We’re looking forward to the British Arrows, probably because we’re nominated FIVE TIMES!

All for Aldi commercials directed by M Denton Esq and Miss Fern Berresford.

Of course we don’t know if we’ll be going home with a clutch of trophies or soggy hankies.

Either way, feel free to give us a cheer when the work comes up.

Aldi – Bit of England from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

Aldi Gin Credits:
Producer (agency) – Abby Moore, Creatives – Neil Lancaster, Dave Price (McCann Manchester), Director – Mark Denton, Producer (Coy!) – Sara Cummins.

Aldi – Champagne from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

Aldi Champagne Credits:
Producer (agency) – Lucy Moore & Abby Moore, Creatives – Neil Lancaster, Dave Price (McCann Manchester), Director – Fern Berresford, Producer (Coy!) – Sara Cummins.

Aldi – Mince Pies from Coy Communications on Vimeo.

Aldi Mince Pies Credits:
Producer (agency) – Lucy Moore, Creatives – Neil Lancaster, Dave Price (McCann Manchester), Director – Mark Denton, Producer (Coy!) – Sara Cummins.

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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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I’m a big fan of Dave’s new blog.

He’s got loads of stories about some of the great advertising he’s created over the years.

The most impressive thing about it is that he goes into minute detail about the thinking behind the ideas.

It’s something I couldn’t do. If I ever have an idea it seems to fall out of the end of my pen… I don’t know where it comes from.

I just need to add a bit more detail to his current post about the 2004 D&AD annual…

Here’s a COY! blogpost from a couple of years ago that does just that (‘BIG PANTS’, below).

Dave seems to have forgotten about the bit where he rejected one of my earlier layouts with his head super-imposed onto a fat bloke’s body. I wonder why?

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I’m still up to my elbows sorting out my personal photos and unearthing stuff I’d long forgotten about.

I came across these the other day.  It’s me and the family sporting blow-up trousers.

The story is, Dave Dye was designing the 2004 D&AD annual and he’d opted for a record sleeve theme.

Of course he designed the cover and all the important bumpf at the front of the book and then he cleverly commissioned lots of well-known designers and art directors to come up with the jury pages for the different sections.

Every spread had to be in the form of the front and back of an album cover and each one had to feature a different genre.

He very flatteringly asked me to do one and I volunteered to do the Art Direction section.

I guessed that someone else would cover Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Punk, Heavy Metal, Easy Listening, Classical, Country & Western, Reggae, Soul, Folk etc, etc, etc.

So in an effort to do something a bit more unexpected I thought I’d do the instructional disc you get free with a pair of inflatable exercise pants.

The front had to feature all of the members of the Art Direction jury, but as you might have guessed, once I presented them with the concept and a pair of custom made ‘Trousertone’ strides, a few of them became a bit camera shy.

So I recruited some happy helpers (my Missus and Step Daughter) plus a chubby model, a skinny model and a bodybuilder to act as body doubles.

…and naturally I volunteered myself as well.

The shoot was a right laugh and after a nifty bit of photo-shopping we had the required images.

The only hiccup came when I presented the finished design to Dave…He liked it all but one small detail…Could I stick his head on the Bodybuilder’s body and not on the fat bloke’s.


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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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We have been a bit busy recently with the production of our play ‘Sex Cells’ (tickets still available for the final week, book now to avoid disappointment).

That doesn’t mean we have neglected the day work, we’ve just been a bit remiss in letting the world know about it.

We’ve actually seen our most creatively prolific couple of months this year with Mark shooting adverts for Shelter, Aldi and Dominos, while Fern (Berresford) and Paul (Burch) have produced a big Fiat campaign.

On top of that Fern has not only shot 18 original photos for the ‘Sex Cells’ programme, but also a lovely collection of images for the kids clothing brand ‘Olive Loves Alfie’.

Not forgetting Ollie (Carver) who has photographed a collection of Mark D / Kate Henderson designed signs for DDB NY’s Lottery campaign.

We like being busy.

Fiat Credits: Photography – Fern Berresford and Paul Burch (cars), Typography – Kate Henderson, Creatives – Joanna Perry & Damon Troth (Krow).

OlivelovesAlfie Credits: Photography – Fern Berresford.

NY Lottery Credits: Photography and retouching – Oliver Carver, Typography – Kate Henderson, Creative – Carlos Wigle (DDB NY), Design / Art Direction – Mark Denton.

Aldi Commercial Credits: Producer – Abby Moore, Creatives – Neil Lancaster, Dave Price (McCann Manchester), Direction – Mark Denton.

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Everyone in adland seems to be talking about content. It’s last week’s buzz word of the week.

But in most cases that’s all it seems to be, a lot of talk.

So to put our money where our mouth is we’ve launched a brand new company to sit alongside COY! Communications.
We’ve called it COY Content.

It seems obvious that in this age of punters watching the telly with a laptop on their lap, remote in one hand and a smartphone in the other, a different approach is required.

Our first big project is the production of a play ‘SEX CELLS’.

The programme that we’ve designed for it feels more like a magazine with proper articles and adverts in it and everything.

We’re running poster campaign courtesy of Dave Dye at Hello People to advertise it and you can view the trailer online (see how we’re mixing old stuff and new stuff up there?).

We’ve got lots of other projects in the pipeline from books to films and exhibitions, some with sponsors and partners and some completely self-initiated.

“But are COY! Communications still available to produce commercials, photography and print I hear you ask?”. You Betcha.

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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 campaignlive.co.uk


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?)