Chocolate, eggs and bunnies.

So, a nice long Easter weekend ahead of us.

Always seems a bit odd when people say "Happy Easter".  Doesn't seem like it's a holiday where there's actually anything to celebrate.  Apart from the shedloads of chocolate that we all get to consume.

Here's comedian Jim Gaffigan expanding on the theme and pointing out the weirdness of the kind of things associated with this holiday.

Anyway, Happy Easter readers.

Tilman Singer Stop Motion

Wagwan, readers. Check out this lovely little animation of some chopped up skateboarding images.

Skateboardanimation from Tilman Singer on Vimeo.

Recalling 1993 in NYC

Neat idea by Droga 5.

They've commandeered 5,000 payphones in New York on behalf of their client, New Museum.  All people need to do is step inside and just dial 1-855-FOR-1993 to hear local stories from the streets of that time twenty years ago when the city was a very different place.

Recalling 1993 from Droga5 NY on Vimeo.

Drip, drip, drip.

This is for everyone out there sat at their desks on a Monday morning, staring blankly at their computer thinking "this again - selling things...whats the f*%king point".

Well, turns out Advertising can help people and do good things provided smart people are involved and brains are engaged.

There is a little village in Peru called Bujuma that gets sod all rain, making supplying clean drinking water to the population tricky.

Clever science folk from The University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) and some creative types from Ad Agency Mayo Peru DraftFCB joined forces to make a billboard that produces safe drinking water from the humidity in the air - 96 litres of the stuff a day.

Well done Advertising, I knew you could do it! What a jolly good use of a billboard.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, patting each other on the back thinking the world is a better place - hold your horses. I present to you Wink Bingo's latest offering to the world. Rather than producing clean drinking water, this piece of outdoor instead drips fake tan and excrement for us all to lap up.

Joe Sedelmaier

It's Friday.  Howzabout a bit of Joe Sedelmaier to brighten up your day?

For the unintiated, Mr Sedelmaier was responsible for directing some of the USA's best known, most memorable and funniest commercials.

His brilliant eye for unusual casting, comic timing, offbeat scenarios and quirky soundtracks created a new genre of advertising.

Every one of his ads still stands up today.  And if you saw it in a commercial break, I guarantee that would be the ad you would remember.

Revel in more of his legendary work at

Here's a brief trailer for the Point Of View Retrospective that came out a few years back. The great man nails it when he says "Let's face it. A commercial's what you watch when you sit down to watch something else...You should at least make it entertaining".

It's a crying shame that so many commercials fail to follow that simple principle these days.  How British advertising desperately needs a Sedelmaier-esque shot in the arm right now.

Stupidity captured at 2500 frames per second.

Yep. That's right. Some guys doing some not very sensible things, and filming them at 2500 frames per second. A simple concept, but it produces some pretty spectacular results. The camper van is worth looking out for.

ps. Don't try this at home kids. Unless you're going to film it in a really cool way and upload it to youtube. In that case, drop us a link so we can see too.

Where's The Good Stuff?

Every agency claims to be doing great work. Awards schemes are still awarding loads of awards to people. Trade mags are full of puff pieces on agencies and work. So where is it?

You see, every day I get up, and look through a couple of newspapers, a couple of magazines, watch some telly, see some posters. Shit. Shit Shit. It's all shit. All of it. Give or take maybe one ad on the TV (most probably for Apple), everything else is absolute bobbins.

Pretty much 99.99% (scientific fact) of all advertising you see in the real world - is shit.

So it seems there is a vast gulf between the imaginary version of advertising industry output as depicted by trade publications and awards shows, and the reality of advertising output as witnessed by spending some time in the real world.

So, where is the good work? And who is making all the shit that represents 99.9% of all advertising that we see?

I think we should be told.

Tiny Desk Concerts

Taking the Unplugged ethos to the extreme, the Tiny Desk Concerts archive on YouTube is a real treasure trove of great and intimate performances by some top artists.
Recorded live at the, you guessed it, tiny desk of NPR Music there's bags of inspiring raw and unpolished material on display that's a million miles away from the bland corporate arena roadshow favoured by so many bands today.
Here's a few of my favourites.  Have a rummage in the archive and find your own.  You won't be disappointed.


The Avett Brothers

Bill Callahan

Cheltenham Essentials

Today is the big day at Cheltenham, Gold Cup day. Good luck if you're having a punt. This time last week, our Sport cover wrap for the Racing Post was a common sight across London. The theme was The Cheltenham Essentials, which involved collecting together every you'd need to do the Festival properly, as it were. Shot by the fantastic David Sykes, it also ran as a double page spread in City Am on Monday, and in the Racing Post itself. Thanks to David, the team at Vue and everyone involved for making it happen.

Loren Harrison Illustration

Our dear (but offensively small) friend Loren Harrison recently got in touch to let us know she has added more pretty pictures to her website. Go have a gander.


It's Cheltenham Festival week, which means with one of our clients being Racing Post, it's a big week at Sell! Towers. A couple of us went over to the Festival on Tuesday, to demonstrate utter ineptitude at betting. Cheltenham was also the public unveiling of the new Racing Post London Taxis, which we've been busily beavering away on behind the scenes. Keep an eye out in London, after the Festival they'll be returning here for full taxi duty, each one equipped with the day’s edition of the Racing Post for you read on your journey.

In the picture below you can Fish'n'Tips, the chippy that Racing Post have taken over for the duration of the Cheltenham Festival, where you can get a tasty fish supper wrapped in the top tips from the Racing Post team.

Mike Friton — Nike Wizard

When I think of Nike and their world-renowned 'Innovation Kitchen' I think of secret rooms, armed guards, stolen alien technology, caged athletes and clipboard armed men in lab coats.
In reality I couldn't be further from the truth. Nike's 'Innovation Kitchen' is just a bloke (Mike Friton) in a shed. 

Hort Nike Posters

Is there a better way to start a friday morning than with a design boner? 

Yes, there probably is, but as I can't feed you all a bacon sandwich through the internet (a feature I feel is lacking from the world wide web) I shall try and stimulate your (design penis?) mind.

Feast your eyes on some tasty posters by HORT for Nike.

NYC Past

NYC Past is a cracking tumblr documenting old photographs of New York from the Library of Congress archives.

Screw-Ups, Apologies, Horses and Missed Opportunities

Going back to the horse meat scandal (as it's referred to in the papers) it's interesting from an advertising point of view. Often, when screw-ups happen, or catastrophe strikes, companies turn to good old long copy to straighten things out.

That's quite interesting because, though the long copy ad is something we at Sell! Towers firmly believe in, it's much maligned across advertising. People mostly avoid long copy, presumably because they don't believe people will read it (this is lazy thinking). Or, more likely, they can't do it well enough to make people want to read them. But, come the witching hour, people turn to the long-copy ad to get them out of the shit.

I think these occurrences offer a huge opportunity to brands. Often, the stripped back, honest, well-written long-copy ads that they produce in response to crises are the best communication they've done for years. And a lot of the time, companies that do it well come out of it in credit. I wonder why it is that this is never learned from and carried on into the future.

Once the crisis has blown over, the brand and agency always go back to making the same kind of facile, paper thin ads they did beforehand. It seems that maybe clients’ and agencies’ views on what normal punters are interested in are out of kilter with reality.

Now to come back to the horse meat gubbins, and Tesco's curious approach over the last couple of weeks.

They have done what we all expected them to do, and run long copy ads to apologise and explain what they are doing about it. But somehow they seem to have managed to get it all wrong.

Normally these kind of ads represent an opportunity to do some great writing – honest, matter of fact, to-the-point, human.

But there is a really odd tone to the Tesco ads, in which they appear to be apologising, but it doesn't really feel like they're apologising. And whilst using apologetic words, they always seem to implicate someone else.

The writing has a sort of hollow, mission statement-like feel to it. The "What burgers have taught us" ad is a prime example, take this bit:

...we need to keep going, go further, move quicker.

Or this:

And you're not happy, tell us.
This is it.
We are changing.

It's tone over content.
Staccato writing.

And for fucks sake don't write Seriously if you really want us to think you're serious.

Where they do talk about actual action, they appear to adopt the stance of industry-leader, as if they're trying to fix problems that belong to the industry, not problems they have influenced themselves.

So, even if Tesco are actually doing the right thing. The overall feeling that you get from the ads is that they aren't really shouldering the responsibility, they're being slippery and trying to attribute blame and responsibility to others. It all feels like a corporate game of dodgeball masquerading as apology.

Shame really, it's a real missed opportunity.

Tom Waits On Being Different

Take a look at this classic piece of wisdom from Tom Waits.

My kids are starting to notice I'm a little different from the other Dads."Why don't you have a straight job like everyone else?" they asked me the other day.

I told them this story:

In the forest there was this crooked tree and this straight tree.

Every day the straight tree would say to the crooked tree "Look at me...I'm tall, and I'm straight, and I'm handsome. Look at're all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you."

And they grew up in that forest together. 

And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, "Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest." 

So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. 

And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.

What's this all got to do with the price of fish, then?

Well, I think it draws a pretty accurate parallel with the innately conservative and increasingly commodotised nature of most advertising agencies where industrial quantities of forgettable me-too, invisible wallpaper advertising is being churned out on a daily basis.

The advertising business desperately needs more mavericks, more outspoken voices, more troublemakers, more free spirits.  And not just publicly on the forums of the blogosphere or the private world of the pub snug bar.

We're in danger of the lunatics taking over the asylum.

Be different.  Be that crooked tree.

Questionable Mime

It's Friday, so I won't ruin it for you by making you 'read'. Heres a video of some stuff that is on the internet or something.