Irritated by Cold Callers? Try this...

Cold calling is a thankless job. I've tried. It's hard. But being bugged by a lot of them is a pain in the arse. This guy has a great line in getting his own back.
Cheers for the tip-off Squa.

Trucks & Chocolate...

Well here is the inevitable post about the latest TV spot for Cadbury. I say inevitable because following on from the hype that surrounded the ad with the gorilla in it, this was always going to be Hype II - When The Hype Gets Serious. And here we are. Let's just say right off the bat that this a well crafted piece with great music - GREAT music. However, when the hype has died down within 'ad-land' is this any more than just another one of those hundreds of ads out there that entertain, then tack the product on at the end? OK so we're told that this is about joy and the pleasure that comes from eating the product, which all sounds like it makes sense. But it is a big gap that they are expecting the consumer to bridge. What has been created is a piece of branded content, a sponsored film about the emotion of joy brought to you by a company that has decided that that's what its chocolate bar is all about. But is it a good piece of advertising? We don't think so. The product has no role to play in this moment of joy, apart from to sponsor it appearing on telly. Could you take away the product from this ad and the entertaining bit still make sense? Yes - and that's not a good thing. We always say here "if it was YOUR money, is this what you would do?" - if this was your chocolate bar that you had to shift, and your pennies being put into marketing to shift it - is this what you would say and how you would say it? And this doesn't pass that simple test for us.
Gorilla was a stand-out commercial. It stood out. People noticed it. But we always wondered if what people noticed was the film - the very different, funny, entertaining piece in front of them - did it make them think any differently about the product? Did it plant a seed that when they were next in the newsagent would be part of the reason why they reached for Brand X rather than Brand Y? A million billion youtube hits don't mean much if those people watching aren't being communicated to. There are statistics which show positive results since that spot - but these statistics don't seem in proportion to the hype surrounding the ad.
And this latest isn't any different to us.
We're still reaching for the Double Decker.
VIA Scamp & Rubbishcorp

Mmmm... Burgerman

Wonky, wibbly, odd, angry, happy, dumb, wrong. That's how Jon Burgerman (yes) describes his work. We'd say more like wibbly, happy, odd, wonky, angry, wrong, dumb - but really it's not worth quibbling about is it? Have a look at more of it here. Also look out for his new show at Concrete Hermit Gallery in London from April 4th.

One Word Web Addresses #1:

Sell! Sell! is fascinated by those interwebnet pioneers who snapped up the simplest web addresses - and what they did with them. We particularly like broad ones like our first entry - These people obviously knew they were on to a good thing with - after all, who doesn't like cheese? Well, apart from vegans? has been put to good, appropriate use though. "The #1 Resource for Cheese" is a mine of information about the dairy speciality - you can search for cheese and even sign up to receive cheese news by email. "It's all about the cheese".
Look out for more One Word Web Addresses coming soon.

Sell! Sell! Salutes...Will it Blend?

Yes, yes, so this is far from new, but it still rocks. Will it blend? Is it a website? Is it an ad campaign? Who cares? We love how simple this addictive idea is, we love even more that it's the CEO of the company, Tom Dickson, in all the films. At its core, it's just a product demo, but it works. Would your typical ad agency have made something so simple and engaging? We think not. They probably would have made some piece of nonsense, then tacked the product on the end. But this is proper advertising - simple, charming, entertaining and 100 per cent focused on the product.We wish we'd thought of it. Blendtec - we salute thee!

Thursday is comedy day

Okay everyday is comedy day. But we were looking for an excuse to post one of our favourite comedy sketches. Simple. Stupid. Screw it, who needs an excuse? Enjoy.

Farewell Captain Birds Eye

Sell! Sell! was deeply saddened to hear of the death of John Hewer last week at the age of 86. Hewer played advertising icon Captain Birds Eye for over 30 years, flogging finger-shaped fish in breadcrumbs, and rendering himself all but unemployable in any other role (except perhaps 'Uncle Albert' in Only Fools and Horses). Still, we love an advertising icon here, so a fond farewell to the old sea dog. At least there's a spare seat at the Captain's table. Very fitting funeral too, we thought.

Sell! Sell! at the Design Museum

At the Design Museum currently is the Designs of the Year exhibition, among lots of excellent stuff is this interactive video wall designed by Ross Phillips for SHOWstudio. The idea is simple, and the execution is great fun - a touch screen allows to you select a frame, then a video camera records one second of you, which gets projected onto that frame on the video wall. The piece is actually called The Replenishing Body Kiosk and was developed for Evian by SHOWstudio, read their concept for it here. But, as ever with these kinds of things - the real fun is seeing what the public do with it - we watched kids make the whole thing go black, people pulling different funny faces into it, and course a LOT of 'hand signals'.
And obviously we got in on the act by using it for a bit of shameless self-promotion. It's one way to get Sell! Sell! into the Design Museum.
See more pics of it here.

Fantastic Pro Wisk Set

"New from Sal Romano's Cook Goods kitchenware, this 28-piece professional whisk set is perfect for mixing, beating, folding, blending or stirring! World-renowned chef and owner of The Dolce Escargot, Sal has perfected the art of whisking."
Unfortunately, the box is real but the products aren't (we like a good whisk). The Onion does a snazzy* line of 'fake product' boxes, to parcel up mediocre gifts you've bought for your friends and family. Well worth remembering. See them all here.

Adrian Johnson

Check out the delightful illustrationalist delights of Adrian Johnson here.


This is a mock-up of a new 3D alphabet book designed by Marion Bataille. The book will be published in October. Until then, you'll just have to make do with this snazzy* little demo.
*Sell! Sell! is leading the way in the comeback of the word 'snazzy'.

Work in progress... ScreenThing

We're working on a great project for the Motion Picture Association with most excellent Friend Of Sell! Sell! SQUA, here are some work in progress pics from this week...

Some very rudimentary hand-made SFX being recorded...

Kustaa Saksi...

Kustaa is one of our favourite illustrators. And he has a very funny name. Sorry Kustaa, just kidding. We did a job with him a couple of years ago and loved the work he did for it. Check out his stuff here.


Fancy making things with cardboard, then standing on them? We do. "Bloxes are building blocks made of interlocking pieces of corrugated cardboard, folded together. Their unique shape and structure make them exceptionally strong and lightweight — you could build yourself a platform to stand on, and then pick it up and move it wherever you need to." These things look pretty snazzy. Buy 'em here. (Just don't come running to us as the firemen are standing around shaking their heads muttering "Of course the place went up like a tinderbox, all the furniture was made out cardboard...")


Is this a still from a particularly sunny remake of The Addams Family? No, it's a shoddy bit of photoshop in the Victoria's Secret catalogue, as found in this cracking blog dedicated to revealing photoshop blunders like the one above, and worse. Imagine being the poor geezer who was completely photoshopped out apart from his hand.
These great images are part of a series of 12 created by the chaps at HELMO for the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. They are strong as stills but also work really well as layered installations in the store windows. As far as my very limited translation skills let me work out, the humans were photographed by Urban Christophe and the animals by Thomas Dimetto. For me, the ones where the model's eyes line up with the animal's are the strongest.

The Bus Test*

Have you ever noticed that in advertising agencies, the creatives draw up their ads on a nice new white piece of paper, everyone sits round a table looking at the piece of paper, then when the ad gets presented to a client, there is more sitting around tables looking at pieces of paper?
This is about as far from the realities of print advertising as you can get.
Print advertising is best approached with a blind raging fear that no-one is interested.
The Bus Test is a way of reminding yourself of the realities of making print ads that aren't like taking your client's money and hiding it in an envelope, then burning it. It's simple. Sit on a bus in the morning, or the evening - sit next to someone who is reading a newspaper or a magazine. Now, just watch them. Watch how they read the magazine, how quickly they turn the page. how they flit from one headline to the next. How that full-colour-full-page ad that someone has spent their last two weeks making just got flicked past in less than a second. Do this a few times, do it every week. It's very helpful to put everything into perspective.
It's a reminder that the first job of every ad is to not be ignored. People are not reading the paper or magazine for the witty and informative commercial content, they instinctively ignore it. A print ad needs to get it's whole point across in a nanosecond to someone who isn't looking OR it needs to be interesting enough stop someone. The are of course lots of ways to do this - more on that another time. For now it's just about perspective. And stop staring at your layout - no-one else is.
*The Bus Test can also be carried out on the Tube and on a Train, but obviously you have to change the name.

Fuck The Napkin...

Mr Lifesize-figurine-mistake got us thinking about another classic scale misunderstanding. This clip reverses the cock-up as someone delivers something much smaller than was originally anticipated.

A cautionary tale for the digital age...

Hidden within this piece in this morning's Metro, lurks a cautionary note for everyone who uses the internet. In a nutshell, the story is about a 'wheeler dealer' who bought 25 animal figurines from India on ebay to sell them on for a profit. However, when the animals arrive - he realises they are in fact LIFESIZE figurines. So now he can't move in his home because it is stuffed with 25 life-size porcelain exotic animals. That's basically the tale. However, when asked about his mistake, the man explains: "I never thought they would be this big. When I looked at the 2D pictures on the internet they looked so much smaller". And there, dear reader is the thing to learn from this sorry tale. Note: THINGS IN PICTURES ON THE INTERNET ARE NOT NECESSARILY LIFESIZE. If you are looking for a house online - the houses you are looking at are not miniature houses for little ant-people, likewise cars on the auto-trader website are not tiny cars that would be impossible to drive. They are in fact pictures of things much larger in real life. Stay alert out there people.

Color Chart @ Moma

This MOMA exhibition looks at the power and effect of colour in art since 1950 - it's got a great selection of artworks from a wide variety of artists. The exhibition website suffers a little from its schizophrenic navigation (why the clunky, circle based bit on the intro pages that's totally different to the rest?) but the colourful view by year, and view by artist bits (shown above) are fun to find your way around around.

Freeday Friday Thanks

A big thanks to some Friends of Sell! Sell! for their help on our Freeday Friday project (our campaign to claim back Friday 29th February for the ordinary person). So, thanks to Naked Penguin Boy for their hard work on the site. A big Cheers! to the very talented folks at Yellow boat Music for another great song. And a hearty Ta! to Squa for the video.
We had great fun doing it, hundreds of people signed up to support it on the site, facebook and orkut, many thousands watched the video in lots of different locations, and the BBC News team asked us to go on the Breakfast show to talk about why Feb 29 should belong to everyone. Cheers!

James Joyce/One Fine Day

James Joyce is a fantastic illustrator/designer. Check out his work here. You can also buy prints of his designs, like the one above.

By George...

George Lois, that is. It seemed fitting that our first post be a shout out to a man who has been a massive influence for the folks here at Sell! Sell!. He's a fantastic Art Director who always remembered what the point of what of all this advertising stuff is - to sell stuff. Have a look around this simple site, which describes George and has some of his best advertising and design work - plus his iconic covers for esquire magazine. Be reckless!