The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

You Know Adland Is In A Hole When A Lord Mayor Has A Better Philosophy Than Us …

Magic Magid is a British-Somali who has served as the Lord Mayor of Sheffield since May ’18.

Yes, the Lord Mayor.

Given he was born in 1989, his appointment has attracted a lot of media attention – not just because of his young age and cultural background – but because he is also the first Green Party councillor to hold the role.

But that’s not why I’m writing about him, I’m writing about him because of the way he connects to culture.

Where most politicians tend to say whatever they think their audience want to hear – and then, once elected, use fear and put-downs to control their audience’s actions – he not only says what he believes [and attracts people on those shared beliefs] but he also shows great belief in the capabilities and possibilities of his constituents.

Have a look at this …

How is that for a set of philosophical beliefs?


Is it any surprise he has made youth give a damn about politics?

While the opposition are fixated on scoring points against each other, Magic Magid communicates a way of living and behaving that pulls the community together.

A set of standards and rules you can live by.

A set of standards and rules you would be proud of following and representing.

Now of course his actions have to represent his words but just in terms of fresh energy, it sets a direction by which most things can either be filtered through or measured against.

Now look at adland.

What are our beliefs?

What are we saying that is making people want to believe?

Making people want to be a part of us?

Sure there are some agencies that still have them … still live by them … but the thing I find sad is all agencies started with a set of distinct beliefs that differentiated them from the crowd and yet now, the vast majority of the industry tends to behave in the same, blunt and ambigious way.

We say the same things.

We read the same books.

We aspire to the same goals.

Christ, we’ve become more corporate than the clients who used to hire us to stop them being corporate.

The World is changing.

I love that we live in times where the minority – or underdog – can no longer simply be ignored.

Where how you do things is becoming as important as what you do.

And yet despite claiming to know how to move culture better than anyone else, adland continues to stick rigidly with what it knows even though publicly, they’re desperately trying to associate with the latest new, new thing.

Where are the leaders?

The mavericks?

The pioneers?

Oh I know, in the file labelled ‘too much trouble’.

Let’s hope we learn before it’s too late.

19 Comments so far
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That feels like W+K London could have written it. Talking of W+K London, I love this spot for Three they launched. The only slight negative is it feels derivative to the Nike Londoner spot but I’ve just seen it’s by the same creative team so I can let that pass. They have a wonderful skill in retaining the madness in their work. Maybe they could be the first Mayor duo of Sheffield?


Comment by George

Brilliant work. Wieden London are like a cross of Sesame Street and LEGO. Telling messages in ways that people get because of their silliness not despite of it. Taking the “we’re for phones” positioning is smart. Not just for what they do or even that if sidelines the competition, but it helps kids think there is someone out there who is on their side. It is similar to the Nike work but no one else is doing this work and at least the originators are copying themselves.

Comment by Pete

Are you trying to get a job there? Good news is if they hired Rob and by all accounts, seemed to love him, you don’t have to try anywhere near as hard.

Comment by Bazza

LOL. No. Besides I know I don’t possess that unique strain of madness that makes Robert and Wieden so good.

Comment by Pete

Hahahahaha. You idiot Pete.

Comment by Rob

It’s brilliant isn’t it. Paula sent it to me yesterday and yes, it’s by the same team behind LNDR. A great piece of work that – as Pete says – both sidelines the competition and builds real resonance with youth culture.

Comment by Rob

fucking like this. funny, fresh and mad as fuck. only problem wieden have is theyre making all their ads follow a formula. fucking good formula that they pull off better than anyone else, but you can guess when the celebrity shot, the cultural hijack and the break within the narrative are all coming up. keep the fuckers guessing stop giving them they want.

Comment by andy@cynic

I agree with you that Magic Magid is a breath of fresh air. The Three of politics. But manifestos without an explanation of what or how you are fulfilling them are increasingly and rightfully being called out.

I know that isn’t the point of your post and it’s much more in line with what makes the Three work George just posted so exciting, but agencies have got away with big talking for years so it’s good to see them be held more accountable these days. By people like you for example.

The irony is even when they were big talking they still said the same thing as everyone else so I think I just reiterated your point for you.

Comment by Pete

Magic’s manifesto makes more sense and has more clarity than anything Trump has said or done. He has my vote.

Comment by Bazza

I hear you Pete but as you argued with yourself, my point wasn’t about application but differentiation. And for what it’s worth, no one could say those things if they weren’t authentic. Whether he can make it all happen is another thing but at least his intent and honesty is in the right place which immediately elevates him above most other politicians.

Comment by Rob


Comment by andy@cynic

Make Advertising Great Again..

Comment by Niko

A censored manifesto isn’t a manifesto, it’s a publicity stunt.

Comment by John

If they wanted to differentiate themselves from other phone companies, why not highlight all the bad things that phones allow like bullying and the UK equivalents of calling the police on a nine year old kid who brushed passed you in a bodega or a black father at a soccer match?

That would really connect with culture.

Comment by John

Someone is angry today.

Comment by Rob

Seeing your blog in the morning has that effect on me.

Comment by John


Comment by Rob

you stopped being a twat with your blog slag off comment doddsy. nice save.

Comment by andy@cynic

Absolutely. Everything I have seen from him is like the (actual) antidote to cautious political bullshit

Comment by Rob (Other one)

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