Long Is The New Bullshit? Or Great Satire?

I like to keep up with being behind the times.
So as I was taking my morning constitutional yesterday, I was leafing idly through advertising's favourite self-indulgent tabloid Campaign from a few weeks weeks ago. I was stopped immediately by the 'Private View' review by Jon Williams who, it says here, is the Chief Creative Officer of Grey London.

In the review he talks about Long ideas as apposed to Big ideas, and asks "what if big ideas don't spark conversations anymore" etc. etc. on the same theme, you know the kind of thing.

Now, I've never met Jon, but from a cursory glance at his mug shot he seems like a pretty normal chap - long hair, beard, quizzical expression - so I start to wonder if I'm being taken in by a very clever piece of satire. You know, taking a very clever swipe at the kind of bullshit being spouted by so-called advertising and marketing experts. It's extremely well observed satire and very finely crafted if it is. And funny.

But then again, maybe he's being serious.
Maybe he believes what he's saying here, or believes other people will believe it?

So I was hoping you, our fine reader could help me out.
Is this the best piece of advertising satire in the last couple of years, or is it serious?

My Lovely Horse

It's Friday and this is Father Ted Crilly & My Lovely Horse...

There's a version with better sound here;

The albums they should have picked...

Since posting the Royal Mails new album cover stamps yesterday we've been having a bit of a discussion about it, and a few of our readers have too. We reckon there are only 2, (maybe 3) covers that have a right to be in that set. So, we have selected a shortlist of 16 above that we reckon are far more iconic and culturally relevant than the selection below. Feel free to chip in with any others you think are worth a shout.

NB: We limited ourselves to 2 Beatles/2 Rolling Stones/2 Pink Floyd covers each. They could've made up the ten between them.

Royal Mail album stamps

This January will see the Royal Mail's new stamp issue celebrating 10 classic British album sleeves. They make a lovely collection, can't wait to get a nice letter with one of these on it.

You can read more about it here & here.

Vote In The Bully Awards

Our excellent US anti-bullshit compadre Bob The Ad Contrarian Hoffman has launched the excellent Bully Awards, for Outstanding Achievements in Advertising and Marketing Bullshit.

Take a wander over to Bob's blog, and have your say. And in the process help to fight the tyranny of advertising and marketing bullshittery.

Jeffrey Milstein

Ever wondered what an aircraft's blackbox looks like? Well, photographer Jeffrey Milstein has taken these great shots of some recovered flight recorders. His great aircraft photography doesn't stop there with some excellent shots taken from underneath the undercarriage (is that the right term?).

Massive Attack - United Snakes

United Snakes from United Visual Artists

Great new video for Massive Attack by the talented guys at UVA. Originally designed for a live show, the animation is now available online. The video was designed using custom 3D software developed by UVA, which allowed the creation of spontaneous, organic forms, simply by “sketching” the outlines.

Bob Peak

Movie fans of a certain age will recognise these classic posters instantly. In a time when there were no teaser campaigns or online trailers, the humble poster hastily stuck up outside the local cinema was the only thing to whet your appetite. And the posters of the late Bob Peak were some of the best.

Exclusive World Premiere Of The Appliance Of Love

You lucky things. Yep, right here on this very post you are witnessing the world premiere of our short film The Appliance Of Love. But don't worry, you don't have to get dressed-up on our account.

We made it earlier this year as an entry for the Straight8 competition - where you have to make a three minute film on a single cartridge of super 8 cine film without editing or post-production.

A big thanks goes to the lovely and talented chaps at Yellow Boat Music for the excellent track they composed for the film, and to Squa for his help in rescuing the terribly over-exposed parts so that you can see them (sort of) here.

We had a great time making it, it was a new challenge and a massive learning curve for as - the first time we pushed the button at the beginning of shooting the film was the first time any of us had shot anything with a Super8 camera. But we'll definitely be doing another for 2010.

Man: Himself
Toaster: 2T15SS
Music: Yellow Boat Music
Sound: Clearcut
Invaluable help: Squa
Direction/Writing/Cinematography/Production: Sell! Sell!

Blu-Ray sleeves

We spotted these really nice imaginary covers for Blu-Ray versions of some well known and much loved films over at Brandon Schaefer's seek&speak site. 
The rationale behind the collection is to 'distill films down to a simple image that in some way reflects the content or overall idea behind the film', and we think he does this rather well. 
You can peruse the full collection on his flickr account here.

Olympia Le-Tan

If you're looking for a new handbag you could do a lot worse than one of these limited edition, hand embroidered, canvas and silk thread, bags by Olympia Le-Tan. Based on first edition novels there are 21 different designs to choose from and should be available from early next year. As a male I'm not in the habit of carrying around a handbag but these are very tempting.

Fentimans Radiogram Commercials

We've just produced some radio commercials for the delightful Fentimans. I do like radio as a medium, because it's very pure - it exposes everything - tone of voice, writing, etc. You can't hide behind natty art direction or an interesting film technique in radio.

Anyway, this is the first time that Fentimans have been on the radio, so finding their voice and style was a good challenge. We wanted to communicate some good, tangible information about the unique way that the drinks are made and what they taste like, but at the same time, give people a feel for Fentimans. And importantly, we wanted to make something that stood out from the usual anarchy and wall-of-noise that is the radio commercial break. You, our fine reader, can listen to them here first...




Success For Our Campaign To Cut Richard Hammond's Hair

Regular readers may remember that we started a support group to raise money for a haircut for poor old Richard Hammond. Well the group quickly swelled to over 65 members (66 to be exact), making it the largest facebook group ever.

Viewers of the BBC's Top Gear motoring programme on Sunday night will have noticed that thanks to the generosity and tenacity of the group, Richard was sporting a new, shorter do.

Yes, donations and support flooded in, and we were able to book Mr Hammond in at short notice to Alessandro's Hair Emporium in Radlett "Haute Coiffure". Alessandro himself took Hammond's barnet to new dizzy heights of unsuckyness.

Meanwhile, obviously inspired by our cutting edge display of crowdsourcing, some people in America have started the world's first crowdsourcing ad agency. Or as it's more commonly known, freelance. All the best with it peoples. If you need any hot tips, just holler.

Mexico Exporta

I spotted excellent Mexican stamp designs, issued in 1975 to celebrate Mexico's exports, over on the smashing Delicious Industries blog.

The unlucky winner is...

This week we have reached into the top drawer to pull out this little beauty, a clip from one of the greatest shows ever. We could bang on about the first class writing and brilliant acting but we think it speaks for itself. Enjoy the weekend.

This Is Advert

I saw this excellent for sale sign on the side of a Mercedes today. Some excellent and persuasive copy, I think you'll agree.

New M&S Christmas Ad

Well, it's the middle of November. From now until December 25th our TV screens will be besieged by retailers wanting to flog us their Yuletide wares.

So much for the death of the 30" television commercial that's being predicted by the irritating digital evangelists.

I've just clapped eyes on the new M&S Christmas extravaganza. Actually, extravaganza's probably the wrong word to use. It's not really an extravaganza at all as it's a more a series of uninspiring celebrity vignettes interspersed with some cutaways of some bog standard Xmas fare they're flogging. Oh, and a very unseasonal godawful blue jumper.

Put bluntly, the new M&S ad has got all the excitement, anticipation and glamour of an afternoon spent peeling sprouts.

I might be being a little harsh but compare the new ad to the ones that ran in 2007 and 2008. They had more than a dash of style, charm and quality about them. And more than a little sprinkling of Christmas fairy dust in the way they were filmed.

This new ad veers dangerously close to Morrisons territory in my book. In fact, I half expected to see Richard Hammond pushing that fucking trolley through the ice rink in the middle of it.

Anyway, dear readers, what do you think?

The Open Road

We just stumbled across this great piece of archive footage of London in 1927. Lovingly restored in colour by the BFI it gives a nice insight into the London of yesteryear.

Cliff Freeman & Partners. Where's The Grief?

Last week marked the sad end of the great New York agency Cliff Freeman & Partners.

Cliff Freeman and his agency showed the world of advertising that it is possible to make really, really entertaining work that was all about the product.

That's something that ad folks here in Britain have always been unwilling or unable to do - maybe it's because of the way people in the British ad business generally see the idea of selling as a bit grubby and beneath them? Over here, most people seem to think that any funny sketch or interesting thing with a product shoved on the end is an ad.

Cliff himself previously wrote the famous Where's the beef? ad for Wendy's. It never ran over here, but to me has always been a great example of a proper piece of advertising - in effect it's a simple product comparison - but the way it was done made it funny, and "Where's the beef?" became a catch phrase that really stuck.

Cliff's own company went on create some of the best advertising that I can remember, the stuff that helped me realise what it's really all about when I was first starting out. The stuff that helped me feel ok about wanting to do advertising that was unashamed to be advertising, but that was very entertaining or interesting at the same time.

Read an great post from someone closer to them, by the excellent Escape Pod here.
And another from Ben here.

Guinness Pop Quiz

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

1. Which of these commercials cost a shit load of money?

2. Which of these commercials makes you want to drink a pint of Guinness?

3. Which of these commercials spends 87 seconds dramatising an utterly meaningless endline that could be for absolutely anything?

Answers in the comments please.

Beautiful Losers At The Old Music Library

I went to watch the Aaron Rose film Beautiful Losers last night at the old Music Library in Brighton. It was a great place to watch it, surrounded by the faded glory of that impressive building, and the large scale work of some talented local artists. The film features Ed Templeton, Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Jo Jackson, Chris Johanson, Thomas Campbell, Geoff McFetridge, Mike Mills, Stephen Powers, Harmony Korine and Shepard Fairey.

It's a well made, lo-fi film, which I think would be interesting to anyone else who is already interested in this kind of thing. Some of the artists come across really well in the interviews, and there is an informality that seems really genuine, although some of it gets a bit over-earnest for my taste. If you view it as a record of a group of people coming up at the same time, then it does its job well. And the venue made it a great overall experience, thanks to all involved.

The trailer for the film is above.

Sell! Sell! Is Four

A quick glance at the calendar tells me that it was four years ago yesterday that we excitedly walked into our first office. We had no clients, no promise of clients, and just enough cash to last a few weeks.

But we did have a clear idea of what Sell! Sell! was all about - doing the best work of our careers in a no-bullshit, creative and friendly way for clients who want to get things done.
With that in the front of our minds, we opened up our doors. I say opened our doors, in fact the first day was spent painting the floor of that first studio space over on Clerkenwell Road, and working out what we were going to do for desks.

I really can't believe that it has been four years, it's passed so quickly. One thing's for sure, it has never been dull, here's a few high(and low)lights...

Andy literally painting himself into a corner when painting the floor of our first office.
Getting our first proper clients, the text service 82ASK - thanks a bunch Sarah and Thomas.
Helping Krispy Kreme to launch over here with some really fun work, including making their 160 page employee handbook in a three-day design and writing marathon.
Having good friends and colleagues join us for our 'Six Months And Not Gone Out Of Business Party'.
Flying out the next morning to shoot the first part of a £10m global ad campaign for PokerStars, which went on to help the Moneymaker Millionaire the most successful ever freeroll.
Coming back from said shoot a week later to find the smelly remnants of the 'Six Months And Not Gone Out Of BusinessParty' untouched.
Teaming up with the smashing folks at Nuffield Health for the first time, and helping them to do the best work they've ever done - including Inaction Man, a small, fat guy that was 500% more effective than any piece of direct mail they'd ever done.
Having to defend ourselves legally when a big company tried to pilfer some of our ideas.
Winning the pitch for The Industry Trust for IP Awareness against some proper agencies, and taking them from being the people who did those embarrassing 'you wouldn't steal a car' trailers to produce a campaign that is actually working.
Moving into the new Sell! Towers out here in fashionable Whoreditch in the week before Christmas, because we thought it would be quiet.
Hooking up with Fentimans, a fantastic company who were on our wish list when we started out, and building a great relationship working with them.
Sadly losing our good mate and co-conspirator Matt, when he decided that the trials and tribulations of running your own creative company were not for him. His contribution to Sell! Sell! will not be forgotten. Cheers Matt.
Coming up with Freeday Friday, a campaign to get everyone a free day off on February 29th 2008.
Being told we hadn't won a pitch for a big client, even though they liked us and our work the most, because we weren't big enough.
Making what was probably O2s weirdest campaign of the year, FoneGloo.
Getting broken into and having a laptop nicked that contained secret MI5 data (that last bit isn't true).
Hiring our first full-time Sell! Sell! employee, Ryan - an extremely talented designer/creative, and watching him slowly grow ever more hairy.
The confident yet scary feeling of turning down two potentially lucrative pitches because the opportunity wasn't right.
Hiring our second full-time Sell! Sell! employee, the smashing Emma 'Golden' Graham, and thus becoming possibly the only London ad agency (I use the term loosely) to double in size in the last year.
Writing and shooting our first Straight8 film, extremely good fun and scary at the same time.
The folly of making our directorial debut on the Madness commercial.
Having a good long think about the recession, and deciding not to take part.
Being on the brink of winning what would be our biggest ever client, with creative work that we're excited about making. . .

Over these last four years, we've produced lots of different and interesting work for lots of different and interesting clients, and we're proud to say that we've never done any of that 'below stairs' stuff - you know, the smelly work that agencies do for the money that they never talk about. We like to think that we're proud of everything we've done, here's a selection...

CSI for Momentum Pictures

Krispy Kreme

Moneymaker Millionaire for PokerStars

Inaction Man for Nuffield Health

Knock-Off Nigel for The Industry Trust

Job Survey Viral for HotOnLine

FoneGloo for O2

'Wallchart' house project.

Every Little Helps for Friends of the Earth

'Freeday Friday' house project

S&M Cafe


Zazz for Madness



Smart Health Guides for Nuffield Health

Phew, well I'll stop there, for everyone's sake. Suffice it to say that we've done loads of work that we're proud of, and for that a big thanks must go out to all of the clients who have been kind enough to exchange their money for our creative thinking and doing: 82ASK, Krispy Kreme, Momentum Pictures, Disney Channel, Beefeater, PokerStars, HotOnLine, The Industry Trust, Friends of the Earth, Crisis, S&M Cafe, Madness, fish4, O2, Nuffield Health, Fentimans, Ladbrokes and Associated Newspapers. Without you it's fair to say that Sell! Sell! would just be a bunch of very broke idealistic creative people in a room, playing pinball.

And to everyone else whose support has helped us to get this far: Janesy, Hearn, Hunt, Qua, Debs, Judith, Kristian, Badger, Roy and Stanleys, Stanners, Dave and Ben at Karmarama, Patrick, Byrney, Jonathan, Liz, Eliza, Kate N, Tess, Colin and the Therapy peoples, John and Lee at Splash, Steve and Tim at Another, Tom at Gas & Electric, and the rest - a very humble but heartfelt thank you!