Don't Forget Me Now

Here's a bit of music video silliness for a Friday afternoon.
This stop frame video for Mumdance's latest tune features slightly sinister fruit based activities and a rather terrifying melon-headed hoodie character, and we thought plain old (well, young yoof) hoodies were scary. Gah!
A good start to the Halloween weekend ahead. Pumpkins at the ready.

Bill Bernbach Said #24

Number 24 in our Bernbach series...

"Just because your ad looks good is no insurance that it will get looked at. How many people do you know who are impeccably groomed...but dull?"

Read all of the previous Bernbach Said posts here.

Oo la la, Citroen in the 60's

We spotted these vintage Citroen brochures from the 60's over on grain edit, aren't they nice? They were created by Delpire, once a leading Parisian creative agency, who created loads of great promo stuff for Citroen back in the day. You can see more of their great work for Citroen here.

Our New Sell! Sell! Webplace

We finally got our act together and got the new Sell! Sell! website up and running. The old one did a decent job of showing some of our old work, but this one has been designed so that we can update it constantly with work as we finish it, as well as function as an archive. Also, it now answers a couple of obvious questions, like "Who the hell are Sell! Sell!?", and "Why do our clients work with us?". And it has a lot of interesting, customisable, built-in cleverness that we can do fun stuff with as we go along. Anyway, after a while in beta as they say, it's finally properly live. A big thanks to everyone who put their efforts into it, and gave us valuable advice along the way. If you're interested, you can have a proper look here.

M&S wall illustrations

My eyes got a surprise treat in Marks & Spencer this weekend. Emily Robertson's delicate illustrations were dotted about the M&S food walls, and blown up to a grandiose scale too. The wall illustrations work really well in store and made my mundane shopping trip, and pack of percy pigs taste that little bit sweeter.
Emily's other illustrations are top notch too, you can see more of them here.
Treat your eyes [and stomach], go see them on a large scale.

Waiting WIP

Happy Friday. Our good mate Squa has been working on this lovely piece of animation, based on those circle-ey things that come up when your video is loading. Hope you all have smashing weekends.

Bill Bernbach Said #23

Number 23 in our Bernbach series...

"Imitation can be commercial suicide."

Read all of the previous Bernbach Said posts here.

The Mad Men reading list

All you Mad Men enthusiasts will have noticed that quite a few books have appeared or been mentioned on the show. Well, you can see a list of all the titles that make an appearance as well as some other books that the New York Public Library reckon are worth reading if you're a fan. 

Sell! Sell! Helping you become Don Draper one step at a time.

Heinz Tomato soup.

To celebrate the 100th birthday of their classic Cream of Tomato Soup, Heinz have created a special edition label based on the original 1910 packaging. Looks like I've found a nice new tin for my pens, after I eat the soup of course.

Alex Trochut


Gestalten have continued their great series of videos on visual culture with this piece showcasing the work of the very talented illustrator & typographer Alex Trochut.

Singing fingers.

This looks like a whole lotta fun. If you've got an iThingy or iDoodah then you should probably get it.

Enjoy the weekend...

Bringing Colour To Life Making Of

Interesting making-of film showing how Dentsu's stunningly beautiful campaign for the Canon Pixma was created.

The Barber's Pole

Now that's our kind of barber shop.

Banksy & The Simpsons

Quite lidderally the last people in the world to post this. Sublime.

Bill Bernbach Said #22

Number 22 in our Bernbach series...

"Technique for its own sake can be disastrous. Because, after a while, you're so anxious to do things differently, and do them better and funnier and more brilliantly than the next guy, that that becomes the goal of the ad, instead of the selling of the merchandise."

All the Bernbach pearls of advertising wisdom listed in our series so far can be seen here.

The Lost [Intellectual] Property Box

I don’t know about you, dear readers, but it’s been genuinely heartening to see the return of the Honey Monster and Tetley Tea Folk to our television screens.

Now I, for one, am not holding those latest commercials up as being a bastion of unrivalled creativity but I do think these kind of comebacks are a healthy thing for advertising in general.

In a world where almost every other ad seems to be a mood film with a logo tacked on at the end or some corporate chest-beating nonsense, it’s refreshing to witness the resurrection of campaigns which have an entertaining and charming long term property at the heart of them which is intrinsically linked to the product which is being advertised.

I’d wager that the decision for Weetabix to focus on communicating “energy” again by bringing back the “had your/their Weetabix” campaign has also resulted in advertising that is really cutting through right now. Compare it to that dull as ditchwater testimonial dross of “ordinary” people force-feeding themselves Weetabix on a daily basis to demonstrate the different ways you could eat it [with strawberries, yoghurt, cat food, termites, small bits of masonry etc, etc]. I bet the client is almost as relieved as the WCRS creative department about this about-turn.

Taking a step back, it’s pretty shocking how few long-running campaigns are on air at the moment. And looking around it’s hard to see many new ads out there as having the potential to become truly great creative assets for a brand over time. In fact I can’t think of a single campaign that fits the bill. In case I’m being a bit harsh would anybody care to enlighten me?

I think the lack of great advertising with a long shelf life probably exists for a number of different reasons. And I can’t really see any of these factors changing unless the climate changes and there is some sort fundamental shift back to a world where this sort of creativity is really valued by agencies and their clients. Here’s some food for thought about what might be getting in the way;

1. Agencies get bored of the advertising they create long before people in the real world ever do.

The process of actually making TV ads has become much more convoluted and time consuming. By the time the world and his wife have chipped in with their opinions and the ad’s gone backwards and forwards a zillion times, the agency can sometimes be exhausted and sick of the sight of the bloody thing.

This can lead to a situation where everybody on a project wants to “start afresh” when it comes to doing some new creative work.

By our very nature, us advertising folk are restless creatures who crave constant change and thrive on new challenges. This momentum and unstoppable force can easily outweigh any things like evidence about whether a campaign should be continued because it’s actually working.

The brightest and most articulate people in the business can often manipulate research to say anything they want it to. If it’s on the agency’s agenda to change the direction of the advertsing, then that change will invariably happen and they’ll sweep the client along on a sea of excitement and anticipation. Sad but true.

2. “Not invented here” syndrome.

Creatives can often be primarily judged [wrongly in my opinion] by their capacity for original thinking and their ability to come up with something new and different. Same goes for planners too.

Those in the business chasing career fame, glory and riches are sometimes able to get there much quicker if they are the architects of something brand new. The whole awards shebang compounds this situation as what's new is often more rewarded than what's familiar.

This creates a hunger and pressure to re-invent the wheel every time rather than to continue a theme that already exists.

3. Some clients also want to make a name for themselves quickly.

These days, the people that pay for the ads are in more of a hurry to progress upwards quicker than ever before. They often want to judge success by a single execution rather than a campaign that builds over time and this impatience can have a knock-on effect on the kind of advertising that is produced.

It’s easier for Mr Ambitious Clients to shimmy up that greasy career pole if they can point to being the brains behind a brand new ad that gets a lot of coverage and goes gangbusters.

The cult of Honda “Cog” Sony “Balls” and Cadbury “Gorilla” has exacerbated this situation and there’s now a lot of Marketing Directors now out there seeking the next killer ad from their agency.

4. There are fewer brand guardians inside ad agencies.

In 2010 people are moving around much more from agency to agency than they did five, ten, twenty years ago.

I heard a horror story the other day about a big London agency that had turned around it’s entire account handling and planning department in just a few years.
Putting aside this hearsay as a probable exaggeration, it’s fair to say that there just isn’t the depth of experience of old timers on many accounts who have the length of tenure, wisdom and authority to not only take a long term view about what constitutes success but the brakes on any self-serving agenda to throw out the baby with the bathwater and do something new.

5. Money, money, money.

The lure of filthy lucre had to be in there didn’t it? This business is now more about making money than it ever was. In the world of advertising agency top trumps [where almost all the good agencies are owned by holding companies] there’s incessant pressure to keep margins up by squeezing clients for as much money as possible for developing advertising.

The weary old model of agencies charging for time places an undue emphasis on stretching out the strategic and creative development process for as long as possible.

Just think of how much extra an agency can charge if they pool all their brilliant minds and bodies in every department and focus on cracking an entirely new campaign! Just think how much more money they can make if they devote all their energy and resource into making a brand new campaign happen!

In the moneymaking stakes it certainly beats hands down the option of merely giving it to a smart creative team and asking them to come up with another ad in an already successful campaign.

6. Long term campaigns just ain’t in fashion any more.

It might be self-perpetuating but I think there are fewer long term campaigns being produced because there are fewer long term campaigns making it on air.

In reality, advertising is actually quite a conservative business and, like it or not, a lot of the creative output out there follows fashion or feels similar to whatever else is around. Sub-consciously or not, most people only do stuff that is in their comfort zone or which feels like it fits in with whatever else is being produced.

Nowadays, we worship at the altar of the single execution. Add to that an almost unyielding pressure and thirst for everything to be culturally relevant and you get a recipe for churning out one-off after one-off at the expense of a campaign idea with, dare I say it?, “legs”.

At a time when the whole issue of Intellectual Property has never been more relevant, it seems crazy that agencies aren’t investing more effort into creating advertising that can run and run and run for their clients.

The properties of Honey Monster and the Tea Folk must be worth millions to the companies that own them. For Tetley specifically, can anyone honestly remember any of the ads that they’ve been running since they hung up their cloth caps in 2001?

Next time a new campaign brief comes around, it might be worth us all looking in the lost property box of previous advertising to see if there’s anything lurking inside that might be worth reuniting the British public with. You never know, you might find something genuinely valuable in there.