10 Years of Sell! Sell!...

Something that we've always been monumentally crap at here at Sell! Towers is shouting about what we do as a company and PR-ing ourselves. I suppose we're just constantly looking for the next opportunity or concentrating on working on the next piece of work that we can make into something great, so rather than looking at what we've done or what we're doing and shouting about it, we're getting on with stuff and looking forwards. This was brought home to me the other day when I realised that we had let pass the fact that we've been doing this thing for ten years, without so much as a nod. No PR puff-pieces, no big party, no shouting from the rooftops. So I said let's sit down for half an hour put down some of the stuff from the ten years of Sell! Sell! that means something to us, and this is what came out....

Ten years of Sell! Sell! — 15 years ahead of our time 10 years ago...

In ten years we have:
Always put the quality of the work first
Given ourselves a stupid name that confuses people
Changed the way an ad agency works
Invented an action figure 
made people more important than process
Helped a paper publisher become a successful digital brand 
Retained the IP of a big idea
Designed products
Named new beer
Helped people live healthier and happier lives 
Never gone to Cannes
Spent too much of our startup cash on a cash register from 1901 
Brought media back to the table
Introduced a legendary junk food to the UK
Had people work together rather than in a production line
Helped reduce copyright theft
Fixed our pinball machine a million times
Produced health guides that save lives
Hand-printed our own newspaper ads
sacked-off the pinball machine
Written a manifesto for a new creative revolution
had it published and sell out many times over
Helped create a kids’ social media platform
Campaigned to make 29th February a free day for everyone
Missed the big call from BBC news
Made an ad videogame before it was a thing
Created the concept for a city restaurant & Bar
Laughed at ourselves 
Breathed fresh life into a dusty old bottle
Made weekends sacred
Walked the walk that others talk 
Picked fights with the big guys
Put the client’s interests before our own interests
Made Paul McCartney laugh
Then helped him to advertise his family’s brand
Been close to the edge more than once
Stood firm against procurement for the value we add
chucked 12 pies off 12 bridges
Made it into a film that was screened at the Renoir
Set fire to the production line
Made some great friends
Made some good enemies
Never used PowerPoint
Brought surrealism to the big screen
Challenged the orthodoxy of the ad business
Been down to our last teabag
Made a dusty old liqueur the most extraordinary drink on the bar
Given everyone their birthday off for free
Not entered a single industry award
Had a client hire us three times at three different companies
Stayed humble
Remembered the value we add is in creativity not technology 
Given a keynote in Delhi
Weirded-out some regular agencies in Miami
Helped a challenger grow over 300% 
Made commuters crave a proper breakfast 
Sold the IP for a big idea separately to our fee
Failed to improve at darts
Directed Madness in a fake detergent commercial
Helped a tech innovator to appear as good as it really is
Created ideas to last and grow not to be flashy
Named technology
Said ‘no’
Never taken no for an answer
Taken a poker millionaire back to his roots
Accidentally took him out mid-shoot with a football to the danglers
Changed the way a creative company works with clients
Not been afraid to be unpopular for doing the right thing 
Charged for the idea not for the time
Never let a single piece of crap out of the door
Brought an old brewer into the 21st century with their first ad campaign
Retained clients for years through the work not contracts
Annoyed the wrong people
Presented ideas that scared the shit out of us 
Been rubbish at PR
Beaten big agencies in shootouts 
Been hard on ourselves
Run a global campaign from a five-person office
eaten more Tandoori than is probably a good idea
Said goodbye to a dear friend and partner
Scared ourselves
Questioned ourselves
Stuck at it
Had a great laugh
Waited for the business to catch up
Probably still at least five years ahead of our time...

We’re just getting started...


  1. 10 years, some brilliant work and not one comment?! Just one like on that Twitter....it would suggest that the industry and many clients are still blissfully unaware of your charms Sell! Sell!

    Well fuck it.

    Here's what I wrote when I left and I standby it.

    The Advertising Utopia Club.

    The problem with the word utopia, is that it's subjective, one mans Albion might be another mans ghetto.

    But imagine a building in which people with different complimentary skill sets met 5 days a week almost exclusively within standard office hours with the sole aim of making outstanding communication. Imagine that they rejected the dubious charms of Microsoft office and instead, just used memory, note taking, conversations and good sense to get by.
    Think about a place where the terms strategy and planning were deemed redundant, where the currency was ideas and not 'decks'. Where the inhabitants used a broad range of references, their own ingenuity and experience to produce fine work.
    Ponder for a moment, the idea of not pitching for business, but instead getting business leads almost exclusively through word of mouth, then meeting with prospective clients and simply talking with them about what they might work on together. Contemplate a place where clients actively sought and valued agency advice and opinion. Imagine that none of these people had any serious psychological problems, and that they genuinely believed that making brilliant work was more important than making pots of money. Add in the guarantee of at least one proper belly laugh per day, fuel with tea and bad puns, motivate with the reward of the finest steak on the planet, add a folky roots soundtrack, some Bernbach wisdom and there you have it......

    Sadly this advertising utopia doesn't exist, but if it did I think it would look a lot like Sell! Sell!

    Good luck for the next ten years chaps, should imagine you'll need a much bigger building when clients catch up in five years time.


  2. Ha thanks David, we appreciate the words. Certainly seems like the industry still doesn't realise we exist, though happily our clients' customers realise most definitely realise that they exist - as always it seems we're far better at doing the work than blowing our own trumpet....


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