Tag Archives: chemistry

Now, I am not.


What with the Coronavirus and all this isolation, it’s given us all a lot of time to think about things. Some positive, some not so much.

I’m not a religious person per se, in that, I don’t subscribe to any particular theism. I guess the closest I would come is Pantheism. Even then, I have my own theories about it. In fact, I wrote my own Creation myth to go with it! (I’ll post that at some point in the future.) Or will I? Because the future doesn’t exist. Or, does it? Is everything predetermined… whoa! You’ve got me off track.

Phew, that was close.

We could’ve been here for hours discussing that particular conundrum.

What I do think about a lot is death. Don’t go! I don’t mean that in a depressing way. More of a philosophical one. What happens when we die? Is there an afterlife? Does such a thing as reincarnation exist?

What’s that got to do with Covid-19?

Well, a lot of people have died from it. And nature seems to be thriving since we’ve isolated ourselves from huge swathes of it. So, what is the point of us? Is there one? Are human beings as insignificant as a dandelion? (Or, significant, if you’re a dandelion.)

I dunno. I don’t have the answers.

What I do know is that human beings are made of energy. We can’t live without it. That’s not my opinion, it’s a scientific fact. Another scientific fact is that energy can never be created nor destroyed. The atoms that created you and I came from the Big Bang. And they will not go anywhere, but back into the universe. That means, the atoms that make up you and I have been pottering about the universe for the past 13.8 billion years! God knows what mine have been up to. It can’t have been good.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the energy that keeps you and me alive maintains its sentience once it leaves our bodies. But it did make me think of a poem.

It’s one I wrote a while ago and came to mind because of what’s going on in the world. How quickly and easily life can be arbitarily snuffed out whilst other life thrives. Perhaps the question is not, does human life have purpose? But, doesn’t all life have purpose?


Now, I am not.

By David Milligan-Croft


I am an electron.

I am an atom.

Now, I am not an atom.

I am a star.

I am a white dwarf.

I am primordial gloop.
Now, I am not.

Now, I am molten lava,
Coursing through the juvenile earth.

Now, I am not.

I am a rock.
Marble, to be specific.

From the cliffs of Massa and Carrara.

Now, I am not a rock.

I am an amoeba.
Now, I am two amoeba.

I am sky.

I am cerulean-blue sky.
I am cloud – I am rain – I am river.
I am

I am ocean.

I am vapour.

I am a droplet of dew on a monkey puzzle tree.
Now, I am not a droplet of dew on a monkey puzzle tree.

I am a puzzled snow monkey in a hot thermal spring.

I am a tiger.

I – am – a – tiger.




Creeping, slowly through the long grass.

I see you with your spear.

I. Am. Tiger.

Now, I am not.

I am a slave.
Skin flaking from my red-raw back
Like cherry blossom petals.

Now, I am free.

I think I am a Greek.
Therefore, I am not a Greek.

I am a hoplite.
My dory has shivered,
My hoplon is buckling.
Now, I am not.

I am a foetus.
I hear my mother’s muffled weeping
From somewhere close by.
Now, I am not a foetus.

I am the darkness
That envelops you.

I am a judas.
All that have gone before
And all that will come.

Now, I am a magician.
Now, I am not a magician.

Now, I’m a daddy!
I cradle your delicate life in my trembling palms.

One day, I will be your father no more,

But, for now,

I am.


Filed under Animals, Art, Children, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, health, History, Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Literature, love, mental health, Music, Nature, Philosophy, Poetry, religion, Science, Uncategorized, Writing

The Art of the 48 sheet poster

Addendum bit:

The original post is below, but here is the proof I’ve been searching for. The offending VW ad. This is a DPS version rather than the 48 sheet I was banging on about. The only difference between the two is the addition of some body copy.

Cross of Iron? Most definitely not.
Creative Court Martial? Get the blindfolds out.

What were they thinking? Obviously not a lot.

Original post:

I’ve been searching Google for a pic I wanted to show you of an ad I abhor. But I haven’t come up trumps.

Then I thought, it doesn’t really matter if I don’t have a copy of it as it is so mind-numbingly dull, I could describe it to you.

The only problem I’ve been wrestling with is that it was done by one of the greatest ad agencies in the world for one of the greatest brands in the world.

Agency: DDB
Client: Volkswagen
Brand: New Golf Cabriolet

Now let’s start by saying: I love DDB.
I also love Volkswagen.

And I count myself extremely fortunate to have worked on the latter while I was at the former.

The reason this execution has got me so vexed is that I think both brands deserve better.

VW = Great advertising.
DDB = The pioneers of modern day advertising.

In fact, DDB pioneered the industry on brands like Volkswagen in the 60s.

So, what is this blot on the landscape that has offended me so?

Imagine an oblong. (Or rectangle, if you’re so inclined.)
Imagine said oblong in a landscape format.
Imagine this oblong is outside.
Beside a road.
It is made up of 48 sheets of paper. (Actually, it isn’t, it’s 12 what with better printing technology and all that, but the name has just stuck.)
On these 48 (12) pieces of paper is a photograph of a red Golf Cabriolet in front of a nondescript piece of modern architecture.
It’s the sort of picture you might find in a brochure for a new Golf Cabriolet.
It has some words written on it.
We call them: a headline.

Headline: The New Golf Cabriolet.

And that’s it.

Someone had better call in MI6 as I think Al Qaeda are holding the entire planning and creative dept of DDB hostage.

Who, at the agency and client, thought: Yes! You’ve cracked it. That’s just what we’ve been looking for – A picture of the car with the headline: The new Golf Cabriolet.

This execution beggars belief.

Where’s the dialogue?
Where’s the insight?
Where’s the smile in the mind?
Where’s the unique VW TOV?
Where’s the originality we come to expect from VW?

This ad is banal in the extreme and I would love to know how, and why, it ever made it up onto a 48 sheet poster.

Volkswagen deserve better.
And I know DDB can do better.

Here’s one I did a few years back while I was at Chemistry in Dublin. Same brief, different client.

To me, the poster is the Holy Grail of advertising. There is nowhere to hide.

Your thought has to be pure and simple. And above all, it has to be engaging.

Here are a few more examples I’ve done over the years.

There is one other thing that bothers me though. And that is this post is just completely negative.

And I don’t like that.

It’s bad for my karma.

So, in the interest of ending on a more positive note, I thought I’d show you some examples of a master in the art of making posters.

And I’m not talking about Messrs Hegarty, Abbott or Dye.


Filed under Advertising, Art, Brand, Comedy, Cross of Iron, Design, Ideas, Inspiration, Photography, Strategy, Writing

Time for a refreshing change?

For original post see below.


Well, here’s a major advertising shock: Hasn’t someone else gone and done a beer ad using ‘refreshing’ as the strategy.

It’s for Carling. (I’m not going to show you the ad because, along with the strategy, it’s shit.)

Don’t worry I’m not going to inform you every time a beer brand does an ad on the theme of ‘refreshment.’

The reason for this mention is that Carling is part of the same brand portfolio as Coors Light. (The culprit for my original post, below.)

Not only is the client the same, but the ad agency who produced them both is the same.

Coors Light: The world’s most refreshing beer.
Carling: Brilliantly Refreshing.

A round of applause for all the brand managers at Molson Coors for really pushing the strategic boat out.

Seriously, how can any of you look each other in the eye and say you’ve done a cracking job on this one?

Actually, instead of a mere round of applause, why not get all the Molson Coors brand managers in the same room and flog them to within an inch of their lazy lives.

Original post:

I’ve had the good fortune to work on a few beer brands in my time: Carlsberg; Budweiser; Harp; Amstel and even Coors Light.

But this little offering from Coors Light featuring Mr Van Damme has really got my goat. You see, the strategy is: ‘The world’s most refreshing beer.’

Mr Van Damme

Mr Van Damme

How long are ad agency planners and strategists going to flog this withered old strategy for beer brands?

Surely brand managers themselves must want to at least try and differentiate themselves from all the other ‘refreshing’ beer brands?

Screen shot 2011-07-24 at 14.12.59

While I was at DDB I worked on Carlsberg. As we all know the ‘Probably’ strategy was about the product being premium tasting.

I then went to work for BBDO and worked on Budweiser and Harp. The Head of Planning disappeared for six months and came back with a strategy for Harp which was that it was refreshing.

Stone the fucking crows. Genius. I’m only astounded that he came up with it in such a short space of time.

My granny could write a better strategy than that. (My granny was Planning Director at Saatchi’s, Nepal.)

Now this was back in the late 90’s and apparently things don’t seem to have moved on a great deal.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to the pub because I’m thirsty. If I wanted to satiate my thirst I’d get a glass of water. I go to the pub to get pissed.

Even something like: ‘Hits the spot’, (as a strategy, not a strapline), alludes to refreshment but is also about satisfaction and taste. (Maybe Strongbow have already done this.)

Although the creative team at VCCP have had to work with a tired old strategy they’ve still managed to come up with a quite nicely written film. Not great, just a decent day at the office. But I’m sure they could have done a whole lot better had they had a decent strategy to work with in the first place.

I know you can’t do ads about getting pissed, the ASA won’t allow it – Damn them all to Hades! But let’s at least have a stab at coming up with a refreshing strategy. I don’t mean a strategy about refreshment, I mean refreshing as in, oh forget it…

Here’s one I prepared earlier with ‘big flavour’ as the strategy. I did want to do it as a building wrap, but I guess an adshell will suffice.

Big Flavour

Big Flavour

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Homeless guerilla advertising

This is an ambient guerilla campaign I worked on in Dublin for Focus Ireland. (In Ireland, the plaques that adorn the walls of homes where famous people have lived are brown.) We had the idea of using these plaques and placing them in places where homeless people had slept/lived. Using real homeless people’s names and the length of time they were homeless, the campaign highlighted the fact that everyone, no matter how rich or famous had the right to a home.


Ad Agency: Chemistry

Creative Director: Mike Garner

Concept: Ted Barry / David Milligan-Croft

Copywriter: Ted Barry

Art Director: David Milligan-Croft

Photographer: Bruno Bossi

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Hamsters sell mobiles

Retail messages needn’t be unimaginative. They still need to get a foothold in the memory banks. And with all the mobile offers out there, you need more than just the numbers.

A TVC I did with Ted Barry for Meteor Mobile when we worked for Chemistry.


Agency: Chemistry

Creative Director: Mike Garner

Concept: Ted Barry, David Milligan-Croft

Art Directors: Richard Chaney, David Milligan-Croft

Writer: Ted Barry

Production Co: Russell Curran

Director: Damien O’Donnell

Producer: Russ Russell, Ann-Marie Curran

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