We can’t believe we haven’t posted this yet.

It’s probably our favourite job of last year.

You’re looking at a direct mail poster campaign promoting a series of animated sketches – ‘Biscuits Wars’ by our talented friends at A Large Evil Corporation.

The short films are the brainchild of ace animator Seth Watkins and they feature everyone’s favourite tea-time biccies locked in mortal combat.

Let’s get ready to crumble!

Concept / Illustration –  Seth Watkins
Poster Design – M Denton Esq
Typography – Andy Dymock



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So Shots magazine contacted us and asked if I was interested in being interviewed for an article in their Cannes 150th Special Edition magazine.

Never being one for turning down the opportunity for a bit of PR I said I’d do it, but also being a bit cheeky I got my lovely assistant Catriona to enquire about the possibility of being on the front cover.

Shots very politely explained that the decision for the cover was made once they had their hands on all of the supplied images for the various articles.

Obviously I thought it would be nice to be in with a chance so I started to scribble out a few ideas that would be relatively quick and simple to shoot for next to no money.

It’s the way I tackle any creative problem insofar as I can’t seem to get my brain engaged without a black Pentel sign pen and an A4 Goldline layout pad in my mitts.

I churned out about a dozen scamps but one in particular made me chuckle. It was an idea to illustrate my thoughts on the changing role of creatives, and how they used to be seen as the geese that laid the golden eggs. But I thought they’d never go with that so I made sure there were a few ‘safe’ options in reserve.

Then I phoned my old mate the very talented photographer Sean de Sparengo and asked him if he was up for it… Thankfully he laughed even more than I did and there followed a fun day piss-ballin’ about in front of the camera at Pear Tree studios.

The only slightly uncomfortable moment came when Sean informed me that he’d have to put a reflector under my bare arse, which effectively was the same as squatting over a mirror.

…It certainly took a few man-hours of skilful manipulation by Oli Carver to retouch the ‘clench’ out of my buttocks.

Delighted with the end result I showed my Missus Anna… ‘You can’t give them that’ she said when she saw the bare arse shot.

I felt the same but I did what I normally do in those situations when I’m a bit nervous about a piece of creative work: I absolutely ignored myself and sent it to Shots anyway.

Apparently it split the vote a bit and they needed some time to think about it.

It’s funny how a few weeks later when I told Anna the news that Shots probably wouldn’t be running the photo on the cover she changed her tune and said ‘No! They’ve got to run it’.

It’s probably how clients feel when they’re shown a new piece of work. They really do need a bit of time to get comfortable with it.

It all seemed to work out OK in the end because my smiling face and rosy cheeks made the cover.

All in all one of the proudest moments of my career.


This one seemed to stand out a bit…

The Real Deal.

Photographer – Sean de Sparengo at MADAM and F62.
Retoucher – Oli Carver.

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Mark’s sell-out D&AD talk is now online HERE.

At nearly 80 minutes it’s about 5 times the length of the average TED talk SO IT MUST BE GOOD.

But don’t take our word for it, here’s what some of the biggest names in the business have said:

‘My daughter’s right, she said his talks are better than mine’ – Dave Trott, ECD at The Gate.

‘For me, the most inspirational person working in the business today.’ – Mark Fairbanks, ECD Havas Worldwide.

‘Amazing’ – Tony Kaye, (yes, The Tony Kaye).

‘From growing up in a two telly household to never giving up on something you believe in. Mark is open, honest, idiosyncratic and utterly compelling. Pure, wonderful Denton.’ – Justin Tindall, ECD at Leo Burnett London.

‘Life-affirming’ – Damon Collins, ECD at Joint.

‘Mark gave me £50 to say how brilliant his D&AD talk was, but honestly I’d have said it for free.’ – Paul Silburn, ECD Saatchi & Saatchi London.

‘The finest moustache outside of Mexico.’ – Sean Doyle, CD at TBWA London.

On top of all that D&AD have told us that it was not only one of their most over-subscribed lectures ever it was also their most popular live event on twitter: #publicityshy tweets were still coming into the feed 5 days after the event.

D&AD also said that the ‘Q&A was an extraordinary success. People generally don’t like Q&As and usually leave before it starts. Well, not this time’.

We could go on and tell you about all of the retweeted quotes like ’90%of insects are shit’ and ‘I said it but not in a Hitler sort of way’ but we don’t want to spoil the plot for you.

Have a watch. We’d love to know what you think.


B&W photograph: Julian Hanford.

Publicity Shy: Oliver Carver.

STOP PRESS! Here’s the Q&A that was too long for D&AD to fit on the end of ‘Publicity Shy‘ online.

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We’ve been so busy that we forgot to mention our recent silver award at Creative Circle.

It was in the highly prized image manipulation category. The image in question being a picture of Mark’s potato-like bonce shot by our very own Fern Berresford and enhanced with the all-important CG features by A Large Evil Corporation.

Final retouching was by the maestro herself, Miss Fern Berresford.

The judges obviously found it very ‘apeeling’.

Concept: Amber Osborne
Design / art direction: M Denton Esq
Photography: Miss Fern Berresford
Potato peelings: Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti / Catriona Wright
CG Manipulation: A Large Evil Corporation
Retouching: Fern Berresford

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Following Mark’s success as the executive producer of the hit play ‘Sex Cells’ he’s now turned his attention to Hollywood and the silver screen.

The fruits of his labours can be seen on ITV Movies in the form of the new Toyota idents.

The brief was to emulate the classic movie logos that you see at the start of films.

The hard bit was that from a legal point of view they couldn’t actually copy anything from the proper ones that we all know and love.

They seem to have worked out all right, we’re actually very pleased with them.

Mark’s having a lie down in his trailer now.

Director: Mark Denton Esq. Creative team – Gemma Phillips & Mark Slack. Post Production – MPC. Producer – Miss Sara Cummins. Design / Typography – Mark Denton Esq & Andy Dymock.

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Yes, you read it right.

We’re now up to our eyelashes in show business (there’s no business like it apparently.)

To be precise, we’re putting on a play.

It’s called “SEX CELLS” and it’s on at the Riverside Studios between the 1st – 27th October.

It was written by my missus under her nom de plume ‘Anna Longaretti’.

It’s her first ever play, but I always knew she was an imaginative writer (you should see some of her shopping lists.)

Now, outside of a good farce or stonking musical, I’m not a big fan of the theatre. So when Anna asked me to read “SEX CELLS” I might have groaned a bit.

I read it, and it was good. Really good. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

I said, you’ve got to get it made, but not in the local church hall or over a pub. It has to go on at a proper theatre.

Aim for the top.

And she did. She approached most of the top theatres around town and got turned down by them.

There was a lot of positive feedback, but no one seemed to want to take a risk on a brand new writer.

So, never being one for taking no for an answer, I very wisely suggested that we produce it despite having no previous theatrical experience.

And what an education it’s been.

Anna has ended up being a first time theatre producer as well as a first time writer.

I’m doing my bit by sorting out the poster, programme and trailer (shot by our very own Miss Fern Berresford.)

And, following my long-term policy of getting more talented people than myself to help, I’ve enrolled my mate Dave Dye at Hello People to do the advertising.

So here we are, with three weeks to go, and almost five thousand tickets to sell.

I’m so nervous/excited, I want to puke.

So, if you fancy an entertaining evening in October please buy a ticket. In fact, why not rent a minibus and bring all of your friends and family.

Let me know which night you’re coming and you’ll find that I won’t be mean with the maltesers.

Stay tuned for more exciting news and theatrical updates as they happen.

Yours feverishly,

M Denton Esq

“Sex Cells” Trailer from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

Trailer Credits: Director – Miss Fern Berresford, Director of Photography – Miguel Ragageles, Music – Simon Bass, Sound – Pure Soho, Post-Production – MPC, Editor – Sacha Szwarc at Speade, Typographer – Kate Henderson, Make-Up – Angela Amelia Sellar

Poster Credits: Photographer – Miss Fern Berresford, Designer/Art Director – Mark Denton, Typographer – Kate Henderson, Retouching – Oliver Carver

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Who would have guessed the reaction that we got for my article in Campaign last Thursday. We’ve had responses from all over the globe – from Bangkok to San Francisco. It was just a little reflection about the state of the industry. The bottom line is, it seems we’re all in it together, up to our necks in it to be precise. Anyway, here’s the article for anyone who hasn’t read it yet…

Hello, Mark Denton speaking. How can I help? Yes, you mentioned that there’s not a lot of money on this one in the pre-pre-pre-pre-prod. No, don’t worry about it. It’s not that unusual nowadays.

So there’s a script change? The tiger is now appearing on a snow-covered mountain top? No. That’s fine. But, obviously, when we were talking locations in the pre-pre-pre-prod, we didn’t know that.

Sorry? And there’s no budget to go abroad? I see. You do know it’s July now, don’t you? In England?

Of course I’d be happy to attend a client get-together before the research results are in. Oh! So you need a new treatment seeing as the script has changed? Right, great. When do you need it by? Tomorrow! That could be a bit tricky. Milton Keynes by 8am? It’s doable. In a leather-bound treatment folder? I’m sure we can find one of those somewhere.
Just out of interest, why do you need that? Another director produced one? Well, that’s understandable. And should I write my own treatment or get a bloke with A-level English and a book on Film-Making For Dummies to write it for me?

Oh. You’re not judging the director’s vision, you’re still trying to make your mind up who the treatments are for exactly. Well, what are the choices? The team, the creative directors, the account group or the client? That must be tough. And how many directors did you say are pitching now? Six? No, I don’t mind repitching. It’s good to know that you’ve whittled it down a bit.

Reference? Well, I thought I’d, er… sorry? I’m in a contest for who can find the best reference pictures on Google? I’m not sure that will necessarily tell you who the best director is – more like who’s got the best researcher. I see. You want something original? I’d be happy to. But you want me to show photographic evidence of it? That might be a bit awkward, since it hasn’t been done yet. OK, I’ll see what I can do.

What about the storyboard? You know that I draw my own? Not make it too cartoony. Any special reason? The client might think it’s animation. Does that mean you don’t think that the client can tell the difference between a storyboard and the finished article? Well, yes, I suppose it is best to cover all bases.

By the way, your colleague mentioned that you didn’t want to pay the first 50 per cent of the production budget on time? Yes, I completely understand.

So we’ll bankroll your multi-squillion-pound company and wait three months for our money, after the event, because the client won’t have paid you yet? Great!

Oh, just one last thing. On our last job, when we went to visit your client in Edinburgh, there wasn’t so much as a sandwich laid on. Nothing. Not even a biscuit! Which was just as well, really, cos there wasn’t even a cup of tea to dip it in.

What? You have to create a purchase order in order to get tea? Right. No problem. See you tomorrow morning at eight. Bye.

Sara! Wash out the thermos, we’re going to Milton Keynes.

This article was first published on


Series 2 Episode 9

It’s July 4th, that makes it 25 years (or A QUARTER OF A CENTURY!) since I started an agency with four other blokes.

Being quite creative from the outset we had the idea of calling it Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow and Johnson.

Snappy eh?

In the past people have asked me “was it a hard decision to start up on your own?”

Actually it was very easy given I had no say in it. It was all decided by fate.

The seeds were sown on my first day in a new job at BBH back in 1984.

To give you an idea about how long ago it was, I remember that there was only 30 people on the internal phone list.

BBH was small, but that didn’t stop them being the hottest hotshop in town, with a fearsomely great Art Director in command in the form of  (pre Sir) John Hegarty.

And there was I joining from the extremely unfashionable Leo Burnett (I know they’re good now) with a portfolio full of rejected scamps and one TV commercial.

I was cakking myself.

My new copywriter was someone that I’d only met a couple of times previously….Chris Palmer.

He’d been at BBH for six months and although it was his first job in advertising (from being a despatch rider) he’d fallen on his feet and found himself as John Hegarty’s writer.

That bit of good fortune (and a bit of talent) had resulted in Chris winning six D&AD pencils in his first six months in the business.

No pressure on me then.

So there was only one thing for it. I did what I normally did when I felt a bit nervous about my immediate future.

I booked a session with my Clairvoyant…..Madame Claire of Catford.

Chris overheard me making the appointment and was somewhat intrigued.

I explained that it was an extremely good night out; you nip down to Brownhill Road Catford and put yourself in Claire’s hands.

With her supernatural ability she then predicts forthcoming events in your life with uncanny accuracy.

And then you go out for a curry and a pint or two of lager.

How could he resist? So the pair of us ended up heading down to the Deep South the following Friday night.

Of course I went in first because it was my idea.

I was led into Claire’s dimly lit room by her brother who looked like an aging ‘Lurch’ from the Addams Family only with greasy dyed black hair.

Claire was there behind a small table topped with a black velvet cloth covered in dusty chalk marks.

She resembled a short heavy-set version of Diana Dors when she was well past her pin-up days…..but I wasn’t there because of her looks.

She offered me the seat opposite and handed me a deck of tatty playing cards which she asked me to shuffle and cut.

Then she picked up one half of the deck and dealt them into the different chalk marked sections around the table.

The reading began.

I was told that I’d just met someone, it was a good thing.

She saw a great partnership.

She could see me in front of the camera and behind the camera.

…. Yes, it was going to be an extremely good partnership, we were going to have our names over the door and she bunged in fame and fortune too for good measure.

Well, when it came to the curry afterwards the pair of us were struggling to get a word in, we were that fluffed up. You see she’d given Chris the same reading.

….fame, fortune, in front of the camera, behind the camera, NAME OVER THE BLEEDIN’ DOOR!

So when we were at Lowes a couple of years later and a stranger named Paul Simons called me to ask if we were interested in starting up an agency, I just cupped the receiver and said to Chris ‘it’s that phone call we’ve been waiting for’.

What a roller coaster ride that turned out to be.

We did pretty well (creatively at least). I’m pretty sure most of the creative department won or got nominated for a pencil (or several in some cases).

There’s one small detail that Claire forgot to tell us.

Just over six years after we set up shop we got fired.

….But that’s another story, and apparently I still have to have a solicitor present when I tell it.

NIKE ‘kick it’ from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

wrangler DJ from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

TNT hopping pecker from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

samson batteries from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

Greenpeace from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

Thanks to everyone who helped make me look good for that six and a bit years.

Paul White, Trevor D’Silva, Andy McKay, Tim Riley, Keith Bickel, Adam Denton, Sean Doyle, Paul Diver, Keith Courtney, Warren Brown, Chris Bardsley, Gary Martin, Mark Goodwin, Tony Barry, Paul Silburn, Tiger Savage, Guy Moore, Tony Malcolm, John Tisdall, Barry Brand, and Dave Dye….not forgetting Ben Priest, who got his first ad into D&AD while on placement….and of course Chris Palmer (whatever happened to him?)



Mark Denton Esq (our esteemed leader) likes the sound of his own voice.

So much so that he shares it with the rest of the creative community in the form of his talks.

They seem to be going down quite well as they’re starting some very interesting conversations.

One in particular resulting in COY! taking on an exciting new(ish) photographer – PAUL BURCH.

Paul’s not exactly ‘new’ insofar as he’s been in advertising for a couple of decades as a successful Creative director / Art director.

He’d been keeping his photography under wraps and was only moved to show Mark after he saw his talk at Publicis earlier this year.

Paul made it clear that although he was passionate about photography (having worked with some of the greats like David LaChapelle, Albert Watson and Paolo Roversi), he had been happy to beaver away at it on the quiet.

To be honest Mark says he wasn’t expecting much given Paul’s modesty.

As it turns out he had nothing to be modest about.

The work was fantastic.

No one would have guessed that he was completely self taught and didn’t do the normal kind of apprenticeship.

His work had the polish and sophistication of someone who’d spent a lifetime perfecting his craft.

What made it even more remarkable was the majority of it was shot on film with minimal retouching.

He’s even created his own Collodion wet plates!

So to cut a long story short, Paul is now a COY! photographer with a bunch of exciting new projects to sink his teeth into.

We’re convinced that Paul is not going to be able to operate under the radar for much longer (even if he wants to).

Paul’s Portfolio

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…just a snapshot from our ‘Evil’ Exhibition that went up at JWT last night.

We were going to stick this one in but we pulled it out at the last minute.

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