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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.  


What a cracker! We’ve won Jacob’s

Not content with merely having bountiful supplies of McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives and Jaffa Cakes in the meeting rooms, we’ve gone and added Mini Cheddars and Twiglets to the catering options with the win of Jacob’s creative account. The United Biscuits savoury snack brand joins its sister swee(e)t brand McVitie’s at 77 Hatton Garden following a (very) competitive pitch. CEO Lucy Jameson had this to say: “We are delighted that we’ve won this pitch. Not only do we get to work on yet another portfolio of great, iconic brands but we’re also consolidating and growing our relationship with United Biscuits – one of our most exciting and creatively ambitious clients – as they invest and grow their business.”

Read more here.

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Innovation on the agenda with trio of senior planning hires

Talent is the lifeblood of any company, particularly a creative agency such as ours. So, naturally, we’re delighted to welcome two new faces into Hatton Garden, and announce the promotion of a third. Bolstering our strategic offering are Matt Springate (group strategy director at Droga5) as managing planning partner, Alistair Green (former BBH planning group head and Mindshare head of strategy) as planning partner and Wiktor Skoog, who has been promoted to a new position at the agency: strategic design director. These moves support and strengthen our innovation agency and ambition to create and influence popular culture, pushing boundaries to create a new shape of ideas and a different kind of work.

Read more about the moves here.

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“Culture is by far the biggest sustainable advantage we have in business today”

‘…why? Because it is the hardest thing to replicate. Competitors can imitate product and match price overnight, but culture takes energy, commitment and years to build.’

Our CEO Lucy Jameson writes on the vitality of culture to business in The Guardian – arguing while that a strong culture can act as a protective shield for a business when times are tough, it works both ways, and a weak or incoherent culture can rot a business from the inside. She also adds some lessons as to how we’ve built – and more importantly (for it is much harder) sustained a strong, open culture, a culture that is the very foundation of our recent success.

Read her piece in the Guardian’s Women in Leadership section here.

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The Culture Vulture

CSO Leo Rayman has a shiny new toy to play with: his very own column in The Drum. The Culture Vulture will see Leo – also chairman of the IPA Strategy Group – look at the secrets behind the successes of the brands making a real dent in culture. So, how do they? This debut sees him talk ‘cultural technology’, ‘WTF moments’, UK grime and Korean K-Pop – obviously. We’ll give you a heads up now, the word ‘culture’ will feature an awful lot.

Read the column here.

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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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City Slicker

Our CEO Lucy Jameson speaks to City AM about brand-building, truth, and why agencies need to be making headlines.

Here’s a snippet: “When I started about 20 years ago, 30 per cent of television viewers actually preferred adverts to the programmes broadcasted. Today, that idea seems inconceivable. You need to be a lot smarter in your approach, ready to think outside the box.”

Read the rest of the article 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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Artfully done: we’ve won Tate!

Well, we’re excited by this one. We’ve won Tate, following a competitive pitch. As with many stories, it’s best told by those involved:

“It became apparent very quickly that Grey intrinsically understood our creative and communications needs as well as our industry as a whole. Importantly, the agency presented us with ideas rather than just ads, and its ethos of creating and influencing popular culture fits perfectly with what we’re trying to achieve as an organisation.”  (Rob Baker, chief marketing officer, Tate)

“Tate is one of those brands you dream about working with – especially at such an exciting stage in its history. To have such incredible galleries and world-class art as our paintbox is a huge privilege.  We have a programme of really interesting, non-traditional work lined up, and we can’t wait to get started.” (Natalie Graeme, managing director, Grey London)

Read more about the appointment over at Campaign Live 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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The man who made Grey matter

‘Grey’s chairman and chief creative officer has a reputation for cockiness and vanity but also for resurrecting his agency’, writes Campaign. Here, global editor-in-chief Claire Beale seeks out the real Nils Leonard.

Is Nils Leonard a cock?

The consciously pretty progeny of a bike-gang member and an RE teacher who grew up as a designer, took on creative leadership of one of London’s most broken agencies and arrived home from Cannes last week with two of the world’s biggest creative prizes is used to dividing industry opinion.

For years, Grey was at the dog-end of the agency scale. They blamed the name. They blamed the offices. They blamed the clients. Across the decades, a succession of creative chiefs came in with a mission to transform. Nada. It remained, as they privately admitted, a bit shit – characterised by bland internationalised work and a clammy air of defeat.

So when Leonard took charge, naïve and cocky, all shiny show and apparently little substance, he was easily dismissed.

Not any more. After all those years at the bottom, after all those countless miserable failures to turn things around, Grey is at the top. And Leonard made it happen.

Continue reading the profile here.


Cannes Lions: a roaring success

Awards aren’t why we do what we do. But they are an important signal to the world of our progress and our standing in the industry. And the global stage of Cannes is as big as they get. That’s why we’re dead proud that Cannes Lions 2015 was unequivocally our best ever. Overall, we took home 12 Lions for seven different clients in seven different categories: promo & activation, design, direct, cyber, outdoor, film and creative data. To top it off, we won two Grand Prix – for Volvo’s LifePaint, in promo & activation and design. That’s a feat no other agency in the world achieved.

Read Ad Week’s analysis of our – and the rest of Grey Group’s – unprecedented success on the Croisette here.  

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LifePaint the Contagious Cannes cover star

Hot off the press! We’re chuffed to reveal that Volvo LifePaint adorns the front cover of Contagious’ Cannes issue. Once they mooted the idea to us, it was a no-brainer – so we got our cans and stencils at the ready and headed down to a Shoreditch studio with the excellent Gian Paul Lozza for the shoot. We hope you like it. The magazine has also named the project one of its Cannes Contenders – we’re honoured.

Read more about the contents of Contagious 43 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.


The Luerzer’s Archive Interview: Nils Leonard

Nils Leonard, Chairman and CCO of Grey London, is a key figure in what must be considered one of the ad world’s most intriguing – and unlikely – success stories of the past five years.

The agency used to be one of those old-fashioned shops that often got referred to as “Adland’s dinosaurs”: big, slow, and producing very little work of interest to the readership of [Luerzer's Archive]. Until, that is, the arrival at the creative helm of Nils, who has overseen the most creatively awarded years in Grey London’s 52-year history, managing to engineer a complete turnaround in the agency culture. Over the last five years, Grey London has doubled in size and received numerous accolades, including Adweek’s Global Agency of the Year 2013, and a Cannes Black Lion in 2011 for creative effectiveness in recognition of its globally acclaimed work for The British Heart Foundation. Grey London’s work for brands such as McVitie’s or The Sunday Times “Rich List” have frequently featured in this magazine. Under Nils’ creative guidance, Grey London has also become one of very few global agencies to gain recognition outside of its industry, picking up a British Comedy Award for The Angina Monologues, a programming idea starring comedians Victoria Wood, Jo Brand, and Julia Davis that aired on Christmas Day 2010 to an audience of seven million. Nils told Luerzer’s Archive’s Michael Weinzettl, who interviewed him at the offices of Grey London, that, of the many awards he has garnered over the past five years, this was the one he is most proud of.

Read the whole entire (free-to-access) interview here. It’s a cracker.

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Bill Scott promoted to UK Group MD; Natalie Graeme to managing director

Big news, and two very well-deserved promotions: Bill Scott takes on the new role of UK Group MD, while Natalie Graeme is named managing director.

As UK Group MD, Bill will be responsible for group operations and driving further integration between our advertising, shopper, digital, production and social business units, as well as collaboration with the wider network.

Bill says: “It’s through increased collaboration that the best and most innovative ideas are born – and it’s that kind of surprising work that we want to be making. Integrated wins over the past two years like General Mills and McVitie’s, plus the fact that 80% of our clients already work with more than one business unit, show how compelling the offer at Hatton Garden already is.”

Natalie is promoted to MD, overseeing creative services and the agency’s content division specifically. She will focus on exploring how a modern creative agency needs to be set up to produce modern work.

Natalie says: “The kind of work we’re making at Grey London demands new approaches. I want to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in the agency and create an environment in which our talent can push the limits of what advertising is and does.” 

Lucy Jameson, CEO adds: “It’s a great time to work in our industry. At Grey, we want to find ways to make an impact in popular culture in new and surprising ways, like the recent Volvo LifePaint project. Bill and Natalie get this. I can’t think of anyone better suited and more committed to creating the right environment to cultivate that way of thinking.”

Big congratulations to them both.


Grey wins Helly Hansen

Iconic outdoor clothing brand Helly Hansen has awarded us its global advertising account following a pitch. We replace the incumbent Forsman & Bodenfors. We’ve been challenged to reposition the 138-year-old brand – best known for its range of outdoor, sport and performance wear – uniting its entire product range under one coherent, dynamic brand idea and telling a story that endures from season to season. We’ve got some great stuff in the pipeline – although you’ll have to wait until 2016 to see it!

Nils Leonard, our Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, said: “Helly Hansen are the best at what they do. To partner with a brand that innovate in the space between life and death is thrilling. You have a dream of a client in a pitch, and Helly match both our ambitions for this incredible brand and the new shape of ideas needed to succeed in culture.”

Read more on the win over on Campaign.


Sixt appoints Grey for UK drive

We’ve been appointed by car hire brand Sixt – which has been operating in Germany to great success for more than 100 years – to launch it’s first UK advertising campaign.

Per Vögerl, the managing director of commercial of Sixt UK, said: “Sixt has been successfully operating in the UK for almost 20 years, yet we’ve never undertaken a true introductory brand campaign to launch our position in the market. Grey is the perfect partner with which to do so. We particularly bought into their culture, the strength of their integrated creative work and their innovative use of channels.”

Kind words indeed – we can’t wait to get started.

Read more about it here.


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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Grey Matter: The choice is [not] yours

In the latest of our Grey Matter events, we invited 150 industry guests to The Choice is [Not] Yours at our Hatton Garden office, where leading figures from the world of politics, public affairs, advertising and media examined how our ballot box and buying decisions are influenced by subliminal factors.

The expert panel comprised:

Stephen Adams, partner at Global Counsel and political speech writer
Tim Allan, founder of Portland and key media advisor to Tony Blair and the Labour Party during the 1997 election
Eli Pariser, chief executive officer of Upworthy and board president of
Heather Andrew, chief executive officer of Neuro-Insight
& Leo Rayman, chief strategy officer of Grey London

For those who couldn’t make it, Campaign has published this write-up and short film. Keep your eyes peeled for the next.

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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.


In the good books, again

We were thrilled to be awarded an eight (out of nine) in Campaign’s School Reports – it’s annual and influential barometer of the state of the industry and its inhabitants. We first scored an eight in 2013; at the time it was our highest score ever. It has now become merely our JOINT highest score, having achieved the same grade in every year since.

‘For Grey, 2014 was all about brilliant work. Not only did the agency win the respect of its peers but, crucially, the work created a positive business benefit for its clients. What was notable about Grey’s work was its breadth and its ability to generate news coverage, not just from TV ad campaigns’ said Campaign, before praising our ‘terrific momentum’. Well in.

Read the report in its entirety here.




Rayman promoted to CSO

Leo Rayman has been promoted to our Chief Strategy Officer, replacing Lucy Jameson who took over as CEO earlier this year.

Lucy commented: “Leo’s worked for me three times.  That tells you two things.  Firstly, he’s a sucker for punishment.  Secondly, I rate him very highly!”

Supporting Leo is Matt Tanter, the planning director responsible for the award-winning Lucozade Conditions Zone, who is promoted to Head of Planning.

Read more (and ogle at Leo’s wonderful beard) in Campaign here.


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.

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Lucy Jameson appointed CEO of Grey London

We’re thrilled to announce that Lucy Jameson has been appointed CEO of Grey London.

Lucy, who takes the hotseat immediately, said, “I’m very excited by this opportunity to build on the momentum we’ve created here. We have great people, great clients, a great culture – and a great future.”

Nils Leonard, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, added: “Grey London’s culture is what makes us different. Lucy embodies this energy and like all the best, makes everyone around her raise their game. I can’t wait to partner Lucy in taking Grey London to the next level.”

For further details, see the press release here.


General Mills names Grey London lead agency

Well, we’ve hit 2015 running! On the back of us picking up the Vodafone UK account, we’re delighted to have been appointed General Mills’ lead agency, looking after such iconic brands as Green Giant and Betty Crocker – brands that already have a rich and well-known heritage in advertising. We’re looking forward to taking them to the next level.

Read more on Campaign 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.