‘Taps aff’ to the Ice bucket challenge.

The Ice Bucket Challenge

In Scotland we have an expression that bids bonjour to clement weather.  (To put this into context that can mean anything in excess of 17 degrees Celsius.)

‘Taps aff’, means ‘tops off’ and is reserved exclusively for the pasty abdomened males of the species. It, literally, requires the participants to take off their top layer of clothing, thereby exposing their skin to the wan sun.

Of late there has been a lot of ‘taps aff’ activity on the streets of Scotland and, in fact, the world over.  That’s because a phenomenon known as the Ice Bucket Challenge has swept the globe with Scotland no less in its thrall than anywhere else.

It’s a phenomenal phenomenon, in marketing terms, and deserves all the praise it is receiving because a tiny US charity, ALS, has come up with one of the most original, engaging, viral and downright fun marketing ideas of recent times.

You’ll have seen it, how could you not have if you have consumed any media whatsoever in the last month, so no need to describe it here.

What we at 60 Watt admire about it is the sheer simplicity of the idea (belying the underlying fact that a dose of ice cold water actually replicates some of the symptoms of the disease – Motor Neuron Disease as it’s known in Scotland).

It’s had its critics, many fierce – Macmillan Cancer Care has appropriated the idea for instance – but ALS has openly stated it is happy for ANY charity to benefit from the idea – but it has had a profound effect on ALS’ coffers, raising over $80m dollars at the time of writing, for what is, or was, a microscopic charity in the greater scheme of things.

Great ideas deserve great rewards.

So, we take oor taps aff tae ALS.

In fact, better than that, here’s Pete demonstrating how it works.  (Thankfully with his tap oan.)


World cup, ahem, fever hits 60 Watt


Pele, Muller, Cruyff, Charlton, Beckenbaur.

They may be the stuff of legend, and general knowledge quizzes, but ask Pete or Iain about Hulk, Messi, Ozil, Neymar, Klose, Benzema or Fetfatzidis and you’d be met with a stare as blank as the cheque you’d need to write to get them up to speed on the world’s biggest sporting tournament.

(Whose Fetfatzidis?  Ed.)

It’s early days yet, but news of the England physio’s rather overenthusiastic goal celebration and his subsequent need for, err, physio hasn’t caused so much as a smirk in West Maitland Street’s most internationally renowned creative shop (unless of course you rank Copymade’s cheeky brand of tram baiting badinage higher).

As the Dutch smashed reigning champions, Spain, into oblivion Iain was engrossed in the Times Crossword.  Pete was making some minor adjustments to his manifold.

As Germany was punishing Portugal’s finest, Iain was having a nice cup of tea and Pete was listening to a spot of Bachmann Turner Overdrive.

Ask them about flat back fours and they ‘ll think your referring to antiquated golfing trousers.

And as for the growing legend that is RVP, Iain will simply tut at the sloppiness and insert an S between the R and the V.

Honestly folks, it’s a cultural vacuum – the place of soccer tumbleweed.

I’m off to the bookies.

State of the art 21st Century transportation service. “Nut”.

Edinburgh Tram

Anyone who lives in the Capital (and especially their taxi drivers) will tell of the seven plus years of misery inflicted on the general populace as the tramworks literally held up Edinburgh.

So when the trams started running on 31 May, I was curious to see what all the fuss was about.  Would the pains of a difficult birth disappear now that the healthy infant had finally arrived?

Took the car to the Ingliston park ‘n’ ride and went to buy a ticket for me and my 15 year old daughter to the end of the line – York Place.

Problem no. 1: the cost of our two single tickets came to £2.70, but the minimum card transaction on the platform tickets machines was £3.00. The machine simply refused to sell us a ticket.

Problem no. 2: one of the two ticket machines on the platform had broken down.  By the time the first tram arrived there was an irate queue of would-be passengers still waiting to buy tickets.  The helpful platform attendant said he would “have a word” with the inspector on board the tram and we could buy our tickets on board.

Problem no. 3: the inspector told the 6 people who got on board that they couldn’t buy their tickets on the tram and would have to get off at the next stop or pay a £10 per person fine.

The misleadingly named tram ticket vending machines.

The misleadingly named tram ticket vending machines.

Problem no. 4: posters on board advertised a handy app that you could use to buy tram tickets with.  I hurriedly downloaded said app, but the ticket buying part had not yet been activated.

Problem no. 5: now ousted from the first tram and still facing the £3.00 minimum limit issue, I tried buying two return tickets. But only the airport ticket machines sell returns. In desperation, I bought two tickets each, thinking we would be able to use these on the return trip (or exchange them for valid tickets).

Problem no. 6: on alighting at York Place, I asked the nice manny if I could use the extra tickets I had bought (“Nut.”) or if I could change them for valid tickets (“Nut.”). So I went to the cash machine and got £10 out.

Problem no. 7:  unbelievably, the ticket machines don’t take notes! In desperation, I asked the manny if he had any change (“Nut.”) or if he could sell me a ticket manually (“Nut.”).

Problem no. 8: having found a second attendant who did have change, put £3 in the machine to buy two tickets costing £2.70.  The machine dispensed the tickets but kept the change!

I won’t even bother to report on the stuffy, poorly ventilated, heavily overcrowded, stop/start stand up return journey to Ingliston.  Suffice it to say we would have been quicker, more comfortable and a lot better off using the bus.

Which sounds awfully like what a lot of people have been saying about the trams all along.

We like a good name around here


Back in the day Pete was in the team that named RBS’s hole in the wall Cashline service.  In Scotland, at least, this became the Hoover of, err, Cashlines.

Gold Bier, Hubbub, 20-20 Opticians, Squareye,  Amicus, Lemon Squeezy, ID Recruitment, BrandBox and the breathtakingly original Chalmer’s Cottages (named after its parent company Chalmers) were all to be blessed with the touch of the 60 Watt naming wand in the years that followed.

So, we like to think we know a thing or two about what makes a good name.

Our hats were duly doffed then when we stumbled upon an emerging new sporting talent that prowled the fairways of Pinehurst in this year’s US Golf Open.

Ladies and gentlemen we give you; Maverick McNealy.

Possibly the most outrageously American sporting name of all time.  The magical alliteration, the mirrored syllables.  Hell, just the sheer damned coolness of it.

And a little further research reveals that Maverick’s brothers are called Colt and Scout.

He finished 122nd.

Aye well, New Coke was a great name too.  Trouble is, consumers liked Old Coke.

Watch out. There’s mamils about.



You might be surprised to learn that 60 Watt has some MAMIL tendencies (Middle Aged Men In Lycra); not all of us, mind you.

As Britain’s least desirable fashion movement has grown in momentum over the past few years at least one of our rotund team has squeezed disgracefully into his XXL Spandex and mounted a shoogly carbon framed Road Bike in a futile effort to gain a Ronaldo-esque physique.

So, imagine our delight when we stumbled about Transport For London’s gorgeous (and there can be no other word for it) Tour de France cycling campaign by M&C Saatchi’s Mark Goodwin and Grant Parker to announce the arrival of Le Tour in our capital.

It’s something of a retro affair, sporting the best illustration we’ve seen since, those glorious days of Norman Wilkinson’s train travel posters that so graced our highways and byways.  What’s more, one of them sports no fewer than six of the client’s logos without causing the least bit offence.

So, take a bow Adrian Johnson. You do a grand job at your easel.

Oh, and any chance we could have a framed set please guys?

Zoot Alors!

Tour de France

You won’t believe your eyes.

Nothing to see here


Working hard all week as we do, come the weekend you’re ready to relax. A few chores, a bit of DIY (yeah, right) entertaining on Saturday evening and then, along comes Sunday.  A whole day of nothing to do stretching ahead of you, with the big question hanging over us…“Where shall we go today?”

Coming up with an answer is getting harder and harder.

Over the years we’ve done Historic Scotland, the NTS, English Heritage, the Countryside Commission, RSPB, museums, castles and more castles, galleries and so on, and so forth.

We’ve walked up hill and down dale. We’ve been there, done that.  Bought more than a few T-shirts.

And so it was that we found ourselves referring to the pocket booklet pictured above. A Christmas stocking filler jam-packed with things to do. Stuff that wouldn’t cross your mind in a month of Sundays.

Like visiting the Tunnocks teacake factory in Uddingston, the Pineapple at Airth, Earthquake House at Comrie, Ebeneezer Place, Wick and – who could resist? –  the Victorian Toilets, Rothesay (men only though).

If you’re clean out of ideas then this is the book for you.

And so via this most unusual of routes, we stumbled across the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum in Fife.  A wondrous institution where bus fans can really let their freak flag fly.

49 acres and 190 vehicles, 160 of which are buses. A cafe, a shop and an entrance charge that includes a guided tour of the whole site in a vintage bus.

Who could resist? We couldn’t and so five went off on an adventure.


Run by former bus drivers, conductors, and fanatics of all ages, the museum will transport you back a bit, and then some. There are double deckers, single deckers and many other retired vehicles of all descriptions, including a boat, a tank and a bubble car.

Highlights include the 1928 Leyland Titan TD1 GE2446, the 1950 Bedford OB SS7501 and the1976 Daimler Fleetline CRG6LXB SMS120P. If you’re into omnibology then this is heaven. Other bits of bus memorabilia – clippies’ uniforms, fleet books, ticket machines, old radios and wirelesses – complete the experience.

Well, almost.

Because we’ve yet to mention the star of the show, the piece de résistance. Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce you to the Scottish Museum of Ashtrays.



This, without doubt, must be the most bizarre collection ever encountered. Round ones, square and rectangular, of varying colour and design, together confronting the viewer with a social commentary that is truly quotidian.

I think we’re safe in saying it’s the most comprehensive collection of ashtrays you will ever cast your eyes on (after all, there can’t possibly be any other ashtray museums out there, can there?).

So go see, go on a Sunday … make your day.

You’ve come a long way, baby.


John Denholm and 60 Watt go back a long way.


All the way to the start of the Leith Agency.


And to Hall Advertising before that (remember them?)


All these years later we’re honoured to count John and now his talented wife Nikki among our clients.


Their eponymous marketing recruitment business goes from strength to strength.


It’s just launched (with our help) a new employer branding division named (with our help) BrandBox, a genius idea that finally fills the gap left behind when the recession killed off branded recruitment advertising.


Rather ambitiously, perhaps, we proposed using New York photographer Leland Bobbe’s deliciously controversial drag queen images for the launch campaign.


An idea that would probably have been dead in the water.  But as luck would have it, Pete just happened to be in New York that week and, on the off chance, contacted Leland to see if he would like to meet for lunch.


Three hours and two bottles of Lite beer later (advertising lunches having gone sadly adrift since the 80s) Pete emerged remarkably sober, clutching the makings of an agreement.


The resulting ad – hopefully the first of a long-running series, can be seen above.


Leaving us to reflect that this business is all about relationships.


Always has been, really.







I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue. (Actually, you know what, scrub that.)


At 60 Watt we have a bit of a track record working on police investigation software brands having, for many years, helped Altia Solutions to reach a fairly lofty position in this marketplace, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that we’ve picked up a new brief in this rather specialist sector.

Clue,  for this is our elegantly named new client, approached us recently from its base in Bristol to help them with a number of tasks.

Watch this space as the evidence emerges to prove the case that, far from being clueless in this area, we’re actually forensic in our attention to detail.

The best advice to would be writers – ever.

So you want to be a writer
We love words with a passion.
We love this poem.
Hope you do too.

so you want to be a writer

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over
your typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you, then wait patiently.

If it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
If you have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.
don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
when it is truly time,
and you have been chosen,
it will do by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.
and there never was.


My son the budding rock star.

Hamish James Hawk

Like many of you clients and friends of a certain age, I have a student son who plays the guitar.

However, mine writes all his own songs.

He has a series of concert tours under his belt (The World Tour of Crail and Yellae Deuks Festival being two notable recent examples).

He insists on using his full name at all times. That’s Hamish James Hawk, if you please, not Hamish or Hame.

He even has his own logo (well, if you don’t have a rich dad, the next best thing must surely be a dad who’s a graphic designer).

And best of all, cue drum roll, he has now released an album.

And although I say it myself, it’s rather good.

But don’t take my word for it, read this review by the celebrated blogger and music critic, Mark Gorman.

It’s not everyday we at 60 Watt have to deal with the cut, thrust, glitz and glamour of the music business, but there was definitely much excitement last week when Hamish – sorry – Hamish James Hawk, plonked a copy of his shiny, shrink-wrapped CD on our desks.

Hamish has been developing his distinctive voice and songwriting skills during his four years of study at St Andrews and has latterly been taken under the wing  of Kenny Anderson, more commonly known as King Creosote.

So proud.

For those who want a little taster, treat your eardrums to some beautiful tunes here.

Or why not go the whole hog and buy a copy?

Go on, you know you want to…

Aznavour by Hamish James Hawk