We Are In The Age Of Phonies

Classic Bill Bernbach quote...

“Today, everybody is talking ‘Creativity,’ and frankly, that’s got me worried. I fear lest we keep the good taste and lose the sell. I fear all the sins we may commit in the name of ‘Creativity.’ I fear that we may be entering an age of phonies.

Mint Work

Conventional wisdom tells us that it's not a very good idea to try to feature two products in an ad and do justice to both.

This great new ad from Trebor shows how it's possible to do just that.

There's lots to enjoy in this commercial. From the styling and wardrobe to the little cutaways, to the timidity of the "confession", to the twist at the end, it's clear that a lot of care has gone into the craft of this commercial.

Good to see a classic brand like Trebor back on telly. And good to see an that is unashamedly about the product from start to finish.

No higher "do-good" brand purpose. No manifesto. No cuddly animals. No 'join the conversation'. No hashtag bollocks nonsense.

Just one very entertaining thirty second commercial squarely aimed at getting people to buy some mints.

Well done W&K.

Edit: This is still probably a better ad for Softmints though... (thanks @alldaycreative for the reminder)

Sell! Sell! — Thugged-Out Playas Makin Thangs Happen.

Gizoogle is made for Friday afternoons.

It works like google, but snoop-doggifies all the content on whatever you search.

Below is the Sell! Sell! website (I think it knows us better than we know ourselves).

Happy Birthday Father Ted

It's hard to believe, but it has been 20 years to the day since Father Ted first appeared on the telly. To celebrate we thought we would get this classic back on the blog.

So Many Graphics

New promo for Mr Dogg's new song. Lots to feast on visually – clever type, graphics, lighting, art direction and cinematography to make moving versions of classic movie poster art. The song's a bit shit though. (You may have to go elsewhere for more in depth musical critique.)

Jeff Bridges Behind The Scenes

Check out these great shots from Jeff Bridges. Since the 80s he's been taking behind the scenes shots on all his films with his trusty panoramic Widelux camera. 

There's more photos on his bonkers website.


One of the most wretched diseases of current advertising and marketing is the highly contagious TellUsYourStoryItis.

This is the condition where deluded marketers and advertising types expect normal people to share their story or experiences of using the product - or even some tenuously related activity.

Suffice it to say that these things are generally extremely unsuccessful. That's because they are based on a deluded notion – that normal people care as much about brands and products as marketing types do.

Well sorry to say, they don't. The notion of people having an emotional attachment to brands that influences their buying decisions has been largely disproved.

But this doesn't seem to stop marketers and agencies from imagining that people have nothing better to do than share their story about bleach or apples.

Some mischievous soul has put together a tumblr of these bonkers campaigns – Tell Us Your Story – have a look through if want a laugh at someone else's expense – or if you're ever tempted to do one of these campaigns yourself treat it as a warning.

See also Brian's Open Letter To All Of Advertising And Marketing

Cannes Lions Advertising Own Goal

As any long-time reader of this blog will be aware, I'm no great fan of the awards schemes that have attached themselves like parasites to the ad business. Mostly I choose to ignore them completely, life is much simpler, and nicer that way.

But it's hard to ignore this, because it's a full-page ad in the most prominent ad industry magazine. What on earth were Cannes Lions thinking when they approved and ran this ad?

The lame, poorly stereotyped depiction of creatives does them no favours. But worse, what made them think it was appropriate to make a joke about making creatives redundant? I wonder if any of the people involved in the creation, making or approval of this has ever been around a company that is making redundancies? If you have, you'll know that it's a deeply unpleasant experience. And while it's true that some people say redundancy is the best thing that happened to me, for many it's upsetting and stressful and leaves them in a difficult position.

One of the great modern problems of advertising as an industry is its seemingly insatiable appetite for taking on hopeful young creatives on very low salaries, giving them little training, and encouraging them to work themselves into the ground before spitting them out the other end jobless.

This is a quite unpleasant ad, moronic and misguided – it makes Cannes Lions appear to be shameless money-grubbers who don't really give a shit about advertising or the people who work in it. Whether that's true, you can decide for yourself. Exhibit A...

What Adland Can Learn From Mugs

Handles on mugs are really good. Make more adverts with handles.

*By the way, you can buy these delightful BFZ mugs HERE


Sometimes I forget UKIP is a real life political party filled and backed by real life humans (for a while I thought they must have been some improv. satire group).

But they're actually fucking real. Real real.

Rather than despair, laugh at the bunch mouth-breathers with this clip of Stewart Lee.

Advertising With A Point

I'm writing about another campaign out there that I like today. Two in row, this feels weird, I hope I'm not going soft.

Anyway, its the new campaign for Jigsaw by The Corner. We see hundreds of ads for clothes with pictures of attractive people wearing the clothes. That's okay. Generally the fashion business understands its customer and business very well when it comes to advertising, and agencies tend to confuse things when they get involved.

Quite often, you can see that they tried to put in an idea of some kind, but often the idea isn't a good fit (irony, that) and you can see a struggle between product and idea in the work itself.

But I rate this work because there's a thought and a point at the centre of it – and that thought starts where it should: with the product and what it means to me as a (potential) customer. So these ads, whilst they do show me the clothes, and nice-looking people wearing the clothes (I don't have a problem with that) they attempt to engage my mind.

They treat me as an intelligent being, not a moron. They say to me, yes these clothes might cost more than Primark or New Look or Top Shop, but they're made to last. I appreciate this effort to communicate to me with intelligence, it makes me think better of them as a company, it reminds me that they make good quality clothes, and it justifies the price premium (a very valuable job that often goes unsaid in advertising).

The craft is good, too. It could have been over-written, but it isn't, it's pithy. The art direction is strong – the simplicity and the bold colours are strong and distinctive. And I do like that they have used the images of landfill – I can imagine that much debate was had over that. Over on the Creative Review blog where this was featured, a few commenters said they didn't like those images being in there, but I think they help. Normally you might argue that you don't have to show what you say, or vice versa. But with a point like this I think that image helps to make you think about the disposability of cheap clothes.

Our point of view here at Sell! Towers is that the most successful advertising tends to have the product or service at its centre, and provide some reason why the customer would benefit from buying it – this does that. But also, that successful advertising needs to surprise, provoke or entertain in order to be noticed and remembered. By engaging the customer's brain, this advertising does that too.

As advertising generally becomes more facile and moronic (and as a result, increasingly insulting to the intelligence) it's good to see some work that bothers to communicate something of substance.

So well done all round to team and client. Hats off to you from us.

Show Don't Tell And The Desert Of Crap – Shot On iPhone 6

I've been meaning to post up about this campaign for a little while, since a couple of us came into the office one morning and simultaneously said "Have you seen that new shot on iPhone campaign?"

That's what I like most about this work. The images are great, and the simplicity is excellent – it's increasingly rare to see simplicity (that is intelligent simplicity, not lowest-common-denominator dumbness) in advertising.

But the best thing about it, is that the first thing you think is wow, that was taken on the new iPhone camera? And that, ladies and gents, is what good advertising should largely be doing – making you think that the product is really good in some way that might be of use to you.

It seems silly to have to point that out, but increasingly it seems that many people in advertising think that the job of advertising is to make the advertising famous. I disagree with those people.

There used to be a useful phrase in advertising: show don't tell. And this work does that. Where other phone-makers will crap-on about megapixels or stability controls or some other crap, Apple and MAL continue their legacy of strong, simple, product-based ads by showing us a demonstration of the benefit: a great photo.

It's simple, and it works. And these posters are nice to look at, too. This last point is important.

Back in the sixties, Howard Gossage railed against the use of outdoor advertising as a blight on society. He argued that with all other media; radio TV, print, etc. you opt into it - you pick up a magazine or newspaper, or turn on the TV or radio fully in the knowledge that there will be ads, and that those ads are largely paying for the other content that you're there to enjoy. It's a choice, a transaction. And those ads are discreet by the nature of their media. But, he argued, when it comes to outdoor – it's different – those ads are forced upon us in our own environments, we don't get to choose whether we get to see them or not.

And you know, I have some sympathy for that point of view. Not completely – I don't think that outdoor should be banned, as Gossage did. But I do think there is a responsibility when using outdoor not to despoil our environment with poorly designed, poorly photographed, shouty, ugly or stupid posters. These things are twenty feet wide and bigger for God's sake. We have a responsibility to make our work add to the world around us, not abuse it.

We live in a time when advertising is completely disappearing up its own arse. Becoming more stupid, more inane, more ugly, less of interest or of use to the customer and more selfish and self-centred. This work is a rare oasis of good in that interminable desert of crap.

One final point is just to acknowledge Apple's continuing success at using so-called traditional media to effectively advertise innovative, technological products. No interactive gizmos or fashionable faddy, latest-thing gimmicks. Just simple, relevant thoughts, based on the product, relevant to the customer, simply put and well crafted, with great media placement. If only more clients and agencies had the confidence (or talent?) to do this. Maybe they would have built the most valuable brand in the world?

Here's a couple of examples...