Wacky Packaging. It's Wackaging.

Our good friend Jim sent us a link to this blog, Wackaging. It's dedicated to sharing those increasingly lame attempts by some companies to be cute and wacky on their packaging. Of course, having a tone of voice for your brand is important, and communicating things in engaging, funny, human ways can be lovely. But there's fine line between that and just being a bit annoying, and clearly the people behind the blog are finding a lot of it to be the latter. But, if it was easy to get right, no one would need good copywriters, right? To be fair, I think that Innocent tend to get it spot on, it's the host of me-too brands trying to jump on the happy-clappy bandwagon that probably are making it feel a bit tedious. Have a look and see what you think.

Article from yesterday's Times T2

Bill Bernbach Said #41

Number 41 Bernbach series...

“To succeed an ad (or a person or product for that matter) must establish its own unique personality, or it will never be noticed.”

Read all of the previous Bernbach Said posts here.

Iconatomy by George Chamoun

Iconatomy is an interesting project by George Chamoun, who takes photographs of contemporary movie stars, and splices them together with photographs of movie stars from the past. From George: The pictures are not morphed in any way. What you see is a collage of two different people in each picture. Did it take me a long time to find the right pictures? Hell yes it did! 

Scarlett Johansson / Marilyn Monroe

George Clooney / Cary Grant

Natalie Portman / Audrey Hepburn

Robert Pattinson / James Dean

Angelina Jolie / Elizabeth Taylor

Mania Of The Geek?

Our old friend Nathan (aka Rubbishcorp) is doing this Creative Social thing over at Mother in a couple of weeks. Despite the the fact that the literature (below) contains the very pinnacle of the latest uber-wank words; Social and Curated, we reckon it'll be very good. Not least because Nathan has always been obsessed with computer games. More information and a link to get tickets here. I am so convinced that I've already bought a ticket. Which means that if you get one too, we can hurl abuse at each other in person, rather than through the comments section of this blog. Happy days!

Alaska Airlines Compilation

Here at Sell! Sell! we're big fans of long running advertising campaigns that manage to stay fresh over time.  As we've said many a time before, it's simultaneously mind-boggling and depressing how often agencies and clients get bored with an idea long before the public ever do.

I think the original Alaska Airlines stuff came out in the early '80's and I think the great Joe Sedelmaier was involved in the early days.  Here's just a tip of the iceberg selection of ads from yesteryear and yesterdecade that prove the point that as long as you've got something interesting and differentiating to say about the product you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you come to write a new ad.

At the heart of it all is a brutally simple proposition of a low fares airlines focused on great customer service.  And all done in a charming, irreverent and entertaining way.

Fashion Is Power - Stylist Covers

This weeks special edition Stylist covers are great. We love strong editorial design and cover design, but it seems that the art of the magazine cover generally has fallen victim to commercial pressures and a by-the-numbers approach. You still see good work on niche publications, but it's fantastic to see a magazine as mass as Stylist doing these really strong, graphic covers. Stylist have always had very strong design and photography, I wonder if it's partly because they don't have the pressure of selling off the shelf that paid-for magazines have? Hats-off to them regardless. Shot by Jonty Davies and styled by Alexandra Fullerton, the model is (obviously) Alek Wek, the photography director was Tom Gormer. Images via Coverjunkie.

Sinking Furniture by Alexander Kent

Alexander Kent produces strong, crisp still lifes and bold studio shots. Like this fun sinking furniture series...

We Are Here...

Somehow Campaign managed to miss The Advertising Industry’s Naughty Stepchild (that's us, by the way) off their map of Silicon Roundabout in this weeks issue. I know! How did that happen you're asking yourself? I blame the printers myself. No harm done, we’ve simply provided an updated map with Sell! Towers included for your pleasure. Our life-sized Andy Palmer action figure marks the spot...

My Favourite Writing #8: George Parker

As our regular reader will know, it’s our belief that regardless of strategy, creativity and the creative crafts ultimately make the difference between great advertising and not-so-great advertising. And none more so than great writing. Regardless of media or technology, great writing is still the most powerful tool available to the marketer and advertiser. So we've been asking people whose opinions we respect to tell us their favourite three pieces of advertising writing. And thankfully most of them didn't tell us to fuck off. We’re running them as an irregular series. Today's is number eight, with selections from the inimitable ad-man, mad-mad and author of books George Parker (George has a new book out, more on that at the bottom of the post)...

“Having been around since Genghis Kahn invented the USP, I’ve worked on both sides of the pond on thousands of accounts at hundreds of BDA’s, and fortunately a couple of little, tasty ones. Consequently, I’ve seen millions of ads. The vast majority were shit. Here are three that truly stand out.

1 — Johnny Walker. The Man Who Walked Around the World.
I’ve always been a believer that great advertising grows out of the product. This film (No, it’s not a 30 sec spot, but if I say it’s an ad, it’s a fucking ad) nearly six minutes in a single take, with the incomparable Robert Carlisle, IS the product. The history, the character, the ambience. It’s enough to make me almost give up gin.

2 — Nokia. Gulp.
The ad is shot WITH the product… A bloody phone. Brilliant. Talk about a product demo. Beats the shit out of housewives scrubbing floors. What’s really clever is if you watch “The Making of Gulp.” (HERE) You realize that W+K got the entire student population of Britain working for fuck all. Neil Christie is a genius. Then as soon as it was made. The client fired them. That’s why advertising is the world’s dumbest fucking business.

3 — Volkswagen “Snow Plough.”
When you ask people what’s the best commercial ever made, they all say 1984. No, I say… That was the most famous spot ever made. In fact it was written by my good mate Steve Haydon, and it made Ridley Scott enough money to hire David Putnam as a tea boy. But in my humble opinion… This DDB classic from the sixties, sums up what great communication in advertising is all about.

Ads like this make the light bulb go on in the viewers head. In comparison, all the car stuff out there now is shit, because in spite of the millions spent on it… It’s still shit.


Thanks George. Now go and read George's new book Confessions of a Mad Man (you can buy it here on Amazon). I've been reading it for the last few days, it's an entertaining look back at a time when advertising was a lot more rock and roll, from a guy who was actually there (which begs the obvious question how does he remember?). I'll post up more when I've finished it, but in the meantime, as I'm sure George would say himself: just fucking buy it.

Past MFWs:
My Favourite Writing #1: Mark Denton
My Favourite Writing #2: Drayton Bird
My Favourite Writing #3: Ben Kay
My Favourite Writing #4: Dave Trott
My Favourite Writing #5: Vinny Warren
My Favourite Writing #6: John Allison
My Favourite Writing #7: Stuart Harkness

The Butterfield Diet

Classic Serafinowicz.
Everyone at Sell! Sell! is now on this diet after watching this [Thanks for the link, Rich].

More Friday Classics

More advertising from a time when advertising was about selling stuff. What? Oh...

The Family - Jocelyn Bain Hogg

Jocelyn Bain Hogg's new project The Family is being featured at the Visa Pour l’Image photojournalism festival. Jocelyn has documented the British underworld for years with his stunning candid photographs. There’s a good write up here on the New York Times Lens blog.

A few years back we were lucky enough to work with Jocelyn, he shot a campaign with us to promote the first Scottish Ikea store opening in Glasgow - shooting genuine Glaswegian hard-men...