Recent blog posts

A Planner’s Day Of Things To Make

A Planner’s Day Of Things To Make

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in advertising | No Comments

Two really interesting posts were written in close proximity recently, about Planning. NB – By which is meant Account Planning, an advertising term for a specific role in an agency. If you want to know what it used to mean, before the jump, then read this APG definition introduced by Merry Baskin from 2001. I […]

Crowdfunded Media Buying

Crowdfunded Media Buying

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in media | No Comments

This is fascinating, from change.org… sign a campaign, then you’re asked if you want to donate money to place an ad to show to it to more people (and a very specific amount of people) who might also then sign it. How long until there’s a “design your ad” feature on there too?  

Train or Time Machine?

Train or Time Machine?

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in random inspiration, technology | 3 Comments

“I’d pay £5 a month for Twitter, for instance” said Neil. “Nobody does that though. Well, apart from app.net. But why not?“ What followed from me is an 88mph reckon, which I’ll repeat here. (YMPHMV, of course.) It’s easier to get investment for a business built on rapid user growth. It’s easier to get rapid […]

About Smithery


Smithery is a Product and Marketing Innovation studio, established by John V Willshire in 2011.

We help companies Make Things People Want, rather than Make People Want Things.

We do this by making things quickly with our clients their teams, and customers.

Current clients include Carlsberg, Experian, Google, Gravity Road,
and the Saïd Business School at The University of Oxford.

Working with Smithery

Julie Doleman, Managing Director, Experian

“Working with John has been a brilliant adventure for my entire team.  John is not afraid of a challenge and his creativity and passion have opened our minds up to more innovative ways of working by helping to shape our thinking, actions and behaviours.  His work has helped us to create the culture of change we’ve needed to continue on our path of growth.”

- Julie Doleman, Managing Director, Experian
Thomas Moradpour, Vice President, Carlsberg Brand Global Marketing

“We love working with John, he’s an awesome source of brilliant ideas and endless energy in our creative process. Innovation as it should be.”

- Thomas Moradpour, Vice President, Carlsberg Brand Global Marketing
Tracey Camilleri, Saïd Business School

“I’ve found that if you have half an idea that you are excited about – John probably has the other half.  He has a generous imagination earthed in an intellectual rigour that makes him a rare bird.  I have benefited from his eclectic frame of reference and uncanny ability to make generative connections between people, ideas, genres.  Working with John feels like play – why isn’t all work like that?”

- Tracey Camilleri, Saïd Business School
Nick Kendall, BBH

“Mr King, Mr Bullmore… Mr Willshire. OK, John’s not quite the Third Ronnie, but I do believe he should be here alongside these legends, exploring what brands are now versus then.”


- Nick Kendall, BBH
Mark Earls, HERD

“Thinking without doing is as pointless as doing without thinking. John is one of the best of a new breed of strategists who actually do things. I learn a lot from him every time we collaborate”


- Mark Earls, HERD
Adam Morgan, Eat Big Fish

“John is the single most creatively fertile person I have met in the last five years”


- Adam Morgan, Eat Big Fish