Some New Work For KGB

No, not the shadowy former Soviet national security agency, but the nice text-message question answering people. We created posters and beer mats as part of a tactical campaign running across the UK.

You can see the rest here if you're interested.

Bill Bernbach Said #21

The twenty first in our Bernbach series...

"It's that creative spark that I'm so jealous of for our agency and that I'm so desperately fearful of losing. I don't want academicians. I don't want scientists. I don't want people who do the right things. I want people who do inspiring things."

You can see all the Bill Bernbach quotes we've listed so far here.

Why Do We Save? And Do 'They' Understand Normal People?

I happened upon this article in The Guardian this morning. The gist of the piece is the admittance by the Bank Of England that it is deliberately holding down interest rates at historically low levels in the hope that this will discourage people from building up cash savings. "Charlie Bean, who sits on the Bank's monetary policy committee that set the base interest rate, admitted it was being held down in the hope families would use their cash and thereby help reflate the economy."

One of the key things in the business of advertising is the continuous quest to genuinely understand peoples' real motivations for their behavior. How they buy, how they choose, or why they choose not to buy. You'd suspect that to be a successful monetary policy-maker, for who the spending pattern of the nation is more than just a passing interest, that would also be true.

But this article got me to thinking,  do these people really understand normal people at all?

Saving money isn't something that is either easy or particularly exciting to most people. There have been efforts to encourage people to save over the last few years that recognise this. Add to this that the rising costs of living have left an ever decreasing amount of disposable income makes saving a painful experience for most.

Most people I know save through necessity, to create a buffer against the unexpected (rainy day money), to prepare for their childrens' education, to build towards a big, painful purchase (mortgage deposits for example). Most regular people are not carefully putting away money each month because of the measly 4.2 per cent interest or whatever they were getting on their savings account. While this might not be the case for the highest earners, where the larger amounts they are saving plus the higher interest rates available return decent amounts, the interest garnered on the saving accounts of normal people are barely noticeable. It's hardly the motivation for putting away money.

And here we are, at a time when it seems almost everyone is feeling some effect of a pretty hard recession. Redundancies and business closures abound, belts are being tightened, budgets are being scrutinised. All spending is questioned, holidays are reigned in, big purchases are put off.

It seems incredible that these senior policy-makers imagine that a couple of percentage point of interest will be the thing that encourages normal people to take the money they were carefully, and often painfully, saving for their kids' education or in case they get made redundant, and dash out into the retail villages of Britain and blow it on a big-screen TV or a new lounge carpet.

Brian's Letter On The Radio

Good old Brian has made it onto the radio. We had a note from CBC in Canada last week, just checking the origin of the Brian Letter. They've used it in a radio show/blog/podcast they broadcast last week about co-creation, including a funny bit of narration of the letter. If you're interested, you can listen to it here (scroll down the page to the title Co-creation Use & Abuse and click the podcast player).

Incidentally, Brian also made it into Campaign Magazine, obviously before its origin was common knowledge...

Documerica Project

Back in the 70's, the US Environmental Protection Agency hired freelance photographers to document Americas environmental problems, EPA activities and everyday life. The US National Archives have recently digitized this large collection, and uploaded them to flickr. They provide a great visual commentary of that period in America and have a lovely feel to them.

Bill Bernbach Said #20

The big 2 0 in our Bernbach series...

"Properly practised creativity can make one ad do the work of ten."

You can see all the Bill Bernbach quotes we've listed so far here.

MyBuilder Beauty Parade Commercial

Our new TV ad for the lovely people at goes on air this week. The commercial, directed by the smashing Mark Denton, is MyBuilder's first TV spot, and kicks off a larger campaign launching across TV, VOD, online and print. A big thanks goes to Mark, Sara, Sean and Natalie at Coy! for all of their hard work and pulling of production rabbits out of (yellow, hard) hats.


We swung past the Kemistry gallery to catch their latest exhibit 'Gastrotypographicalassemblage' [just rolls off the tongue don't it]. It's a collection of work from the legendary art director Lou Dorfsman's typographical designs and fine CBS print ads.

In case you didn't know Dorfsman's the chap responsible for the notorious 11 metre long handmade wooden typographical wall designed for CBS's Sixth Avenue cafeteria building back in the 60's that he named 'Gastrotypographicalassemblage'. The 'handmilled wood type listed all the foods offered to patrons' and it's this very piece that gives its name to the title of the exhibition.

Although the original 'Gastrotypographicalassemblage' isn't on show a rather lovely specially-created, half scale, photographic reproduction is, as you can see below...

But we recommend you see the real thing. Visit Kemistry's site to find out more.

The digital agencies of the future!

Websites of the so-called digital agencies of the future, as viewed on iDevices.


W&K have created this charming little stop motion short as part of a campaign for a clever new phone that was actually shot on (un)said clever ickle phone. They believe that 'Dot' is the smallest-ever-stop-motion animated character in a film, well it's certainly one of the cutest. Nice idea.

Massimo Vignelli — A Short Documentary.

Photographer John Madere presents Massimo Vignelli. This lovely, short documentary is the first in a series looking at designers. Madere says "For the past several years, I’ve been aware of the growing importance of moving images on the web as opposed to the traditional use of still photographs in print. That trend, along with a natural desire to broaden my creative abilities has led me to shoot some short films." More here. Edited by Aaron Wolfe.

Hillman Curtis also has a great little collection of artist films with Lawrence Weiner amongst others.

Fish And Chip Shop in-store cross-sell opportunity.

Random but glorious.  Love the way they are trying to flog 8 [mini] vegetarian spring rolls in a badly cut out fluorescent starburst that's been badly glued to a rather ugly silver/brown plastic fish on the middle of a wall.  Didn't trouble the amount of fried alternatives that were being consumed as far as I could see.

Bill Bernbach Said #19

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

“I can put down on a page a picture of a man crying, and it's just a picture of a man crying. Or I can put him down in such a way as to make you want to cry. The difference is artistry - the intangible thing that business distrusts.”

Shrigley Saving the Arts

This brilliantly dark little animation, by David Shrigley, for the 'Save the Arts' campaign raises awareness and encourages people to sign a petition against the proposed 25% cuts in the government funding of the arts. Outrageous!
Each week, the work of a different artist will be released as part of the campaign. What a nice idea. Mark Wallinger is the next up.
Be a sport and sign the petition here. And find out more here.

Bill Bernbach Said #18

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

“You can have everybody coming in on time, everybody leaving on time, all work finished on the due date, and still have a lousy ad, and fail.”

Beans are bullets

Mmm... There's some super typography in this quality collection of World War era US public information posters. Cory Bernat has done a good job curating the exhibit & getting the images up online.


George's house.

George Lois at home featured on the Selby.

"How is good advertising like posion gas? One look at advertising should knock you on your ass — yours eyes should tear up and you should gasp for air."

Muhammad Ali: The Champ

Muhammad Ali: The Champ is an exhibition of stunning and very intimate photographs of the boxing legend, that is running at Proud Chelsea gallery until 3 October 2010. Taken by award-winning photographer, Michael Gaffney, the collection documents the public and private life of Muhammad Ali from 1977 to 1978 when Gaffney worked as Ali's personal photographer.


The London Long Copy Challenge

We've always had an unhealthy love affair with words at Sell! Towers, you only need a quick glance at some of our work to gather that. Whilst the world seems to be going increasingly the other way, we still believe wholeheartedly in the power of persuasive and compelling copy, as I'm sure many writers (and others) in the business do also. So we were delighted to learn that CBS Outdoor are running The London Long Copy Challenge, which gives us yet another reason to dust off the old typewriter again.

The challenge is for 48-sheet format underground posters that contain from 50-200 words. It will be lovely to see London's many talented copywriters let out of the stables one last time before they're sent to the glue factory. And it sounds to us like the perfect excuse to do some more scribbling, so we're definitely going to enter something for it (more so as the prize is a campaign for the winning brand).

Waaaay back in the pre-neolithic era we took part in a similar competition run by Viacom, and were fortunate enough to have 16-sheet poster for Krispy Kreme shortlisted, the fossilized remains of which can be seen below...

Inside Mad Men From Rolling Stone

We love Mad Men don't we? Admit it. Yes. We do. Rolling Stone has published this great collection of behind-the-scenes images from the set of the show, shot by the very talented James Minchin III. See the full set here. What do you mean it's a show? It's not real......?