Monthly Archives: Oct 2016

Real Scary: WWF

This Halloween, the Sid Lee Collective paired with the World Wildlife Fund to create an ad featuring ‘Real Scary’ masks – a representation about the real terrors we face today – environmental issues. For Halloween we dress up as imaginary monsters, but in this campaign the costumes represent real issues we should all be scared of, such as oil spills, factory farming, overfishing and pesticides.

Jeffrey Da Silva, ECD of Sid Lee Toronto said:

The damage humans are doing to the planet is much scarier than any imaginary monster. Kids seem to know this better than adults, and Halloween night felt like the perfect time to spark a conversation about what they are truly scared of.

The campaign video runs alongside a series of posters of the ‘real scary’ monsters featured in the video:


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Fossil Smartwatch: Just Husbands

Almost this time last year The Mystery Hour released a video hilariously portraying the relatable story of men whose existence consists of both taking photos of, and waiting patiently to take photos of their wives:

The social satire didn’t stop there – a year later agency 360i created ‘Just Husbands‘ featuring the stars of ‘Instagram Husbands‘ – an ad for Fossil’s new smartwatch. The hubbies are no longer their wives’ social media photographers, all thanks to a special button on the Fossil Q smartwatch, allowing the wives to take their own photos, handsfree:

Jill Elliott, Fossil’s CCO said:

While brainstorming ways to get audiences excited about our new Fossil Q Hybrid Smartwatches (which feature an unexpected selfie button) we couldn’t help but immediately think about the hilariously clever ‘Instagram Husband’ parody videos.

As a camera/selfie/instagram addict, I found the original very relatable! ‘Just Husbands‘ is just as funny, and a very clever marketing ploy. Whilst researching this campaign, I certainly noticed the high standard Fossil has when it comes to social media content and their brand image. They sure know what they’re doing!

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LGBT Refugees: Abuse Uncovered in Asylum Centres

Stonewall UK and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) have uncovered some shocking truths from refugees fleeing to the UK in a report called No Safe Refugee . A large majority of asylum seekers in the UK are those from the LGBT community who face violence, abuse, rape, torture and even death in their countries. This is something that has made me so proud to be British, because despite a small amount of gay-bashers in the UK, as a whole we are very inclusive and accepting of sexual orientation and gender. However, I seem to have been under the illusion that the UK is a safe place for those who are being persecuted for their sexuality or gender identity. Researchers carried out interviews with 22 LGBT asylum seekers, who’ve been held in UK detention centres, asking about their experiences with staff and other asylum seekers, their physical and emotional well-being in detention, and access to legal and health services.

We will always meet someone or hear of someone who is a bigot – someone who makes you feel uncomfortable because of their backwards views – but I had no idea that the centres (which are made specifically for those who are desperate for a safe place) would contain these stupid, uneducated people too. The report uncovered frequent incidents of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and some violent incidents. Also, some asylum seekers were denied vital medication for HIV, and transgender detainees were banned from taking hormones.

Vani, a transgender asylum seeker from India said:

They didn’t provide me with any kind of medicine. I have to take regular cycle of hormones. I normally get hormonal implants. Then in detention they told me I can’t have any kind of hormones. If I don’t have the hormones I get hot flushes and all those hormonal imbalance things. I get like blisters, get depressed, get anxiety and all sorts of stuff.

How does this happen? The UK is so lucky to have a fantastic free healthcare service alongside a ‘good’ (I say that with hesitation, as I know there are a lot of concerns from trans* people when it comes to their treatment under the NHS) understanding of medical services and advice for LGBT patients.

Not only were vital medications confiscated from the refugees, others told of shocking instances of homophobia at every level of the system – from guards, other detainees, interpreters and even legal representatives.

Sathi, from Sri Lanka said:

He asked me if I am speaking with my parents. I said no because they are not happy with me because of my sexuality. He then told me that ‘if you are not happy with your parents then God isn’t going to be happy with you. So make your parents happy and go back’. It means leave my sexuality and just make them happy.

Why is this important? Why should we care about what happens in other countries – shouldn’t we focus on our own? Well, I’m proud to live in such a multicultural and diverse society, and when I saw a group of LGBT asylum seekers strut down the street at the Pride Parade this year, I felt incredibly overwhelmed with emotion because I knew that they had to give up their families and lives to live authentically in this wonderful city. I care because I’m privileged – I’m a white, middle-class woman from London who has never suffered any discrimination or violence (other than for simply being a woman, of course), so if I can’t take advantage of how lucky I am by trying to help others who aren’t as lucky, what’s the point of my existence? It takes some serious guts to start an entirely new life in a different country, but most refugees have no other choice. Often, death is the only solution if they stay in their homeland, but Brianna from Jamaica managed to escape, and told the reporters that back home:

I have been shot, I have been raped, I have been beaten. I just got fed up because Jamaica is a very homophobic place. They don’t tolerate LGBT people. You have to live a life of lies.


I’m hoping this public report allows further investigations from the Home Office as it is simply not acceptable that asylum seekers are not protected by the detention centre staff. Many say they felt they have to hide their sexuality to avoid abuse, which is the exact reason they fled in the first place! The UK has one of the largest detention estates in Europe, where it detains more migrants and asylum seekers than most other countries, which is so fantastic… but this isn’t the first time there have been concerns about the welfare of refugees. In July 2015, the High Court found that the detention process was “systematically unfair and unlawful”. Umm… So why is it still happening?!

A Ugandan asylum seeker said :

It felt like I was betrayed because if somebody seeks asylum, they’re just trying to get some protection, but then you’re detaining them. It’s like you’re putting them in prison for having come to you for help. It didn’t make sense to me.

Seeking asylum is a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is not a crime, and those looking for help should not be treated like criminals. We should be accepting those who are trying to live authentically, but unfortunately the reports clearly show that UK detention centres offer little respite.

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Exterion & TFL: London is Open

Earlier on in the year the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, asked creatives to submit their ideas for the #LondonIsOpen campaign, which was commissioned by Art on the Underground to demonstrate that London is still open to people of all backgrounds despite the awful aftermath of the EU referendum.

The campaign ran across all 270 London Tube stations, including work from Gillian Wearing, Tania Bruguera and Mark Titchner, amongst many others. The posters appeared as both print and digital, with a running theme of inclusivity and diversity.

Sadiq Khan said:

This campaign is about what kind of city we want to live in – and I’m proud to be working with the mayor to get across the message that our capital is a place where everyone is welcome.



Now, Canary Wharf station has been given the largest ever Tube advertising screens (7.2m x 4m each). The artwork called “No them only us” was created by Mark Titchner for the #LondonIsOpen campaign, in collaboration with the station’s architects Foster & Partners, which greets tube users in the main ticket hall.

Whilst this campaign cost £1.1bn (that is ridiculous!) the message is really important at a time when xenophobic and racist attacks are on a rise after the EU referendum debate. I’m not sure how long the ads are running for, but I hope they stay up for a long time.


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Viral Halloween: Scariest BK

(Burger King, not the initials of my surname…)

No T, no shade, no pink lemonade. This advert has done the rounds (still doesn’t top my favourite Halloween Asda ad though…) as Burger King throws some serious shade at its direct competitor McDonald’s.

The stunt was coordinated by BK agency David (Miami), and was carried out at a Burger King in New York. The BK in Queens ‘dressed up for Halloween’ as the ghost of McDonald’s, wearing your typical ghost white sheets. Clearly the library was open that day, and Burger King read their rivals for filth with an accompanying sign that says “Booooooo! Just kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween.” Burn.

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RIP Vine: the underrated creative platform

Today is a sad day. The end of Vine is nigh.

Vine announced that after just 4 years, Twitter (bought vine before its launch for $30) are axing the creative platform:

Nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today. We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way. You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website.

What hasn’t been clear is why exactly Vine are discontinuing the mobile app if the content will still be available. Most likely, it has something to do with all the other video sharing and streaming apps like Periscope, Snapchat and video on Instragram. I was obsessed with Vine when it first came out, but admittedly I haven’t used it in years… I used to Vine everything, but now I don’t even have the app installed on my phone.

During my first fulltime job at a digital agency, Vine was a big part of the down-time projects carried out by both the developers and designers. I loved Vine before then, but the way it was utilised made me appreciate its features even more. You don’t have to look far for either a ridiculously hilarious Vine or an incredibly creative stop-frame Vine.

Goodbye, Vine, sleep tight </3

Crying Caucasian woman using cell phone


N.B. Awkward tweet from Vine’s founder Rus Yusupov:


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Secret Deodorant: trans* support or token trans* person?

A few weeks ago I wrote about the rise of trans* awareness in advertising, and the thin line between jumping on a bandwagon and actually portraying authentic gender journeys.

Secret Deodorant explores the message “there’s no wrong way to be a woman” in their new #StressTest ad (by Wieden + Kennedy Portland) and the portrayal of different women in a public toilet. The women entering the toilets can be heard giggling and chatting amongst themselves, as we are presented with another woman hiding in the cubicle, nervously thinking about exiting the stall. It’s hard enough being a woman in a society where we feel constantly judged and persecuted for our appearance and actions, let alone a trans* woman in a heteronormative society.

Now, when I first started watching this, admittedly I cringed. I thought “oh god, here’s a token trans* woman!” but, since researching I’ve found a wonderful authenticity to the script. Whilst P&G deny any political ties to the message, Janine Miletic (brand director of North America Deodorants at P&G) states that:

This ad was inspired by transgender women and a real-life moment which is stressful and challenging. This is one of many stories about women’s stress we’re proud to share

I have to say, this spot perfectly captures the anxiety that a lot of transgender people face while having to use public restrooms, and what makes the ad even more authentic is that the very talented actor Karis Wilde is gender non-conforming (identifies as queer). Hoorah! No cis-gender actors playing gender-diverse roles! Clearly W+K Portland have listened to what is going on in the world, especially the struggle trans* and queer actors face with employment.

The portrayal of queer experiences within advertising and the media is really on the rise this year, which is particularly important for the trans* community when it comes to politics and laws. Whilst Janine Miletic confirms that:

This spot was not intended to make any political statement or to support or oppose any specific legislation. We’re nonpartisan and not affiliated with any political party. ‘Stress-Tested for Women’ builds on Secret’s rich history of supporting all women who show courage in redefining feminine strength.

It’s hard to ignore the connotations towards North Carolina’s HB2, which shook the world when it was announced that a vote was taken to block cities and counties from passing protections against LGBT discrimination in a bill that ended up having terrifying and violent implications. The new law no longer protects transgender people who use public restrooms based on their gender identity.

At the end of the advert we can hear the women saying “great dress”, “it’s really cute”, which I have to admit put a little smile on my face! Welldone W+K!

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UKTV: Purpose

What a delightful animation by Cookie Studio! The brief was to “conceptualise and develop a virtual journey through the versatile and rich world of UKTV’s iconic brands, channels and shows”. Cookie Studio successfully did this by creating 3D models of ephemera from the office, such as furniture, mementos etc.

The animation is both quirky and enchanting, which is complemented by the colour-scheme (which I love!)

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Barbie: Imagine the Possibilities

Mattel launched the “You Can Be Anything” campaign last year and have continued with the same marketing strategy with their new viral campaign for Barbie. The campaign, by BBDO San Francisco, focuses less on Barbie as a product and her new accessories, and more on the adorable imagination of the young girls.

The spot shows girls playing out what they want to be when they grow up, which were chosen by each of the young actresses. What gives this campaign even more of an “aww”-factor is that it was filmed unscripted, with the girls playing out their dreams in front of unsuspecting adults – hidden cameras captured real reactions to girls imagining what they might one day become.

For over 56 years, Barbie has inspired imaginations and encouraged girls on their journey to self-discovery. From Mermaid to Movie Star, Pet Vet to Police Officer, Fashionista to Fairy Princess, Barbie continues to celebrate the belief that You Can Be Anything

As a girl who was a huge Barbie fan, this ad certainly put a smile on my face. I also like that at the end of the ad they aren’t flashing some ridiculously expensive new Barbie school set-up you can buy for $300 – the homemade cardboard lecture theatre ads a sweet sense of imagination.


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Carluccio’s: Rebrand. It’s a no from me.

Creative consultancy Frontroom London worked with Carcluccio’s to rebrand the Italian restaurant, aiming to keep the millennials in mind.


‘Savour the little things’ is the idiology they went for, emphasising the dining experience and authenticity of the brand.  Jackie Davis (CD at Frontroom) has said that the graphic style and logo for Carluccio’s was previously old fashioned, and explains the design route for the rebrand:

We wanted to get back to simplicity. It’s not about serving food on wooden boards, or about being bashed over the head with hanging hams – it’s just about good food, good friends and good times, without sounding too cheesy.

I hate to be a party-pooper, but I hate it. It’s still old fashioned… I’m getting some serious ‘American Typewriter’ vibes here. It’s very shouty, and all-caps usually only works with a nice, slim, sans-serif typeface. Whilst I appreciate that the style was inspired by Italian architects such as Gio Ponti and Carlo Scarpa, I cannot see any link between the new creative direction and appealing to a younger audience. The font is outdated and so is the colour-scheme.

Don’t get me started on the illustrations.

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