From the Pulpit

The Editor’s introduction

Issue 55 | June 2020

If you are a regular reader of Directory, you may have noticed this issue is a little different.

That’s because the world is a little different.

If the virus has taken over our lives, it seems only fair it should take over our magazine.

In many ways, the next 64 pages are a social history of these last remarkable months.

The campaigns we feature record how individuals, agencies and brands responded to the crisis. If we had featured them chronologically, you would notice the mood moving from alarm (Stay home) to gratitude (Thank you, health workers) to resignation (Bored? Here’s a jigsaw.) to anticipation (we’ll be back to normal soon).

In mid-March, as countries followed each other into lockdown like toppling dominoes, most brands were silent. This was when individual creative people raised their voices and bravo to them.

Nick Bell, former ECD of JWT London, produced a short film with a couple of mates. Just the sound of someone breathing on a ventilator. In, out. In, out. In, out. Followed by the line, “The difference between staying in and going out is people’s lives.”

Soon after, Henry Wiltshire, Mike Rodgers and Luke Nutt collaborated from their homes to make a tribute to the NHS that’s had over half a million views. (See page 29).

And Renato Tata and Stefania Esposito had a very practical idea to help hands stay germ-free. (Page 34)

When brands did begin to put their heads above the parapet, many were unsure of what to say and how to say it. Many said exactly the same things as each other. Now more than ever.

We’re with you. People together. Stronger together.

I don’t mean to mock because they were spending money and helping prevent the total sclerosis of the ad industry.

Besides, no-one knew (or knows) quite what the etiquette of brand behaviour should be when death is the foreground news.

Many handed over money to local hospitals and medical groups. (Barilla, page 50). Others saw the collapsing economy as a greater threat and gave practical support to small businesses.

(Verizon, page 33 and Telia, page 47).

By mid-April, people were beginning to get bored. Brands could see a role here. They could entertain people with games (Milka, page 27, DFB, page 30) or give them free content (Libero, page 26).

This was also when the virus was getting to people inside their own homes. Suicides were rising, domestic abuse was up, mental health was an issue. NGOs began reaching out to offer support. (See Child Focus and Awel, page 59, and Telefono Rosa, page 60.)

It’s early June now and a few bold advertisers are beginning to try selling their stuff. No-one really knows what the “new normal” will be but that hasn’t stopped Bose predicting it’s going to be noisy (page 36) or S Group PRISMA anticipating how wardrobes might change (page 44).


Among the cancellations of Summer 2020 are “Love Island”, The Olympic Games, The Doobie Brothers 50th Anniversary Tour and the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Hard to say which is the greatest loss.

What wasn’t cancelled was The Caples Awards. But the show assumed a very different form.

Firstly, it became a free festival. Secondly, it was judged remotely. Thirdly, the awards presentation brought judges, winners and nearly 400 others together in an unexpected but uplifting celebration of the creative spirit.

See for yourself. The evening is at:

Sir John Hegarty’s thought-provoking talk, “Truth in Advertising”, is followed by individual jurors offering their thoughts on the 22 Golds and the three Special Awards.

Normally, the work would be showcased on the following pages. But you can see all the Golds, Silvers and Bronzes at

Thank you Xerox

20% of all small businesses in the UK are said to be facing collapse. 80% of small businesses in the USA expect to be on the ropes for the next 12 to 16 months.

All the business gurus out there are saying, pivot. The Caples did exactly that. It’s too early to say if a completely new business model of a free-to enter show will emerge from the wreckage. But there were more entries from more agencies in more countries than ever before. And more goodwill.

At Directory I’d say we are pivving furiously. Ot will come later.

So, this issue is thinner, fewer pages with a different feel of stock.

But there are as many case studies as ever and there’s more editorial up-front.

We’ve not taken a hit on quality and that is thanks to our partnership with Xerox.

The covers are printed on the Xerox iGen 5 Press. Guess what its particular speciality feature is?

Sock-it-to-me new fluorescent yellow.

If you want to make a statement, boy is this the printer for you. And I do want to make a statement.

This entire issue is about defiance, resilience and optimism.

It is dedicated to anyone and everyone who was involved in any capacity with the ideas contained within the next 70 pages.

And it is dedicated to our friends at Xerox.

What makes the choice of print system even apter is that the material used in iGen 5 press filters were magically

transformed into 10,000 urgently-needed medical grade N95 face masks and donated to help fight Covid.

And, if we’re talking pivots, it was the iGen5 that printed the over 50,000 kiss cut labels to the 140,000 gallons of hospital grade hand sanitizer that Xerox started producing.

From toner to anti-bacterial gel. Amazing. Inspiring. Everything we want Directory to be.

Pip pip

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