A burger with a side order of charity please

Grilld Restaurant

Our Head of Copy Clare has been out and about in Melbourne this week sniffing out new and interesting trends in retail and restaurants, and has spotted a very cool charity initiative… the familiar supermarket charity token has crossed over into casual dining.

Grill’d is one of Melbourne’s best-loved burger brands, its ethos being ‘healthy burgers that are good for you and good for your community’. Their do-gooding initiative ‘Local Matters’ sees every customer who places an order being given a token to drop into one of three jars that supports a local charity. Grill’d then splits $500 between the three; the community group with the most tokens gets $300 and the other two, $100 each. Fair and square all round… everybody wins!

In just five years they’ve given back over $2.5 million and supported over 15,000 community groups. It’s the first time we’ve seen this approach in a restaurant, and we think it’s a damn clever one. With the average Australian eating out an average of 2-3 times a week, spending a total of $45 billion a year *, that’s a whole lotta potential cash for a fantastic cause. And of course, the more cash that’s raised, the stronger the brand affinity, the more feet through the door and so the circle continues. Hats off to you Grill’d. You certainly know how to do G’ood.

*The Intermedia Group Pty Ltd, Eating out in Australia 2017 Report



Sean Dwyer

Amazon pops up in Soho Square

How do you squeeze the world’s biggest online store into two floors? That’s exactly what Amazon did on the run-up to Black Friday, with their ingenious pop-up store in Soho Square – decked out like a house, and further blurring the lines between the physical and online.

Black Friday has fast become a much-anticipated fixture on the UK retail calendar, and every year more brands are getting involved to drive sales in the build-up to Christmas.

As one of the worlds largest online retailers, Amazon is leading the charge on innovative and competitive online e-tailing – and was one of the very first brands to bring Black Friday to our shores for the first time back in 2010.

Every year they’ve aimed to outdo themselves, and stand head-and-shoulders above the competition. Last year they held a two-week online sales event – but this year they decided to go the full ‘bricks-and-mortar’, with a pop-up in Soho Square.

Called the ‘Home of Black Friday’, it was designed to look and feel like a home. Set within a traditional semi-detached house, the pop-up spanned two floors; downstairs you could wander round the kitchen and creative space, and upstairs a bedroom, lounge, playroom and games room. In each room, you could browse the latest deals across a wide range of products including electronics, beauty products, books, games and toys.


Merging online and off-line shopping

So how did it all work? Well, you could wander round and play with the products, with staff on-hand to help. And using the Amazon app, you could scan the product code – and go straight to Amazon.co.uk to buy it.

Which means it’s not entirely like a regular shop, in that you couldn’t just buy something off the shelf and take it home. But if you were super-keen to get it on the day, the reception area doubled as a dedicated Prime Now delivery area – letting you choose to have your product ordered online delivered to the pop-up within two hours.

The deals promoted in the store were available online for a limited time only – with an online countdown adding a sense of urgency. And every day, the pop-up’s products would change, to match the ‘Deals of the Day’ online. A genius strategy in our opinion, encouraging impulse purchases and driving sales before Black Friday.


An experience you just don’t get online

Where the brand really delivered was the chance to experience the products in ways that online shopping can’t deliver for the consumer – from mini Toni & Guy beauty treatments, a lounge complete with sofa, games console and full selection of games and DVDs… to a playroom filled with toys, books and iPads to browse. There really was something for everyone. And the whole experience was finished off with a touch of Christmas cheer: a tree covered in tinsel, presents on display and of course, plenty of mince pies.

The whole experience was fully staffed (if not a little over-staffed), offering visitors live demonstrations of Amazon-branded products (we now know more than we ever thought possible about the Amazon Show Echo). It also promoted services like Amazon Fresh with a £25 voucher for Whole Foods Market, redeemable on the day (again, to drive that sense of urgency).

There were giveaways too, and chances to win loads of prizes – with a simple ‘spin to win’ iPad game which we won twice (yes, twice!), picking up a free Lego set, a good book, and twin gel nail polish (a good day to have also bought a Lottery ticket, perhaps?!)


A true brand immersion

But the focus wasn’t purely on driving sales; this is also about brand immersion and positioning Amazon as brand leaders in this space. A timeline showing Black Friday Best Sellers since 2010 reminded visitors that Amazon truly own Black Friday in the UK, and are at the forefront of retail firsts and innovation.

Overall, it was an assault on the senses, with quite a lot going on in a relatively small space. But it was also a successful example of how best to extend the reach of the brand beyond the online platform we know and love. Amazon has demonstrated and embraced the need for both a physical retail space and an online platform, showing an insightful understanding that customers can move seamlessly between the two.

So bravo, Amazon – we can’t wait to see what’s in store for Christmas…



Sean Dwyer

‘Tis the reason to be jolly with Iceland

Iceland Christmas

It’s Christmas! And what a joy to see our Christmas campaign for Iceland go live this week. Eight executions of print ads nationwide, combining beautiful photography and a warm tone of voice to tempt customers with the delicious Luxury range, plus a stunning 16 page media insert in the weekend papers. Look out for the second insert in December. And if we can give you one tip… the Luxury Pavlova is to die for…

Iceland ChristmasIceland ChristmasIceland Christmas



Sean Dwyer

How to have a birthday (clue: the answer’s not in your logo)


Dust down your shell suit and dance atop your Lack table – it’s time to party like it’s 1999.

When you have a big birthday, what’s the best way to celebrate? If you’re like most retailers, you slap the year of your birth underneath your logo and do an advertising campaign. If you’re Ikea, you use the opportunity for one big party and invite the public along.

Ikea’s recent House Party – a takeover of a four storey town house in London, played homage to the brand’s 30 year’s presence in the UK, and was free for the public to enter for one week. A brilliant hand, played at just the right time as part of their overall brand strategy.

Each floor was cleverly decked out as a living room throwback to past decades reflecting our changing tastes in interiors. Guests could wander around the whole house, much like an exhibition, taking a trip down memory lane with Billy Book cases, Twister and Connect 4 in the 80s, Britpop and minimalist sofas in the 90s and shiny acrylic units and clashing walls in the 00s. Hammy actors made the experience even more fun (and even more bonkers). By contrast, the top floor looked to the future, inviting people to consider how they might create homes that help us make better use of the world’s dwindling resources. Come night, the house turned into an actual house party, complete with Jamiroquai playlist and Hooch at the bar.


Experiential marketing is nothing new, but has been gaining traction over the last few years as traditional advertising fails to hit the mark. But what was interesting here, is that while the house was stacked full of Ikea product, there was absolutely no emphasis on buying anything. In fact, you couldn’t even pick up a catalogue (although you could check out 30 years of catalogue covers made into wallpaper – a nice touch). Ikea knows you can’t make money directly from experiential. It’s not the place for transactions. Instead, the whole event was a cleverly executed gold standard in brand awareness, geared towards putting Ikea at the forefront of consumer’s minds, both for their ‘design classics’ which continue to endure, and to cement their reputation as one of the most forward thinking, innovative and ethically minded brands. After all, if a brand stirs positive emotions with consumers, they’re more likely to have a positive perception overall.

Ikea has recognised that as people aren’t responding to traditional advertising, they need another way to reach the ever-apathetic, attention-of-a-gnat consumer. Something with talkability. And the great thing about experiential is it’s hugely shareable. Even if people didn’t visit the house, they probably consumed it via social media – meaning Ikea probably reached thousands, possibly millions, more people than they might have otherwise.

So if you’re about to have a birthday soon, think twice about that logo tweak and take a leaf from Ikea. Prawn vol-au-vents optional.



Sean Dwyer

Can graphic design save your life?


This month, a couple of the Whippets headed to The Wellcome Collection in central London to have a look at their exhibition ‘Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?’ Turns out it can. But it’s also quite capable of killing you too. From tiny stamps to national advertising campaigns and pill packaging that many of us see everyday, it was a chance to reflect on the impact and importance graphic design has in our lives. The show begins with the controversial topic of smoking. Over the years, creatives had encouraged people to buy tobacco as much as they’d tried to sway them to kick the habit. Charles Saatchi’s ingenious Silk Cut campaign in response to the constraints on tobacco advertising (which prohibited naming brands in the early 1990s) beautifully depicted ‘Silk Cut’ with purple silk being slashed and cut in various surreal ways. They offered rewards to those who could decipher the coded message, and Silk Cut sales soared.

On the other end of the spectrum, we saw how market research agency GfK set out to find the ugliest colour possible, subconsciously repulsing consumers by wrapping packets of tobacco with the chosen colour. They used the sluggish brown Pantone 448A called ‘opaque couché’ deemed the ugliest colour in the world, and that’s what you see on packets of cigarettes and tobacco today. An Australian government report estimated that the number of smokers fell by more than 100,000 after the sickly-brown colour was implemented onto packets. Quite an amazing statistic for a colour swap and really reaffirms the impact of graphic design.


The section on hospitals housed a fascinating project by design agency PearsonLloyd, who aimed to reduce violence caused by frustration in A&E due to unexplained delays. Designers created clear information panels and fixed them to walls in appropriate departments so that visitors had a much better understanding of what the process was within A&E, and where they were within it. Violence incidents fell by 50% after a year of implementation. An incredible statistic, and an important one when saving lives.

Other themes that came through in the exhibition included the importance of graphic design when transcending language barriers, which was especially prevalent in the packaging of drugs, where semiotics especially come into play. And how design has really shaped and documented controversial health topics over time – like sex, drug use and smoking, as well as provoking and empowering people to take action, particularly seen in health charity sector.

All in all, a fascinating exhibition in a beautiful space that reminded us how powerful and important design is within every aspect of our lives – and importantly keeping us alive.



Sean Dwyer

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