Claire Beale

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Full name: Claire Beale

Area of interest: Advertising and media issues

Journals/Organisation: The Independent


Personal website:








Career: Written widely about advertising and media across a range of business magazine and national newspapers since the 1990's; Campaign magazine: deputy editor 2000/2004, editor 2004-

  • see: profile; Independent column on advertising until 2010

Current position/role:

  • also writes/has written for:

Other roles/Main role: editor of Campaign

Other activities:



Broadcast media:






Books & Debate:

Latest work:



The Independent:

Column name: Claire Beale on Advertising

Remit/Info: Advertising and media issues

Section: Media

Role: Columnist



Personal website:

Website: Independent/Advertising

Commissioning editor:

Day published:

Regularity: Weekly

Column format:

Average length:

Articles: 2013

  • Dulux got its brush strokes just right - Anyone scanning Twitter during the Brit Awards last Wednesday evening – and let's face it, it was such a dull event you could be forgiven for looking for a little social entertainment – might have stumbled across a timely bit of marketing from paint brand Dulux - 25th February
  • Celebs can be more than just a famous face - Stars who combine fame with creative flair, consumer insight and business nous are increasingly sought after by companies desperate to rejuvenate their traditional approach to selling - 12th February
  • Tesco and a question of trust - Whatever your view on the ethics of eating horses, this month's dodgy burger scandal has called the ethics of some of Britain's biggest brands into question - 29th January
  • Confectioners in court over a choccy bar - Not many chocolate fiends are particularly fussy about the form their cocoa fix takes - 15th January
  • The smart money is on smartphones - As the nation's favourite brands count their booty from the Christmas sales bonanza, they will be hoping that success in 2013 is defined by more than a bargain rush in the final weeks - 1st January

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2010

  • Advertising: how did it influence this election? - Poster campaigns may have been overshadowed by new media, such as Twitter, and the televised debates - 7th May
  • Should the Gold Blend couple get back together? - In the 1980s, the Gold Blend couple kept viewers hanging on, in serialised ads that made sales soar. Nestlé may want to reheat the idea, but times have changed - 27th April
  • Word of mouth will make us sit up and listen - This is the story of a family. They're called the Joneses and they're new in town - 19th April
  • This clash of the Saatchis is friends reunited - Only 24 days until the general election and already almost as much has been written about how the parties are advertising themselves as about what they might actually do if they win power - 12th April
  • The creative talents of a genius emerge again - London advertising has few gods. David Abbott is one of them – a genius, a legend, a gentleman. A creative icon and a man whose legacy still infuses and enthuses adland, Abbott is quite possibly the best copywriter that we have ever had - 5th April
  • Print gets augmented reality check - Something's stirring on the nation's newsstands. Literally. You think print's dead? Not this month it's not. It's alive and strutting - 29th March
  • It's time adland wised up to Twitter - If you follow these things you'll probably know that the biggest topic trending on Twitter in the US last week was something called SXSW, a painfully fashionable gathering at the cutting edge of music, film and interactive media. It takes place every year in Austin, Texas, and is cooler than a Mr Whippy - 22nd March
  • Fighting crime is clever marketing - Isn’t it interesting that it’s taken vulnerable corporate balance sheets to really get big businesses thinking carefully about how to make life better for all of us - 15th March
  • On Advertising: It's time to go easy on the airbrush - I was having lunch with a creative director who makes ads starring what you might respectfully call a mature actress. "So how much touching up do you do?" I asked, and it occurred to neither of us that the question might have any meaning other than a digital one - 8th March
  • A screen veteran at the age of five - When you think about it, digital years are like dog years. Only shorter. Twelve digital months are perhaps 10 years in the real world; change happens fast and fads die young - 1st March
  • Why the Redknapps make adland sick - It is, of course, fabulously ridiculous. The image of golden glossy Louise and buffed hubby Jamie Redknapp pouting and posing on a package holiday - 22nd February
  • An Absolut break from the norm - Director Spike Jonze has made his first love story - 15th February
  • Dove goes in search of the real man - Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday and America tuned in. For US advertisers it’s the biggest event of the year. You can do things with a TV ad in the Super Bowl that you can’t do anywhere else - 8th February
  • They've already got an app for that - Respect to Beattie McGuinness Bungay. As the world balanced on the edge of its seat last week to see Steve Jobs parading Apple's new iPad, BMB had already designed an app for it - 1st February
  • Smaller, fitter, leaner – and older - The advertising industry is shrinking. Literally. The number of employees in the sector decreased by nearly 2,000 last year. Everything's getting smaller, from the budgets to the fees to – inevitably – the teams producing the work - 25th January
  • Parties primed for a digital election - There's no point denying it, advertising doesn't always tell it quite like it is. Of course, all ads have to be honest and decent and true. There are rules about that. But sometimes the truth isn't quite pretty enough - 18th January
  • An industry bruised by its own hand - Trust the ad industry to kick off the new year in some style. Last week a new campaign which set out to prove the power of advertising imploded embarrassingly under the weight of a serious consumer backlash - 11th January
  • Consumers will shape brands in 2010 - As the new year breaks, you'll find the advertising industry clutching a whole new set of forecasts and predictions (fingers crossed behind their backs) in the hope of offering their shell-shocked clients some clarity on what lies ahead. Time, then, for a little crystal-ball tickling - 4th January

Articles: 2009

  • Compare the best ads of 2009? It's easy - They say that hard times foster great creativity: so in a year of almost unrelenting doom, adland optimists were waiting for a new creative dawn. It didn't come - 28th December
  • Amid all the jitters, Twitter is the winner - Will anyone in advertising be sorry to see the back of 2009? No one at the sharp end of commercial media. If your business relied on advertising for its revenues this year, you've almost certainly been screwed - 21st December
  • Sony needs to set the ball rolling again - Go on then, what's the best ad of the last decade? Which commercial has taken you by the scruff, held you rapt, entertained you, moved you (and, yes, the best ads should be able to do all of that)? - 14th December
  • Cut-price ads will bring us festive turkeys - The advertising industry always approaches Christmas with a sackful of trepidation. For its clients, Christmas is a do-or-die sales period, and you can bet there are more than a few boardrooms clinging on to the hope that the next few weeks will revive their fragile balance sheets - 7th December
  • Shop on Oxford Street – without leaving home - With only 25 shopping days left until Christmas, there are few more uncomfortable places to be at the moment than Oxford Street in London. So today's launch of a virtual version of the West End retail mecca couldn't have been timed better - 30th November
  • Finally, British advertising can be proud - A question. Who makes the best adverts in the world? - 23rd November
  • On Advertising: Morrisons grows into seasoned TV campaigner - 16th November
  • Why Microsoft ran scared from a Family Guy - According to Euripides, you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. According to 21st-century marketing lore, you can tell a lot about a company from the company it keeps - 9th November
  • Your mission: bring the world to life with a pint of Guinness - Will an epic new campaign be successful for the brand with the greatest legacy in advertising? - 9th November
  • Unilever is turning to a crowd of bounty hunters - Hot news, trend watchers: the age of user-generated advertising is over. Admit it, you're relieved. Phew, you're thinking, no more ads made by lonely pubescent punters in their bedrooms – the stuff made by the pros is bad enough - 2nd November
  • Adland goes on the offensive in fight for survival - It is the mark of a troubled industry that the advertising business is suddenly tooling itself up with new think-tanks and foundations as it prepares to battle for survival - 26th October
  • How Pepsico rescued itself from a tech disaster - It’s not often that you hear one of the world’s biggest brands saying sorry, but Pepsico was forced to apologise last week for an illjudged social media campaign that has kicked up one of the biggest advertising storms of the year and highlighted the perils of social media engagement - 19th October
  • On Advertising: How planning assured a supersoldier's success - Ask people what advertising is and they'll probably tell you (when they've stopped being rude), that it's words and pictures that try to sell them things in magazines and newspapers, and on TV. But behind those words and pictures is a whole industry of insight and understanding that makes the ads themselves effective - 12th October
  • Adland is singing some new songs - I am not going to talk about ads this week. No one else seems to want to. Ads have rather gone out of fashion - 5th October
  • Giffgaff can give O2 a gift of the gab - You've probably heard of user-generated advertising: cheap, nasty commercials created in dark bedrooms by consumers with nothing better to do - 28th September
  • Is this why we hate ads on the radio? - Perhaps it was Peter Andre's sore throat that did it. Or perhaps it was just that after 12 months of recessionary gloom, adland was ready for some good news. Whatever the reason, last week's radio awards defied low expectations - 21st September
  • When shock tactics go too far... - Imagine yourself in the creative department of a German advertising agency. A brief has just come in for an anti-Aids TV commercial. So how do you persuade young people to put caution before pleasure and acknowledge that sex can be fatal? - 14th September
  • A banned breast is best for a brand - There I was, innocently reading a story on a business news website about American Apparel’s latest ad campaign, and with one click on a link I was suddenly staring at Jane’s left breast and reading how she likes to get intimate with household appliances - 7th September
  • Worried insurers compare meerkat market - Aleksandr Orlov has 536,542 fans on Facebook; probably more by the time you read this. At least 24,000 Tweeters are following him on Twitter. He has had more than 50 proposals of marriage and nearly 1,000 people have signed his petition to get the word "seemples" (simple) into the Oxford English Dictionary - 24th August
  • Adland’s version of Sex and the City - We don’t know, yet, exactly what The Broadroom is going to be about. But let’s take a stab. We’ll be in New York. There’ll be powerful women, but not enough men - 17th August
  • There's not much X factor left in Oxo - If you want to understand a nation, look at its advertising. If you want to understand the Brits, look at the Oxo family. And if you want to understand advertising, look at the new Oxo Factor campaign - 10th August
  • So which are the best iPhone apps around? - In just 12 months, Apple's iPhone App Store has created a new industry that has generated billions of pounds of revenue, provided employment to thousands, and given marketers a powerful new tool in their armoury - 3rd August
  • Cut price and low quality is a risky strategy - The trouble with dropping your trousers in the ad business is that you either end up screwing someone or being screwed - 27th July
  • It's never dull in my wild world of Amy, Katie, Naomi and Michael - Alan Edwards is the publicist to the A-list. He tells Ian Burrell the secret of working with the tabloids and building an empire in PR - 20th July
  • Whisper it, but it looks like we might survive - Eavesdrop on any adland lunch table chat right now and you’ll find that confidence is creeping back onto the menu. We’ve hit recession’s rock bottom and now we’re on the (slow) bounce. And it’s not just wishful thinking. We have facts - 13th July
  • Faraway galaxy comes to street near you - You'll remember that scene in Star Wars when bun-headed Princess Leia appears in holographic form to tell Obi-Wan Kenobi that he's her only hope - 6th July
  • Proof that we Cannes make a difference - Last week was Cannes week. In boom time, that means that pretty much the entire London creative community with access to an expenses account decamps to the South of France for a few days of eating, drinking and messing about on yachts - 29th June
  • Technology means posters will stick around - I could tell you about Cannes – the Cannes Advertising Festival. But really most of London’s adland seems barely to have noticed that this is Cannes week - 22nd June
  • Britain's got talent, but no winners - It wasn't a night for the Brits last Thursday. Not at all. The D&AD awards might be one of the most important dates in the British adland calendar but, when the pencils were handed out at the Round House in Camden last week, home-grown winners were rarer than the green shoots of economic recovery - 15th June
  • Let's be honest, all of us need GM to be reborn - "Let's be completely honest. No company wants to go through this." The voice is smoothly soothing. "This" is Chapter 11. But don't panic. This is General Motors's phoenix ad - 8th June
  • Susan can be the face of big tummy-tuck pants - So, I'm taking a gamble here. By the time you're reading this, you know whether Susan Boyle has just won an extension to her fifteen minutes or whether we've all decided that Britain's got a better, brighter talent - 1st June
  • Cars for boys, chocolate for girls - It was a bad week for being a man last week. The scientists said you're stumbling towards extinction, having mislaid 1,355 genes from your chromosomes; only 45 left apparently. And then the advertisers said that, really, you're entirely too stupid to use ordinary household cleaning products - 25th May
  • Boyle's burr beats the tedious Fry - When Susan Boyle appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the US last week, she was accompanied by subtitles to decode her Scottish brogue for the American ear - 18th May
  • A happy anniversary for heritage brands - It began with butter. John was a dairyman, so butter was obvious. The best butter in the world, he said, and it's too late to argue - 11th May
  • The Olympic spirit - work for nothing! - Perhaps it was inevitable that the London Olympics body, Locog, would annoy adland. Any client whose very name revels in the notion of committee has to be trouble - 4th May
  • Can this man lead adland out of the gloom? - Last week, the advertising industry gave itself a new president. His nameis Rory, he's a Cambridge University classics alumni, a columnist on The Spectator (as the mag's "Wiki Man") and, likely as not right now, he is wearing an elbow-patched hacking jacket and a florid cravat. For the next two years, he will be the public face of the British advertising establishment - 27th April
  • How Domino's execs were left looking like twits - If you are reading this while eating a takeaway, look away now. Because the following is definitely not for digesting with a slice of deep pan, or any other fast food, I'm afraid - 20th April
  • Best in Show: The Army (Publicis) - 13th April
  • Lovely ad, ITV. I hope it's not the only ray of light - it's time to applaud ITV for finding the strength to avoid all the usual fluffy clichés and third-rate cheeriness that have characterised the brand over the years. The thing is, it must work - 13th April
  • Say it quietly, cuts in adland are not always bad - I'm about to say something offensive. And it's particularly offensive if you've just lost your adland job. Please try not to take it personally. But all those people who have been made redundant recently, well it's quite a relief they've gone. Generally speaking. Darwinian forces are at play in adland. The fittest will survive - 6th April
  • Women's Aid (Grey) - I suspect that how you feel about this week's 'Best in Show' will depend a bit on how you feel about Keira Knightley - 6th April
  • Sexy or sick? The big scare over selling condoms - Have you seen the ad with the girl slurping up her own vomit. Twice. It begins at the end of the story and plays backwards. So instead of throwing up down the loo, our heroine hovers up her sick from the toilet bowl. It's enough to turn your stomach - 30th March
  • In the L-shaped gloom, PR and adland must wed - When WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell pronounces on the state of the advertising industry – or, increasingly, industry in general – important people listen. So when he told the world last week that the current recession is going to be L-shaped (that's severe and prolonged) important people agreed. L-shaped it will be, then - 23rd March
  • Time the online watchers were being watched - We're being watched. I don't just mean out there, on the streets, though did you know that a quarter of the world's entire supply of CCTV cameras are trained on us Brits. Apparently. Now they're watching us in our homes and offices too. Whenever we're using the web, in fact. They're tracking our journeys, seeing where we go, what sites we visit, where we like surfing - 16th March
  • Should we spend more, or less, in a crisis? - Recession presents advertising with a moral conundrum. If advertising encourages unnecessary consumption, does it therefore encourage financial irresponsibility? Are some forms of advertising unethical in a downturn - 9th March
  • Send the Martians home, it's time for change - You could be forgiven for thinking that adland has run dry, that like the rest of us it's bankrupt. How else to explain the rampage of nostalgia swarming across our TV screens in 30-second bites? - 2nd March
  • The adman with a £400m public warchest - The advertiser is the COI, or the Central Office of Information - 23rd February
  • Best In Show: Shelter commercial - 16th February
  • The music business gives itself a good Shake - Secure in the knowledge that it has chosen a much-loved, iconic track for its new ad campaign, which debuts tonight taking up the entire centre break of Corrie, The Co-op is giving music in ads a good kicking - 16th February
  • Once again, we're being called child snatchers - The Samsung Tobi comes in "sweet pink" and "loyal blue". It's cute. It's a camera, phone and music player. If you're under 12, you'll probably want one. If you're over 12 and overprotective, you'll probably seize on the Tobi as the latest example of the commercialisation of childhood - 9th February
  • Whether we like it or not, we're going digital - Out in the real world of normal people, though, 40 per cent of homes still do not have broadband and 17 million people over the age of 15 are not using computers or the internet - 2nd February
  • Adland has a real image problem - Adland, they say, is like a pint of Guinness. The nearer you get to the top, the whiter it becomes. Really, an advertising stout is mostly foam - 26th January
  • Walkers' customers turn brand architects - Last summer, Walkers launched its Do Us A Flavour competition, challenging crisp-lovers to invent a new flavour and share in the revenues it will generate - 19th January
  • Best In Show: Virgin Airlines (Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R) - Since our subject this week is controversy, what do you make of the new Virgin Airlines ad by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. Sexist? - 12th January
  • Best in Show 2008: When we were good, we were very, very good! - It was not a vintage year for advertising, and the pressure's on to give value for money. But British agencies stood up with the best - 5th January

Articles: 2008

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