AIB and ROTHCO release beautiful new book literally grown from grass roots

Creativity, Innovation

Demonstrating the power of natural resources, ROTHCO and Allied Irish Bank (AIB) announce the tour of an incredible new book, ‘10 | The Book That Grew’. In an initiative to support Irish agriculture and farming, the book has been grown entirely from grass.

In a world’s first, every page, every word, and every diagram in this book was formed by real grass roots as they grew.

In 2017, AIB partnered with Teagasc (Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority) to launch a multi-year campaign to increase grass utilization on Irish livestock farms. AIB has a business relationship with almost 35% of farmers in Ireland and with the roots of the Irish economy in Agriculture, AIB is committed to backing farmers with the help they need to grow their business.

‘The Book That Grew’ is the latest instalment of AIB’s ongoing campaign. Working with creative agency, ROTHCO, AIB wanted to deliver the most up to date guide for efficiency and sustainability in farming by changing the way farmers see the country’s greatest resource – grass.

The book was grown from the very grass that Irish farmers nurture and contains 10 tangible lessons and 10 pieces of practical advice designed to help maximize sustainability and increase profitability. These 10 steps enable farmers to achieve a ‘perfect’ 10 rotations of grass grazing per year, and produce 10 tonnes of grass per hectare – a truly powerful number that will greatly improve the sustainability of even the most efficient farm. These lessons shaped into the pages of a book were created by bespoke plates that were used to manipulate the growth of the roots into legible shapes.

Each page was grown during February and March 2019 by German artist Diana Scherer. The pages were then harvested in Amsterdam and bound together in Dublin by Letterpress Printer and Bookbinder, Jamie Murphy of The Salvage Press. Everything in the book, including the ink and binding were made from the same grass, demonstrating that when managed correctly, it can work wonders.

‘10 | The Book That Grew’ will now begin a tour of the country at AIB-partnered agricultural events such as the National Ploughing Championships. The book contents will be made available on AIB’s website, while video and photography of how this incredible process took place will be distributed through AIB’s social channels.

Alan Kelly, CCO says:

We’ve always believed in getting the right message to the right people in the most appropriate way possible. So, what could be more appropriate for a message about sustainability for farmers than growing the message itself.  I love this work. An extraordinary idea matched by extraordinary craft.

Creative Director Ray Swan:

The idea of growing a book from grass roots about grass management and sustainability was beautifully simple and powerful. We knew it would be difficult, maybe even impossible, because nobody has ever tried this before, but in AIB we had a client who was willing to go on this journey with us.

Mark Doyle, CMO of AIB:

Following our recent announcement of making five billion euro funding available to support Ireland’s transition to a lower carbon economy, ‘10 | The Book That Grew’ is another demonstration of how we are backing our customers with the help they need to grow a sustainable business. A world first, this book showcases how small changes in farm practices can improve output and increase profitability, delivered in a truly unique way.  We look forward to displaying ‘10 | The Book That Grew’ alongside our Sustainability Shedtalks at agricultural events throughout Ireland this summer.

Over the past 23 years, ROTHCO has risen to become a leading creative agency in Ireland.  Always been driven by a global ambition, they have produced campaigns that have run in 23 markets, for brands such as Heineken, Aon, Unilever, AIB, Hailo/MyTaxi, Rory McIlroy Inc., Kodak and Tesco. ROTHCO’s work has been globally recognized with awards from every major global awards show and in 2018 they took home 117 international awards, including the coveted Cannes Lions Grand Prix in the Creative Data category.


Client:  AIB

Agency: Rothco

Executive Producer: Al Byrnes

Executive Creative Director: Alan Kelly

Creative Team: Fabiano Dalmacio & Rob Maguire

Creative Directors: Ray Swan & Emma Sharkey

Account Director: Alan McQuaid

Project Director: Irene Sharkey

Business Director: Jimi McGrath

Design Director: Shane O’Riordan

Designer: Diogo Dias

Artist: Diana Scherer

Photographer:  Diana Scherer

Letterpress Printer & Book Binder: Jamie Murphy @ The Salvage Press

Production Assistant: Siobhan Coakley

PR: Jill Byrne

Director: Jake Viramontez

Director of Photography: Jake Viramontez

Editor:  Jake Viramontez

Sound:  Will Farrell @ Screen Scene