After more than 20 years producing work for clients, Jed Churcher has decided to jot down his thoughts about the industry on a T-shirt. And a hat. Oh, and underwear too.
A creative director whose career has included stints with the former J. Walter Thompson, BBDO Canada and Publicis Canada, Churcher has launched a new ecommerce brand called Another Sellout that he describes as “part love letter, part satire.” In many ways, he says, it’s the dream brand he’s always wanted to work on.
Another Sellout offers more than 50 printed-to-order items featuring some of the highly specific vernacular employed by marketing and advertising professionals, like “On brief,” “Call to action,” “See-say you later” “Caution: laddering up,” and “:06s are the new :15s.”
You can’t go online these days without stumbling across a company specializing in printed-to-order merchandise boasting pithy sayings and/or cool graphics (including another similarly inspired Canadian T-shirt line). But what makes AnotherSellout.com unique is that each item is accompanied by a write-up by Churcher that’s less product description and more of a (sometimes snarky) rumination on the marketing and advertising profession.
His lengthy description of the “Client Hat,” for example, reads in part “I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that the expression of putting on a client hat runs rampant through the hallways and conference rooms of ad agencies. Like somehow wearing a different hat makes you seem less wild and creative and more understanding of the business needs of your clients?”
And the write-up for the “Call to action” phone case reads in part, “Ahh yes, the CTA. Truly the backbone of all marketing in every category since the beginning of time. Because without the CTA, all of our customers would be left wondering ‘What do I do now? I really want that product I just saw in that ad, but they didn’t say ‘pick one up today’ in the voiceover, so I have no clue what action I should take.'”
You won’t find descriptions like those on OldNavy.com.
The goal, Churcher says, is to highlight the aspects of the profession that aren’t always celebrated in Cannes or awards show stages—the day-to-day operations and process-driven approach that comprise what he describes as the “bread and butter” of agency life. “That’s where the real people of advertising work,” he says. “And in all honesty, that’s where the real fun can be found.”
All of the product descriptions are a distillation of Churcher’s agency life. “Anyone who’s worked with me knows I’m a storyteller, and after two decades in this business, I’ve gathered a few stories along the way,” he says. “Every one of the 50-plus items in the store is born of a personal experience. And not to get all egotistical about it, but in a way, you could think of this as ‘memoirs in merch form.’
“Each one of these could have been blown out into a blog post, but there’s something interesting about making them actual items you can buy.” It’s like a form of interplay between commerce and comedy, he says.
He’d been toying with the idea of Another Sellout for some time, but (temporarily) leaving agency life freed him up to devote more time to fully develop the idea. “You need that uninterrupted feeling of sitting down and writing for eight hours straight, not worrying about whether my Microsoft Teams chat is going to blow up because something has gone astray, even though I thought today was going to be a slow day,” he says.
In addition to writing all the product slogans and descriptions, Churcher figured out the back-end functionality and integration between online ordering and suppliers, etc “You can learn anything if you spend enough time on YouTube tutorials,” he says. The only thing he didn’t create was the logo, for which he enlisted a designer on the freelance services site Fiverr a couple of years ago.
The Client Hat has proven the most popular item on the site, with Churcher proudly noting that he recently sold one to a “true Canadian advertising legend.” Let the speculation begin. “I’ve never worked for this person, which makes it so much more rewarding,” says Churcher.
Another Sellout is a bit of a waypoint for Churcher as he figures out what’s next for him professionally, providing a way to do what he does best, free from the demands and distractions of day-to-day agency life. “Unless things really go well, I’m not going to make a living off a T-shirt store for marketing professionals,” he admits. “At worst it’s a side hustle… that gives me an opportunity to write some new things.”
And what’s the biggest thing Churcher has learned while (literally) donning a client hat? “Stuff gets done way faster when you don’t have to wait for approvals.”