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1950's TV advert go to work on an egg

It’s a well known fact that commercial broadcasters the world over are struggling the reap the rewards they once did from advertisers, in fact these days the profit margin is getting very narrow indeed.

That’s why many broadcasters are trying new techniques like themed ad slots and dedicated single product commercial breaks.  UK broadcast Channel 4 have gone one step further however, for tonight at 8:10pm they have teamed up with Honda to run their first ever live commercial.

It features sky divers jumping out of an aircraft attempting to form the word Honda in under 3 minutes 20 seconds.  If they compete the task it will be exciting for the viewers, if they don’t complete the task it will also be exciting for the viewers.  If the viewers tune in, which they are being encouraged to do it will be a win-win.

Channel 4 are making big claims though about it being the first live TV adverts, whereas the slightly more skeptical of us may be thinking back to the days of the 1950’s TV studio ads where all TV was live and the only way to advertise a product was to feature it in the studio with the presenter.

No one has ever tried to perform such a stunt as skydiving live in an advert though, so hats off to them for that one.

Are you going to be watching tonight?  

or if we’ve gone forwards in time…

Did you watch it?  Did you tune in specially?

How many offices around the world has, at one point had a picture on the wall that says something like “Choice” or “Change”?  Well check out these from



Today’s quote comes from the late Miles Kington.  I heard it yesterday for the first time and it made me chuckle.

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is knowing not putting one in a fruit salad”.

juicy tomato

Or something like that! A colleague’s recent email about Channel 4’s top 100 greatest albums got me thinking about an obsession they seem to have to make a top 100 list of just about anything.  We might be tired of this format but maybe it isn’t much different to how we present learning.  We often use bite-sized chunks of learning, either face to face or within e-learning with opportunities to delve further – by practicing, discussing, doing etc……  And we also seem to like lists of things… ten tips for interviews, or tips for finding a home overseas etc….which of course leads me on to one of our very own top ten lists, courtesy of our very own Julian Stodd:

Top Ten Tips for Successful E-Learning:

1. Get the message right – before you put hand to keyboard to build a piece of e-learning, map out all of the key messages on a piece of paper. Review and refine this with all the key stakeholders. Once you have your messages agreed, then, and only then, decide what media is best for communicating those messages.
2. Once you have your key messages, map out how you are going to evaluate the learning. Are you going to test straight knowledge retention or are you looking to see that users can synthesise the new knowledge into their existing framework. If you really want a piece of learning to be effective, it should challenge users to make connections themselves.
3. When you start designing your learning, an you write some content, read it out loud. If it seems stilted and boring to you, it will seem the same to everyone else. Never underestimate how quickly people will be bored. Go back and lose a third of what you’ve written. Don’t patronise people or assume they can’t make leaps of understanding. Challenge established conventions and don’t be afraid of making bold statements.
4. Start with content, not design. It’s a mistake to try and make things look good without being sure they make sense.
5. Proof it properly. Nothing looks worse than spelling mistakes or poor grammar in a piece of e-learning. When you’ve proofed it, give it to someone else to read and get their opinion.
6. Navigation is one of the easiest things to get wrong. Establish your interface early and stick to it. Don’t move the same button to different places in different pages. Once you’ve established a convention keep it in place so that people can focus on learning the content, not the interface.
7. Are you lost? People get lost in information really easily – make sure your users can track their way back to the start really easily. Leave a trail of breadcrumbs so that you know what section you are in and what page you are on. Whilst you’re at it, try to give an indication of overall progress (I.e page 2 of 5). People like to know that they are getting somewhere.
8. Introduce sections properly and summarise regularly. Watch a video, provide a summary. Read some text, summarise it. Use summaries to round off sections of learning.
9. Do you have an objective? If you put your learning objectives at the front of each section, don’t be afraid to use a range of verbs to describe the objective: At the end of this section you will have…. “explored what it means to learn”, “described your own learning experiences”, “Analysed what people have done”, “Reflected back on your own story”, “Built a concrete plan of what to do next”.
10. Don’t be afraid to point out that the emperor is naked. Just because everyone else says it’s great, doesn’t mean that you have to agree. If you are unsure that something is right, build evidence for your decision. People will respect a challenge which is evidenced… usually!

Remember these?



The humble filofax was the ultimate status symbol of the 80’s.  If you had one you were either regarded as a top business person by some or as a dreaded yuppie by others. 

Filofax’s are still around just nowhere near as popular as they once were.  Maybe it’s that in this technologically wonderful age it has been replaced by things like mobile phones, Blackberries, iPhones, iPods etc.  The great thing is all of those things are smaller but they all do roughly the same thing as a Filofax – they store data.  Dates, times, appointments, meetings, notes, memos and most importantly ideas. Heck you can even scribble on most of them with a fake pen or a finger.

Have we all lost the ability to store those great ideas that sneak up on us?  If we don’t write them down somehow we’ll forget them.

How do you know if an idea is worth storing?  The answer is you don’t but the trick is if the thought is interesting, jot it down.  You may come back to it later and think it’s a load of old rubbish but it’s only relative to your current state of mind and who knows tomorrow it may be a real gem!


A recent article on takes a look at the training industry and the impact that the credit crunch is likely to have.  Whilst no-one really knows quite what the effect will be on training budgets and decision-making it’s an interesting aticle that suggests some positive steps forward during these uncertain times:

“Don’t worry about the people you train who then leave, worry about the people you don’t train who stay.”

See the full article and its tips on making yourself recession-proof at:


When high-profile experiences company Red Letter Days went under, its founder decided to explode the myth that business is all plain sailing. With the help of some leading entrepreneurs, Rachel Elnaugh recounts some interesting entrepreneurial tales that went badly wrong in her book Business Nightmares. 

She herself learnt some valuable lessons when Red Letter Days went into administration and rather than feeling depressed over losing it all, she felt liberated after working so hard to keep the business going.  “It’s surprising what we cling to in life for so long, when in fact we should be letting go”. 

Maybe we could all apply that philosophy at some point during our working lives to help us move on….


Read more about Business Nightmares and the value of failure at:

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