5 Blogs Every Ad Person Should Read, Learn and Steal From

I’ve started writing regular guest posts for Advertising Week Social Club. You can find it here.  

If you read last month’s post, 4 Reasons Every Creative Should Be Blogging, you will have most definitely started blogging (yes, it really was that convincing).

But now you’re probably asking yourself, what the hell do I write about? As someone who works in the industry, or aspires to, it wouldn’t be proper if you didn’t have someone great to steal from. AHEM – someone great to influence your work.

So don’t fret. I’ve compiled 5 great advertising blogs that you can source for inspiration, each with a very different style.

1.  Canalside view

By Martin Wiegel, Head of Planning at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam.

What?

Eclectic quotes. Classic literature. And thorough, balanced analysis of advertising theory and techniques with an emphasis on digital creative and strategy.

Why?

Canalside View has to be one of the most well-researched advertising blogs on the web, and it’s equally well written. Saying that however, some articles are certainly not for the faint of heart. The recent article, “Brand building in a digital age: Old thinking for new times” is nearly 5,000 words long and has 16 references.

Honestly though, you’re not going to learn anything of great substance if you don’t put in some effort. Canalside View is the blog to aspire to.

Standout article

Beware the altar of science: we are more than just data and chemicals

“Certainly regarding human beings as chemical computers fundamentally fails to shed any light on what it is to be human. While we can show how a part of our brain ‘lights’ up in response say, to listening to Mozart, it does little to help us understand that experience.”

2. Stuff from the loft

By Dave Dye, Founding Creative Partner at Hello People.

What?
A fantastic look at the creative process. Long, detailed, picture-heavy articles about how a famous creative came up with his ideas. As far as I’m aware, there’s nothing else like it.

Why?
There are not many creatives who will let you inside their heads. There are even fewer that bother to keep old scamps from brainstorming sessions, unused concepts, inspirational material, and old, old print ads.

If Canalside View wins points for research, then Stuff from the loft wins points for dedication. Dave Dye has obviously collected all this material over a long period of time. It is everything a blog should be, both personal and insightful.

Standout article

Annuals – D&AD 2012

Dye takes you through his creative process when designing the winning cover for the D&AD annual.

3. What if?

By Randall Munroe, former NASA roboticist and creator of XKCD.

What?

Or more precisely, what if? Munroe answers his reader’s weird and unusual ‘What if?’ questions with all the precision you’d expect from someone who used to work at NASA.

Why?

Because as much as you might enjoy reading about advertising, sometimes it’s nice to stop wondering whether soap brands should employ social media and start wondering how much paint would be needed to cover the surface of the earth?

It’s not advertising. And that’s a good thing. What if? keeps you curious. It’s evidence to the fact that anything can make an interesting topic.

Standout article

What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?

Need I say more?

4. Nextness

By STW Group

What?

A corporate blog, presumably managed by someone who is being paid to write it. Nextness posts about twice a week – the first is a guest post by someone working within STW Group (usually, I think), the second is a collection of links.

Why?

Great advertising articles are written all over the web: Forbes, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Google, Fast Company… the list goes on and on. However, sifting through these non-advertising specific publications is a nightmare. Nextness does it for you.

While personal, lovey-dovey human blogs are great, sometimes it’s nice to read well-researched articles from respectable publications. Nextness is proof that a blog used for curation is just as powerful as a blog used for content.

Standout article

What we’ve been reading

Not article, but articles. Nextness’ collection of links, shared weekly.

5. Dave Trott’s blog

By Dave Trott, Adman and Chairman of The Gate Worldwide

What?

A collection of anecdotes, often historical, that teach a lesson about some aspect of advertising. Short articles, written with short, one-line sentences.

Why?

Dave Trott’s blog is proof that the advertising industry can learn so much from the outside world. It explores everything from the invention of the intermittent windscreen wiper, to the war on drugs, and relates it back to advertising, creativity, ingenuity, and human truths.

If there’s one thing you can learn from Dave Trott’s blog, it’s that storytelling is powerful. His posts don’t reveal their secrets straight away. They start with sentences like, “In 1953, Robert Kearns was getting married”, or, “There are 55 million users of illegal drugs in the USA.” So when you’re writing an article, no matter how dry, don’t forget the art of storytelling.

Standout article

The predatory algorithm

How a digital strategist reverse engineered online dating to fix her love life.

Get stealing

If you know of any other great ad blogs, let me know on twitter or in the comments.