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We’re a new kind of agency, but conversations between people are nothing new. Neither is the idea that ‘markets are conversations’.

We’re already helping adidas, Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët & Chandon & Expedia.

If you’d like to chat about us helping you too, then give us a call on +44 20 3195 1700 or drop us an email.

OOO for Jury Service

by James Nester in News

Cannes Lions has just announced the juries for 2015 – and our very own Creative Director James Nester is on the Cyber panel. Here he talks about one of the biggest challenges in store for him and fellow judges.

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So I’m one of the Cyber jurors for Cannes 2015.

This means that while my peers are nursing hangovers on the glorious Google beach, I’ll be stuck in a dark room, between twelve and sixteen hours a day, agonising over thousands of entries. I’m delighted.

No really, I am.

This is an opportunity to see the best work the world has to offer; get an inside view on how the planet’s most important ad festival works; and a chance to stay in the Carlton rather than just buy extortionate drinks there. But it’ll be hard work for sure. And other than a severe vitamin D deficit, the biggest challenge my fellow jurors and I will be wrestling with is this.

What is ‘Cyber’ anyway?

Take one of last year’s most famous winners – Volvo’s “Epic Split” starring Jean-Claude Van Damme – it won the Film Grand Prix last year, and quite rightfully so. It happened to win the Cyber Grand Prix too. While Dumb Ways to Die won just about every Lion possible – including Cyber – the year before. Given that everything is online these days, ‘Cyber’ just describes…well, everything, doesn’t it?

There’s a strong argument that it shouldn’t.

As in every Lions category, the very best examples of Cyber campaigns will always have a big idea at their heart. But this year, I hope to see loads of work that feels like its doing something game-changing within the digital world. With technology moving so fast, I hope we’ll be spoilt for choice.

As for the social sub-categories which my colleagues at We Are Social and I helped to define back in 2014, I hope to see campaigns built on an understanding of how people behave. Ideas that tap into the power of people, rather than the power of media spend. A TV ad that happens to go viral – no matter how epic – probably won’t tick the box.

Finally, I hope to see the Google beach – if only briefly.

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James Nester and fellow Creative Director Graham Jenks have been recognised at Cannes several times, most notably winning Cyber and Direct Lions for ‘The Gnome Experiment’, the world’s most awarded direct campaign 2012 (Big Won Report) and the world’s most awarded PR campaign 2013 (Holmes Report). 

We Are Social’s Tuesday Tweakup #21

by Nick Mulligan in News

It’s like the mashup, but on a Tuesday! Hope you can deal with the excitement…

The reach and engagement of US social
comScore has released its 2015 US Digital Future in Focus report, which analyses the reach and engagement of major social networks. Facebook is, quite literally, off the charts, at least in the case of the below graph. It reaches 81% of the total digital population and amasses 230bn minutes of engagement; Instagram follows in the latter category with 122bn, while Google+ is runner-up for reach at 38%.

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Choose your preferred page audience on Facebook
Some Facebook page admins are seeing the option to designate a ‘Preferred Page Audience’. The feature, which has reportedly been on trial since February, allows an audience to be selected by location, interests or age, making it more likely that the page will be shown to the most relevant people.


Facebook launches Riff
Facebook wants people to create collaborative videos with its new app, Riff. The brand new offering allows users to shoot a video of up to 20 seconds, give a title instructing others what to do and watch as their friends’ clips join together to create a unified video.


Tinder’s first video ads
Tinderers! Your right-swiping finger is set to get a brief rest, as the app has launched its first video ads. Initially these are US only, in partnership with Bud Light; Tinder’s trying a number of different video lengths.

NY auto show is a hotbed for live streaming
Both Meerkat and Periscope are already taking off with major brands, nowhere more than at New York’s auto show. A total of four new cars were revealed across the two platforms; Mercedes on Meerkat, Jaguar and Nissan on Periscope and Toyota on both.

Chevrolet makes the #BestDayEver out of April 1st
The folks over at Chevrolet had had enough of April Fools’ Day pranks, so they decided to transform April 1st into the #BestDayEver. In conjunction with comedy network Jash and a host of influencers and celebrities, from Manchester United FC and Olivia Wilde to Tyler Oakley, the auto brand set up positive pranks for unsuspecting Americans, including makeovers, free pizza and a live Kelly Clarkson gig.

Poltergeist scaring Twitter with #WhatAreYouAfraidOf
Fox is promoting its new horror film, Poltergeist, by asking Twitter users #WhatAreYouAfraidOf. The movie studio is replying to people who use the hashtag with custom images, gifs and videos created from the film. If you’re a big fan of horrifically scary clowns, then definitely watch the example below.

Dress gets promoted by 50 Instagrammers
Fashion retailer Lord & Taylor got 50 Instagram influencers to wear the same dress. Aside from making for a very awkward party, the move was clearly a success, as the dress sold out straight away. It’s an interesting piece of influencer engagement, but one that has raised questions in a piece by Digiday. The article argues that a number of the posts were not properly disclosed as per FTC guidelines and goes on to suggest that, should bloggers and other online influencers become too ready to mix sponsored content with their own, it may lead to a breakdown of the relationship between creators and their audiences.

Hellmann’s turns fan comment into TV ad
What do you get when a Facebook fan says your product is the best thing ever created? You use it as the cornerstone of a £15m campaign, obviously. Hellmann’s features a fan comment as the tagline of its new TV ad, which compares its mayonnaise to the lightbulb, roller coaster faces and the internet.

Clarks creates WhatsApp campaign for desert boots
Clarks Originals has launched a WhatsApp campaign to celebrate the history of its desert boots. Users can add three different accounts to get updates about different subcultures to whom the boot has been important: mods, rudeboys and ‘the enraged’. In other news, I’m literally wearing a pair of Clarks desert boots right now. They’re black suede.

RBS chairman leaves his job after Snapchat debacle
A dad sends selfies to to his daughter via Snapchat, she then uploads them to Instagram. It’s a wonderfully cute story for the 21st Century. Unless, of course, you’re RBS chairman Rory Cullinan, who has left the bank just weeks after his ‘bored at work’ snaps were discovered by the national media. The perils of screengrabs, eh?


The #@&? Jar revolutionises saving

by Lauren McGregor in News

Our client, first direct, is known as the “unexpected bank”. They enjoy taking an edgy, different approach, so when they came to us to create an April Fool, we knew it would be fun.

When it comes to saving, it’s a sad fact that most of us run into temptations along the way that prevent us reaching our goal. It’s also true that many of us struggle to get through a day without dropping the occasional **** or ****.

So, with this insight, we worked with first direct to create an April Fools’ Day concept that would make saving a little easier – The #@&? Jar app. Much like a modern day swear jar, first direct’s app allows people to put money aside for a rainy day from their current to their savings account, every time they utter a ****, a **** or even a ****.

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The “innovative voice recognition software” identifies the user’s voice, so they only put money aside for their swearing slip-ups. The app then simply listens out for the user to say one of the words from a list of over 200 profanities, helping them reach their savings goal in no time at all.

first direct teamed up with tech presenter and journalist Lucy Hedges to give the prank more credibility with an app review. She swore like a trooper and took viewers through the app features via a demo on her mobile phone, supported by We Are Social’s design team.

We reached out to a select number of tech bloggers in advance to get them in on the joke and posted the review to Facebook and Twitter. We built a story around the app with details of high scoring films, place names and TV shows, and had some fun with fans.

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Like many of first direct’s fans, we wish that this campaign could have been real – but sadly, The #@&? Jar won’t be in your app store anytime soon. We hope first direct’s fans enjoyed hearing about the app as much as we did ‘creating’ it but, for now, I’m afraid you’ll have to stick with your traditional glass jar.

Spread the word: #TwitterStories

by Hannah Jones in News


Almost every moment we see extraordinary stories evolve on Twitter. Due to the live nature of the platform, these stories are often shared worldwide – sometimes within seconds. With a focus on this, last week I attended #TwitterStories, an event at the Roundhouse in Camden showcasing what happens when people are given a voice on Twitter and explain how their stories spread.

The Herdwick Shepherd talked about how tweeting his everyday tasks on a farm such as the birth of a lamb landed him with a hefty fan base of 42k followers, signing a book deal after years of attempts, and more importantly encouraging all to “buy local” produce from supermarkets and support local farmers across the nation.

The emotional story behind the #PutOutYourBats hashtag was discussed; a story beginning with one short tweet from Sydney resident Paul Taylor, who was saddened by the death of cricketer Phillip Hughes and wanted to show his respect. This one tweet, sent in November last year, went around the world in less than 24hours, unifying millions, who in turn took out their bats and came together - from ordinary cricket fans to massive names from across the sporting world. Twitter explained how his story “underscores what a powerful catalyst for change the mobile phone has become.”

The head of gender equality campaign #HeForShe, Elizabeth Nyamayaro, spoke to us about this work and how Twitter proved to be an important tool in reaching diverse demographics; spreading the message to seniors as well as young people, and therefore spreading the message around the world. Supported by celebrities like Emma Watston, #HeForShe proves how great ideas can spread globally and take root in everyday culture.

There were some lighthearted and amusing stories shared at the event. John Brennan told us how Twitter changed his life, enabling his transformation from shy, unconfident, aspiring comedian living in rural Ireland, to an online Twitter sensation; and finally finding his audience. Later, Anna Heslop shared an entertaining story about her grandpa getting new passport photos made and accidentally adding a variety of novelty wigs. She tweeted his accomplishment which accumulated a staggering 16k RTs to date. Similarly, Heather McNab accidentally sent a Jamie Oliver chili beef recipe in a job application, rather than her CV… Amusing the masses of Twitter, and, to no surprise, Jamie himself.

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In this industry, unforeseen events can occur, with no telling at first what path the story might take. When American tourist David Willis got locked inside a branch of @Waterstones in London last year, the story went wild on the internet. Instead of turning into a PR disaster, it was turned into a opportunity for @Waterstones and @airbnb_uk to host a bookshop sleepover. It demonstrated both the unpredictability and the extraordinary power of the platform, if harnessed and utilised correctly.

There were other speakers including @SunriseIsabel, who discussed the importance of Twitter with regards to breaking news – journalists often publishing to the platform before Television broadcasts. David Levin and David Schneider talked about their company “That Lot” and how to grow audiences – even the infamous BLUE-BLACK-GOLD-DRESS debate was among the twitter chat of the evening.

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The climax of the event came when Twitter gave us a preview of the new app ‘Periscope‘ which they acquired earlier this year, which is now available for download on iOS. At the moment all you can see are streams of bedrooms and offices, but it will be certainly be interesting to see what happens when users and brands start streaming from live sports or music events and news outlets use it to broadcast.

All in all, it was interesting to see just how unifying Twitter continues to be, and how it can influence the lives of individuals and foster global movements simultaneously; all through telling stories.

The generation game

by Graham Jenks in News

I recently judged this brilliant case study for Paddy Power’s World Cup campaign that you probably saw last year. I’m pretty sure that Paddy Power brainstorms are a fun, outspoken and edgy place to be.

This reminds me of a few years ago when I found myself at the hands of a ‘brainstorming consultant’ who had us playing ‘idea catch’ around a boardroom table. One of those awkward ‘if my friends could see me now’ moments.

Systems and exercises to think outside the box and generate ideas are nothing new. I’m glad to say that most of the methods I have had the joy to sit through generally don’t work.

This is good. Creativity can’t be automated just yet and is seen as one of the last bastions against the rise of the machines. Creativity is about connecting stuff that’s unconnected and our brains are pretty good at it.

So I have a suggestion to throw into the circle which is easy to do and is, well… fun. If you’re a creative reading this I’m sure you have lost count of the times when you have filled the walls with ‘on brand’ ideas and started to run a bit dry. My advice at this point is to throw caution to the wind and come up with some funny, rude and un-pc ideas. Basically something that would get you fired if it ever got near the client.


Scamp credit: Tom Bellamy, additional details by Nick Hearne

In my experience coming up with ideas that you could never run leads to something that you can. After all, the best work often pushes the client and brand outside its comfort zone and stretching this can lead to something fresh and unexpected. Something Paddy Power is great at.

After all, if you don’t have fun coming up with an idea, how can you expect people to have fun sharing it?