Tag Archives: creativity

Beyond Westeros

3 May

game of thrones

The rabid success of Game of Thrones – especially amongst achingly cool hipsters – has been impossible to ignore. But we think that the show can push further. We think it can go beyond mere entertainment, and turn its much-admired houses into product ideas that can attract even the most cynical members of Gen Y.

Our suggestions would include –

House Stark – “Winter is Coming”

This range of functional basics – including vests and flannel shirts – is crafted from cutting edge hi-tech performance fabrics that both insulate and wick away sweat. They’ll keep you cool in the summer, and snug in the long, doom-laden winter.

House Lannister – “A Lannister Always Pays His Debts”

As their unofficial motto states, House Lannister is very keen on shrewd money management. This slick app keeps track of all of your financial interactions, enabling you to pay your share of everything from artisan cereal street food to your Uber Lux home.

House Greyjoy – “We Do Not Sow”

We know that not everyone can find the time in their hectic taxidermy schedule to home grow food, so this twice weekly organic, foraged vegetable delivery service means that you never need to fret.

House Martel – “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Modern clothes can look so inauthentic. This service takes your dull, mass-produced threads and returns them to you as hand-distressed, uniquely broken-in vintage classics.

House Tyrell – “Growing Strong”

Your vegan diet can make macro-nutrition pretty hard to nail. This scientifically advanced, all-natural protein bar supplies all of your energy needs in one simple, rustic seed ball.

House Baratheon – “Ours is the Fury”

Finding marathons a bit passé? This gruelling 30 mile obstacle course forces you underground and over barbed wire in a frenzied and furious scramble to the finish line. Can you vanquish your opponents?

House Targaryen – “Fire and Blood”

This edgy restaurant serves only one dish – flame-seared, super-rare bison steaks. Watch your selected hunk of meat be licked by fire right before your eyes.

Get in Character: Using Archetypes to Breathe New Life Into Your Brand

15 Apr

Just like the myriad personas we find on stage and screen, character can also be applied to brands and in fact often holds the key to breathing truly new and differentiated life into them – as well as making them totally recognizable across all touch points. In the spirit of sharing, we decided to get down our top 5 tips for winning with brand character.

Read the full article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-tarbox/get-in-character-using-ar_b_9585696.html 

Full steam ahead for the “RRS Boaty McBoat Face”

24 Mar


“Boaty McBoatface” is steaming ahead in an online poll launched by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to name their new Royal Navy polar research vessel.  The name comes in response to the NERC’s request for name suggestions that highlight the ground-breaking work the ship will do. Even though Boaty McBoatface doesn’t quite fit the original brief, we’re delighted that the NERC are joining in on the fun.

It’s a truth that’s been proven time and again: if you turn to the public for help, you must allow for mischief and irreverence. In a world where brands can no longer keep control of every aspect of their image, and have no choice but to open themselves to people, we think a large helping of wit and playfulness is often in order. People may not always respond in the way a brand intended, but keeping a sense of humour is a smart and savvy response.



“Trainy McTrainface” was seen pulling into stations throughout the South West yesterday, suggesting the support for Boaty is still on the up. We are backing him all the way!

Interesting Things About… How To Market To Kids

3 Mar

Replicating reality seems to be the latest priority for toymakers, with several brands releasing new ranges that try to reproduce an accurate representation of the real world.

Here are three brands making shifts to be more in tune with reality:



  1. Lego’s Stay At Home Dad

The Lego City range will soon be gaining some new arrivals in the form of a stay at home Dad and a career driven Mum. The Lego figurine Dad will be dressed in a lumberjack shirt with a hipster beard, and the Mum will have slicked back hairstyle and will come equipped with a briefcase. Lego has said the new figures are an attempt to better represent the world we live in today.




  1. MyFamilyBuilders

These toys come from a collaboration between an illustrator, a child psychologist, an educational specialist and a product designer. MyFamilyBuilder’s main priority is to represent all adults and children. Using magnetic connecting devices these characters can be combined in multiple ways to become representative of people of all ages, genders and ethnicities.




  1. Curvy Barbie

This new line gained a lot of media attention when it was released earlier this year. The range encompasses 4 body shapes, 7 skin tones, 24 hairstyles and 22 eye colours , making her representative of a wide range of people.


Why is this interesting?

Toys have always acted as a gateway for children to let their imaginations run wild, and they are increasingly being allowed to imagine a world of rich diversity and nuance. Brands seem to be taking incredibly seriously their responsibility to represent the world accurately to children – we hope it enhances their powers to help kids build imaginative worlds that don’t adhere to any rules, rather than become something merely tokenistic.

Interesting Things About… Fast Fashion

24 Feb

The fashion industry calendar is undergoing a revolution. For 100 years the world of fashion has been split into two seasons: spring/summer and autumn/winter, but things are changing. Now catwalk looks are beamed across the globe just seconds after they’re first revealed, and people are demanding access like never before. This has led to designers rolling out new initiatives on both the runway and the high street:




  1. Rebecca Minkoff’s #SEEBUYWEAR

New York designer Rebecca Minkoff has paved the way for shopping straight from the catwalk with her #SEEBUYWEAR line which debuted at New York Fashion Week this February. Much to the delight of her fans, 70% of the items from Minkoff’s latest collection were available for immediate purchase straight after her show.




  1. Tommy Hilfiger’s ‘Click & Buy’

In response to the rise of social media platforms, Tommy Hilfiger has recognised the new need for immediate gratification. The label will be rolling out ‘Click & Buy’ in September this year, where shoppers will be able to get their hands on the clothes immediately after they’re revealed, rather than having to wait the traditional six months.




  1. Mango’s Two Week Collections

From February, Mango will launch new collections every two weeks, starting with its spring collection. The high street brand will also release a new advertising campaign each month to help consumers stay in touch with the changing looks. The change has already resulted in the discontinuing of Mango’s much beloved catalogue that was sent out to around 22 million people annually.


Why is this interesting –

These new ideas show how the fashion industry is adapting to the ever-connected world we now inhabit. Once an industry built on a solid foundation of intrigue and anticipation, labels are changing to stay relevant when having things on demand is fast becoming an expectation across all parts of life. We are keeping our eyes peeled for reactions against this, and a refreshed embracing of new forms of thoughtful slowness and longevity.

Interesting Things About… The backlash against purposefulness

18 Feb

Every January we are bombarded with instructions about healthy living and focused thinking. As we leave the first month of the year far behind, we have noticed an opposition to this purpose centric world that we are annually encouraged to inhabit.




‘F**k it DO WHAT YOU LOVE’ by John C. Parkin

This January, John C. Parkin released the latest instalment of his highly successful ‘f**k it’ franchise. The book encourages us to break free from the monotony of everyday life and live out our dreams, even if the results aren’t the most financially fruitful.





Popchips’ most recent campaign mocks the surge of motivational messaging that comes at the start of each year. Contrasting the likes of Equinox Gym’s ‘Commit to Something’ campaign, Popchips say it’s ok to just be a bit good now and again.




Deliciously Stella

This popular Instagram account parodies those that engage in clean eating and tranquil living, poking fun most overtly at the best-selling author Deliciously Ella. Posting photos of sweets, chocolate and McDonald’s happy meals, Deliciously Stella says it’s ok to shun healthy eating all together.


Why is this interesting-

There are few of us that get through January achieving everything we set out to do, with most of us failing to accomplish the sky high goals we set ourselves. By not only recognising but celebrating this reality, the marketing efforts of brands such as Popchips are relatable and distinct from all those trying to help us stick to our resolutions.


Interesting Things About… Marketing To Older Women

10 Feb

With an ever-growing aging population, the ability to communicate with older people in authentic and nuanced ways is more important than ever. Brands need to focus clearly on how they speak to the older generation of women. We’ve seen this in action recently –

yo celine


Celine and Joan Didion

Fashion house Celine using the literary icon Joan Didion as their face seems an attempt to position the brand as one with integrity and substance. But, it doesn’t appear to use her clout in quite the right way – it seems problematic to reduce this intellectual heavyweight to an accessories seller. Covering the lines that tell her stories with oversized shades seems to squash the icon into a fashion box – handbag and all.

yo celine 2


Joni Mitchell and YSL

Saint Laurent Paris has become known for using a huge variety of weird and wonderful musicians in advertising – this campaign also includes Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson. This not the first time Saint Laurent has used an older musical icon in their campaigns, but it feels interesting at a time where ‘70s revival fashion is all the rage. The advert captures Joni in a ‘70s inspired jacket, hat and shirt – items she’d surely wear in her natural habitat, and she is holding her own guitar. It feels natural and authentic.



Iris Apfel and Wise Wear

The 92 year old socialite and model Iris Apfel has recently collaborated with wearable technology designer Wise Wear, creating a range of jewellery that has built in safety features, and a health and tracking system aimed at older, style conscious women. Using one of the world’s most fashionable women to champion this innovative design-led technology not only markets the product to her peers,  but also acknowledges that the older generation are clued up to technology and design – and often are the demographic with the cash to splash.


Why is this interesting –

It is refreshing to see older women as the faces of major brands. Using the image of someone with a wealth of prowess and substance is a smart way to make a brand look considered, intelligent and cool, but it can miss the mark if the imagery feels inauthentic. Showing her looking like herself, doing the thing she is best known for can give the glow of genuine honesty. It feels even more compelling to see brands using older women to advertise to their peers, rather than only to twenty-somethings. It feels like a significant positive step forward on brand’s quest to embrace an older generation of women.


We discussed this in our previous blogs The Age Old Issue, Style over Substance and Winning Silver:




Nights at the Museum

1 Sep


The way in which we experience the world is constantly evolving. The consumer experience is becoming more and more important and developed, with increased use of technologies that make them smarter, faster and more impactful than ever before.

The V&A’s recent exhibition Savage Beauty celebrated the extraordinary creative talent of Alexander McQueen. This retrospective was stirring and beautiful, celebrating McQueen’s work in all its glory. Looking at the whole exhibition experience however, we fear it failed to push the boundaries of curatorship. It feels as though McQueen’s truly audacious vision could have been more fully realised through technological and visual innovation, especially as the curators had such a wealth of material at their disposal with which to capture the essence of his creativity.

What this exhibition highlights is a huge problem that museums and art galleries are facing – consumers are expecting experiences on multiple levels across several touchpoints. Although museums were originally at the cutting edge of creating incredible experience, the rest of the world has overtaken them. They must now compete with brands such as Punchdrunk’s immersive theatre productions or Bompas & Parr’s flavour based culinary journeys – which both provide truly immersive experiences across multiple platforms.

Therefore, for museums and galleries to push themselves at the forefront of cultural experiences –and maintain it – they need widen their horizons and look beyond their category. Imagine if the next art exhibition you visited is intensely sensorial, or enables you to interact on a personal level with each of the paintings?

Semiotics of the Silly Season

15 Jul

Every year the UK is visited by a fifth season: the Silly Season.  It occurs in the summer, especially when parliament is in recess, the football not happening and kids are off school. Typically, with nothing much happening and with business activity of most kinds on the wane, the news media go wild-and-inventive rather than the usual (ahem) sober-and-accurate, hence the silly label.

If you thought this was a quirk of British culture, think again. In Germany they have the sommerloch (the “summer  hole”); in France it’s la morte-saison (“the dead season”); Sweden has a nyhetstorka (“news drought”); in Spain there is the serpiente de verano or “summer snake”, a reference to the news item itself; while in Finland they have mätäkuun juttu, literally a “rotting-month story”.

Bafflingly, many cultures also refer to this summer slump using the image of a pickled cucumber or gherkin. In Norway, news at this time is called agurknytt or agurknyhet, literally “cucumber news”, while the period as a whole is labelled “cucumber season” or “cucumber time” in the Czech Republic (okurková sezóna), Slovakia (uhorková sezóna), Poland (Sezon ogórkowy), Hungary (uborkaszezo), and Germany (sauregurkenzeit). While this pickled characterisation is unknown in Britain, it surely rings true. The gherkin is a lowly foodstuff known for its superfluity (to a great many burger eaters).



It’s an interesting cultural phenomenon; but is it one that brands have capitalised on? Not very much. The reason is obvious: the dominant meaning of the word “silly” is negative. Who wants to be associated with notions like inane, trivial, juvenile, irrelevant and shallow?

But silliness evokes another set of meanings, including fun, playful, childlike, expressive and innocent. Could a brand take explicit ownership of the Silly Season and thus communicate more positive values like these once a year and on an ongoing basis? You bet. Probably go easy on the gherkins, though.

Classy Fun

30 Jan

We have been observing silliness and fantastical play aimed at adults for a while now. From ridiculous events and cocktail craziness at event space Drink Shop Do, to a giant Twister at the top of the Shard, and a day dedicated to floating down an East London canal in a blow up dingy, it’s been funny, frivolous and fantastical!

Next on the scene is a new ball pit specially created for adults in a West London gallery space, dubbed ‘Jump In!’. Containing 81,000 balls, the 30-person ball pit is meant to “champion the transformative power of joyful play”, and also support children’s charity organisation Right To Play.



While there’s a nice charity link in there, it’s still just a ball pit, and therefore so far so not brand spanking new. So why are we so interested then, beyond the pure cerebral joy of diving headfirst into a glorious 81,000 round plastic balls of course?

Well, rather than following the neon multi-coloured-with-abandon cues of the kids’ world of dress up, show and tell and other games (like many of our above examples do), the clever folk at mastermind agency, Pearlfisher, have imagined the grown-up play space in an altogether, well, more grown-up way.

This is classy fun, folks, and an aesthetically considered space is the order of the day. The balls are white – all white. Against a backdrop of a white gallery space, that means there isn’t a jot of colour in sight. And the event is framed as an ‘installation’, the very word forcing an appraisal of the space from a mere playpen to a place to have fun, play, but also contemplate and consider.



So could this be the start of a crossover to the fun and the aesthetically pleasing? A move from the unconsidered to the considered perhaps? In whatever manifestation it presents, the ‘new’ has never had the pleasure of being new for long, and as emergent crazes and ideas become more wide spread and popular, it is reimagining them that continues to add the element of interest and provide extra longevity.

So perhaps when it comes to the world of play and frivolity, where adult play in a kid’s world was fresh for a while, perhaps even fresher is adult play in an adult world.

Now, where do we sign up?


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