Creative Circle Annual 2017

We will never be like them

Creative Circle’s first female President, Vicki Maguire, has unveiled her new ‘angry, anarchic’ graphic identity for the organisation with the launch of its Annual. Upon being named President, she set out a bold new manifesto for the organisation, ‘we will never be like them’ – and the anarchic graphic identity reflects both her and its desire to disrupt the conservative, po-faced and increasingly corporate persona of the industry’s aware programmes.

Of the 300 printed annuals, no two are identical. Pages torn, crumpled and scrawled on in unique ways.  Details including gold, silver and bronze foils printed onto individually bound cloth jackets, hundreds of paper hole punches carefully placed between pages and the spine traditionally stitched with hand dyed thread are telltale signs that each has been hand crafted.

“It’s akin to old punk zines,” says designer Matteo Alabiso, “Where the outcome isn’t as important as the message”.

Read more about the Annual here.

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Shine on

December 21 is the darkest day of the year. But with Volvo LifePaint, it’s also a cyclist’s time to shine. While the unique reflective safety spray is already available via Volvo dealerships in more than 50 countries around the world, we’ve been working hard to ensure the product is even more accessible – and we’re happy to report that cans are now available to purchase online. Launch of the e-commerce platform is supported by digital billboards on some of London’s busiest and most dangerous roads, right when the city is at its darkest.

To purchase your cans, please visit the online store here. Stay safe, and have exceptional Christmases.


Stand #WithRefugees

On the 5 August, at the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, ten elite athletes will walk out in front of a global audience of over a billion. They’ve survived bombings, walked barefoot through entire countries and swum for hours, pushing a boatload of people to shore. Brave and determined, they didn’t just survive; they trained and qualified for the Olympics. They are the Refugee Olympic Team. Together with Just So, we captured their remarkable story. A trailer, launched in the build up to the Games, previews a forthcoming full-length documentary. This is a story that needs to be told. 

Watch the trailer and read more about Team Refugees here.


All’s Fair in love and chores?

Gender equality has come a long way. Yet despite women now making up nearly 50% of the UK workforce, they still spend on average 117 more minutes every day on household chores than men. 60% of children have seen their parents argue about the housework, while only 20% say that housework is shared evenly in their home. Just 2% of girls think it is their dad’s job to do the housework. To coincide with International Women’s Day, and to highlight the issue of gender equality and fairness in the home, iconic household brand Fairy made one small change to its logo: ‘Fairy’ became ‘Fair’. We launched the campaign with a film on Facebook, which encouraged people to question ‘how fair is your home?’. It gained 25,000 organic views within its first 24 hours, and within a fortnight has been viewed more than 600,000 times.

Watch the video and add your voice to the campaign here.

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Meowww…say hello to the McVitie’s iKitten

Let’s face it: cats dressed up is a big part of the internet. With this in mind, we’ve created possibly the cutest, but least useful thing in the app store: the McVitie’s iKitten. The augmented reality app allows you to personalise your very own British Blue kitten, dressing it up in purrrfect (sorry) accessories and making it play with a selection of toys. In the less than two weeks since launch, the app was downloaded 59k times (for context, two-thirds of apps don’t get 1000 downloads in their first year. 80% of branded apps don’t get 1000 at all!), saw 2.2m kitten interactions and trended on the App Store on its day of launch. It’s also been rated 4.5/5 stars by the public. Now that’s pretty Sweeet™.

Download your own iKitten here.

Year of the Elephant

A trumpet call to action

33,000 African Elephants are killed every year for their tusks. THIRTY THREE THOUSAND. Every year. That’s 90 every day, or more than three an hour. How depressing is that? Less depressingly, momentum is at least (and at last) building to stop the ivory trade once and for all. That’s why, this Chinese New Year, Grey and conservation group WildAid are calling on the world to help make 2016 the first ever Year of the Elephant and make 2016 the year more elephants are born than are killed. Join supporters including Sir Richard Branson, Yoko Ono, Arianna Huffington, Sir Trevor McDonald, Lupita Nyong’o and Yao Ming and #JointheHerd. Wish your friends ‘Xiàng Nián Kuài Lè’ (See-ANG nyan qua-ler – that’s ‘Happy Year of the Elephant’ in Mandarin). Change your social media profile picture here, and read more about the campaign here.


The context behind the canvas

Art is moving, but not just because of its aesthetic. It’s the narrative behind the art that moves us the most. Despite that, convention dictates that art should be promoted visually, focusing heavily on reproductions of the artwork itself. Well, you can probably guess what we think of convention. To help connect Tate Britain and its artwork with a new audience, we stripped everything away. Rather than showcasing the art itself, we’re using powerful words, enhanced with unusual typographic twists, to tell the story behind it.

Read more about the campaign here.

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To The Pub!

“No, Sir, there is nothing which has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced, as by a good tavern or inn.” -Doctor Johnson

With those words wringing in our ears (and a few pints of IPA in our stomachs), we created To The Pub for Greene King IPA, an initiative to champion and celebrate that great British institution, the pub. The film series comprises 50 pubs and 50 stories, as seen through the lens of those who know them best: their landlords and their locals. With recent stats showing that more people are drinking at home than in pubs for the first time on record, we set out to celebrate not just those beloved venues but also the reason they play such a significant role in Britain’s culture and in the lives of people that frequent them.

Visit here to watch some of the stories.  

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Overseas rugby stars caught impersonating Home Nation squads ahead of crunch tournament

So, we’ve banned Lucozade. Well, we’ve ‘banned’ Lucozade Sport to anyone but Home Nations players ahead of a certain crunch international rugby tournament being held in the UK this autumn in our latest campaign: Strictly for the Home Nations Only.

The tongue-in-cheek TV & content-led campaign positions the sports drink as the secret weapon of the Home Nations’ rugby teams and includes a host of digital content and a 60’ TV spot that shows international rugby stars from across the world pretending to be players from the home nations in order to fool shopkeepers around the UK. This includes putting on accents and dressing in disguise – from Drew Mitchell, Australian Rugby star, having English elocution lessons, to Bryan Habana, the South African winger, dressed in a kilt learning a Scottish accent.

But do they succeed? Watch the spot to find out.

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Life is flat unless you shake it

Introducing C’est Shook, our first work – a brand repositioning campaign – for Orangina. And introducing Sandrine, above and on the link below in glorious GIF form.

C’est Shook is a celebration of the ritual and iconic shake of the Orangina bottle before drinking and the broader philosophy it inspires. Centrepiece of the campaign is a quirky film, featuring the aforementioned Sandrine, that…well, it’s better if you just watch it.

You can do so – and find out more about the campaign and our work with Orangina – here.

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Find Your Flow

If you live in London, we’d bet good money you’ve already seen the first (out of home) pieces of our new campaign for Lucozade Energy, Find Your Flow. They’re everywhere. Well, now the campaign’s everywhere-er, with more, new, OOH executions, a TV spot, radio, in-store, experiential, digital, social and PR. Phew. The whole campaign, including new brand positioning and strapline, encourages consumers to drink Lucozade Energy in situations beyond hangovers and illness and positions the drink as an ally to busy people who want to enjoy a full life – an idea that flies in the face of the energy category of high-adrenaline junkie quick hits, crashes and burns.

See, and read more, about it here.


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Kiss the awkward goodbye this International Kissing Day

Today, 6 July, is International Kissing Day.  To celebrate this, we’ve created a heartwarming film for disability charity Scope, showing disabled people and their partners getting it on. It comes in response to research showing that only 7% of people have been on a date with or asked out a disabled person, and stars real-life couples Ollie Hancock, who was born with the lower part of his right arm missing, and Jen Shersby; Diane Noella, who is visually impaired, and Anthony Pike; and Michael Buckley, who uses a wheelchair, and his wife Claire. The film sees all three couples passionately embracing to a soundtrack of Kiss My Name by Antony and the Johnsons, and shows that when you get down to it – literally – we’re all the same, and it’s about personal connection and chemistry.

Watch the film in full here.

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An extraordinary, 40-year lift journey for HSBC

Running a business is about more than just the numbers — it’s about people and human ambition. To encapsulate this, we have created a film depicting one man’s journey, from the launch of his company in 1974 up until the present day, which tells the story of everything he’s experienced in between: the up-and-down, four-decade journey of a business, from start-up to multinational corporation.

The twist? It’s set entirely in a lift. Given the intimate and up-close nature of the location, the shoot was a considerable undertaking in attention to detail — from wardrobe, makeup and hairstyling to prosthetics and props. The end result is as much a mesmerising portrait of four decades as it is the life of a business.

Read more about it and watch the film on Medium.


Could your child save a life?

That’s the question we sought to address through our PSA, backed by Mumsnet and The British Red Cross and inspired by the remarkable story of five-year-old Elleemae Isherwood. Elleemae dialled 999 when her mum had a fit with no one else except her baby sister at home – a story we thought too important not to tell, especially after our survey revealed more than a third of parents have not taught their child to dial 999, with nearly half of those not doing so because they don’t think their child is mature enough. Elleemae’s story spearheads the campaign, which aims to get parents to teach their child how to dial 999 in an emergency and very possibly how to save a life.

Read more about it and watch the heart-wrenching film here.

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Let’s Go!

We’re very excited to share our first work for Vodafone UK since being named the brand’s lead creative agency earlier this year.

It’s an exuberant celebration of life, mobility and possibility, all empowered by Vodafone 4G, and introduces an energetic new tone of voice for the brand.

In the words of Vicki Maguire, deputy executive creative director, “Let’s Go! is about doing more of the stuff you love – for when it comes down to it, what more is a mobile network than something that facilitates that? We wanted to inject some real-world gusto into the brand; to portray something upbeat, genuine and full of life in an industry that has been guilty in the past of being quite fluffy.”

Watch the ad in full here.



Volvo presents LifePaint

This is the sort of work we want to be making.

Introducing LifePaint: a unique reflective spray aimed at increasing the visibility and safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users. Invisible by daylight, it glows brightly in the glare of car headlights, making the invisible visible at night.

“Our job isn’t just to advertise our clients,” said our Chairman/CCO Nils Leonard, “it’s to help them make a positive impact on culture. With the creation of LifePaint, we’ve turned Volvo safety inside out, giving it away to the most vulnerable road users. What more positive action can a brand take than to try to save lives?”

The media agree, with TIME, Ad Week, Ad Age, Cool Hunting, Fast Company, Gizmodo, High Snobiety, Mashable, Metro, The Mirror, The Times, The Telegraph, The Verge, Wired and USA Today (to name but a few) covering the story and leading to a genuine online buzz and virality – all with no media budget.

Read more about the initiative here- and if you like it, please share it. More than 19,000 cyclists are injured on UK roads each year. Let’s get that figure down.


Volvo: Swedish Air

To promote Volvo’s unique CleanZone air filtration system, we have created probably the most tranquil car commercial you will ever see. ’Swedish Air’ sees the viewer transported to the vast, unspoilt, open Swedish landscape that inspired Volvo’s technology; “As close to inhaling a lungful of Swedish air as you can get without a plane ticket”, in the words of Creative Director Hollie Newton.

It’s part of a series of films promoting the key product innovations of the upcoming XC90. In addition, we’ve created a luxury ‘Swedish Air Inhaler’ to draw attention at car shows and dealerships. A collaboration with New York-based glass studio OFF CENTRE, the challenge was to develop a packaging concept for how ‘Swedish Air’ might be bottled as a consumable; a glass depiction of a deep breath of air.

Read more about the project on Medium here or Fast Company here.


The Alphabet Poster Project

Introducing the Alphabet Poster Project: the latest campaign to celebrate and promote our environmentally-friendly font, Ryman Eco.

No font has entered widespread use without first being embraced by the design community. So, to highlight Ryman Eco’s credentials as a credible and aesthetically-pleasing design tool, we gave 26 of the UK’s most respected design practitioners a simple brief – ‘beautifully sustainable’. Each designed a unique poster, and the result is an eclectic ‘alphabet’, celebrating the beauty of the font and serving as a reminder of its environmentally-friendly purpose.

Read more about the project and the font here.


Hitting the Swee(e)t Spot

Since launching our Sweeet campaign for McVitie’s last year, we’ve been inundated with requests from the public for cuddly, plush versions of the adverts’ stars.

Well, we’d hate to disappoint…

A year after the campaign first broke, McVitie’s has pumped £3m into an on-pack promotion, with the chance of winning your very own Sweeet friend (there they are, posing above).

The nice folk at Fast Company took the opportunity to write some words on the success of the campaign as a whole – check it out here.

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Greene King IPA – King Snare

Watch legendary improvisational percussionist Steve Noble perform a mesmerising, unrehearsed freestyle drum solo in King Snare.

The two-minute film, for British brewer Greene King IPA, dramatises the intuitive craft that goes into brewing beer and reprises the brand’s Crafted for the Moment strap line.

Shot by up-and-coming young British Director George Belfield, it was filmed in a single take, without any sheet music and features Noble’s 40-year-old drum kit which has travelled around the world with him.

Read more about it here.

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Volvo – The Swell

“The last thing the world needs is another overly-retouched car, hooning down a mountain road to a soft rock soundtrack. There’s a defiant, slightly renegade Swedish spirit to Volvo that simply doesn’t fit with the bland world of car advertising. And thank god for that. We have an enormous suite of work coming up for Volvo which challenges the conventions of the sector. This is the first. A quietly epic piece of film that, hopefully, makes you feel something.” –Hollie Newton, Global Creative Director, Grey London.

View Fast Company article

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The Lucozade Sport Conditions Zone

We built The Lucozade Sport Conditions Zone – a state-of-the-art 5-a-side pitch replicating the heat and humidity of the World Cup in Brazil – in London’s Canary Wharf, giving the public a chance to experience, free-of-charge, the same conditions their heroes would during the World Cup. As well as being popular with the public – all 150 slots were fully-booked – it caught the attention of the media, with on-site broadcasts by BBC, ITV and Sky News among others.

View Mail Online article


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The Times & The Sunday Times – The Unquiet Film Series

The Times has always been a paper with a rich cultural heritage. Ever since its foundation in 1785 it has habitually and persistently pushed boundaries, challenged authority, impacted culture, given a voice to those who have suffered injustice, used its journalism to enact positive change and demonstrated its unique, unquiet spirit.
So, for the first time in its 229-year history, the paper is celebrating the significant historical and cultural impact that The Times and The Sunday Times have had on Britain and the world through a collection of short films, archive material and additional content, as varied in their scope and style as they are in time and geography.
The project is the result of a multi-faceted collaboration between News UK, The Times and The Sunday Times (including its marketing, editorial and archive teams), creative agency Grey London and production company Betsy Works. Grey’s in-house digital agency GreyPOSSIBLE created – which as well as the films, will be home to a range of content including directors’ cuts, behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, articles, photos and archive material, all free-to-access.

View It’s Nice That article

View Fast Company article

View Huffington Post article

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The Sun – Do Us Proud

The Sun’s World Cup campaign urged the England team in Brazil to ‘Do us Proud’ – celebrating the fact that win, lose or draw, we just wanted our boys to go out there and play their hearts out. It revolves around a re-recording of The Seekers’ 1960s classic ‘I’ll Never Find Another You’ with a football-themed spin on the well-known karaoke format.

View Fast Company article

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Scope – End the Awkward

A staggering two-thirds of Brits admit to feeling uncomfortable around disabled people – the majority not through prejudice, but from not knowing how to act. We set out to tackle this ‘innocent ignorance’ through an Alex Brooker-fronted campaign championing education through entertainment: End the Awkward. The campaign generated extensive press and broadcast attention – including segments on BBC, ITV and Sky News – and resulted in almost 400 million media impressions.


View Metro’s double-page article on the campaign.

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Duracell – Two Boys in a Boat

Watch how Luke and Jamie – 2 boys in a boat – rowed 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in aid of Breast Cancer Care, sponsored by Duracell. Sharks, 40-foot waves and narrowly avoiding being crushed by a container ship, we captured it all during their 54-day adventure.

View Mail Online article


The Sunday Times Rich List – Fat Cats

We took a humorous approach to promoting The Sunday Times’ Rich List 2014 in a campaign shot by Tim Flack – one of the world’s leading animal photographers – and which features Sirs Richard Branson and Elton John, as well as X Factor mogul Simon Cowell reimagined as fleshy felines.

Richard Branson liked his so much he ran a ‘CATion’ competition through his website and four million Twitter followers.

View the ‘CATion’ competition

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McVitie’s Sweeet™

Sweeet™ – our masterbrand campaign for McVitie’s – captured the hearts and minds (and shopping trolleys) of the nation. From the Zesty Mischief of Jaffa Cakes to the Crumbly Cuddle of Digestives, our puppies, kittens, tarsier (a primate with a new fan base!) and owls helped generate soaring sales and an 87% ROI spike.

“Forget every animal video you’ve seen before – we’ve found the cutest one ever”, said ABC News’ Good Morning America, while TIME Magazine called it “The cutest thing ever put on television”. The campaign has even inspired its own BuzzFeed Listicle.

View the rest of the Sweeet ads on Vimeo:

McVitie’s Sweet – Chocolate Digestives

McVitie’s Sweet – BN

McVitie’s Sweeet – Digestives

Read the TIME article

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Ryman Eco

We launched the world’s most beautiful sustainable font, Ryman Eco. Designed by Monotype’s Dan Rhatigan, it uses 33% less ink than a suite of standard fonts (and 27% less ink than the current leading sustainable font) and has been designed to be beautiful and legible when printed. At 10-14 point, Ryman Eco looks like a normal font due to the inherent bleeding of ink & toner, while at larger sizes, the white space in between the dozens of thin lines and curves which make up each letter become more visible yet it remains highly elegant and readable.

Read Creative Review article

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The Sunday Times – Icons

Shot in one stunning take, the film – to promote The Sunday Times’ revamped Culture Magazine – tips its hat to some of the most instantly recognisable moments from culture through the ages. In just 50 seconds, it recreates six iconic scenes from more than 500 years of history: Rodin’s The Thinker, the epochal ‘bench scene’ from Forrest Gump, the Mad Men title sequence, Michelangelo’s seminal Creation of Adam, the Mr Pink/Mr White ‘altercation’ from Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, and, finally, the helmeted, Grammy Award-winning electronic duo Daft Punk.

As well as winning in Cannes (and seeing directing duo Us named in Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Directors’ Showcase), it garnered more than two million completely organic views and made the Top 10 posts on reddit – ‘the front page of the internet’.

View Adweek article

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Schwartz – The Sound of Taste

Back with a bang – literally – in January with The Sound of Taste for Schwartz, a ‘sonic flavourscape’ created to promote the brand’s new Flavour Shots . The audio-visual installation saw several tonnes of black peppercorns, cardamom, basil leaves, cinnamon, cumin seeds, ginger, chilli and coriander rigged to explode in perfect sync with a delicate piano composition from DJ/producer MJ Cole and was designed to dramatise the intense effect that herbs and spices have on the senses.