The wisdom of pants

The wisdom of pants

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The wisdom of pants


I went to see photographer David Yarrow present his life’s work at BAFTA last night – fabulous evening, extraordinary images and a truly lovely man.

Anyway, his work isn’t why I’m writing.

One thing he spoke about was a visit to the HQ of Victoria’s Secret.

Purveyor of premium pants and other undergarments to half of the world.

Copyright David Yarrow

Apparently, on the wall, they have painted two ideas.

‘Challenge yourself more’ in written in big bold caps.

Good to be reminded, quite right, we all should etc.

(And if you’re reading this Richard Sunderland or Mariefrance van Heel – this doesn’t apply to you – I can’t imagine how either of you could push or challenge yourselves more).

The other thing they’ve written on their walls is more interesting to me.


A way of encouraging bigger ideas by finding a way of calibrating them and giving them scale (albeit against a rather morbid moment in history).

Translating to our business, ideas so big you remember where you were when the idea occurred.

We’ve had our own expressions over the years – fingersnap moments – “aha – I get it!”, the pennydrop.

Thinking back, I can remember exactly where I was when we had the idea for the Alzheimer’s Society (they didn’t run with it but it was the best idea they’ll ever see).

Or when Richard came up with “London Block Exchange” or created the expression “Vintage Vitality” for Auriens. I clearly remember the moment when our colleagues in Wales phoned to tell us they had cracked the Cardiff brief – “The Human Capital” or when the team perfectly encapsulated Calderdale as “Pretty Gritty”.

Copyright David Yarrow

It’s a lovely endorphin release when the ideas happen and the teams get excited about presenting the ideas. The endorphins are probably the main reason we remember as memory is enhanced by opioid release, or to contradict Claude Hopkins – people do buy from clowns.

We have loads of examples of the moment the magic happens, the most rewarding part of our job and luckily the part our clients value the most.

No dreadful shootings, grassy knolls or book depositories – but lots of Kennedy Moments.