Advertising Phrases That Are Overused To The Point Of Meaninglessness

1. Out now!
2. Hurry while stocks last.
3. The easy way to...
4. Money back guarantee.
5. The art of...
6. The all new...
7. Built around you/designed around you
8. The ... people
9. Available in all good stores.
10. As seen on TV
11. you don't have to.
12. Your... just got a little more...
13. Closing down sale
14. At... we're passionate about...
15. Nobody does... like...
16. New and improved.
17. Tomorrow's technology today.
18. In these tough financial times...
19. Now with antioxidentpantipepsidides.
20. The home of...
21. Ask in store for details...
22. 'Quality'
23. The complete...
24. ...experience...
26. There is another way.
27. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better.
28. New recipe.
29. You'll wish you...
30. You won't believe your eyes.
31. Don't take our word for it.
32. We must be mad!
33. You'd be mad not to.
34. First come first served.
35. Hurry, while stocks last.
36. Offer applies to one per household.
37. Don't miss out.

Any more?

Work In Progress...

A couple of ambiguous spy shots from a shoot we did yesterday with Mark, Sean and the crew at Coy!

This is exactly how a project is meant to be done. The client (remaining anonymous for the time being) is smart and believes in the idea, and has the confidence in the people they have involved in making it to let them do their thing. For our part, we know that we're working with talented people who know exactly what to do to make it as good as it can be, so we gave them the space to do it. All in all, a collection of people who want to go about things in the right way, in order to get the best results.

A big thanks goes to [the client] and to Mark, Sean, Sara and the gang at Coy! for making the impossible possible (and for being pretty fucking good at what they do).

This is what happens when companies with exclamation marks get together.

Food of Champions

These fun, no-nonsense labels really tell it like it is. In case it's not clear the middle jar contains peas. Yes peas. That's right, peas. Got it?

Created way back in the 60's before the rise of the generic own brand, these lovely fictional label designs featured in a series of print ads for Champion Papers, to promote their new paper range. Although the designs are over 40 years old their vibrancy and timeless simplicity still make them look fresh (same can't be said for for the contents, I'd definitely steer clear of those peas), and more appealing than a lot of the 'real' products that vie for your attention on the supermarket shelves of today.

The print ad itself is nicely put together too, under designer James Miho's creative direction. Out of the countless print related brochures and catalogue thingys that regularly land on the Sell! Towers welcome mat, it would be refreshing to see something like this print ad. Something you actually want to look at and read. Something that might make you think twice before popping it in the bin, ahem recycling bin.
You can find out a little more about the designs and ads here.

Bill Bernbach Said #14

The rather more lucky fourteenth in our series of Bill Bernbach quotes...

“At the heart of an effective creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action even though his language so often camouflages what really motivates him.”

My Body Is A Cage

What do you get if you expertly craft together a bit of classic Sergio Leone & Arcade Fire? A thing of beauty that's what.

Talented Chicago based designer, J Tyler Helms recut some footage of Once Upon A Time In The West and used it as an unofficial promo for Arcade Fire's My Body Is A Cage. Nicely done. If you haven't watched the film, I suggest you do that first though.

Thanks to WeMadeThis for pointing it out.

Tauba Auerbach

I follow a lot of blogs through Google Reader, and over the weekend the backlog of unread posts builds up. Monday morning inevitably means there's a couple of hundred posts waiting to be read. Trying to give each a quick glance is time consuming but fear of missing out on something lovely is worse.

But today was one of those days where something really good popped up and the slog was worth it. American artist Tauba Auerbach has produced these paper based Gouache prints. They're a couple of years old but tasty morsels of typography none-the-less.

Collet Dickenson Pearce President's Lecture

We popped over to the D&AD president's lecture last night.

The blurb: "Tony Brignull, Sir Frank Lowe, Sir Alan Parker, John Salmon and Alan Waldie answer your questions on one of the most important UK advertising agencies of the twentieth century. Chaired by Anthony Simonds-Gooding, D&AD Chairman and one-time client of CDP"

Following-up from our post the other day about selling, It was heartening for us to hear these genuine ad legends, who are revered by today's creative heavy-hitters, say that they were in the business of persuasion, of trying to get people to buy the products they were selling.

The tendency is for creatives today to look at the work CDP produced in a misty-eyed way, as some kind of creative ideal world where crazy ideas and elaborate production were celebrated.

But the reality is that they set out to simply find the best ways of selling the products they were advertising, not to just create interesting entertainment or creative stuff in their own right.

I can't help thinking that if more of todays creative people started with that aim more firmly in mind, we would see better and more interesting advertising.

There seems to be a general feeling that selling is at the opposite end of the scale as creativity, that you do either one or the other. But I firmly believe that the opposite is true.

The work we see winning advertising awards these days mostly isn't really advertising at all. It's just vaguely-related entertainment with a product shoe-horned in at the end in the least obtrusive way possible. And whether we like it or not, by awarding this work, we're showing it as an example of the best of our industry and encouraging the new generation to work in this way too. If we teach young creatives that creative awards are important, and then show them that this is the way to get awards, then who can blame them for continuing the cycle?

When I meet young creatives these days, often they make no connection between what they do and the sales or success of the product.

It seems bananas that a whole generation of ad people don't really get why the business actually exists in the first place.

That the only point of creativity in advertising is to help make the client's advertising more effective.

Or more persuasive, as the gents from CDP might put it.

Anyway here's an old Heineken ad. It refreshes the parts other beers can't reach donchaknow?

Paul Blow

These neat illustrations, by Paul Blow, are just a few from a collection that have been lighting up the Guardian comments page every fortnight. Paul's illustrations cleverly encapsulate current stories and happenings, and they really make our read. You can see more charming work right here. Via It's Nice That.

Selling. Where The Fun Is Hiding.

When we set up The Barnacle Upon The Side Of The Advertising Whale that is our modest little outfit Sell! Sell!, one of our main motivations was to create a place where it was finally okay to openly admit that we're selling our clients' product and service.

Well, not just be okay, to fully embrace and be motivated by the simple fact that selling is the whole point of what we're doing.

I suppose we'd just become frustrated working at places where it wasn't clear what everyone was there for.

It seemed planners were interested in mental gymnastics and postulating about social trends on the client's nickel. Creatives were just interested in making fun stuff, or working with famous people, or making something that might bag them an award (no product, small logo, full bleed picture etc.). Account people were just interested in making sure something was done that the client said yes to. And the senior management were just interested in whatever was best for the bottom line in the short term.

No one in any meetings or discussions about work ever seemed to talk about what might help our clients sell more of their product or service to more people more of the time. And if we brought it up, it was like taking a dump on the boardroom table. Everyone would just turn their noses up at you.

And lets be clear, you can dress it up in whatever new fancy way that you like to make yourself feel better about it. What the companies that employ ad agencies are almost all looking for is to sell more of their product or service to more people more of the time.

We put it in the company name so that no one ever forgot.
With exclamation marks.

We had a little expression what for what we do. We put it up on the wall in our first office. "Salesmen with marker pens".
(written in marker pen, of course)

And you know what?
Selling is fun.

In the US, there seems to a natural acceptance and embracing of selling and the idea of being a customer, and customer choice. There's an energy around this dynamic.
The best US ads crackle with wit and smarts, they make a play for your cash with well intentioned, well delivered salesmanship.

In the UK, it's taboo. It's never really out there. You can see it in our reluctance to haggle or to complain when products or services aren't up to scratch.
And yet, when it comes to advertising, I think that people in the UK have always kind of accepted that ads are trying to sell them things. Historically, the very best ads in the UK were almost as upfront as US ads about what they were trying to do.
But not these days, today the UK ad industry treats any kind of commerce or selling, or being seen to try to pitch a product like a smelly homeless relative.
Ads spend 28 seconds beating about the bush, then apologetically pop up the logo for two seconds flat.
It's like an over-polite middle-aged man at a party trying to find out where the loo is.
"Er, er, excu-excuse me, nice curtains by the way, er, very sorry, I don't suppose you could direct me to..."
"For God's sake Norman, get to the fucking point."
It's painful.

And it seems to cause much pain and consternation within our conundrum of an industry. There's so much self-loathing out there. So many people questioning what they're doing. So many people not having fun.

But it is pretty simple really. If you like the idea of using your brains/skills/creativity/guile to help your clients sell more products to more people more of the time. To see if you can influence behaviour and choice through your ideas and work, and help companies grow in the process. If you accept and embrace that that is ultimately what the business is all about. If you approach every assignment with the simple goal of every word you write, mark you make, idea you have, or scene you shoot, being there to make the advertising you do work harder and be more persuasive...

Well, it's a hell of fun business to be in.


With thanks to Dave Trott for his great post "Anyone remember selling?" which prompted me to write this down.

Bill Bernbach Said #13

The unlucky thirteenth in our series of Bill Bernbach quotes...

“Don't confuse good taste with the absence of taste.”

Whole Foods Commercials

This a great campaign of commercials by the talented guys over at The Escape Pod in Chicago, for Whole Food Market. I love the honesty of them, and the way you get a real passion and energy for the product coming through. One of the hardest things for ad people to do these days it seems is to get out of the way of the product. Creatives and agencies seem to want to sell their own so-called cleverness instead of the product. But here is a perfect example of just how proper advertising creative makes the product the hero. People talking to camera about the product is sometimes still the best advertising creativity. Well done chaps.
You should check out their blog too.

Gordo leaves Buckingham Palace

Gordon Brown leaves Buckingham Palace after tendering his resignation to the Queen.

A Commercial Break - Skittles

Skittles make some great TV ads. This is a new one, it's great too. It introduces a new kind of Skittles, in a way that's funny and kooky and Skittly. It demonstrates the sort of zing you get when you eat them, with the static on the tongue thing. All in all, a proper ad. Hats off again to those who came up with it, made it, and approved it.

Bill Bernbach Said #12

The twelfth in our series of Bill Bernbach quotes...

“A dull truth will not be looked at. An exciting lie will. That is what good, sincere people must understand. They must make their truth exciting and new, or their good works will be born dead.”

Bill Bernbach Said #11

The eleventh in our series of Bill Bernbach quotes...

“Can you really judge an idea from a storyboard? How do you storyboard a smile?”

Straight 8 sneaky peek

Over at Sell! Towers we're all just a little bit excited. This morning we caught our first glimpse of this year's straight 8 entries, and our very own entry, in this montage preview featuring half a second clips of each and every 2010 film entry.
In case you're not familiar with Straight 8 it's a short film competition, all entries are shot on a single cartridge of super 8 film, without post production. Gulp.

Blink and you could miss our clip, but nonetheless it's in there, nestled somewhere between 30 and 40". It involves pies. Lots of pies. We shall say no more.

For old times sake you can watch our 2009 entry here and find out a bit more about our current entry here.
Films will be processed and released in full over the next couple of months. We await to see them with baited breath...

New TV Comedy Series

There's a new British farcical comedy playing out on TV this spring, you might have caught the first episode over the weekend. Starring three lovable rogues scheming to try to get their crazy plans to work. Also look forward to a sequel towards the end of the year.

The Paris Review

We spotted this smashing set of 1960's 'The Paris Review' covers on flickr. It's such a shame that the publication's more recent covers (since the 70's) don't have the same lovingly executed and well thought out look and feel. Scott Hansen digs a little deeper into this subject over on his ISO50 blog. It's a good read.

See the full set of covers on this flickr stream here.

Bill Bernbach Said #10

The tenth in our series of Bill Bernbach quotes...

“Execution becomes content in a work of genius.”

Google Chrome Speed Tests

If you're a regular reader, you probably know that we're big fans of the good-old well executed product demo. These Google Chrome ads fall into that category. In all honesty I previously hadn't given Google Chrome a second thought, but after seeing these, it made me think about giving it a go. And that, in essence is job done. Isn't it? The home-made contraption-y feel to them gives them a nice bit of charm that offsets the slickness of the product and makes them feel a bit more real. Good stuff.

Our Election Day Political Post

Bill Bernbach Said #9

The ninth in our series of Bill Bernbach quotes...

“Merely to let your imagination run riot, to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics is NOT being creative. The creative person has harnessed his imagination. He has disciplined it so that every thought, every idea, every word he puts down, every line he draws, every light and shadow in every photograph he takes, makes more vivid, more believable, more persuasive the original theme or product advantage he has decided he must convey.”

Cover Me Badd - The Update II

Hello lovely folks. A quick update on the Cover Me Badds. You may remember a while back we unveiled our daft idea to make fake book covers with funny/stupid designs and asked you, our talented reader to come up with some suggestions and designs of your own. Which happily, many of you did.

Well, as is the way of the internet, not long after we posted it up, a couple of people helpfully pointed us in the direction of similar things that were already out there. Notably these, and these. Oh bum, we thought, the first ones in particular are pretty much the same as our Cover Me Badds.

There's always a long list of other daft ideas here at Sell! Towers that we'd like to get around to producing or doing (see some previous here, here and here ). So, rather than foist upon the world yet another variation of the fake book cover genre, we've decided not to put them into production, and concentrate our efforts on something else. But, if you still like the idea of covering up your embarrassing reading matter with a fake cover, you could do a lot worse than get your hands on one of the above designs.

But a big thanks to you, our talented readers, who sent us a truckload of interesting and funny ideas (some embarrassingly better than some of our own poor efforts). There were the funny, the ridiculous, the controversial, and the downright weird, and it was a pleasure going through them. Sorry to say that it doesn't look like they'll be your fast track to fortune as we had foolishly suggested, but they could yet be your way to infamy, as we've posted up a few of our favourites here. Thanks again to everyone who sent a design or title idea.

Sarah Wood

Richard Alan Roberts

Pete Wald

Clinton Harding