation of the Creative Effectiveness ladder and oh, what a beautifully quixotic thing it is.
Read this >

Future Programmatic.
The New York Times points to a better future for users, publishers and brand building.
Read this >

Mind The Gap.
I have created a new subject for the UN Open Brief on Covid-19. This time I responded to the ‘physical distancing’ brief.
Read this >

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