Grey: Network of the Year 2014

With lots of money coming in and tremendous creative work going out, Grey has completed a remarkable transformation many in the industry thought unimaginable only a few years ago.

Capping off an excellent 12 months for us folk down on London’s Hatton Garden, we were chuffed to be named  Campaign’s Network of the Year 2014.

We were also named runner up in Agency of the Year, while our client News UK was runner up in Advertiser of the Year. Here’s to an even better 2015.

Read what Campaign had to say here.

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Beard Baubles

‘What makes beards even better? BAUBLES.’

Such was the thought process of the brilliant Mike (Kennedy) & Pauline (Ashford), who devised the commendably straightforwardly-named Beard Baubles.

We teamed up with Jimmy Niggles, founder of THIS IS BEARD and BEARD SEASON, who loved the idea. All money raised from sales of Beard Baubles will go directly to Beard Season, which campaigns against cancer, particularly Melanoma. If you’d like to read more about Jimmy’s story, or just ogle his excellent facial hair, please do so here.

The resulting photoshoot, displaying Beard Baubles in their natural habitat (on the faces on some of our beardier members of staff), will also be turned into the official agency Christmas card.

Read more about Beard Baubles on MailOnline (yes, really) 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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‘Unquiet’ makes TV debut in C4 ad break takeover

Here’s some exciting news: The Unquiet Film Series is to make its TV debut during high-profile C4 drama Homeland.

The Times has bought an entire ad break during the show, in which it will showcase Bearing Witness: the story of the kidnapping and escape of two Times journalists in Syria earlier this year.

“Bearing Witness tells a powerful story full of insight into the dangers journalists face in their endeavours to report the truth from hostile environments around the world,” said Nick Stringer, chief creative officer at News UK. “Broadcasting this short film on Channel 4 in the Homeland slot is the perfect alignment, brand fit and reach of our target audience.”

For full details, head over to the Media Guardian.


Grey LDN named IPA Effectiveness Agency of the Year

We could barely have hoped for a better night at the IPA Effectiveness Awards – one of the most prestigious award shows on the planning circuit and the most rigorous test of effectiveness in the world. Our four shortlisted entries – a joint industry high – saw us collect two Gold and two Bronze awards, as well as scooping the Best Multi-Market gong and (wait for it…) IPA Effectiveness Agency of the Year 2014; a phenomenal achievement.

Take a look at the work that got us there here.


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Grey captures Kuoni

Here’s some nice news for a chilly November morning: we’ve been appointed by luxury travel brand Kuoni to its £3m ad account.

Our first work will be a fully-integrated brand campaign – alongside partner agencies Grey Shopper and GreyPOSSIBLE – which breaks on Boxing Day.

Check out the full story at Campaign here.


Grey promotes Chief Creative Officer Nils Leonard to Chairman

Signalling the agency’s commitment to creative excellence and innovation, Nils Leonard has been promoted to Chairman of Grey LDN – a role he’ll assume alongside his current title of Chief Creative Officer.

The news comes in a month that has already seen Leonard’s role as an industry leader recognised by D&AD, which appointed him to the Board of Trustees and The Hospital Club, which named him one of the most influential and innovative 100 people working in Britain’s creative industries today.

Tor Myhren, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Grey, commented: “Nils is the most ambitious creative person I’ve ever met. And his ambition translates into a relentless work ethic and an absolute refusal to stop at good, when he knows it can be great.”

Read more at Campaign here.

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Grey LDN scores bumper night at Campaign Big Awards

We had an excellent night at the Campaign Big Awards – one of the most important and prestigious awards shows in the UK ad industry – picking up two golds, four silvers, a ‘highly commended’ and being named Direct Agency of the Year.

Golds went to Icons and Fat Cats, both for The Sunday Times, while the silvers were awarded to Fat Cats (x2), Ryman Eco and The Geek Recruitment, a nifty bit of  hidden, coding-based recruitment on our website.

Significantly, we were awarded for five different campaigns, across a properly broad array of media. Around 55 people were directly involved in the making of the work that was celebrated. In the words of our Chairman and CCO Nils Leonard, ‘It’s a mark of our culture. And the level of the talent that you work alongside. Well done. You Should be proud.’

Read more about the night here, or click here for the full list of winners. Cheers!

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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


Nils Leonard: Why the perfect modern creative is fierce, fearless and female

“This girl gets that none of us are as smart as all of us. She won’t believe that her own insight, emotional intelligence and passion are enough to make greatness happen and will draw excellent minds to her. But although she will create her best work through collaboration, she will understand the violent, urgent need to disappear on her own, the pressure all hers, at the critical moment to crack the brief. And she won’t allow history, pay grade, job title or age to stop the candid conversations that will ultimately make the work special.”

Nils Leonard outlines his manifesto for the perfect modern creative in Ad Week.


Scottish Referendum: Advertising isn’t selling

“Advertising may not have had the power to change people’s minds in this referendum, but whatever the result, communications must deal with the fallout, be part of the necessary reconciliation and rebuilding going forward. But they will need to be a lot braver if they are to succeed.” – Chris Hirst on the risk-adverse nature of both the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps in the Scottish Referendum.

View Huffington Post article


Chris Hirst on BBC2’s Daily Politics

Chris Hirst was invited to appear on BBC2’s Daily Politics to debate the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ advertising efforts ahead of the Scottish referendum with editor of The Drum, Gordon Young.

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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



Can advertising do good?

“Sex used to be what sold. Now it’s ‘good’. Outside of making ourselves feel good, there is a realisation that ‘good’ sells. It’s what’s on our Facebook, it’s what we share. So marketers are looking at that asking ‘how can we play a part?’ For me though, it’s more powerful when brands are really behind it. It’s one thing doing good on a charity brief and another doing good on a cheese brief.”

Nils Leonard discusses whether advertising can do good with Creative Review.

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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


Grey named one of D&AD’s most-awarded

May saw us named the third-most awarded agency in the world at D&AD, as well as being the most in-book/nominated agency globally, with 19 accolades across eight different campaigns.

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Grey appointed by Vodafone UK

March saw us awarded a place on the Vodafone UK roster, complementing our award-winning work on the Global and Ireland accounts. Our first campaign saw us launch The Call, an emotive salute to the emergency services and those that support them and a tonal shift for Vodafone’s advertising in the UK.

View Adweek article

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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