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Raise a Glass to the Risk-Takers: Paraglider over snowcapped mountains

Ambling around Shoreditch on our lunch breaks we see more than our fair share of guerrilla marketing campaigns, some good, some not so much. But we’re always on the lookout for inspiration so we’ll take it where we can get it.

Whether it’s an advert graffitied onto the side of a building, the ludicrous name of a new artisanal coffee shop, or the plot line of the latest Netflix series; photos and screenshots whizz around our Whatsapp group as we envisage the faces in the pitch. Imagine the convincing and coercing you would have to do to get Netflix’s ‘The OA’ off the ground? For the uninitiated, we recommend a quick Google of the plot – it’s bizarre… and also really good.

In the advertising world, few can claim to be as successful as the Compare the Market campaign created by VCCP. Compare the Meerkat launched in 2009; it followed Orlov, an aristocratic Russian meerkat, advertising car insurance of all things. Following the campaign, comparethemarket.com was ranked as the fourth most visited insurance website in the UK, up from 16th in January 2008 and the site’s overall sales doubled. By 2010 the site had increased its market share by 76%, whereas competitors’ shares had fallen by up to 30% over the same period. 700,000 Facebook fans, 22,000 followers on Twitter, Coronation Street sponsorship and a rumoured record deal later it was arguably one of the most successful campaigns of the last 10 years.

While VCCP may have got the gongs and the accolades, in reality, we should be praising the client for their vision and absolute trust in the supplier so let’s raise a glass to the risk-takers who had the confidence to throw caution to the wind and completely commit to someone’s else’s unrestrained creativity – that’s where the real credit lies.

At the recent IPM COGS Awards, our Prize-Promotions team was awarded Gold, Silver & Bronze in the ‘Prize, Incentive & Reward’ category for the second year running, while the Groups department scooped ‘Incentive Programme of the Year’ at the C&IT Awards on the same day. The trophies are displayed in pride of place at the front of the office but we’re all too aware that the real winners are the clients who allowed us the free reign to be creative and committed to venturing outside their comfort zone to allow us to do what we do best.

Our winning clients (TSB and MINI respectively) are behemoths in their respective industries; it is widely acknowledged that the larger the brand the more risk averse they tend to be, and yet in our role as an agency and supplier we must convince our clients that we can help them achieve their wildest dreams by offering something unique and to trust our ideas.

TSB wished to demonstrate that they are a ‘values-led’ brand and engage with their customers on a personal level through their YouTube channel. We put together a bespoke holiday of a lifetime, unveiling the winning family on Father’s Day and capturing the whole thing on camera – a complete departure for TSB. This formerly risk-averse bank had taken a chance and offered a once-in-a-lifetime experience over Facebook to one family and opened itself up to public scrutiny. The result? A campaign that reached more than a million people and enhanced their reputation.

The programme MINI entrusted to us saw their 50 top-performing sales team going significantly above and beyond their objectives to ensure a seat on the plane to Nepal; the first UK incentive since the devastating earthquake of 2015. The groundbreaking experience included a surprise Royal Enfield road trip along winding roads through the Himalayan foothills, a hike to a base camp built for the event by local villagers, and final night that saw one of Kathmandu’s main squares cordoned off, its temples illuminated and a host of traditional dancers and musicians providing the entertainment in a once-in-a-lifetime gala spectacular.

Creative campaigns are nothing without the progressive attitude and confidence of our clients. Confidence in a) being bold and setting themselves apart from their competition, and b) confidence in their suppliers to make it happen. So we’ll always pay credit to the client for having the vision to select the supplier who offered something different and the passion to be bold when it is their brand on the line. So if you can see yourself as our next courageous client, get in touch, because without your brief our ideas remain just that, ideas.

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