4:14PM March 26 2015

Hey ugly!

We’ve had great fun working on the launch campaign for the new 2K Games title, Borderlands – The Handsome Collection.

They asked for something disruptive – so we filmed some fake ads for a (fake) fake tan brand, Handsome Jacks!

With the help of some 3D mapping trickery, our devilishly handsome model morphs into Handsome Jack, a character from the game.

From the green screen filming to the 3D mapping, we did the whole lot in house (except the acting – we didn’t want to scare the audience!).

We took a similar approach to make a mock version of IGN News (partnering with IGN), which is then taken over by a character in the game, a robot named ClapTrap.

Take a look at our ‘making of’ video courtesy of our friends at Media Kinetic here.

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You can see one of the ads here.

Gareth Evans
Business Development Director

4:12PM March 10 2015

Using social to tame the launch beast

Apple launches have become a beast, and they’re using social to tame it.

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I’m not going to get into whether the Apple Watch is going to be a winner or not (I’ve given my opinion here and nothing I’ve seen so far has changed that). But I am interested in how and why Apple launch events have embraced social channels like never before.

Even though they’re the biggest company in the world and a tech pioneer, Apple has always largely ignored social media. They don’t even have a Twitter account. While most brands are killing themselves for a retweet from @wolverinesrock, they’ve never played that game. And this has always added to Apple’s mystique. In a world where everyone’s clamouring for attention, Apple has been the cool kid in the corner, probably wearing a black polo neck, reciting Bob Dylan lyrics. They are famous for their secretive control freakery. But the times, they are a changin’.

Back in the day, Apple had a small portfolio of products and a hardcore army of fans. Now, they’re huge and their portfolio is ever expanding in depth and complexity and they need the world to buy their stuff. I know the Internet has lost its collective mind over the Apple Watch, but Apple also introduced a game changer in medical research with ResearchKit, a new MacBook and HBO Now for Apple TV. The potential of ResearchKit alone is mind blowing. But only the hardcore fan is going to sit through 93 minutes of middle-aged guys in chinos presenting uncomfortably. And that’s where social media has come in.

Apple has embraced social to ensure that the Apple Watch doesn’t suck the oxygen out of everything else. So, on the Apple Live page (http://www.apple.com/live/2015-mar-event/), you have a stream of tweets from Tim Cook (@tim_cook) and other Apple execs, all shareable. There are bite-sized pieces of shareable video content with each highlight and, if you really want to dive in, you can actually watch the whole 93 minutes. Just to warn you, Jony Ive spends at least six minutes going on about how much he loves stainless steel. They are all about simplifying the complex, and, as their launch events have become more complex, they’re using social to make it easier for everyone.

Martin Flavin
Creative Director

3:42PM February 24 2015

Authenticity is essential for brands

It’s an election year, which means for at least two months we’re going to be bombarded with carefully-crafted, focus-group-polished messages that are supposed to persuade us to go out and vote. Whether you’re a member of a “hard working family” or the “squeezed middle” – or maybe even a “skiver or a striver” – you’re going to be hit with everything they’ve got.

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But if the political parties are trying so hard to get us to care, why do their efforts have the opposite effect? Since 1945, turnout for UK general elections has fallen from a high of 83.9% in 1950 to a low of 59.4% in 2001. Turnout for the 2010 general election was 65.1% – higher than the previous two elections, but still the third lowest since the introduction of universal suffrage. People simply don’t like or trust politicians and that’s down to that most elusive of qualities: authenticity.

The funny thing is that authenticity is as simple as being confident enough to be yourself. Sounds easy, right?

So what stops politicians from being themselves? Fear. What if they don’t like me? What if this or that happens? When you’re fearful, you lack confidence. When you lack confidence, you’re more concerned about offending than inspiring. You find yourself making decisions based on the best worst-case scenario. You end up communicating in vaguely positive soundbites that won’t rock anyone’s world but won’t offend anyone either.

It’s the same for brands. Everybody’s looking for something real and authentic these days. We’ll seek it out and pay extra for it. It’s no coincidence that most confident brands have a strong founder at their heart (Virgin and Apple, for example). People who strike out on their own have uncommon levels of confidence. They are the embodiment of the brand and its values. This makes it easy for people to understand and engage with the brand. People get people – getting brands is trickier. Not every brand can have a figurehead either.

But confidence is still the key. “We want to appear confident, but not arrogant,” is something I often read in client briefs. Understandable; who wants to appear arrogant? But confident people and brands don’t agonise over whether they appear arrogant or not, because they’re confident they’re not arrogant. They are themselves. Some people love them, some people don’t, which is okay. But having an authentic brand that people can believe in starts with liking and being proud of it.

Letting go of fear and not marketing to the lowest common denominator is the start – and yes, it takes courage, trust and confidence in your brand.

The answer has always been easy. Doing it is the tough bit.

Creative Director
Martin Flavin

The Guardian have also been sharing Martin’s thoughts

5:36PM February 3 2015

Creative Brief Top 30 Agency!

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Creativebrief have announced their annual Top 30 Agencies for 2014 and we made it into the list at number 24!

http://www.creativebrief.com/blog/2015/01/22/annual-top-30s-awards-2014-agencies/

Thanks creativebrief – we are delighted with our rosette. Looking forward to another exciting year in 2015!

 

Rachel Gould
Marketing and New Business Coordinator