In the land of odd things, this one really does take us to new levels of weird when it comes to a lateral response to a brief …

There are times when you sit having a sesh to come up with ideas to crack a particularly tricky brief – we find Bench lattes fuel this process normally – and ideas won’t come.

In this instance, the ask from our friends at Virgin Trains was to promote the fact that they are offering discounted tickets to folks taking part in the Great North Swim – as well as those who are heading to the Lakes to support those involved.

It’s a toughie. Particularly because we wanted coverage to land a good few weeks ahead of the event itself. Making it just that bit trickier.

Anyway, there are times when someone in the room alights upon an idea that is so totally left-of-field that you sort of think “do you know what, that is so ridiculous, it might just work”.

This was the case as we found ourselves working with Virgin Trains to crack a pressing problem that the world’s hipster swimmers face these days: beard drag.

Yup, we would create a swimming cap that would deal with this issue.

It was this creation (pictured above as you can probably see) that we unleashed upon the world today.

So far, the feedback has exceeded expectations. The Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Irish Examiner, and Daily Mirror have all run the pictures. Lord bless them. What’s more, BeardWatch, Neatorama, The New DailyDon’t Panic, HUHPSFK, HYC, Konbini, Focus (quite a serious German title), Ad (Dutch), CITY (Finland, we think) and TIME thought to include it.

Oh, and we became big in France. National daily, Liberation thought it was a hoot, as did blogs like Creapills, MadmoiZelle and Les Hommes Moderne.

Then it all went a bit weird. Mashable decided that the Beard Cap was worth writing up – resulting in 4,500 shares. Hopes & Fears got on board, Maxim, UniLad (another 13,500 shares), Relevant, Lost at E Minor and Design Taxi all wrote it up as a result. The Inertia and Surfers Post in Oz had their doubts. But still did glorious pieces.

Our favourite piece, however, came from the lovely people at Esquire who pointed out that you do look a little like Hannibal Lecter. However, they conclude “But, hey, sometimes fashion sacrifices must be made in the pursuit of a noble cause!”. This is a sentiment with which we entirely concur.