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Sorry. I was a bit angry.

It’s been almost a year since I last posted about the challenges of returning to work after my son died. As always, I hope that what follows is helpful for anyone else on a similar journey and friends who just want to know how life is. Continue Reading →

The ad industry’s obsession with data is killing creativity

The ad industry’s obsession with process and data is killing creativity. You can’t create difference if you rely on the conformity of process and the safety of data.
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Brand Engagement – The Great Self-Delusion of the Ad Industry

The ad industry likes to tell itself that people want to be ‘engaged’ by brands. Sometimes we to equate brand engagement with some form of love. Exhibit 1a, Saatchi & Saatchi’s Love marks. Pass the sick bag. It’s just a fluffy sheen of faux meaningfulness to help sell things that nobody actually needs.  Continue Reading →

FFS Adidas, please don’t encourage them.

Adidas’ latest ad has got everything it needs to spread a message of respect and tolerance in a cool edgy package. Yet somehow it ends up encouraging the contempt it tries to ridicule.  Continue Reading →

Milk is NEVER sexy.

Let’s get this straight. Milk is not, and never will be, sexy, no matter how you try to brand it. Continue Reading →

Branded Philanthropy

Brands could do a lot more to convince us that they really care. Generosity and profitability don’t have to be mutually exclusive and the results could change the lives of millions of people around the world. Continue Reading →

Nice ad, John Lewis, but you’ve stolen Christmas

Once again, John Lewis has come out trumps with its Christmas ad, but it’s just another example of a brand commoditising one of the most meaningful times of the year.
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The perils of balancing grief, social media and work

Grief and social media make for a volatile mix. It can also be dangerous for your career, especially if you have a sense of humour like mine. However, if it helps break taboos and show others, especially dads, that it is possible to live, work and laugh again after losing a child, a social media habit is a risk I’m happy to take. Continue Reading →

It’s Time to Spread a Little Love

In a world blighted by conflict and anger it’s easy to wonder where love is but, if you want it and you look for it, you will find it.

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From Consumer to Citizen: How Brands and Ad Agencies Can Help to Change the World

Tell me I’m a consumer and I’ll consume. Tell me I’m a citizen and I can help make the world a better place. Continue Reading →

Politicians, brands and the mysterious missing link

Both brands and politicians are heavily dependent on the art of communication and audience engagement. So why is the former brilliant at both whilst the latter is often so bad? Continue Reading →

Tobacco – should we lighten up on plain packs?

I support most of the restrictions placed upon the tobacco industry. However, I’m not so sure about plain packaging, which could be counter-productive and risks setting a dangerous precedent. It’s an emotionally charged subject, involving preventable disease, suffering and death, but we shouldn’t indulge political correctness at the expense of common sense. Continue Reading →

Going Back

On February 26th we finally returned to the Evelina to meet Edward’s medical team to discuss why he died and ask any questions about his treatment. Continue Reading →

Gross National Happiness, Anyone?

As a measure of national worth, GDP is becoming increasingly inadequate. Gross National Happiness might not yet be a credible alternative, but it’s a worthy idea. Continue Reading →

Brands Should be Leading the Sustainability Agenda

Brands are amongst the most powerful influencers of human behaviour. We should embrace and work with them to encourage sustainability. Continue Reading →

Back To Work

When is the right time to return to work after the death of a child? I still don’t know the answer but there’s really only one way to find out. It’s time to give it a go. Continue Reading →

I Beg Your F***ing Pardon?

People can say the strangest things to bereaved parents. Here’s my list of the Top 10 I’ve had so far. There is plenty of gratuitous language, so please skip it if you’re easily offended. It’s supposed to be funny.

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Acceptance

There can be no ifs, buts or maybes after the death of a child. Acceptance is the only way forward.  Continue Reading →

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Little Hearts Matter

At Edward’s funeral, we asked mourners not to send flowers and instead make a donation to Little Hearts Matter, a small charity that provides support to the families of children affected by HLHS.

So far, including Gift Aid, we have managed to raise over £15,000 and I cannot tell you how grateful we are. The fund is still open, so if you have been touched by Edward’s story and want to help make a difference to other children like him, please consider making a contribution. If we had £1 for every time his blog has been read, we would have raised over£100,000.

Poppycock

The Remembrance Day Poppy is an important symbol but we should be free to choose to wear one or not without fear of reprisal from the moral majority.  Continue Reading →

100 Days

My four year old son, Edward, died exactly 100 days ago, at 5.28am in his mother’s and my arms.  Continue Reading →

Taxation needs a makeover

It’s our attitude to tax – of both HMRC and the tax payer – that needs to change. Continue Reading →

Grief: An Insider’s Guide to Sadness, Humour and Love

A few days ago I made a tongue in cheek tweet about my grief that received a mixed reaction. Continue Reading →

Edward Wheatley 31/03/09 – 28/07/13

I am sorry to say that, despite the bravest of fights, our 4 year old son, Edward, passed away on Sunday, 28 July. Thank you so much for your love and support.

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Easy Access to Online Pornography is a Generational Time Bomb

I’m no prude and have no desire to see online pornography outlawed but the ease with which kids can access it is a breeding ground for misogyny and a dereliction of our duty to  to show our children the value of love and respect in an increasingly sexualised world. Continue Reading →

Suicidal Ad Campaigns

The furore over Hyundai’s latest car ad is understandable, and it’s not the first time the automotive industry has featured suicide as a selling point. It might be the last though. Continue Reading →

Innocent No More?

Coca Cola has now taken a 90%+ stake in Innocent Drinks. The cynic in me says that it’s game over for the brand’s authenticity, but could I be wrong? I hope so. Continue Reading →

How to Market Your Brand Locally

I frequently advise brands on how to adapt their national communication strategies to fit local audiences. Here’s 5 quick and easy tips if you’re looking to localise yours. Continue Reading →

Clearcast’s Sodastream Lunacy

Unless it is a covert humanitarian protest against Sodastream’s decision to put its global HQ in an illegally occupied Jewish colony in Palestine, by banning the company’s latest ad Clearcast just put two fingers up to creativity, competition and sustainability.

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Re-Assessing Growth

Instead of obsessing about growth, we should be using this recession to re-evaluate it and change the relationship between business and society. Continue Reading →

Big Society or Just a Good Community?

The idea behind Big Society is sound, but it’s been executed very poorly. Continue Reading →

Politics and The Facebook Generation

Too many young people are disengaged from the political process, but it’s not their fault. We must do more to engage them before it’s too late, and an entire generation becomes dangerously disenfranchised. Continue Reading →

Localism

If localism is to succeed the centre needs to let go first. Continue Reading →

The pub – a local institution that needs protecting

Local pubs are true heroes of local communities, but they are closing down at an alarming rate. Localised brand strategies could play a huge role in their survival.
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Brands Are National, But Customers Are Local

Brands should embrace localisation, but they’re too obsessed with ‘the big idea’.  Continue Reading →