The end of an era and the launch of the Paperback Potato

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Martian and potato

It is nearly 2 years since 98% Pure Potato was launched. We find ourselves in the 50th anniversary year of the start of account planning at J Walter Thompson and Boase Massimi Pollitt.

We want to celebrate the anniversary by doing something special. So we're telling you the pledgers and supporters of 98% Pure Potato first. We're bringing it out in paperback which means a significant drop…

Christmas Webinar offer and news update at the end of 2017

Thursday, 21 December 2017


This is the last update of 2017. And we thought we would give you A Christmas present: a WARC webinar which is available until halfway January 5th. the material was put together by John and Tracey. And this is a first - talking about the issues about where account planning goes. This has never been more than a slide at recent publications. Well here we talk about account planning in the present…

98% Pure Patates Tortilla - talking about the book to Spanish planners

Friday, 27 October 2017

98pureplanning madrid omelette

We do occasional updates here - because supporters like to know how the book is going and what we are saying about it. Last Monday John Griffiths was talking about the book in Madrid to an audience of 80 and a livestreamed audience of 170.  Here's the link to the slideshare but if you want to hear the streamed presentation then you can find it on APG Spain's facebook feed.  In the presentation…

Tracey Follows talks about the book in the latest podcast - and about the future in the Virgin Future Visions Project

Friday, 15 September 2017


Here is the link to the conversation between John Griffiths and Tracey Follows when they met last week at the RSA to reminisce about the writing of 98% Pure Potato - in the podcast of the same name.

And this week Tracey features on another podcast Virgin Future Visions - a project initiated by Richard Branson no less. She talks about big data and crime, and precrime and Minority Report. So…

98% Pure Potato Podcasts - a taster

Friday, 11 August 2017

Book in my hands

Well it's August - this has been promised since January. But John finally went down the garden and read the first chapter of 98% Pure Potato into his digital recorder. The scene setting chapter about context. So if you are into podcasts off you go. If you're into audio books off you go. If you have had the book on your shelf but not got around to reading it yet this might be a way in. And this…

Happy Anniversary! - 98% Pure Potato has been on the bookshelves for a year now

Friday, 7 July 2017

We hope that by now you have read the book and enjoyed it. Thanks to all who supported the project. The main news to report is that Unbound is considering a paperback edition.  But as we move inexorably towards 2018 and the anniversary year we thought we would give you a treat. Here is a clip of Paul Feldwick one of the interviewees from the book talking about how account planning got started in Boase…

European Women to Watch: Tracey Follows makes the Ad Age cut

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


Congratulations to author Tracey Follows who this week is identified in Ad Age (the USA's leading advertising publication) as one of the 20 outstanding female leaders reinventing the game in marketing advertising tech and media'.  

You can read her profile here by clicking on her photo.  The only futurist in the group Tracey talks about the importance of being prepared for every eventuality…

Just so stories: JWT and BMP - how 98% Pure Potato helps you think about your company's culture

Friday, 24 February 2017

Jwt berkeley square

John Griffiths writes: I marked a rather special occasion this last month. Having talked about the book to the planning departments of both J Walter Thompson at the start of February. And having talked about the book to the planning department at Adam & Eve DDB (the agency which Boase Massimi Pollitt turned into). At the start of December. Rather like the Just so stories of Rudyard Kipling which…

Article in the Market Research Society Magazine Impact about account planning

Thursday, 2 February 2017

And how the UK becomes a global advertising powerhouse and inadvertently creates a qualitative research industry on its way. 98% Pure Potato has told the story of Account Planning but the ramifications went much wider.  Qualitative research was so useful that qual research agencies sprang up to service the demand as more and more agencies introduced planning. This article sketches that story. Enjoy…

This month it has all been about Tracey

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Tracey follows woman of the year

Co-author of 98% Pure Potato. She won 2016 agency winner for Outstanding contribution to Marketing at the Women in Marketing Awards night. Her opposite number client side for Outstanding contribution was Nicola Mendelssohn Facebook VP for Europe Middle East and Africa - so she is in good company! 

She popped up on TEDxWhitehall Women giving a talk about time.


And last week in Campaign magazine…

You should learn from history - says Jeremy Bullmore

Friday, 28 October 2016

Bullmore campaign photo

If you have anything to do with advertising you will know about Jeremy Bullmore's columns in Campaign magazine where he is asked questions and despatches each one with wit and wisdom. This month he was commenting on the Historic Advertising Trust's exhibition of photos of admen of yesteryear from their archives.  And it gave Bullmore the opportunity to talk about history and why it matters. The…

The back story of 98% Pure Potato and the cast of the long lunch

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Laurences photo

Thanks to those who wrote reviews for us on the Unbound site and on Amazon. Keep them coming!  Two things to report

Firstly that the long lunch took place during September - with some of those who had pledged to come and have lunch with us. Here's the team photo. It was slightly alarming how strange it felt to be opening up bottle after bottle of wine. That was normal for a working lunch in…

Photos from the launch of the book at the IPA last month

Wednesday, 3 August 2016


photo 1 Tracey and John

photo 2 Tracey and John with Jeremy Bullmore - whose creative leadership was foundational to the development of planning at J Walter Thompson throughout the time we were writing about and long afterwards. 

photo 3 Tracey with Guy Murpy and Craid Mawdsley - uber planners! 

photo 4 Tracey and John with Guy Murphy of J Walter Thompson a major sponsor of the book

Launch week for 98% Pure Potato

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

20160706 143923

So nearly there. The books should be in your hands already or hopefully should be by the end of the week. A few pledgers who opted to support us by coming to the launch party will join a select group of our interviewees tomorrow evening along with our sponsors and representatives of the King and Pollitt familes. 

The visual is of the bookmark a nice touch that Unbound like to put into their…

Announcing a 10% drop in sterling and a bargain for our overseas customers!

Friday, 24 June 2016


Well the UK Referendum is done and dusted. Hard fought and splitting the country just about down the middle. It has been no different for the authors - John is a defiant Remainer and Tracey a passionate leaver.  So as Tracey traipses back from the Advertising Festival at Cannes where she has been serving on the awards jury (she'll be needing a visa next time then!) the one consolation for our…

Update on the launch of 98% Pure Potato

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Img 9280

Forgive the radio silence - if you've been on the site to try and find when the book is available all you can see is a vague statement about May and May is long gone.  We had thought the launch date would be today and had booked the IPA in Belgrave Square to do the job and were looking forward to meeting with our pledgers who went for the party level plus with some of the most distinguished planners…

Update and last orders : pledging stops Tuesday at midnight

Friday, 4 March 2016

Cover of the book


If you've already pledged to get your copy of 98% Pure Potato then this is just by way of an update to say we're on our way. The first lot of proofs are coming back from type setting next week and the publication date is set for the beginning of May. You will have been sent an email to check that the spelling of your name to be printed in the back.

But if you haven't yet pledged then you have…

The Christmas Party

Friday, 18 December 2015


Apologies - we're getting a bit slow on the story front - sorting out those we can tell and those we really shouldn't! Today's post is appropriately for the season a film about a Christmas office party in 1969 at an agency called Davidson Pearce. It illustrates the cultural changes that the 60s brought. The management are still talking like Madmen but the youngsters are dancing to Procul Harum…

Film about John Webster of BMP

Thursday, 10 December 2015



And something rather special for the weekend. The wonderful Patrick Collister has taken the time to film interviews with many illustrious advertising people. This film was put together from interviews with the legendary John Webster just before he died. Patrick handed it over students at the School of Communication Arts (where I am mentoring)…

Story no 2 Getting to work late..

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Office construction


Two stories also not going into the book, one without and one with consequences. 

Lee Godden talked about the flexible hours at J Walter Thompson and how she and Jean Grundy stretched them at the start of the day rather than the more usual end of the day. Coming in to the agency as late as 11am and creeping up the back stairs into their offices hoping they wouldn't get caught. But Stephen…

Advent cheer - story no 1 False Economy

Friday, 4 December 2015

Hitchhiking in a suit1

We thought as a bit of pre christmas cheer we would give you every few days some treats - you've been waiting for months for scraps of news about 98% Pure Potato.  So here are a few nuggets. Not stories from the book. But stories which didn't make it into the book for various reasons. 

This one was told us by Martin Boase - it concerns a hapless account exec about who many stories were told…

Where account planning came from and why it might be going

Monday, 30 November 2015


STOP PRESS Heather Lefebre author of a brand new book about the bmarketing strategy posted an interesting blog last week on WARC in which she speculates about the beginnings of the word account planning.  We took an interest in this not least because of meeting Tony Stead the man who came up with the term account planning in an internal meeting at J Walter Thompson in the summer of 1968 and…

Where were we? Update about 98% Pure Potato and a £10 offer!

Friday, 30 October 2015


You may have been wondering where we have vanished to. Well work on the book continues apace. We're sorry not to have kept you up to speed but there has been a bit of rewriting to do and we are moving through the copyediting stage to the point where designers are getting involved. Thank you for your patience and yes this really is going to happen. 

The same day as the Account Planning Group…

Manuscript delivered to Unbound - there's a bridge crossed

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Golden gate wide1

Hurrah! The manuscript was delivered today to Unbound so they can start to work their magic. Now Tracey is on her way to San Francisco to spent the next week in the company of fellow futurists. 

In the last post we mentioned an interview with Jeremy Bullmore - well that conversation happened over a week ago and what a useful conversation it was. He worked alongside Stephen King for the best…

Lunch with John Bartle

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Tracey and I had lunch with John Bartle last week - he has agreed to write the foreword much to our delight. And last Thursday was our opportunity to quiz him about his background in planning. You'll know him because of the agency he founded: Bartle Bogle Hegarty  one of the great international agencies that has sustained its reputation for great creative work and effectiveness.  What you may…

Election Day - and political advertising

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Margaret thatcher museum logo 300

During the interviews the subject of political advertising was mentioned very occasionally. BMP was brave in allowing a shadow agency to use its premises to promote the Labour Party. Not all BMP clients would have approved but Martin Boase was sangine about it - he thought the people in his agency should be able to promote what they wanted without censorship or fear of client disapproval.


The big planning questions

Thursday, 30 April 2015


Here's a link to a film I put together rather hastily in commemoration of our hitting the funding target as 98% Pure Potato gets to 100% although the figure continues to rise - if you know of people who want to pledge then please let them know they can still do so. Thank you to everyone who has supported us by pledging for the book and getting the message out there. 

I thought it was a good…

Books by advertising creatives

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


The last in the series of 5 films I have made about books which should be of interest to the account planning fraternity. This one Books by advertising creatives on how to come up with creative ideas. 


So just to summarise there are now 5 films about books on the 98% Pure Potato YouTube channel

1/ Books about account planning

2/ Books about how advertising works

3/ Books about brands…

NewMR Article about 98% Pure Potato

Monday, 27 April 2015


New MR is a resource for researchers who are interested in emerging ideas. So a big thank you to Ray Poynter for inviting us to make a posting about 98% Pure Potato. What we've written about for NewMR is tilted more towards market researchers. Account planning had a massive impact on research. Agencies had always made use of research to that point but after the advent of account planning, some…

Film intro to books about brands

Friday, 24 April 2015


The latest film on books which are of interest to planners - here's my overview of the books about brands which are worth taking a look at. One more film in the sequence and that's books by creatives. 

Brief Encounters - Martin Boase, Paul Feldwick, Adam Morgan

Thursday, 23 April 2015


We're nearly there. Thank you everybody for your patience. There have been a few glitches with the Jane Newman podcast but I am confident we will get it up and working in the next few hours. 

We thought you would be interested to hear about yesterday's interview with Martin Boase the B in BMP one of the agencies from which planning came. As we prepare to start the final edit before the book…

PSFK op-ed about 98% Pure Potato

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


A big thank you to PSFK after their a busy week for them with their New York conference - to run a feature about 98% Pure Potato which allows us to tell a little of the story about how account planning moved across to America for the first time: the rise and rise of the gumshoe strategist.

Short history of books written by account planners

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Beautiful constraint


This is a risk I know. I am bound to have missed someone out who feels they should have been included - but in this film what I want to highlight is the books written by planners where they aren't talking about planning, advertising or branding.  And when they do the result is always interesting.  Here's the link to the film. Next time we'll look at books about brands. Apologies for the camera…

Short history of books about how advertising works

Thursday, 9 April 2015


Here's the next film in the sequence of introductions to important books for planners. We've already covered books about planning. This film is about that actually difficult topi - how advertising works. Once again we are making this avaiable to everyone not just those who have pledged for the book so you are welcome to share this with those you think will be interested. And the pretext for making…

Planning Pioneers - Campaign article about the new book

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


Just to tip off you Campaign readers that there is an article about the book in this week's Campaign.

You can read the article here. and ask your colleagues if they've pledged for the book yet! 

John Bartle has agreed to write the foreword to 98% Pure Potato

Thursday, 2 April 2015


You probably think you know John Bartle. Founder of one of the world's most creative agencies Bartle Bogle Hegarty, an agency network which still has the planners' name over the door (not many can say that still). And continues to win awards for effective advertising. But what you probably don't know is that John was the first ever client on the receiving end of account planning ever. In the world…

If you are an Admap subscriber

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


Then don't miss the article about 98% Pure Potato we have written for the March issue. The article is called Planning's Genesis. Just keeping you in the picture.. if you're not an Admap subscriber then sorry! 

Trivia connection: the punk bassist in the Slits really was Stanley Pollitt's daughter

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Slits play the electric

Last weekend there was a bit of tweet activity on this theme. As somebody made the connection between one of the greatest girl bands in the punk era and Stanley Pollitt one of the fathers of account planning.  It seems there's a generation of punk fans who never knew.  Actually we had found out through this link where Tessa Pollitt talked about her career as a bass player for the Slits as well…

J Walter Thompson sponsors 98% Pure Potato

Friday, 27 February 2015


We're very proud to announce that J Walter Thompson has sponsored 98% Pure Potato.  As one of the agencies in which account planning started it means a lot to us that they have chosen to support the project.  The papers of Stephen King have been published for a few years now.  We want 98% Pure Potato to fit alongside that book as a record of what these early planners (who Stephen King hired) actually…

Account Planners and working with data

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Big data

Here's another film to get you thinking about current issues and how the example of the first planners might make you better at your job. Our theme today big data. And here one of the surprises of the interviews we ran was how numerate the first planners were. Far more so we believe than today.  

Its appropriate to be talking about this topic when on February 16th the Admap 2015 essay competition…

A history of books about planning

Friday, 6 February 2015

History sideonsml

The content we are posting here on the shed is mostly goodies for the eyes only of those who have pre-ordered. This is for a wider audience. One of the discussions Tracey and I have had is how many of today's planners have ever bought or read a book about planning. If you never had the idea of preordering a book about account planning may be a really strange idea. 

So to give you encouragement…

John Griffiths talks about the book to Kevin Sugrue on his Brand Tao blog

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Just before Christmas I had a long Skype conversation with Kevin Sugrue about the book. Kevin is a planner of long experience who among other things runs the Plannersphere. The conversation went on for so long I wondered which bits Kevin would pick up. Plannersphere receives contributions from planners all over the world so naturally Kevin wanted to talk about what we had learned about planning craft…

A big thank you to our innovators and early adopters!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


You know who you are. We really appreciate the way you have got behind the book.

 Feel free to keep mentioning 98% Puret Potato to encourage the early majority!! 


Wednesday, 26 November 2014



24 hours after we started the crowd fundings a big thankyou to everybody who has jumped in to support Tracey and I feet first! We chose the last APG Noisy Thinking of the year to jump start the crowdfunding. The topic was What makes ideas influential? and Tracey was first on to talk about that to a sell-out audience at Google UK's offices.  At the end we showed the film that you will have seen…

Publication date: June 2016
110% funded
446 backers