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Jan 2017

The Art of Persuasion in Trump’s America

Friday’s inauguration brings with it a palpable sense of doom – reckless cabinet picks, a blatant disregard for intelligence, personal lawsuits, fire, brimstone, the whole nine (just look at how mean those eyes are).

But like any other red-blooded, self-absorbed American, you have to wonder, “what’s in it for me?” What can President Trump do for an average, middle class, white, advertising stiff, like Self. Of course, most of us in the industry seem deeply opposed to having a bigoted, misogynist, greedy game show host for a president – at least that’s the view from inside our bubble.

We say, “chin up, fellow advertisers!” This could be our golden age.

Think about it. We live in a time where lying is not only fine, it can earn you the vote (or the purchase, or the respect), of millions of Americans. All you have to do is,… lie. Make up the craziest shit you can imagine. Soda that makes you live longer. Cars that go 100 miles per second. Shoes that give you handjobs. It’s all fair game.

No longer will we be held accountable to the “product warnings” or hand-cuffed by lengthy “terms and conditions.” Borrr-ing. Just make it up. Nobody cares! And be sure to promise change – you don’t even have to deliver on it, just promise. In recent testing, consumers eat empty promises up and never even bother to question them.

How many times has one of your great ideas been killed because it included  “inaccurate representations of the product,” or an “over-promise” of the benefit. Bah! This is Trump’s America. We can over-promise whatever the hell we want. 

So tough as it may be to see fellow Americans of various backgrounds lose their civil liberties, and sad as it is may be to watch rampant drilling destroy the planet, and scary-as-cancer it may be that our twitter-happy commander-in-chief could provoke a world war scenario, don’t let that hamper your craft.

Be bold. Be creative. Be questionable. These are questionable times all you masters of persuasion. And the last I checked, it’s our job to exploit the times.  

This is our time to make advertising great again. 



Apr 2016

New Work Explosion

Sure, we could have posted each one of these projects in real time. Or we could just shotgun you with the heaping load we’ve been carrying. We picked B, but we’ll start with the most recent work to at least keep it timely.

OPB news New campaign, “Covering the Spectrum.” Concepts and Copy





Nike Golf Vapors, winter and Major promotions, Online, In-Store. Concepts and Copy

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Glasshouse Brand ID, Logo, Tag, App/Web, Collateral Creative and Production

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Jul 2015

Ice Cream With Some Branding On Top

We recently had the good fortune to work with an old friend on branding his new ice cream shop. He wasn’t so sure about this “branding” we spoke of, but he knew exactly who he was and what his shop would be. Simple, honest ice cream. Nothing fancy. Always delicious. Which was good enough for us.

Portlanders, in all their infinite, artisanal, farm-to-food truck wisdom can find new, exciting gastronomic experiences all the time, but what’s missing are the sensible ones. Dropping $20 on ice cream for a family of four – not sensible.

Let’s not forget people, this is ice cream. Sugar. Milk. Ice. Really hard to fuck up. And while Dairy Hill does in fact put out a creamy, delicious product (try the ice cream sandwich), the goal was never to reinvent ice cream, but rather, to remind us of what the ice cream experience is all about. A welcome respite from a sweltering summer afternoon. A little-league champs’ celebration. A random Tuesday night treat for the whole family.

And that’s exactly what Dairy Hill became. Your friendly neighborhood scoop shop.

Based on the empirical data provided by Facebook likes and Yelp posts, this ice-cream model seems to be just what people are looking for.



Indoor Signage

Indoor Signage

T-Shirt (Back)

T-Shirt (Back)


T-Shirt (Front)







Jun 2015

Compartmentalize Your Social

In a recent discussion, we here at Self were forced to lay it down proper: Posting food pictures in social media is stupid. Here’s why:

  1. A picture of food never looks as good on your phone as it does in IRL.
  2. The best part about food is not how it looks.
  3. Everyone and their blind grandma posts food pics. Yours is different though, right?

That led to the larger discussion of selfies, pets and kid pics being part of this unnecessary category. Instead of posting the adorableness of your offspring, how bout just enjoying it – live the moment you’re busy sharing with the rest of us. But, hey, even a cranky Deard is a sucker for cute kids, so fine. Facebook. But no where else.

Which all led to an even larger discussion: What’s acceptable (and what’s not) for the various social media channels:

  • Facebook. Post your kid pics. Fiiiiiiine. This is your venue, where friends and family actually want to see them, and the rest of us will deal with it. Links to interesting/humorous articles/videos are always welcome. But please, no food pics.
  • Instagram. Show us a new visual perspective. Something unexpected. Or funny. The only kid/selfie/pet pic that’s even remotely acceptable is the creative one – and no, a shot of your kid sitting in dog food does not qualify.
  • Twitter. Stay on brand – share the content your followers expect from you. Going down your own rabbit hole only gains and keeps real, earned followers. And please, no kid, pet or food pics.
  • LinkedIn. All work. No exceptions. Share links related to your profession only. No kid pics. No selfies. And again, no food pics.
  • Snapchat Don’t get us started. No food pics.

And just to be clear, please, no more food pics.



Feb 2015

Shameless SELF Promo- The OSU Donor Book

While the rest of you gathered round the egg nog, drunk on yule-tide spirit, this non-denominational heathen was hard at work with the @WatsonCreative team, developing an outstanding little donor book for Oregon State University and Beaver Nation.

Very proud of the words we here at Self contributed, but we gots to give it up to the talented Mr. Matt Watson and his team for the slick, matte black cover and orange foil finish. Solid effort all around.

Now where’s my leftover ham?







Oct 2014

No Bad Press

Fine, so our latest work for @OPB has become the poster child for why digital-billboards kill. Who cares? All we’re asking drivers to read as they hurtle down HWY 26 at 75 mph through a torrential downpour are three simple words. Perfectly harmless.

Besides, it was featured in the Oregonian! (print edition only – another ad from the rotation is featured online).

Sadly, nobody reads the paper anymore, but at least it makes for great blog content.


  • by Geoffrey
  • 0 Comment
  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Standard


Oct 2014

The Great Phone Company Break-Up

It’s not me, ATT. It’s you. All you.

I want an iPhone 6 and, as a “loyal” customer, who pays bills on time, I figure buying a new (discounted) phone with a new 2-year contract, should be easy. In fact, it should be your pleasure, ATT.

But our last contract is getting in the way – it’s my third, 2-year, binding agreement with you – and it says we have to wait another 45 days before we can extend our vows. Unless I want to pay full price for the phone.

I don’t want 24 installments of $28 (total $672). I want a new iPhone for $199 and the 2-year contract that goes with it (I know you claim it takes two years to recoup losses on a discounted phone, but I pay you over a $100 a month for air, so I think you’ll be alright).

You know who will give me a new iPhone for $199, and a new phone contract? Sprint will. They’ll also buy out my ATT contract, just to woo me over.

And the next time I want a new phone, or simply get an itch in my Sprint, I may go back to ATT, or T-Mobile or hell, I might even visit that sad little Verizon kiosk in the mall. Because, what’s the difference?

The rates are virtually identical. Everyone offers good coverage by now. And from a pure brand perspective, your barrage of commercials does little to persuade.

ATT is the precocious-kid-focus-group brand. Sprint is the funny-“Framily”-plan-and-Kevin-Durant-performing-unspeakable-tasks-for-suburban-ethnic-families brand. And T-Mobile is the pink-punk-rock-for-those-of-us-grasping-at-youth brand. (Is Verizon still the nerdy-repair-guy brand?) None of these campaigns creates the irrational allegiance that consumers feel toward Apple or Levis.

My marketing plan is simple, folks. Offer a loyalty reward. A rebate, a new “free” feature, or how about, hmm….A NEW iPHONE! FOR $199! And like airline miles, or any other “Buy 10, get 1 free” offer since the dawn of sales, you might just buy yourselves a customer for life.

ATT, I give you this marketing plan, out of the goodness of my heart. And, if put into practice, I may just give you a lifetime of patronage.

All I ask for in return is a new iPhone 6 (64GB). Please send to the address posted.


  • by Geoffrey
  • 0 Comment
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Standard


Jul 2014

Hashtag Vs Tagline

The ultimate advertising cage match. How to sign off your brand communication. A witty hashtag? A clever tagline? Both? Too much?

Here’s the dirty little secret most traditional agencies will never tell you: tag lines are nothing but withering old varicose veins trying to woo you with a bygone era of L’eggs sheer pantyhose.

And yet, much of our job here at Self consists of writing tag lines. Every client, from the biggest footwear companies to the smallest start-ups, all want that magic little catch-phrase – they’re “quicker-picker-upper” if you will – that will go viral and create an insatiable demand for their brand.

What all these brands need, is a proper hashtag. Not too cute, but clever enough to get noticed. On brand and on strategy. Something wholly unique that everyone will remember. Something that customers can actually use.

And yes, by “use” we mean allow customers a vehicle in which to engage with a brand. But thanks to local marketing wiz-kids over at Chirpify, hashtags are now being used to convert the sale as well.

What tagline ever did that?

Winner: Hashtags.

(Professional hashtag writers are standing by)



May 2014

The Internet Will Save You

Back in the old days, before there was an internet, or email, or selfies (at this point, can’t we just change BC and AD to BN and AN – before and after Net?) all we had was religion to keep us on the straight and narrow. Commit a sin, and the fear of God will set you straight. We saw how well that worked (*ahem catholic priesthood).

Now we have the Internet.

In the recent wake of Donald Sterling and the Solange/Jay-Z elevator cage match, we are brutally reminded that everything we say and do, could be used against us. Lest we not forget the Paula Deans, Alec Baldwins, Hasselhoffs and perhaps the first internet shame-fest, Monica Lewinsky, leaked by some dubious computer thing called the Drudge Report.

As Bill Maher brilliantly argues it’s no longer just big brother who’s watching us. It’s big girlfriend. (Quick breakdown) Maher decries the Sterling case as an outright invasion of privacy. He argues, if you can’t speak your mind freely in your own home, than why did we fight against fascism and communism in the first place.

Point noted. Democracy. Freedom of speech. Privacy. Yes. All for it.

But even in your most candid state, I don’t believe, that you, Bill Maher would spew hate-filled bigoted rants. Then again, I don’t know you. And if you did, whether you were caught or not, I would hope that you would in fact become, a social pariah. Or at least stripped of any status and power you’ve gained.

Far be it from us, here at Self to cast the first stone. We’ve said some truly regrettable things in our day. And if those things were made public, we’d be unhappy – though to the public at large, Self is a relative unknown, so even a public damning of our kind would be quickly forgotten.

Let’s face it. The world is not going decent on its own. As Maher states – we’re not good people. But can’t we at least try. Sterling isn’t going to jail, or being charged with any criminal wrong-doing. He is simply being stripped of his status, and if he ends up paying the NBA imposed fines, a small portion of his wealth. And if that forces him to pause the next time he spews some evil, hate-mongering shit (which it won’t), and edit his private words and thoughts before they go viral, well, isn’t that ok?

It’s more than religion ever did for us.




Feb 2014

Selling The Olympic Spirit

Just before the Olympics started, the advertising industry was treated to a little taste of what would be forcibly shoved down our throats for the next two and half weeks – a tv commercial featuring aspiring athletes, and what they go through to get to the Games, followed by a corporate logo that has absolutely no relatable context.

But this first one, a 2-minute spot from PROCTOR FUCKING AND GAMBLE!!!, got us.

And it wasn’t just because it had been a whole two years since the last time our heart strings were pulled by this cheap marketing ploy. Why had we fallen for it? Again?

The answer is, this one was made by Wieden and Kennedy and they do it better than anyone else. And even though P&G has no more reason to slap their corporate logos on at the end of a spot about striving for gold than Visa, McDonalds, Coke, Cisco, or any other marketing giant doing it, P&G got us.

They got us to tweet out the spot, #BecauseofMom, admitting to all of our followers that they got us. They got us with their well-crafted, real-life story-telling, to which every human watching could relate. They got us to watch two minutes of CPG advertising.

And as dirty as all that felt, just knowing that W&K could bamboozle us like that by employing the same well-worn formula as everyone else, only better, we at least have a good argument for doing better ourselves, pushing our clients and the work to a higher level.

Perhaps just striving to be the best advertiser out there is the only connection we need to feel the true Olympic spirit.