A long and winding path to a column about expedient advertising

—Sometimes just glimpsing a good ad can lead a viewer (in this case Craig Redmond) deep into the origin story of the brand and its creative agency—

Some years ago, an art director out of New York started a website called Accidental Porn. No, it wasn’t what you think, and I’d dissuade you from Googling that URL today.

Instead, his website was based on the insight and irrefutable truth that when art directors and designers embark on a search for stock photography or references and such, they inevitably get wildly sidetracked and sucked down endless internet rabbit warrens.

So, for example, after spending two minutes looking for an image of a doctor eating an apple, they will spend countless hours reading blogs on ancient Tunisian artifacts or something equally and hopelessly unrelated. Well, the same thing happens to writers too, apparently.

That’s why we’ll call this column “The Tale of Two… Tales.”

It started with an eyeball-grabbing screen capture of a new spot featured in a U.K. magazine that I could not access because I’m not a subscriber to the publication (side note: subscription has its privileges).

But I was damned if I could find the video anywhere else online. So, instead I spent some time absorbing the tale of its patron, Thalassophy.

The “Ocean Philosophy” circular fashion brand uses single-use plastics to make its clothing, and then asks customers to return items when they’re finished with them for a 20% discount on their next purchase.

Those used clothes are either donated to a local charity or recycled to produce the next line of ocean-friendly garments. The company was started by a hairdresser—sorry, “globally recognized hairstylist”—who became obsessed with the plastic-choked fate of the oceans while on an eco-adventure holiday.

Et, voila. Fascinating shit. But I digress.

Returning to my search for that evasive video, I hunted down its creators, who call themselves 10 Days London. And quickly got swallowed whole by their own tall tale.

The founders, each with impressive industry pedigrees, say they became disillusioned with the bureaucratic and budgetary barriers in the traditional agency journey from concept to production. Why, they ask, can Sylvester Stallone pen Rocky in three days and win three Academy Awards, when it takes an ad agency three months to produce a 30-second commercial?

So, they hung their shingle with the promise, as the name suggests, to deliver brand-building campaigns from briefing to finished production in just 10 days. Holy shit, methinks. But I digress (again).

Then, I finally found the video.

It features that imagery that stopped me in the first place, and juxtaposes it with the equally arresting words of John F. Kennedy, explaining our inextricable connection to the ocean.

Not rocket surgery by any stretch of the imagination, but still a pretty impressive effort, given the self-imposed accelerated timetable.

And not to mention, a short 40-second tale that took me on a long, fascinatingly accidental, three-hour tour.