Get into the story - by Scott Myers

Screenwriter Scott Myers has built an archive of over 80 free, legal movie scripts on his blog. Have a look-see and pish away some hours. Happy reading.

The Putter

Meet 'Putter' Cliff Denton. Cliff works at Ernest Wright & Sons of Sheffield, the last remaining hand manufacturer of scissors.

Photographer Shaun Bloodsworth has done a great job documenting Cliff's craft as part of Storytelling Sheffield's 'Steel Stories' project. This short follows on from 'Barry Can't Arf Weld' which is also well worth a watch. Kudos to TheBlackDog for the music & sound design.

Mediocrity With An Occasional Invigorating Splash Of Ineptitude

Traditionally, today would be dominated by images of the England national football team manager's head paired with some kind of fruit or vegetable. Sadly, this year there is a distinct paucity of such. There are two possible reasons for this; one, our treasured national dailies are distracted by some other goings-on in the international footballing competition, or two, they're letting the current England head honcho off the hook, despite the team's worst performance since Harold MacMillan was Prime Minister, a performance ubiquitously English Establishment in character: Mediocrity With An Occasional Invigorating Splash Of Ineptitude. Either way, it falls to us here at Sell! Towers to hastily fill this Hodgson/veg-shaped void with the below poorly constructed effort. (I hope the sharply-minded viewer notes our use of that most English of vegetable, the commonly over-cooked and dissatisfying cauliflower.) Bravo England FA!


The incessant witless repetition of advertisers' moron-fodder has become some much of a part of life that, if we are not careful, we forget not to be insulted by it.

Does that sentence strike a chord with anyone out there who thinks it might neatly summarise the state of advertising in 2014?

Whether it does or doesn't, you might be surprised to learn that it was a quotation taken from The London Times back in 1886.

Some things may have changed dramatically over the last 128 years but it's kind of frightening to think that our lives are still being polluted on a daily basis by the incessant witless repetition of advertisers' moron-fodder.

One of the most frustrating things about the advertising industry today is the widespread and tacit acceptance that creativity is some kind of hygiene factor that any agency can produce equally well.

All agencies may talk a very good game about putting the creative work first but the harsh reality behind this veneer is that there is often many other agendas getting in the way and stopping this from happening.

A quick snapshot of the soundbite-led media world doesn't really reveal that there are deep and significant problems within the advertising business.

It's easier to portray that the garden is rosy and that we live in an exciting age where there has never been more opportunities.

From the many soundings I've taken, creatives have never been more disenfranchised and frustrated. And many clients harbour feelings of mistrust and dissatisfaction about the way agencies operate and the quality/effectiveness of their end product.

Tenure rates are at an all-time low. And there's a big elephant in the room right now that the business is refusing to face up to.

For all the noise and chatter parroting it's all about the relationship, it's all about the relationship, nobody really seems to joining the dots and working out that poor quality, poor performing creative work is often really at the heart of the problem as to why things go wrong.

Sure, we can all fatalistically accept the status quo, blame each other and not bother to try to take responsibility to change things but, when it comes down to it, wouldn't any self-respecting person want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem?

If you go into every project believing that moron-fodder is likely to be the inevitable outcome, then that is exactly what will happen and so the self-perpetuating cycle of shitness indefinitely continues.

If you go into every project full of passion, energy and resilience believing that you can really make a difference then maybe, just maybe, something other than moron-fodder will emerge.

OK-GO — The Writing's On The Wall

Brilliant music video for OK-GO featuring 4 minutes of mind bending visual conundrums. Each scene is performed live in camera, one after another. I can only imagine the planning that went into that.

Times New Roman

Our good friend Squa has just completed this lovely short documentary piece about the often overlooked typeface Times New Roman for The Times. With interviews with some well known and respected designers, typographers and artists, where they reveal their thoughts on the famous font. Edited by Gavin Burridge, produced by Sacha Evans at Betsy Works, DOP Joel Devlin.

Learning By Doing

Well then. Kanye West, Jared Leto, Patrick Stewart and Sarah-Jessica Parker are all at Cannes imparting words of wisdom about creativity and all that.

You know what? I really couldn't give even the tiniest of shits.

Might as well be the Chuckle Brothers, Mr Tumble and Mr Blobby as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not remotely interested in what those celebrity speakers have to say. They represent a starfucking culture which values superficial buzz and hype above craft, expertise and substance.

The whole conference circuit has now turned into an industry in its own right. One that is becoming further and further removed from the reality of what it is like to create and produce great advertising that can help businesses grow.

At the other end of the spectrum we have influential, egg-headed theorists attempting to turn advertising into some kind of pseudo-science with book after book advocating this new trend or that new trend.

The creative gene pool has been polluted with the opinions of nonsense-spouting, bandwagon-jumping, nest-feathering snake oil salesmen.

There's so much poppycock and gobbledygook flying around filling peoples heads with shit by telling them what to think and how to do things, that we've almost forgotten the fine art of thinking for ourselves.

Most importantly of all though, I think we've forgotten that advertising isn't about theory. It's about practice. It's not about hypothesis. It's about doing.

Action not words.

Yes, it's vital to absorb outside influences and a wide range of inspiration like a sponge.

But when it comes down to it, a creative person has to get their thoughts down and put an idea on a piece of a paper.

Attending all the conferences in the world and reading all the Gladwell, Godin and Shirky in the world will never be a substitute for the cold, hard act of sitting down and having an idea yourself.

And it will be mainly by doing that over and over again, practising, practising, crafting, re-writing, crafting again that better ads will emerge.

Not because Kanye West, Sarah-Jessica Parker or some mouthy advertising blog gave you an invaluable nugget of wisdom that made you see the world differently.

As that bloke Aristotle, star of the Greek philosophy conference circuit, once said;

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.


Moviebarcode does what it says on the tin ... apart from it doesn't make barcodes and they do it for more than just movies.

They produce these compressed image strips visually averaging out everything from the opening sequence of 'True Detective' to 'Marley and Me'.

For all I know - like iTunes visualisations - it might all be bollocks. Who knows if it's as objective a reductive process as it seems...there's not a lot of background on their site. In the spirit of the Free West, innocent until proven guilt - ergo bravo.

Twelve Years a Slave (2013) 

Aladin (1992)

Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

 Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)

Toy Story (1995)

Wolfgang Tillmans

Phaidon have just re-released an updated and expanded book documenting work of Wolfgang Tillmans. Despite occasionally photographing men's dangly bits (and including them in books when you least expect them whilst showing people some of your 'favourite photographers' work') - he's undoubtably one of the most influential Photographers of his generation.

I was gutted I couldn't make it down to Koenig Books on Charing Cross Road last Friday for a book signing. Unfortunately I was busy sending out Press Ad adapts; a situation which happy-carefree-19-year-old-1st-year-Photography-student-me would have bitch slapped me for whilst screaming "SELL OUT", but one which I'm fine with as I can now afford to have £40 haircuts and eat quinoa salads for lunch ... who's winning now eh!

Anyway, if you'd like to buy a copy of the new edition 'Wolfgang Tillmans' - makes sense to give Koenig your money, fair play to them for stocking really good work and arranging cool signings.

Putting Music Into Words

If you found yourself idly leafing through your Global Issue of Campaign Mag this week, you may have stumbled upon this impertinent advertisement we did for our friends at Yellow Boat Music (to read the copy, click on the picture to enlarge it). I suggest you give them a call to enliven your next commercial.

Brands, Products, Cereal Bars And Mirages

There's a very real possibility that this post will reveal more about my poor eating habits than it does about the real relationship between brand, product and advertising, and how people really buy things. But fuck it, I'm going to plunge ahead anyway.

I don't know if you've seen them in the shops, but I like those Eat Natural cereal bars. You might have seen them, they come in loads of different types, each with different coloured wrappers.

More specifically, I like the Dark Chocolate With Cranberries And Macadamias one. I have one here in fact. They come in a dark red wrapper.

I probably buy about three of these a week, give or take. That would make me quite a heavy buyer of the product.

To your typical brand consultant, brand director, or ad agency, I probably look like a 'fan' of the brand. They probably see me as someone who 'loves Eat Natural' or feels some affinity for the brand and 'what it stands for'. They probably see me as 'brand loyal'.

But here's the problem, and where a large number of these people are getting it really, badly wrong – they're wrong about that. They don't really understand consumer behaviour, and why people make the choices they make.

Let me explain.

You see, if the shop doesn't have that particular bar, I never buy the other, slightly different ones that Eat Natural make.

It's the combination of the particular fruits (the cranberries in particular) with that little bit of dark chocolate, that I like. The fact that it has some what you might call 'healthy' ingredients, but with a little hit of dark chocolate.

If another brand made a bar with similar ingredients, and the Eat Natural bar wasn't there, I'd be far more likely to buy that other bar with similar ingredients, than the others ones that Eat Natural make.

But as far as I've seen, there isn't another brand making a similar bar. So, if this particular bar is not in the shop, more often than not I won't even buy any cereal bar at all. I'll just get some chewing gum or something.

I'm not loyal to the brand. I just like the product. I buy it habitually, but it doesn't take much for me to break that habit. I'm not desperate to buy from that brand. In fact my only 'relationship' with the brand is that it is a constant - a promise that the bar will be the same as the last time I bought it.

And this is where many, many people in advertising, and 'brand experts' and brand managers and marketing people go wrong. They assume the important relationship is between the consumer and the brand.

The real important relationship is between the consumer and product. More specifically, the consumer's problem that is solved or need that is fulfilled by the product.

Brand loyalty as presented by the brand babble brigade, is a mirage in the desert. You imagine it to be there, you would love it to be there. You think you can see it. But it doesn't really exist.

It's just a proxy measure of a different behaviour.

Now to crack open this cereal bar...

Chicken Cottage Family Advert

Live Healthy

Live Chicken Cottage

Give Your Family A Treat

Chicken Cottage Everywhere

There's been no expense spared on this top quality piece of communication from Chicken Cottage with the highest production values that fried chicken can buy.

My theory is that all the marketing budget is blown on the prestigious company awards ceremony that is hosted every year leaving bugger all in the pot.

We've previously featured the 2012 bash. Feast your eyes on the glitter that is the Chicken Cottage Gala Dinner 2014...

Print Mafia

While you've been sleeping Print Mafia have been printing. A lot.

They've managed to collect a huge body of work and they're shifting it, at an offensively low price.

Keep your peepers peeled as I'm sure they'll keep churning 'em out.

It's Funny Because It's True

Every case study film for everything that won an award in the last five years...

The Car, The CEO, The Chief Engineer And The Marketing Director

The CEO of a well known car brand has called a meeting for their Marketing Director and Chief Engineer. 

CEO - Thanks for coming, I want to discuss with you the growth plans for us, in particular our advertising.

Marketing Director - Cool.

CEO - There seems to be some confusion to what we are about and how we are going to grow sales.

Marketing Director - Really?

Chief Engineer - Yes, if I could jump in here. I read your latest marketing plan and I am confused somewhat as to its goals and its underlying premises.

Marketing Director - Go on.

Chief Engineer - Well, it says here  people buy things emotionally and that consumers in general act without reason and that in a product parity world, the real battleground is over emotional ownership’.

Hang on, I have the plans here. It says ‘we need to own an emotion because this is how people buy. Our goal in the coming years is to build our brand on emotional engagement as people only post rationalise decisions, they don’t actually make their decisions that way’.”

Marketing Director  - That’s right. My plans goes on more explicitly to suggest ‘that emotions of joy, optimism and love are key emotions to people’s decision making processes not reasons based on product attributes or benefits.’.

Chief Engineer - Are people not happy with our cars? What changes should we be making exactly?

Marketing Director  - No you misunderstand me. No need to change the cars at all. The feedback is very good.

Chief Engineer- Hang on a tad, what did the feedback say?

Marketing Director - Well, people say they really like our cars.

Chief Engineer - In what way?

Marketing Director  - You know, the new reversing alert system, auto engine shut off when stopping in traffic and other safety features, blah, blah, blah, but they are just post rationalising their emotional decision making.

CEO - Really, because I’d have thought that would be good news. We had the engineering team working on those things night and day for years. Are you saying that is not really why they bought the car, that these are just post rationalised by people who bought our cars?

Marketing Director - Yes, because when we asked if they’d ever consider buying our cars in the future they said yes, but only 50-55 percent of the time.

Chief Engineer - So we need to keep up or even overtake the competition by developing better cars?

Marketing Director  - No, we need to get them to love the cars, more. To have some brand stickiness.

CEO - How? Wouldn’t we do that by continually increasing the performance of the car in some way be it economy, safety, speed, styling, price and so on?

Chief Engineer - That’s the game, isn’t it? We are continually trying to reduce the tolerances on current parts which decreases costs. Which increases profits by decreasing our production costs and passing some of that saving on to our customers. Or we incorporate new technology to increase performance parameters. Which in turn benefit the customer so they know where their money is going.

Marketing Director  - What the hell is tolerance reduction?

Chief Engineer - Good question. As we get better at making component parts and fitting them together we have less waste.  So the parts last longer and in the production phase we have less waste too.  A certain percentage of parts fail to pass inspection so they have to be scrapped. If a part is scrapped we have wasted time and money.  Tolerance down is quality up and costs down. Therefore profits up. Not just that,  we compete with the competition, if our moving parts last longer, so we can guarantee them for longer.

Marketing Director  - Oh, but nobody knows about that stuff?

CEO - That is what we wanted to talk to you about. People knowing about us, is your job.

Marketing Director  - We can’t go around telling people about that sort of stuff. People don’t care about that sort of dry technical stuff.

Chief Engineer - It’s taken me most of my working life to get our cars to where they are today. I have people working here that could quite easily work at NASA, we file hundreds of patents to maintain an edge, who knows what we can do in the next decade. 

Marketing Director  - Oh, I didn’t know that.

CEO - How comes?

Marketing Director  - Nobody told it to me quite like that before.

CEO - So you’ve never walked around our plant or read our literature?

Marketing Director - Yes I have, but I don’t see what all this has to do with me. I deal with branding.

Chief Engineer and Marketing Director - Really?

Marketing Director  - Listen. I don’t want to get all defensive here, but you just don’t get it. People seek pleasure and or aversion from pain, they don’t consume for the reasons you want them to. We need to emotionally engage their herd mentality, their primitive brains with emotions.

Chief Engineer - Emotions about what?

Marketing Director  - Anything really?

CEO - What.  Anything?

Marketing Director  - Yep, we know that people buy things instinctively,not rationally. Once they feel emotionally engaged with a story that triggers the emotional part of the brain the amygdala they feel more engaged with the brand. They come to love it.

CEO - So what does that mean in terms of our next TV commercial?

Marketing Director  - Advertising needs to be an emotionally engaging story. We have some scamps done. In short it will be a story about a family that are going on holiday and have lost their luggage at the airport.  A man observing their crisis offers them somewhere to stay and drives them to his luxury home in one of our car. It closes with two families sharing a meal together. The strap line will be, Joy is other people.

Chief Engineer- Couldn’t anyone make that ad? Why are they in our car? What model is it for? Is it because of the boot size or the safety features or...?

Marketing Director  - You just dont get it. The consumer doesn’t think like that. And yes it could be for any model. This is brand not product advertising. We are engaging people emotionally. We need to become aligned with Joy. This makes it easy for people to select our cars over others. They'll love our brand.

CEO - So what happens when our competitors jump all over this emotional idea too and start chasing Joy as well?  I mean, what is stopping them?

Marketing Director  - Jesus! Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.

CEO - Seriously. So in the meantime what do I get the engineering and R& D teams to do? Are they wasting their time inventing? Right this moment the R& D team are working on reducing the cylinder capacity and increasing MPG whilst not reducing cruising speed or acceleration. We are still investigating fuel cell technology, driverless cars and much more. Should we stop?

Marketing Director  - Of course not.

CEO - Why not?

Marketing Director - People will love that stuff, makes my job easier too.

Engineer - But you said people don’t buy attributes?  And even though they say favourable things about them your view is that they’re just post rationalising.

Marketing Director - You just don’t get it do you!

CEO - That’s twice you’ve said that. Perhaps it’s time to look in the rear view mirror.

The Best World Cup Song Ever...

Not long to go now until the global jamboree of football begins.

As the opening kick-off looms it's time to celebrate the best World Cup song ever.

Step aside New Order, Fat Les, Baddiel and Skinner.

Bow down to the 1994 Germany squad who teamed up with The Village People, yes, The Village People to give us this musical gem.

There's only a snippet of this embarrassing masterpiece on the clip below but you can see the whole video in all its glory here.

Max Kandhola - The Aura Of Boxing

With the big Froch vs Groves fight at the weekend, it seems relevant to put a boxing themed post in...

In his latest book - The Aura of Boxing - photographer Max Kandola explores the world of the boxing gym, where boxers train their minds and their bodies in preparation for the arena. Max captures the gritty atmosphere of the gym, and the unrelenting physical effort demanded of the boxers in training.

Here is an insightful interview done for the Guardian, and if you've more time there is an accompanying photo essay to download here.