Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA Agency News: Spark Foundry, ROAST, Waste Creative and many more

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Benriach Single Malt Scotch Whisky, part of the Brown-Forman Corporation portfolio of brands, has launched a new UK campaign titled, ‘Say No to Bad Gift Giving’, in partnership with Buzzfeed, to raise awareness of the common mistakes people make when gift-giving. Benriach, known for its long-standing tradition of producing three styles of whisky and its vast eclectic cask inventory sourced from around the world, is encouraging people to trade in unwanted gifts for a bottle of The Original Ten. Currently running from now until the end of December, the three pillar approach aims to enhance brand awareness and build brand momentum and was devised by Brown-Forman UK’s media agency, Spark Foundry, who has handled the media planning, buying and execution. The first pillar of this campaign will see two animated videos [see here and here] featured on social platforms, Facebook and Instagram, showing ‘highball’ and ‘rocks’ whisky cocktails with the brand’s call to action – encouraging people to ‘raise the bar this Christmas’ with Benriach. Secondly, Buzzfeed will take to the streets to conduct ‘voxpop’ style interviews with members of the public, asking about their experiences with ‘bad gift giving’ and presenting them a bottle of Benriach in return. The third pillar of the campaign will see people invited into 15 Bateman Street in Soho to exchange gifts they have received previously that might not have been right for them, with a bottle of Benriach – The Original 10. The event will take place in December, with footage being shared across Buzzfeed’s social platforms with the previous “not quite right” gifts being exchanged, donated or recycled.

This December, independent agency ROAST are partnering with Starlight, and will be running paid media for the charitable organisation pro bono. The national charity works to enable children in hospitals and hospices to  experience the power of play to boost their wellbeing and resilience during illness. Across the UK over 100,000 children spend the festive period in hospital. Children in hospital can experience fear, trauma and loss, and play reduces these feelings  and creates positive memories. Having worked with the charity previously as the appointed digital agency, ROAST have recently taken steps to become more involved in the charity’s mission,  especially around their creative idea to Sponsor a Star. The charity is inviting the  public to sponsor a star on Oxford Street for £10 this Christmas and make a child’s stay in hospital brighter through play. The campaign will run throughout December, and you can sponsor a star here.

Opera GX, the browser for gamers, has unveiled an anarchic new campaign starring actor and comedian Eric Andre, “Bury Boring”. The push was developed in partnership with Waste Creative. Opera GX asked Waste to create a disruptive, edgy, impactful campaign to boost brand awareness. The push aims to challenge mainstream gamers to stop using their default browser and download something better: the browser for gamers. To help Opera GX stand out from its competitors, Waste landed on the creative concept of “Bury Boring” – a rallying cry to take on boring browsing behaviour and the other brands in the space. The agency identified comedian and actor Eric Andre, best known as the creator, host, and co-writer of the surreal Adult Swim comedy series The Eric Andre Show, as the perfect talent to bring the idea to life and represent the Opera GX brand’s fun and irreverent tone of voice. Andre has a significant following on social media, with 2.7m followers on Instagram alone. A surreal, chaos-infused, horror-inspired two-minute hero film, directed by Dan French, sees Andre confronting people using “boring” browsers, interrupting their boring browsing behaviour and throwing devices in his body bag. In one vignette, an older woman is trying to load a website called Dating for the Dying. Andre rushes in with an axe, smashes the woman’s computer, stuffs it in his body bag, and screams, “You’re wasting time you don’t have!”. The spot features unscripted moments captured on set, reflecting Andre’s comedic talents and surreal sense of humour. The push is running across social channels YouTube, Twitter and TikTok, supported by influencer activity.

Honda Motor Europe has awarded independent creative agency Exposure with a multi-year contract to be its lead ATL agency across Europe, including the UK, for the brand’s automobile business. The pitch, which was run internally by Honda, saw Exposure compete against VCCP and Hakuhodo/Sid Lee to win the task of driving awareness of the brand’s electrification series, in addition to new and updated model launches across the full Honda car range. The account has previously been held by incumbent agency Sid Lee. The debut work – which will span TV, addressable TV, VoD, digital video, digital display, paid social, print and OOH – launches in 2024. Exposure was appointed after demonstrating its automotive expertise and proven track record in delivering high-quality integrated ATL campaigns at scale.

Men’s skincare brand Bulldog has launched a nationwide campaign with the help of its media agency VCCP Media to call on men to Protest Pointless Gifts. Noting that men often receive novelty gifts for Christmas and not things that they actually want and need, the campaign focuses on the rallying call: “Enough is enough. Please… Just get us something we need this year.” Novelty Christmas gifts also contribute to a bigger problem each year, as 1 in 5 unwanted gifts end up in landfill – last year that equated to almost 23 million items going to landfill. The campaign has recruited influencers and podcasters James and Clair Buckley to kickstart the protest on their podcast In Sickness and in Health. This has been further extended with Radio X sponsorship and an on-air competition co-hosted by Toby Tarrant and Johnny Vaughan to encourage people to forgo rubbish novelty gifts this christmas – with selected callers winning prizes based on their useless present stories. This is amplified in a D/OOH campaign across hero sites including Motion@Waterloo, Cross-Track 48 Sheet billboards and hundreds of digital OOH sites through shopping malls across the nation – the ads, created in house by Bulldog, feature the brand mascot and simple creative, with the message “Getting him socks for Christmas? Better Keep Thinking. #ProtestPointlessGifts”.

Mars, Incorporated has launched a first-of-its-kind digital and out-of-home campaign that ‘reuses’ fan-favorite advertisements giving them a second life with new messages of hope and progress around climate. The campaign, titled “Healthy Planet Productions”, follows the recent publication of Mars Net Zero Roadmap to accelerate action towards achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050, including a new Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) approved target to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 across its full value chain. Advertisements in the Mars ‘reused’ advertisement campaign will run in the U.S., U.K. and Mexico across Meta platforms and YouTube and will include out-of-home activations in select markets. In the U.S., the campaign will highlight advertisements for M&Ms®, TWIX® and Ben’s Original™. The U.K. will feature Bounty®, M&Ms® and TWIX®. Mexico will include M&Ms® and SNICKERS®.

In celebration of its 154th anniversary, Tienda Inglesa presents its new campaign, “The Time Machine,” a short film fully produced by Olga Lee, directed by Oliver Garland, creatively developed by Publicis Ímpetu. The story revolves around a boy in the 1930s who discovers a toy at Tienda Inglesa, which later turns out to be a time machine that actually works. This discovery initiates communication with someone from his future, leading to a surprising conclusion. This campaign is a spin-off from the multi-award-winning campaign “Mucha historia, mucho futuro” created for Tienda Inglesa two years ago, portraying the store’s story with a beautiful recreation of the city of Montevideo in the 1930s.

I Wish I Could Wish You A Merry Christmas has been viewed more than 68,000 times and counting. This two-minute ad features the story of a young lad who joins his classmates to create a Christmas card for his mum, only for the audience to discover that she died years ago. Released by Winston’s Wish, the UK’s first youth bereavement charity, this ad serves to highlight the reality of countless children this festive period and encourage supporters to consider donating to fund the charity’s important work. Proving it is worthy of a place among the Christmas ad giants of supermarket and department stores, Winston’s Wish’s ad pushes past the rosy-cheeked heart-warmers and makes a bold statement – children and young people will be facing this Christmas without their special person. The ad brings to light the heartbreaking reality that many children and young people will wake up on Christmas morning knowing the person they most want to celebrate with, won’t be there. In December alone, Winston’s Wish expects to support more than 5,000 grieving young people who will face the holidays without the person they love the most.

The Flywheelers, the integrated comms agency for high-growth tech companies, has announced that it has been selected as the UK communications partner for AssetPass, the digital legacy platform which enables users to securely take full ownership of their digital assets. AssetPass is putting comms at the core of its strategy to seize the first mover advantage for digital legacy by educating on the risks surrounding the inheritance of digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs. AssetPass is the leader in digital asset recovery and digital legacy management with a unique digital trustee process that empowers individuals to securely and privately manage their digital assets. Users can be assured that they and/or their beneficiaries will not be locked out from accessing important and valuable digital assets if they lose their private keys and passwords or when they pass away. The high-impact media relations and thought leadership programme will help educate on the perfect storm arising, which many owners of digital wealth assets overlook and may prevent them from passing on these digital assets after an unexpected life event.

Rationale, a strategic brand and communications agency, has announced an impressive 103% growth in top-line revenue over the past 12 months. The strong financial growth has also been further supported by the business doubling its team in size and further international growth. The agency, headquartered in Edinburgh and with offices in London and New York, has seen phenomenal growth due to its authentic strategy creation around a brand’s ‘why’ and the cultivation of a stand-out culture.  As part of Rationale’s commitment to excellence, the agency welcomes Strategy Director, Caroline Olechowski, who joins as a key addition to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Caroline brings a wealth of experience and expertise, which officially begins in the first week of December 2023. She is joined on the SLT by a second recent hire, Aisling Cotter, whose experience includes management roles at Schuh and Edinburgh-based agency, the Union.