Tag Archives: culture

Interesting Things About… The Death of Sponsorship

1 Apr

fsfdBrands have traditionally used sponsorship to communicate their essence, but people are demanding more now. They want brands to do something – to contribute something – not just to whack their logo on a poster and stump up the cash. We are seeing brands go further than simple sponsorship, they are increasingly looking for partnerships where they can collaborate to create content.

  1. Uniqlo x Tate Modern – Uniqlo are collaborating with the Tate Modern under their new campaign ‘This Way to Utopia’, which celebrates London’s vibrant cultural scene. Not only will Uniqlo be hosting a series of late night events at the Tate, the institution will also be curating quarterly exhibits at Uniqlo’s flagship store.

  2.  Clarks x V&A Museum – The V&A’s recent exhibit ‘Pleasure and Pain’ featured the world’s largest shoe collection, and was built off over four decades of fashion history. Clarks have taken inspiration from the collection to produce a limited shoe line that revives the spirit of 50s and 80s footwear.

Why is this interesting?
It is no longer enough for brands to take part in mere monetary sponsorship. To play an active role in culture they need to lend more than just their name – they need to use their unique skills, resources and talents to create something genuinely new and valuable to people.

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.

Leaping On The Bandwagon

29 Feb


According to Irish legend, the leap year proposal tradition began during the 5th Century. St Bridget complained to St Patrick that women had to wait too long for men to propose, and as a compromise St Patrick deemed it acceptable for ladies to propose on the 29th February. Hundreds of years later women all over the globe are still encouraged to take it upon themselves to pop the question on this special day. We’ve had a look at some of the brands having fun with this tradition, and here are some of our favourite efforts:


first choice


1. First Choice ‘JustSayYes’

First Choice will air a live leap year wedding proposal during tonight’s episode of Coronation Street. The 60 seconds event will be fronted by TV presenter Laura Whitmore, with two other wedding proposals being filmed and shared online on the First Choice website. The proposal is part of a JustSayYes marketing campaign by First Choice, with Marketing director Jeremy Ellis saying “We just felt that this fits so well with the First Choice brand philosophy of ‘Life’s too short to say no’”.


william may


2. Match.com & William May’s ‘How To Guide’

Both internet dating site match.com and jewelers William May have published guides for women to help create the perfect proposal. The guides give detailed instructions on how to pop the question, where to do it and even how to recover if the answer is no.




 3. Beefeater’s Leap Year Proposal Package

After their research showed that 20% of women would like to propose to their partners, Beefeater has created a proposal package fronted with a 10z steak branded with the words ‘Will You Marry me?’. The package also includes a bag of crispfetti and an onion ring in replacement for one of the diamond variety. Plus there is a man size pack of tissues, just in case…


valley brewery


4. Little Valley Brewery’s ‘Ultimate Proposal Box’

British craft beer company Little Valley Brewery have pulled together what they are calling the ultimate proposal box. The box includes a dark stout and light ale, Pextenement cheese, a slice of wedding fruit cake, a bottle of massage oil and an Ann Summers love ring. They have even created a proposal playlist for the occasion.


men's watches


5. H. Baker & Laing Edinburgh Proposal Watches:

These jewelers have deemed the watch the perfect substitute to a ring for female led proposals, marketed as a gift that can last a lifetime and something perfect to wear on the wedding day.

The Black History Month of Tomorrow

24 Feb


In the present cultural moment where “Black Lives Matter” and “Black Girl Magic” are at the forefront of discussions centering on African American recognition and achievement, there is also a larger societal shift occurring that may mark this time period as one that not only permanently reshapes the idea of Black History month, but also Blackness as a whole.

The level at which race has surfaced, and the manner in which some people have become uncomfortable is arguably the best thing to happen to America in centuries. The way in which we finish this decade, and even this year will have a resounding impact on the way Blackness is perceived and accepted in the future.

Changing the story is hard work, and it’s not an overnight task, but it can be accomplished with persistently loud voices that challenge the mainstream in ways that lead to progressive, cumulative, collective success.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/whitney-dunlapfowler/the-black-history-month-o_b_9253710.html

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 Zoolander Takeover

18 Feb

Critics may have given the sequel a lukewarm reception, but there is no doubt Ben Stiller has done a 5 star job of bringing Derek Zoolander off screen and into the real world. Everywhere we look it seems Stiller is staring back at us with his signature ‘Blue Steel’ look. Although Zoolander 2 has become somewhat over exposed, the film’s innovative marketing has culminated in the creation of a signature style. Here are 3 examples of creative publicity that stand out to us:




1. The Valentino Walk Off

Back in March 2015, before filming for the sequel had even began Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson closed the Valentino show at Paris Fashion Week with a walk off. Appearing to deafening cheers, the duo used this real life runway to announce the start of production for Zoolander 2.




2. Zoolander Cover Shoot for US Vogue, February 2016

It was Ben Stiller that graced the cover of US Vogue this February, along with his co-star Penelope Cruz. Shot by Annie Leibovitz, Stiller appears in an accompanying spread alongside some of fashion’s hottest stars, including Gigi Hadid, Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls.




3. Kiehl’s Collaboration

Kiehl’s ‘The Derek Zoolander Centre for People Who Don’t Age Good’, opened in New York’s West Village last week. Visitors can get misted with Kiehl’s anti-aging serum and are treated to a tutorial on the perfect pants-to-nipple ratio.


Why this is interesting – By resisting the urge to over extend itself, and instead channel its marketing efforts through the fashion and beauty industries, the Zoolander brand has succeeded in developing a unique character for itself. Whether awareness will translate to ticket sales is yet to be confirmed, but one thing the franchise has accomplished is distinction in the crowded world of film.

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.



Bendy Brains Needed…

16 Feb


CI Grad poster 2016

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:





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