The Second Ever “Sad Men Worst Ad of the Week Award”

Living in America means constant exposure to local adverts, most of which are harmless enough, if a bit shouty. Patriotism is a common theme with plenty of flag waving, but recently Cadillac have upped the ante by combining this with a thinly-veiled attack on those lazy French people.

It shows a bloke from Desperate Housewives wandering around his very expensive house, extolling the virtues of hard work and taking short holidays. Because obviously, if you work hard in America, as opposed to France where people take four weeks holiday, you’ll be able to afford a Cadillac.



Prawns On Prozac

In Sad Men, I explore my love of prawn advertising, and reveal that in order to keep up with prawn-related happenings, I have set up a Google Alert. Recently, it brought me disturbing newsTiny quantities of anti-depressants flushed down our sinks and toilets are having a dramatic effect on the behaviour of my favorite crustaceans.

Maybe I could use this new-found information next time I get a brief for an ad about chilled prawns.

I’ll get my coat.

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The First Sad Men Review. And a Very Spooky Coincidence.

The Sunday Sport this weekend features this review of Sad Men, which I’m pretty happy with, especially the “eye-wateringly funny” bit. But what really caught my eye was the book above; the one written by Frank Bill. I found this spooky because my two sons are called – Frank and Bill.

Coincidence? Maybe. Until you consider that Bill went to see Derren Brown last week.


To Celebrate Mother’s Day, Here’s Something That Didn’t Make My Mother’s Day.

One advert that made a huge impression on the six-year old me was the one below, for Rowntrees Fruit Gums.

I took the message literally: if you follow your mum around the house, chanting “don’t forget my fruit gums, Mum” in an irritating high-pitched voice, she will return from her shopping trip (in those days advert mums did little apart from shop and cook) with a packet of fruit gums for you.

Sad Men readers will know that my efforts met with very little success. Apparently these displays of adorable behaviour failed to make my mother’s day.

Who was your favorite advert mum?

Sad Men is Out Today. Here’s What Happens On Launch Day.

Launch day. It’s where you sip champagne as you’re whisked from TV studio to radio studio, plugging your book. Copies fly off the shelves of Waterstones and Foyles, and the cybershelves of Amazon.

At least that’s what I once thought it would be like. The truth is that absolutely nothing happens. Nothing, that is, apart from feeling increasingly miserable as the day-long vigil in front of the computer shows that Sad Men is stubbornly stuck at 532,655 in the Amazon rankings. Which leads to the inescapable conclusion that no-one has the slightest interest in my book. And that I will never, ever, get another book deal. And that I need to get a proper job.

I hate launch day.


The eBook That Is Not Like Other eBooks

In the Sad Men eBook, you don’t just get to read about some of the great ads – you get to watch them as well. As you can see below, the words “Don’t forget my fruit gums, Mum” are in a kind of purplish colour (my technical people tell me that this is called a hyperlink). Click on it, and you’ll be taken to watch the advert. And it’s not just the fruit gums one; there are around fifty others scattered throughout the book. Reading Sad Men on your iPad or tablet is a total multimedia, interactive, multi-sensory-immersive experience, a bit like watching Gravity in 3D, only better.

The Sad Men eBook is out tomorrow. You can click here to get one.




Which Classic Advert Character Are You?

You know those annoying quizzes in your Facebook feed that you hate but always end up doing? In the last few months, I found out which superhero I am (Wonder Woman) and what breed of dog I was in a previous life (Greyhound, which is actually wrong. I would have been a Golden Retriever).

As an ad man, it would be unthinkable to miss out on exploiting a hot trend, which is why I present the Sad Men book’s exciting new quiz, “Which Classic Advert Character are You?”

In this exhaustively researched and eerily accurate psychological test, you’ll discover your match with one of the characters from these classic ads below.

Just click this link to take the quiz. (Since it’s a Facebook quiz, you’ll have to login to your Facebook account if you’re not already.)

Here’s to time well wasted!

Cadbury Smash Martian

The Milkybar Kid

The Real Fires Dog

Joan Collins from the Cinzano Ads

The Milk Tray Man

Paul Hogan in Fosters Beer Ads

Want MORE? Browse the Sad Men video playlist, which has all the classic adverts from the book in one handy place. Click here: ADS FROM SAD MEN


Win the First Ever Signed Copy of Sad Men in the Entire WORLD.

Unless you’ve somehow missed my constant barrage of blog, Twitter and Facebook posts, you’ll be aware that I have a new book, Sad Men, coming out next week. And being a top-level ad man, I decided to have a competition to celebrate. All I needed to do was come up with a prize so desirable that people would say to themselves, “I MUST have that.”

I briefly considered a fortnight in the Bahamas, a zillion-inch plasma TV or a customised Mini. But then I realised anyone could offer those things and anyone could win them. I needed something unique. And then it came to me. I would offer the World’s First Ever Signed Copy of Sad Men as the prize.

If YOU want to own the much sought-after collectors item simply enter here:


The First Ever “Sad Men Worst Ad of the Week Award”

I am no stranger to using rap in an advert selling financial services in a “dad-trying-to-be-down-with-the-kids” kind of way. (Evidence for this can be found in chapter 25 of Sad Men.) But I have never stooped as low as the Halifax did in 2010, when they showed a couple of call centre drones suddenly bursting into their face-palming version of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice, Baby.” Vanilla Ice!

And that is why I am awarding the Halifax the inaugural Sad Men Worst Ad of the Week Award.

If you have an advert you wish to nominate, from the either the past or present, just let me know. Submit a comment or email

It’s an ad. For a book about ads.

As part of my no-expense-spared multimedia advertising campaign for Sad Men, here’s an ad put together by a team of crack London creatives working around the clock my wife Liz last night. It’s a slideshow (just click the circled arrow to see the next slide) and will probably make you want to buy a copy immediately. As luck would have it, there’s a link at the end allowing you to do just that. You can also share it with anyone you like. How modern is that?