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As you probably noticed we recently relaunched Brand Republic blogs to a new platform. Keeping it simple, we moved to Word Press, which is a much easier to use and more flexible system than we previously had.

The move has meant some change to how contributors to Comment Central blog. In future if you would like to blog here what you now need to do in the first instance is drop our social media editor, Gordon MacMillan, an email and we will set you up and account. After that you will be free to post as before.

AgencyUK helps charity Send a Cow raise over £2.3million

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Last October AgencyUK was appointed by international development charity Send a Cow to promote their Christmas fundraising campaign.

The Bath-based charity’s campaign was given extra impetus as the Government had agreed to match every donation, £1 for £1 until December 31st 2015.

The Planting Hope campaign kicked off with a Guinness World Record attempt for the longest selfie chain. Whilst in the line, hundreds of participants held up signs with their ‘hope’ for the future and uploaded their pictures to social media using the hashtag #PlantingHope. There was a dedicated text number where people could donate to Send a Cow.

To maximise the Government’s pledge, and to promote the charity’s Christmas catalogue, Agency planned a second burst of activity closer to the festive period.

Agency produced an 80 second spoof documentary film ‘Panto Farm’ which invited viewers to ‘turn panto season into planting season in Africa’ by visiting sendacowgifts.org and gifting more practical items at Christmas including seeds and tools – to help African families become self-sufficient. With the help of celebrities including Ab Fab actress and SAC supporter Joanna Lumley sharing on social media, the video amassed over 9,000 views in just a few days.

#Panto Farm’ was shot as a spoof documentary starring a rural cattle farmer – played by actor Marc Danbury who has also appeared in Casualty, The Bill and Johnny English – who breeds pantomime cows for panto season.

Thanks to supporters and partners like Agency, Send a Cow’s Planting Hope Appeal raised £1.17million, every penny of which will be doubled by the UK government to fund a new project in Wolayita, southern Ethiopia.

Wolayita is a mountainous area 300km from the capital Addis Ababa, where households are dependent on their small farms for their livelihoods, but have insufficient food due to poor yields. Families experience chronic hunger for more than five months a year. Starting in July 2016, Send a Cow will use funds from the Planting Hope Appeal to train 5,870 families over three years, giving them the skills and confidence to farm their land and provide a secure and hopeful future.

AgencyUK Rides High With Hat Trick Sports Brand Portfolio Wins

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AgencyUK have introduced 3 new sports brands to their portfolio of clients following a focused new business campaign ahead of Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Ride Smart, Jon Pitts Human Performance and Flora Harris Eventing are all well known brands among the equestrian elite athlete fraternity. Each has appointed AgencyUK to the planning and delivery of their digital strategies as well as enhancing their web presence ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

“We appointed AgencyUK based on their integrated services and first-in-class capabilities when it comes to preparing a robust long-term digital strategy and web presence. We have been fully engaged with their user experience process as well as their approach to web design and development” says Nicola Tym, Head of Marketing Ride Smart.

AgencyUK have been developing their expertise with performance sports brands since 2014 and will soon welcome a number of other Olympic brands into the agency.

“We’re lucky because we’re based in Bath, and the University is a hub for performance sports having hosted a number training camps during London 2012. The facilities and athletes that train here are world class. Bath University is currently host to the Australian Rugby Team, who have been training here for the past two weeks.” says Sammy Mansourpour, Managing Director AgencyUK.

AgencyUK have had a run of successful client wins in 2015, across a number of industry sectors, such as food, drink, gaming and financial services. They have also been ranked the UK’s No.1 Independent Agency in the National Drum Census for the second year, an accolade never before achieved by an agency residing outside London.

Practically perfect appointment for AgencyUK

8.2.16 - Corsham.The launch a new one hour training programme by Norland Nannies entitled ‘Internet in Our Children’s World’ which aims to keep children safer online at Corsham Primary School. With pupils Evie year six (11) and Jake year five (10) arefrom left, Kerry Parker, head of school, Lauren Sherrin and Claire Burgess from Norland Nannies.Photo: Professional Images/@ProfImages

Award-winning communications firm AgencyUK has been appointed by fellow Bath brand Norland College to look after future PR campaigns.

Norland College has trained Nannies and Childcare professionals for over 120 years and appointed AgencyUK’s Social and PR team to handle the media launch of the college’s latest initiative, a training programme to help children stay safe when online.

Norland College has worked with Corsham Primary School in Wiltshire to develop a pilot training programme for teachers, teaching assistants, parents and children. ‘Internet in our children’s world’ was launched ahead of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 9th February.

Unlike other training and resources offered in the UK, Norland’s training looks at internet safety from the child’s perspective. Once the pilot phase is complete, Norland plans to roll the training programme out nationwide. Norland College will also deliver the programme to its own students many of whom are training to be Norland Nannies.

Norland Nanny and Early Years Consultant at Norland College, Claire Burgess said:
“In a world where children are teaching adults how to use technology, how are adults able to safeguard children from this exposure? We want to strike a balance that keeps children safe without holding them back from using the internet altogether for educational and entertainment purposes.”

AgencyUK Social & PR Director, Lucy Aston added:
“AgencyUK is thrilled to be working with such a prestigious and respected brand as Norland College. We are all aware of the potential dangers for young people growing up in an online-saturated world. Internet safety when it comes to children is quite rightly a hot topic at the moment, and the training programme Norland has put together has been of great interest to the press.”

The news follows last month’s recent client win for AgencyUK, when it was appointed by founder and serial entrepreneur Mathew March-Smith to launch Pestle Herbs, his latest venture catering to the increasingly aware ethical consumer.

AgencyUK Appointed to Launch e-Tailer PestleHerbs.co.uk.

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AgencyUK have been appointed by founder and serial entrepreneur Mathew March-Smith to launch Pestle Herbs, his latest venture catering to the increasingly aware ethical consumer. Mathew has a string of successes under his belt, including a leading London digital agency and the much-revered PongCheese.co.uk.

PestleHerbs.co.uk is a unique online business that fills the retail gap for consumers who are looking to introduce a level of natural living into their everyday lives. AgencyUK have been appointed to develop the Pestle Herbs brand strategy as well as roll-out the new website user interface and all future Social, PR and advertising communications.

The website itself focuses on herbs, their unique properties when it comes to human health, as well as their role in everyday household items, from luxury products to cleaning aids. For example, visitors to the site are able to purchase herbs and the required ingredients that enables them to make their very own household cleaning products, or choose pre-packaged items for their convenience that have already been carefully vetted by the Pestle Herbs team.

Matthew March-Smith, Managing Director, Pestle Herbs, said:

“We have been aware for some time that there is a desire from many people in the UK to know and understand what is in their products and where the ingredients come from. It is a step towards a healthier way of life and independence from the conglomerates that might corner us in the supermarkets. Pestle Herbs is a place where likeminded people can gather. We needed an agency that understood our market, and AgencyUK are unique in their approach to digital consumer centricity. They also came recommended – and are a totally nice bunch!”


Sammy Mansourpour, Managing Director, AgencyUK, said:

“We can see there is an active marketplace, and we already have considerable experience marketing to this consumer profile often referred to as Cultural Creatives. They are vocal, keen to learn, hungry for content and eager to share. So working with the Pestle Herbs team feels like a natural fit for us.”

The news follows a series of client wins for AgencyUK which span a number of industry sectors, such as food, drink, gaming and financial services.

Sammy M: Marketing trends to look out for in 2016

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AgencyUK Managing Director, Sammy Mansourpour, looks to 2016 and discusses what trends he thinks will be big over the next year.

There are 3 big marketing trends currently underway and I think we’re likely to see significant momentum in the coming year, so it’s worth getting up to speed with them.

  1. Marketing Automation

or the “not-so-simple” dream combination of building your sales pipeline using software

Marketing automation has been largely pioneered by organisations like Amazon, and it’s the process of using software to nurture prospects and turn them into customers. It starts with building a prospects database – then you can use all sorts of communications from email to social media, all of which plug into the prospect journey over time.

The great thing about marketing automation is that there are now really affordable software platforms available, such as Marketo and Act-On.  It is becoming easier to integrate the principles of marketing automation into much smaller organisations, and you don’t need to sell online to be able to apply them.

However, marketing automation has become a bit of a buzzword, and getting it right takes time and lots of testing and applied learning. It works well with B2C but has a way to go before we see it relevantly applied to B2B.

But we’re sure to see some vast improvements in 2016 as the software becomes hardy and the knowledge base to set it up becomes wider.

  1. Programmatic Marketing

or “problematic marketing” for those brands who fail to keep up

Long gone are the days of finger picking TV media schedules and tactically buying advertising based on a negotiation over lunch at The Ivy. Today, the world of automation has seeped into media channels, where it is now possible to automate the buying, placement and optimisation of media inventory. Think Google Adwords but applied to everything. In fact Marketing Week has reported that UK programmatic marketing is receiving such significant investment that it is likely to increase to 66.2% (£1.8bn) of media placement in 2016. That’s 59% of the entire UK’s advertising spend, so it’s something to get on board with.

But for those brands failing to keep up, it’s going to get harder and harder to see the returns on their traditional marketing effort. So my prediction for 2016 is that many companies will start getting their ship in order, and we will finally start to see the back of traditional advertising, and instead integrating offline and online channels will finally start to make sense for most.

  1. Social Media

or it’s now all about “Content Curation” not “Content Generation”

Now that Social Media has been more appropriately segmented into Social Commerce, Social PR and Social Media Advertising, we can all finally start to make sense of the world, and the fact that Social Media is an effective way to build an “open source” database of prospects and customers.

But the past two years have seen brands clamber for control by coming up with news stories, comment pieces, thought pieces, blogs and even potentially “viral” content that is usually “zany” and “hopeful” before it crashes and burns.

The order we now have is that content is still linked to search rankings, but only if it’s useful and significant. So in 2016 I predict we will see far more brand managers thinking up ideas to generate really interesting and engaging content that’s meaningful and relevant. And when the sales team just want to bang out a few orders, then there’s room to seed a voucher or two and get those sales coming in. Thankfully we’ll see that work stream filed under Social Commerce, to eradicate any potential confusion with the quarterly results.

Bath artist creates AgencyUK’s Christmas card with festive songs hidden in snowy scene

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The Christmas season is upon us and award-winning integrated marketing firm AgencyUK has commissioned local artist Kate Davies to create an interactive Christmas card.

The festive scene was hand painted by Kate Davies, an illustrator and watercolourist. Kate works from her studio at home in Colerne, Wiltshire to create beautiful, illustrative art with English charm and humour.

This year, Kate turned the AgencyUK Bath office  into a snowscape crammed full of Christmas musical chaos. 25 festive song titles are hidden in the scene ready for viewers to hunt them out. As part of the project, AgencyUK filmed behind the scenes creating a timelapse video of Kate in action using a GoPro Hero3 and Canon 550D.

Everyone is encouraged to visit the interactive festive mini-site (http://happychristmas.agencyuk.com/) to try and spot the 25 seasonal songs tucked away into the snowy scene. Sharing the image on social media will take users to a spotify playlist which reveals all of the featured festive tunes.

Zane Radcliffe, Creative Director of AgencyUK, said: ‘We wanted to create a Christmas communication that people could interact with, and have a little fun. Hiding 25 Christmas songs in a seemingly traditional Christmas card makes it as challenging as it is charming, and it’s something we hope people will share. Kate’s hand-painted watercolours are a lovely and endearing alternative to a lot of the digital design that we do.’

Kate Davies, artist, said: “I was delighted to be asked by AgencyUK to illustrate their Christmas Card this year.

They wanted a scene which featured the AgencyUK offices in Beehive Yard in Bath, as well as lots of snow and Christmas sparkle and 25 hidden Christmas Songs illustrated in the scene.  Agency UK’s Creative Director, Zane Radcliffe had done a lot of the hard work, choosing the songs and possible ways of portraying the songs in pictures.

I so enjoyed doing this illustration – it was right up my street!  I hope it brings lots of Christmas merriment, amusement, and joy (if not a little frustration as you try to work out just what are all the 25 Christmas Songs illustrated here??!)”

AgencyUK is hoping that hunting for the hidden answers will cause more fun than frustration this season and spread the Christmas joy – as well as a great Christmas playlist!

AgencyUK takes home prestigious Chairman’s Award at Drum Network Awards

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Leading integrated marketing agency AgencyUK has rounded off a successful year with five wins at the prestigious Drum Network Awards, including the coveted Chairman’s Award for its work with Welsh Lamb.

AgencyUK also took home awards for Agency Creative Team of the Year, Crisis PR Strategy, Food and Drink Campaign of the Year for its work with Welsh Lamb, as well as Southern Marketing Business of the Year for the third year running.

The Drum Network Awards held at the Emirates stadium in London are now in their seventh year and recognise excellence in agencies across the UK.

AgencyUK’s Social & PR division was established in April this year and the team has already won a number of new business wins including a Christmas campaign for charity Send a Cow, Ladbrokes Bingo and Wentworth Puzzles.

Social and PR Director at AgencyUK, Lucy Aston: “We are particularly thrilled to have won the Crisis PR campaign of the year for our work to promote Welsh Lamb during a ‘perfect storm’ of troubles. The strong pound as well as increased competition from overseas markets meant that farmgate lamb prices were  lower than in previous years.  Our ‘Royal Success Story’ campaign revealed the top-secret recipe of HRH Prince William’s favourite Welsh Lamb burger and generated 170 million positive opportunities to see a piece of coverage in just over a week, creating incredible consumer demand at a very difficult time for the industry.”

Philippa Gill, Brand Marketing Executive, Hybu Cig Cymru, responsible for promoting Welsh red meat said: “- We are delighted with the outcomes of AgencyUK’s campaigns this year. The results have not just come through in the awards we have received, but also in the engagement levels and enthusiasm from consumers for Welsh Lamb.”

Creative Director Zane Radcliffe is delighted with his team’s award. ‘We’ve put in place an entirely new creative team in 2015, bringing together experienced leading lights alongside some of the best young talent in the industry. We’re thrilled to have our work recognised so quickly on the national stage.’

The Network awards build on recent success at The Cream Awards, where AgencyUK  took home six wins from six nominations.

AUK Creates  ‘Panto Farm’ Mockumentary for Local Charity

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AgencyUK has launched an online Christmas film for Send a Cow, a Bath-based charity dedicated improving the lives of African families.

Panto Farm’ was shot as a spoof documentary concerning a rural cattle farmer who breeds pantomime cows for panto season. Assisted by his ‘principal boy’ Beth – sorry, Bob – he fattens up his herd on Brussels sprouts, takes them to the milking shed to learn how to milk applause, before auctioning them to theatre directors for magic beans.

The 80 second film invites viewers to ‘turn panto season into planting season in Africa’ by visiting sendacowgifts.org and gifting practical items – like seeds and tools – to help African families become self-sufficient. Between now and 31 December, all donations to Send a Cow will be matched £1 for £1 by the UK Government.

The spoof features actor Marc Danbury who has also appeared in Casualty, The Bill and the film, Johnny English.

‘It was a real team effort,’ explains AgencyUK Creative Director Zane Radcliffe. ‘To maximize budget, the agency and client teams had to literally muck in. Our Client Services director acted as producer. I stepped in to direct. AUK and Send a Cow personnel performed convincingly as the front and back ends of the cows. And we shot next door to the home of the agency owners.’

The team was ably assisted on camera and sound by Wow Video Productions.

Send a Cow’s Christmas catalogue is available in print and online. For more information go to www.sendacow.org or call 01225 874222.

AgencyUK Appointed to launch Falk Outdoors’s new Tiger outdoor navigation system

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AgencyUK has been appointed by Falk Outdoor, a leading German satellite navigation brand, to handle the European launch for their new consumer product, Tiger. AgencyUK was appointed following a competitive two-way pitch and the brief encompasses a new brand and market strategy for Tiger, as well as developing packaging, creative and web assets ready for their launch in supermarkets and retailers throughout Europe. Tiger is Falk’s first product designed specifically for the mass market consumer, providing an easy to use satellite navigation system for leisure users whilst walking and cycling.

“We are really excited about working with Falk Outdoor. They have fantastic capabilities with their maps and developments within their software. As a brand they are extremely well known in the German market, and Tiger presents us with an opportunity to really capitalise on their brand whilst taking mass market share” said Sammy Mansourpour, Managing Director at AgencyUK.

Falk Outdoor has previously faced competition from brands such as Garmin and TomTom, but Falk’s track record, tenure in the satnav market and diverse b2c and b2b product range has meant it has stood the test of time and laid the foundation for future growth.

“We occupy a very competitive space in the market, and our products need continuous innovation to stay ahead of advancements in technology. Launching new products like Tiger helps us reach new customers who might recognise the Falk Outdoor brand but may never have owned one of our products” said Nikolai Kesting, Managing Director, Falk Outdoor.

This is the third new account for AgencyUK since September and is fresh off the back of #LloveLlamb, the new fully integrated national TV, advertising and social campaign for Welsh Lamb which is currently live. AgencyUK has also tipped the polls in the 2015 Drum National Census, being ranked the UK’s No.1 Independent Agency for the second year.

AgencyUK’s creative is judged cream of the crop

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AgencyUK’s creative team has returned from a successful night at the Cream Awards in Birmingham, earning six wins from six nominations.

With two Gold awards and four Silver, the night showcased the strength and breadth of AgencyUK’s creative product, with category wins embracing TV, posters and press.

The funny and disruptive ‘Station Posters’ campaign for Hornby – which featured spoof rail information announcements placed on real railway station platforms – won Gold for both outdoor campaign and 6, 4 or smaller sheet poster, and a Silver for copywriting.

Creative Director Zane Radcliffe explained: ‘We wanted to wrong-foot commuters with a campaign that not only celebrates the authenticity of the Hornby experience but captures its playful spirit.’

Other Cream Award successes included two Silvers for Indian sauce brand The Spice Tailor, recognised in Best Press Campaign and Best Consumer Press Ad. And our Welsh Lamb TV ad was also awarded a silver in Best TV/Cinema, ahead of Specsavers (Should have gone to AgencyUK!)

Zane added: ‘It’s particularly pleasing to win awards for three different brands, which is testament to the both quality and consistency of our creative solutions. We must also congratulate our clients at Welsh Lamb, Hornby and The Spice Tailor, for recognising and backing great ideas. ‘

The Cream Awards aim to showcase the best work within the Midlands, East, South West & Wales. Open to those working in the advertising, design and digital sector, the awards are a benchmark of the very best in creative and design in the region.

Last night’s success has added to an exciting week for AgencyUK who recently found out they have been nominated for six awards in this year’s Drum Network Awards. The team hope for further success in the following categories: Southern Marketing Business of the Year, Creative team of the Year, Social Campaign of the year, Food & Drink Campaign/Strategy of the Year, Experiential Campaign of the Year and Crisis PR Strategy of the Year. Results will be announced on 3rd December at the Emirates Stadium in London.