Donald Trump Sings Mahna Mahna

Good old Donald, eh? He's a constant source of amusement isn't he? It would be more funny if the idea of him becoming president of the US wasn't so scary. But anyway, as an entertaining diversion here he is, singing the famous Muppets' song Mahna Mahna (yes, I checked, that's the correct spelling)...

Power In Simplicity

I came across this powerful ad this morning while looking through some reference books, and it made me wonder, what has happened to the idea of strong ideas, executed simply?

We're now more used to seeing weak ideas that are then over-wrought and over styled to within an inch of their lives, over-photoshopped, over-slick and often with multiple logos, web addresses, social tags added for good measure.

There's a real power in stripping things back and getting your message across in the most simple way you can. But then that requires the skill of reduction, which is seemingly out of fashion.

Christian Aid, CW Dave Trott, AD Eddie Haydock, Agency Bainsfair Sharkey Trott

The Bullshitters Have All The Charts

Happy Monday folks. I feel like we've been neglecting this cherished organ over the last couple of weeks. This is mainly due to the fact that we're up our mucky bits in a couple of extremely tasty projects at the moment.

Apologies to anyone who has been stopping by for a new slice of our nonsense only to find that our nonsense shelves are empty.

Anyway, to anyone who hasn't been reading the blog for long, there are over eight years worth of our nonsense on this blog, most of which is way better than the kind of half-baked tat we write these days. If you're interested, take a look down the right at the monthly archives, or you can view by subject under Categories.

To keep things moving along, I thought I'd repost what has been one of our most popular posts, The Centre For Common Fucking Sense in Marketing, featuring our second most stolen and reposted image, Poliakovs Pyramid Of Engagement (do feel free to steal, by the way, the more the merrier)...

Advertising and marketing is filled with lots and lots of very smart, talented people, people who have good instincts and common sense. So why is it then that the bullshit-talkers and the purveyors of nonsense are in the ascendancy?

The answer is simple.
The bullshitters have the charts.

You know the scenario. You're in a meeting, you know full-well that something is going to work/isn't going to work/is true/isn't true, but someone will turn up with a deck of charts to prove themselves right and you wrong. And there you have it. The people with charts always win. The end. Even if it flies in the face of what is clearly common fucking sense. This is because everyone is shit scared of getting it wrong, or rather shit scared of being blamed for getting it wrong. So everyone hangs onto anything that looks like it proves something. Then they can blame that later if it all goes tits-up.

Over here in smug Sell! Towers we created our own little bubble, where common sense rules, and powerpoint is outlawed. However, we know that this isn't the case for everybody. So in an attempt to help redress the balance, we are fighting fire with with fire. We are creating a body of charts to illustrate common sense. We're sorry it has come to this. But here we are. Here. Anyway, now the smart people of advertising and marketing can fight the bullshitters and nonsense-talkers with their own charts. A chart-off, if you will. Published under the banner of The Centre For Common Fucking Sense In Marketing, or CoFSim for short (a stupid, nonsense-y name to confuse the bullshitters).

So here we present the first. Poliakov's Pyramid Of Engagement. A simple, yet convincing-looking chart to prove what our common-sense tells us. That people are more likely to spend time engaging with something that they're very interested in. Ergo, if you are marketing a product that isn't in the top interest zone, you better have a rip-snorting, son-of-a-bitch of an idea (or a big prize) if you want anyone to interact any further than a cursory glance. So now you can turn up at that meeting to discuss the lame user-generated-content campaign idea for the new scouring-pad client, armed with suitably complicated-looking ammunition to back-up your argument that everyone is taking crazy-pills if they think anyone is going to take-part.

Read more Sell! Sell! on Advertising here.

Sell!Feed 2


Sell! Sell!’s idiot in residence here again. My previous attempt to be expelled from this blog has backfired. Not only have I been asked to do this every week, but I keep getting told that I'm the prettiest princess in all the land.

So, you can look forward to this brain-numbing nonsense every week from here on in. (I can’t apologise enough.)

Sell!Feed round 2. Let’s boogie.

Christian Vieler takes some pretty good snaps of dogs the moment before they catch their treats. Wonder how long it'll before we see these with a Pedigree logo bottom right?




Provide those peepers with some visual tasties at Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Portals. It's showing at Victoria Miro until the 5th of November. 

South Park get stuck into the bedlam that's currently occurring over in that there America.

Get yourself some free learning over at Open Culture.   

An informative and expansive interview with Eric Timothy Carlson about his new design for Bon Iver's new 22 album.

Finally, and most importantly, a video of a woman backflipping face first into a pile of poo. Thank you internet. 



The grown ups here at Sell Corp have been stupid enough to ask me to write a blog post today. So, to ensure this burden of responsibility is never handed to me again, and I can return to my former life of trying to write ads and filling my face with salty snacks, here's a Buzzfeed-style list of LOL teehee wowz!

Let's get this party "poppin'" with the latest Run The Jewels Video(!!!!). Brilliantly cast and shot, with a nice little ending. The lip-syncing ran a little short for my taste, but what do I know (except everything).

Next up is the Stylo G x Jacob Plant video. No idea what's happening in this video, neither do I care. Weirdness at its finest.

Jonah Hill acts superbly bad in this little spot for Palace and Reebok's latest crime against footwear.

Phil Zwijsen pulls out some slip 'n' slide face-melters in this latest Element edit. (What you see next will AMAZE YOU!)

The steaming pile of toxic waste also known as Ann Coulter "getz owned" at the Rob Lowe roast.

I'm sure we've all seen this a million times, but I think it should be mandatory to watch it every day. Classic Python.

That's all from me. Hopefully, having lowered the tone of the blog quite dramatically, I'll be banned from talking to you. Wish me luck.

Important Stuff From Bob Hoffman

“We’ve got to stop bullshitting ourselves and come to terms with reality.
If we want there to be an audience for advertising, if we want people to be engaged with what we do, we have to do a lot better. We have to make advertising beautiful, and interesting, and entertaining. And I have bad news… algorithms, and data, and metrics can’t do that. Only people can do that.”
It's doubtful you'll read something about advertising this year that's more important than Bob Hoffman's latest piece.

Please go here now and read it.

Are You Really Okay With The Idea Of Creativity?

Ansel Adams shooting in Yosemite, 1942. By Cedric Wright
“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” Ansel Adams
What do we mean when we talk about creativity?

Sometimes it’s just a new way of presenting familiar things, but in a way that makes you reappraise them or see them differently. Sometimes it’s an extremely simple solution to a problem, but no one ever thought of it before.

It’s things that connect with people on a human level. Things that surprise people, catch them unawares, that move and motivate people.

Great creative makes things get noticed and stick in the memory, or it makes things familiar to us – so we when we see them we’re drawn to them.

I can remember advertising lines from thirty years ago, but can’t remember my own pin number sometimes.

The value of great creativity to brands has always been very hard to quantify, but what we do know, is that when it’s done well it’s extremely powerful. And it’s helped to grow most of the brands we take for granted now as market leaders.

But there’s a mystery to creativity isn’t there?

Because it’s still impossible to pin it down more than that.

Even though people are always trying to define it, to put it into neat boxes.

So unfortunately we work in a business where the most valuable thing is almost impossible to fully define.

That’s hard for many people in advertising and for clients to accept.

When you're running multi-million and multi-billion pound operations, it must be terrifying to think your most valuable commodity is so nebulous and hard to control.

So the non-creatives in the business – the people who buy or sell creativity, but don't do it themselves – are always trying to find a way to control it, trying to systemise it – the same way that people have systemised the building of a car, or a television.

They put processes in place. And rules, guidelines, structures, criteria, systems.

But we aren’t dealing with machines are we?

We’re dealing with people.

That’s where ideas come from isn't it? People’s brains, people’s imaginations.

And people are messy, they have bad days, they swear, they sleep in, and they’re unpredictable.

But business people hate the idea of unpredictability.

That’s why the big advertising networks and the people who run them, and the marketing clients at large companies, love things like big data, and programmatic advertising, and adtech - things that are neat and controllable and easy to systemise.

But with all that technology, data and programmatic buying, what do we have?

As far as I can see, hundred of millions of individually targeted shite.

Ads that people are increasingly trying to block.

And the production line processes and system of these big network agencies don't lead to great creativity.

They've become these huge, complicated and bureaucratic organisations.

They’ve tried to force creative thinking into a production line process, it’s been industrialised.

And that’s a real problem.

Industrial processes don’t produce individual pieces of brilliance.

Production lines are designed to churn out identical products.

Exactly the same, every time.

And they're very good at that.

So they create production line work - the same, the same, more of the same.

Whatever the client, whatever the problem, whatever the product.

More of the same.

But that’s the opposite of creativity.

Creative solutions by their very nature, are different to what was right last time.

And none of it is as powerful as that thing you see that stops you in your tracks, that sticks in your brain, that makes you think about something differently.

Messy, unpredictable, real creativity.

The most powerful, valuable thing that we can provide to our clients.

And, unfortunately, if you want the best, most powerful creativity, you have to learn to be okay with the idea that you can’t define it.

Or even necessarily control it.