First, it seems that Part 1 hit a bit of a nerve.
I got a way more feedback than I usually do.
Maybe it was a contrast to the science, pseudo science and plain bullshit around our business at the moment?
But reducing the process down to a simple, human form seemed to really resonate, o
ne person said it was like ‘advertising unplugged’.
Which was the point.
But you never really know how people will respond, often the posts I like most are the least viewed.
Also, I really wasn’t sure whether to do that or not; Would people relate to such a basic form of advertising? Would the boards have any effect? Would I look foolish in the process?

Second; I got some data; December 2017 v December 2018.
(I started putting out those boards three weeks before Christmas.)
Sales in 2018 were up 9%.
Anyone who’s been around advertising for a while will know that it’s very hard to directly attribute sales to ads, or even A-Boards.
People always cite the warm weather, cold weather, low price, high quality, and a whole bunch of other factors before crediting the advertising.
But in the absence of those people, I’m claiming it.
+9% is very encouraging.
(Although, being an art director, I’d have preferred double figures, 11% looks more than 2% more than 9%, don’t you think?).

So, what did I learn from Part 1?
a) The first job is to jump out and grab passers-by.
b) The fewer words and pictures you use the more chance you have of jumping out and grabbing passers-by.
c) Be clear, not open to interpretation.
d) Make the messages relevant to passers-by.
Jesus! Is that learning?
I was told that 30 years ago and the people who told me that were probably told that 30 years before.

Looking at the positive; what I was taught 30 years ago is as relevant today as it was then.
So perhaps it’s been a useful reminder.



CLIENT FEEDBACK: Cheese continued to sell well.”
Looking back, it’s far too complicated for an A-Board, too many small words, plus; I buried the most interesting bit; ‘Kate Moss’.
Maybe we could call out famous local residents/customers?
It may get picked up on social media…or actual media.
E.g. ‘HEY JAMIE OLIVER! We’ve got some of that Italian cheese in that you like.’
The client rejects the idea, worrying that it may put famous customers off coming in.

CLIENT FEEDBACK:“People didn’t get it.”
Well, to be more precise; some people came in and said they didn’t understand it, the people who did understand it probably didn’t feel the need to pop and announce that they understood it.
In retrospect, it’s topical, but not particularly motivating or relevant to people.

CLIENT FEEDBACK: “Sales weren’t bad, a couple of people asked for wiggly lines with their ciabatta.”
Shame, I quite liked that one.

CLIENT FEEDBACK: “Sold quite a lot, I spotted quite a lot of people reading it and looking up at our sign.”
Good, but no ‘Pannetone”.
Maybe it’s just too abstract, ‘We have our own brand of olive oil’ would be clearer, but dull.



A short-hand has developed; I’ll occasionally walk past and notice a board is missing, this is generally due to some client discomfort with a message, e.g. ‘our stuff is pricey’.
In this instance it was because the client was amending the creative work, without warning, discussion or contact reports.
Kate Moss and her mouse have been axed in favour of a cheese and some new words.
If you’re in the creative department it’s in your contract to find fault with client amendments.
But not being in a creative department I decide to ignore the tiny Action Man sized knife, the angle of the line crossing out ‘Switzerland’ and the weird blob purporting to be ‘Toast’.
Instead I look on the positive side; it kind of works, it’s fewer words than before, it’s better for selling a specific cheese, let’s see what happens.IMG_7571
CLIENT FEEDBACK: ”Cheese continued to sell well”.

I was disappointed with the results of the last execution, it’s a big-ticket item, a good product, a new product and it’s exclusive to Limone.
I have another chat with the client.
Again, she regales me with stories about how good it is, the part of Sicily it came from, how she’d spent seven years looking for a virgin olive oil to put their name, how many she’d tried and rejected before choosing this one.
It’s very convincing but difficult to distil that down to a few words.
Also, it’s better when delivered by a human being who believes it than a two-dimensional blackboard.
The client also mentioned that people often come in and ask her for recommendations, maybe we use the board as one big recommendation?

Walking past it the next day two things occur to me;
1. It’s the same as an ad I did with Sean back at AMV/BBDO.

2. It’s rubbish.
The issue is media; in mass media, like the Volvo ad, being so chatty like that is a contrast to all the bombast around it, so makes it charming, on a chalkboard it feels normal, possibly even under-selling it.
What to do? What to do?
One of the things that’s been in the back of my mind has been the price; £16.99, pretty expensive, not perhaps in the world of fancy virgin olive oils, but it is in the world of wandering down the high street to pick-up a nice olive oil.
I know the client doesn’t want to talk about stuff being dear, but perhaps we need to mention it.
I have an idea I like;  the client can sell the olive oil better than any chalkboard.
ME: Why don’t we invite people in to talk to you about your olive oil and why it’s so expensive?
CLIENT: I didn’t really want to mention the price, some people will think it’s expensive.
ME: It is expensive…but there’s no way you can make a sale without the price coming up?
CLIENT: Yeah…but some people can’t afford that.
ME: We’re not talking to them.
CLIENT: I don’t know…do we have to say expensive?
ME: Maybe we just say ask me why it costs £16.99?
CLIENT: Mmm…ok, I’ll trust you.

ME: If they come in and talk to you about it, we’re half way there, maybe even 53% there?IMG_7585.jpg
CLIENT FEEDBACK: Mmm…about the same as last week”.
Damn! I had high hopes for that one, who could going in to find out more? Many people, it turns out.

As often happens, a client has fallen in love with a particular execution, so runs it again and again and again.
Sometimes the client will mention that people often say they like that one, as if to pressure me not wipe that board clean and start again.
CLIENT FEEDBACK: People seem to really like that one”.



Weird one this.
In the middle of a conversation my Abundance Investment client Matt, he tells me he’s just had a terrible cruffin.
I didn’t know how to respond, was it something that needed treatment?

He informs me that it’s a muffin/croissant hybrid they’re selling in Brighton.
I decide to use it, maybe it’s good to appear as though you have your finger on the pulse of food, even if you think it’s crap.
(Spend too long, about an hour, trying to think of pretentious food hybrids that may be sold in Shoreditch.
It’s a fun thing to do, but a single A board doesn’t deserves that amount of time.)

CLIENT FEEDBACK: Mixed, I had a lot of people saying they thought that board was funny…and probably the same amount ordering cruffins…which I don’t sell.”
Wow! Humans; what a bunch of nutters! It literally says ‘we don’t sell cruffins’ in big words.
It’s the kind of feedback you get when being debriefed by research companies and don’t believe.

Generic cheese; w
hat do we say?
I like the idea that cheese you buy from a deli comes in exactly the size you want, not a predetermined block.
Bespoke sizes?
We cut just the amount you need?
I know we’re not solving a problem people have with cheese, but it reminds them its fresh cut, not pre-packaged supermarket cheese.

CLIENT FEEDBACK: Cheese sales continued to be strong.”
Blimey, I wonder what difference the executions are making?
Is simply calling out cheese enough?
Would sales be just as strong if just wrote ‘Cheese’ with an arrow next to it?

Just up the road is a Fancy Dan branch of the Gails chain, they’ve just introduced a new, ecologically sound coffee cup which seems to have hit Limone’s coffee sales.
The client has suggested giving 20% off to people with their own cups, that’s even more ecologically sound than Gails offer.
I sketch out a big call to action idea.

Whoa! Hang on a minute; too many words, too serious looking.
I draw a cup and some T’dah! lines.

CLIENT FEEDBACK: Not bad, bit of an improvement in sales, sold a few plastic cups too.
One bloke came in to ask who did the signs as ‘all cups are portable, I know about these things…I’m an author’ “.
Not sure about the portable thing, it was supposed to be a joke?
But the thought isn’t motivating enough?



A new push to sell coffee without the paper cup.
So, 20% off.
Initially I come up with an idea for a cup of coffee loose, wobbling around like liquid in space, with a line like ‘20% OFF COFFEE, YOU’LL NEED YOUR OWN CUP THOUGH!’
But then I think; 20% didn’t move people last time, why should it this time? The cute wobbly coffee visual? I don’t think so.
Taking your own cup to and from the store is a pain in the arse, the only reason people do it is to do their bit for their planet; we need either:
a) Picture of their planet.
b) The word ‘SAVE!’
c) The word ‘HELP!’.
Initially I write ‘Save this and 20% off this’ next to a picture of Earth and a cup of coffee.
Bit serious.

Not sure whether to use the word ‘already’.
I like it because it makes Earth sound more characterful, like it has an accent.
The accent may be Jewish, is that bad to sound Jewish? Or is that just a more characterful voice?
It’s not derogatory, I’m over-worrying.

Who could we appeal to in the mornings?

Young mums; there seem to be a lot of them, many having just dropped older kids at one of the many schools in Highgate.
Although they tend to go to the coffee chains further up the hill.
We need to invite them in, Deli’s can come over as a bit serious and grown up, maybe we can send out a signal that ‘You and your baby are welcome here’.
Let’s give them a discount at a particular time.

(Like ‘Nappy Hour’, possibly should’ve saved it for something bigger, oh well, let’s just keep it between us.)

Is it selling because we’re singling out cheese or are the executions helping?
Let’s find out whether it would sell just as well by simply writing ‘CHEESE!’ next to an arrow pointed at the shop.


15 responses to DON’T BE ASHAMED TO S***! PART 2.

  1. Steve Loftus says:

    All interesting stuff Dave, loving Nappy Hour [probably should have saved it] and ‘must present a baby at the counter.’ Keep em coming much more valuable nuggets and wit than the majority of LinkedIn bollocks.

  2. Derek Payne says:

    Interesting that ‘Highgate’s preeminent’ does so well. All the promotion is cast aside and you have a sort of postcode confirmation bias that works.

    • dave dye says:

      Hey Derek,
      Interestingly, about 10% of the shops in the high street have ‘Highgate’ in their name; Highgate Butchers, The Highgate Bookshop, Highgate Stationers, etc.
      So I think you’re right.

  3. Mick G says:

    More fantastic stuff.

    If they like the “lovely bits and bobs” ad, why not use it as a strap and transfer it to the window?

    I’m guessing you got so much feedback on this project because this is what we use to do, and should still be doing, but sadly we don’t.

    • dave dye says:

      Thanks Mick, had the same thought, if you look at one of the pictures, (Olive Oil), you’ll see the perfect strip for it under the name. Dx

  4. Keith Bickel says:

    These are hugely enjoyable, Dave. A PODCAST with the A-Boards as guests would be worth 2 hours of anyone’s time. Best wishes, Keith.

    • dave dye says:

      Hey Keith, good idea, it presents a few technical issues, but I’ll look into it. Dx

  5. Jonathan says:

    Great stuff Dave, why don’t you set up a Limone A Boards Instagram so that you can create a dialogue direct with the consumers?

    • dave dye says:

      Thanks Jonathan, great idea, although technically tricky, I’ll look into it. Dx

  6. Dave Waters says:

    genius. is the olive oil really that good? you’ve tried it right?

  7. dave dye says:

    Hey Dave,
    I’m trying to intrigue people into trying it, sounds like you’re halfway there?
    (Would it kill you to use a capital letter once in a while?)

  8. seba wilhelm says:

    Love this project. I hope you get some free olive oil in return, to put on your cruffin.

  9. dave dye says:

    Hey Seba, thanks, it’s fun to do, in fact it’s hard to be disciplined enough to give it only three hours a week. I have been given some olive oil, but sadly no cruffin? Dx

  10. Liam B says:

    Thanks for sharing Dave. These posts are so enjoyable and a timely reminder of what our actual job is. I find it incredibly satisfying seeing you ‘get work out’. Maybe that’s sad, but it’s such a battle these days!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.