And Don't Call Me Shirley

There's only one thing that today's post can be about. Rest in peace, Sir Leslie of Nielsen. You made us laugh so much that it is impossible to watch your serious films without laughing at you in those, too.

Bill Bernbach Said #26

One of my personal favourites this, and number 26 in our Bernbach series...

“Forget words like ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell.’ That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.”

Read all of the previous Bernbach Said posts here.

Will It Blend? - Old Spice

When two classic campaigns collide.  I'm sure this has been doing the rounds for sometime now but I've only just clocked it.  The parody falls a little flat but it's still worth watching and pretty funny nonetheless.  Encouraging to see that the Will It Blend campaign is still running fours years on.  Good on Blendtec for keeping it going.

Here's my favourite one of the lot - "Diamonds".

Eadweard Muybridge

The Eadweard Muybridge (formerly Edward Muggeridge) exhibition at Tate Britain showcases a whole host of photographs and some of the earliest documented motion graphics. Muybridge's chequered past and obsession with photography and fame led to the development of his 'Motion Studies' and the discovery that horses do indeed fly in motion (well, they have all four legs off the ground at the one time).
An inspiration to Degas, Francis Bacon and anthropologists the world over, this collection is well worth a look, if not for the sheer amount of meticulous documentation alone. The Muybridge exhibit is displayed at the Tate Britain till 16th Jan.

How To Create Advertising That Sells By David Ogilvy

This classic ad was written by the great Mr Ogilvy many decades ago. What do you think, how much of it is still relevant? (click on the picture to see it bigger)

Early Learning Centre Campaign

These ads have been on the box for a little while now and never fail to make me chuckle. As a parent, I think they're bang on. Good writing. Excellent voiceover. Engaging and charming. It's a really simple and strong campaign idea that has the power to run and run. Let's hope it does. It also goes to show that you don't have to break the bank to come up with a great commercial. Top marks to those kool kats at Karmarama.

Lovely New Land Rover Print Ad

The humble print ad is a neglected breed these days, but we still believe in the power of good ones to get noticed and work hard. This new print ad for Land Rover does everything well, the positioning of the landy as a tool is spot on, and the idea is beautifully executed, managing to be both bold and finessed. Hats off to RKCR/Y&R and in particular art director Steve Williams and copywriter Adrian Lim.

New Fentimans Commercials

Our commercials for Fentimans are hitting the airwaves this week, so we thought we'd share them here with you, our dear reader. With this campaign we wanted to do a couple of things - obviously introduce Fentimans to the (still too many) people who haven't heard of them at all, to explain what makes their products special and different to normal soft drinks, and to do it all in a way that felt right for Fentimans. Fentimans are a real family business, dating back to 1905, with a cracking product. So we wanted to kind of get out of the way, and let them speak to people honestly and directly about their product. We made these very simple, honest spots that could almost be Fentimans themselves, back in the old days, talking to us about their product, and staging simple visual demonstrations of how their products are superior. There are three, each featuring one of their key drinks; Ginger Beer, Curiosity Cola, and Victorian Lemonade.

If you're interested, you can see more of our work for Fentimans here.

The London Long Copy Challenge Results Are In

The results are in for the London Long Copy Challenge, run by CBS Outdoor. We're a little ashamed that after all our talk of our love of long copy, we didn't enter it (we haven't fallen out of love with long copy, we just had a huge month of live client work - that's our excuse and we're sticking to it). But hats off to all who did. The winner was this...

Congrats to Phil Kitching, Tim Clegg & John Murphy from Iris. Some of our favourites from the rest are below, a special mention has to go out for the M&C Saatchi entry for, because it's part of a great, long-running copy-based campaign, and not just a one-off for the competition.

Good on CBS for running the challenge, it's good to see copy being celebrated again. You can see the rest of the short and long listed entries here.

mini meals

These miniture treats have been painstakingly crafted by Jessica Hlavac out of play doh (polymer clay), before being cooked, varnished and rested atop of an old coin. The detail in some of the pieces is extraordinary. Play doh never looked so tasty. You can view the full spread of tiny treats here.

Sign Of The Times

What's the world coming to when there is a "Tragic Life Stories" section in the books department of WH Smith? Good to know it's not all doom and gloom out there...

How To Sell A Car

Forget your Auto Emocion, your Joy, and your Brand Attributes, this guy understands the mind of the prospective car buyer.

New John Lewis Christmas Ad

Warms the cockles of your heart.


We moseyed on down to the Design Museum for their latest exhibit, 'Drawing Fashion', which focuses on the artists and their scribbles behind classic collections that have shaped fashion as we know it. It showcases work dating right back from the beginning of the century, from the likes of Lepape and Erte, to current designs from fresh young things of today.
Even if you're not into fashion, darling, it's still worth popping in to see some great illustrations, printing techniques and excellent use of colour.
Find out more about the collection here.

Damn You Autocorrect!

The iPhone's typing autocorrect function is a constant source of mirth/pain. I've sent some weird texts as a result of it, and received a fair share too. Have a look at Damn You Autocorrect! for a great collection.

Link via @ewarwoowar on the twitterpipe

In Flanders Fields

A handwritten and autographed copy of the poem by John McCrae.

Wings: Making the Field Notes 2010 Fall Edition

If you're a print nerd like us you'll probably enjoy this film, which shows how the latest Field Notes were made. Smell the ink. Mmmm.

That Ruskin Ad In Campaign, And Remuneration

If you read Campaign (the UK's premier source of quality advertising journalism and critique (trying a new approach here)), you can't have missed the ad above. It was supplied anonymously to Campaign (no, it wasn't us before you ask), and is a very well put together ad that features the John Ruskin quote:

"It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."

Hat's off to anonymous, whoever you are. We wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment. It's rare that we find ourselves being the cheapest option for clients who approach us. In the past, we've been in the position of some clients saying to us that they like our work, but agency X will do it for Y amount, or that they only paid Z last time, can we do it for that? Well, why not go with agency X then? Because the work is inferior, of course. We like to think that our work is worth paying for. I'll admit, we have lost more than one potential client for this reason. It's not easy, and it hurts. We've actually taken to the approach of pointing out to prospective clients that we won't be the cheapest option before we even talk to them.

Of course, there are good, smart clients out there who realise the value they get from a good agency and not just the cost. We're lucky to have come across some of those over the years, and are thankful for that.

But there is pressure for business people of all kinds to cuts costs. And suppliers of goods and services are one of those costs. Marketing is no different, there is pressure to get the best deal possible.

The problem comes when you try to treat the product of advertising agencies in the same way as that of a supplier of paper clips. The fact is that all ad agencies are not created equal, and the talent and abilities of the people who work at different companies is very different. The company who can offer to to do the job most cheaply is unlikely to be the company who can do the job best. But it's true that some clients treat creative agencies like a commodity product where you can bargain off one against the other on price, in the assumption that the output will be of identical value. Any sane person working in the business knows this is far from the case.

But it seems that there'll always be companies out there willing to drop their trousers for a sniff of some new business. Indeed the pressure is on, especially among the big networks or listed companies, to keep new clients coming in. Often these larger or network companies seem to be willing to do work at cost or even a loss, just to get the client through the door.

What also muddies the water are other kinds of companies who claim to be able to offer the same product as a good creative agency at a fraction of the cost, often just by wheeling in a couple of freelancers. But in a way, if a client can't see for themselves that the end product of these kind of outfits is nowhere near the standard that they would get from a good agency, then you just have to let them get on with it.

There's also an increasing trend for clients to come to agencies refusing to give any clue at all as to what budget they have for their job or account, seemingly hoping to create a kind of 'blind auction' situation.

In an ideal world, we would obviously like all clients to value our work enough to be happy to pay a fair price for it. And we always try to stand by that principle, so thanks to the mystery person for the ad in Campaign.

But agencies themselves have encouraged clients by competing so heavily on price and being so obviously willing to discount. Agencies have to step up and be prepared to take the tough option (ie. turn away the business) if a client isn't prepared to pay a reasonable price, or wants to play you off against the lowest bidder, or it will just continue, or get worse.

Don Draper Says What

I love it when the interwebs make things like this. A crash course in Don.

Industrial Design Partnership

A great little advert for the Industrial Design Partnership created around the 1930's. 

Recently spotted at the Design Research Unit exhibition.

US Midterm Advertising

The Guardian has a good piece on the advertising of the US midterms:  US Midterm Election: Top Ten Worst Political Ads. It's well worth a look, there are some crackers (and crackpots) in there. I actually like political advertising a lot, because often they represent advertising at its most stripped down, which is often advertising at its best. That's not necessarily the case here though. One of my favourites out of the Guardian's list is this, from Dale Peterson...

Donald MacLeod

St Ives artist Donald MacLeod creates beautiful maritime paintings of historic naval battle scenes and Cornish harbour settings. These small jpegs really don't do justice to the intricate detail and atmospheric colours of the large scale impressions though. I'd recommend popping into St Ives and taking a nosy around his studio if you're down Cornwall direction.

Bill Bernbach Said #25

A glorious quarter-century, number 25 in our Bernbach series...

"The truth isn't the truth until people believe you, and they can't believe you if they don't know what you're saying, and they can't know what you're saying if they don't listen to you, and they won't listen to you if you're not interesting, and you won't be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly."

So there. Read all of the previous Bernbach Said posts here.