That was the year that was … 2019 in not-so-brief summary from the land of Hope&Glory. Tough times, fun times, a lot of work delivered …
Another year has pretty much wound to an end. So it’s a period of reflection. Or should be anyway, we’ve actually got a couple of campaigns to get out the door before the year concludes. But that’s for tomorrow.
So what have we been up to this year? Feels like a good time to look back at twelve months of work and fun and games in Hope&Glory.
First of all, it’s been a mad busy one. Too mad busy really. We had a series of campaigns that all seemed to come at once. We picked up a series of projects that all had to go out during periods when we had the fewest people to deliver them. We had a couple of new clients join us that went from 0 to 100 overnight. And this year has been a constant battle to keep up with demand.
Next year, a resolution to be even more circumspect. And take care of ourselves a little more.
But, that important issue aside, it’s been another good year I think. We’ll leave you to judge that though.
As is customary, we launched the 2019 coin sets for The Royal Mint. We got coverage everywhere. It’s always an awesome way to start the year. We took Sony to CES and smashed the coverage all over the place.
Then the first major creative campaign involving – inevitably – dogs went out the door as we launched the National Paw-trait Gallery for Facebook Watch’s “World’s Most Amazing Dogs”. It cleaned-up.
Oh. It was at that point that Facebook Watch become a retained client. Win one of the year.
For our next trick we partnered Uber with Calm to help commuters around the UK’s city have a more mindful journey – recognising that travelling is the only respite some busy professionals get in the modern workplace.
The Sony team started their jet-setting as we once again got set for a year working on their community-led Alpha Universe digital campaign. By the end of the year several million people had seen site content and it’s now become one of the biggest photography sites in Europe.
On the “new clients joining Hope&Glory” front we started work with Sainsbury’s. Which has been relentless fun pretty much all year.
Next up we went out with our first set of stories for another new client – StubHub. Some cheeky newsjacking meant that we got off to a flier.
And in a year of remarkable launches for The Royal Mint we went out with their Gruffalo coin. Needless to say it landed blanket coverage and a queue on the website of over 14,000 people waiting to be able to buy it.
Wins-wise, we picked up work with American Airlines as we helped out with their support for BAFTA. And we welcomed Taco Bell as a client. Which was nice.
One of our favourite stories of the year went out around Easter time as we managed to get everyone talking about IKEA’s flat-pack chocolate Easter bunnies.
That was followed by another Uber story as we went out with a follow-up to our Calm partnership, this time teaming-up with The National Literacy Trust to give away children’s books in cabs.
Oh, and we landed our LinkedIn: Discuss campaign around what we dubbed “Parental Pay Day” – when working parents stop earning to pay for childcare and start making money for themselves.
We also found some time to work on briefs for Hotels.com – on their UEFA Champions League sponsorship campaign – and Sky Sports. Since those launched a little later in the year, we’ll come back to those in a minute.
Looking back, April was the calm before the storm. We went flat-out planning for what became known in Hope&Glory lore as “Mad May”.
Nevertheless we got some totally brilliant pieces of work away.
We changed The O2 into The O3 in honour of an esoteric Drake lyric. It went nuts across social and delivered some belting coverage.
Then we launched the Airbnb “Night at … the Louvre” with the opportunity to sleep in one of the world-famous pyramids. That went pretty well.
And in a spot of cheeky news-jacking we launched the Uber Eats X Pink Wednesday menu to make the fifteenth anniversary of Mean Girls. Who knew that was a thing, eh?
Elsewhere and on the pitch front we picked up work from Clif Bar and Buzz Bingo. There were a couple of others along the way. But we’ll come to those in May …
We got our first campaign away for Paddy Power – “Kop Kid”. A video-based call on Liverpool to help “Gary” who is a lifelong Liverpool fan but has literally never seen his team win a Premiership title. As it turned out, it didn’t really help. But it did land a lot of coverage.
We announced Uber’s integration of public transport data to move another step towards offering a full suite of urban mobility options. Later in the month we also launched Uber JUMP Bikes on London’s streets.
We went out with our first campaign for new client, Trainline. Christened “Off the Beaten Track” it celebrated the weirdest and most wonderful attractions across Europe – with the Hoff Museum in Berlin named the best of the lot.
From quick-and-dirty story creation it all got a bit big and hairy.
The Airbnb team went out with the announcement that we had found an original Spice Bus, renovated it and made it available on the platform. There were over 1,000 pieces of coverage around the world. Over 100,000 people applied for the opportunity to be the first to stay on it.
We took IKEA to the Chelsea Flower Show where we won a Silver Gilt award for the indoor creation.
Then we hung out with Eric Cantona having landed the launch and activation of Hotels.com’s partnership with the UEFA Champions League. There were a couple of hundred pieces, we made headline TV news in Spain. The work was seen over 20 million times. It was good.
Then we welcomed Her Majesty the Queen to Sainsbury’s. With a whole host of work to celebrate the retailer’s 150 birthday, we got just about every national newspaper – print no less – and broadcast slot. It was pretty amazing really.
And so closed May. There was a lot of other stuff that went on. But we were so tired we forgot what it was.
June was big. We won Guinness. We also did some work. BUT WE WON GUINNESS.
We launched the Sainsbury’s Meat-Free Butcher to much media acclaim. It was built from the insight that people want to go meat-free but don’t know quite how. So if we sold veggie and vegan options in a way they’re familiar with we might crack the problem.
We also got over 80,000 people excited about the new Pixel handset from Google with the world’s smallest Argos Click and Collect – in a phone box, appropriately.
And then we created Signsbury’s – a Sainsbury’s store where we taught staff British Sign Language. It was all part of the brand’s 150 birthday campaign as we launched (appropriately) 150 community projects.
To round-off the month we landed over 400 pieces of coverage with Amex as we worked on their Wimbledon campaign. With an Andy Murray VR experience and John McEnroe doing a Calm sleep story we took the world’s sports media by storm. It was a LOT of fun.
The balmy month of July brought yet more fun and games.
While everyone else hit the beach, we hit the phones.
We did our first Red Bull Soap Box Race with blanket coverage and the biggest haul in the event’s history. We also created the first all-female team, roping in a group of Daily Mirror journalists to make it up.
For Pride we worked with LinkedIn to discover the Gay Pay Gap. All part of the aforementioned LinkedIn: Discuss campaign – giving the brand a voice amongst a younger audience and surfacing some less-spoken of workplace issues.
Meantime, to help adidas gain some share of shout during the FIFA Women’s World Cup we addressed the issue of visibility for women footballers. Noting that the person in the squad with the most extensive write-up on Wikipedia was … Phil Neville … we partnered with Wikimedia to fill in some of the gaps. Three hundred new entries and a 27% increase in word-count for England’s women stars later it was a belting success.
We also found time to win the coveted Bethesda account and got straight onto working on titles including DOOM Eternal, Rage and Elder Scrolls.
For our next Paddy Power campaign we did the obvious. We became the official sponsors of the World Thumb Wrestling Championships. With pieces across the board – including appearances on BBC Breakfast and Good Morning Britain, no less – it was another surreal moment for the team who went to Suffolk to soak up the competition.
From Suffolk, we went just up the road to Cambridge for our next stop, working with Uber to create the world’s first hail-able punts. Some silly summer fun that got the nationals talking positively about the brand.
Speaking of nationwide tours, we took Facebook on the road with a series of Privacy Cafés that saw the team hit ten cities across Britain and then Ireland. With the opportunity to check privacy settings over a cuppa we landed a tonne of coverage and got the public talking about the issue.
We also found time to pick up a trio of new clients, bringing Hostelworld, Instagram and Calm into the fold. Top month.
It would appear that, by September, we had lost the will to post stories about what we were up to.
But we did do a LOT with Airbnb. Like an enormous amount. We landed a load of coverage for them with the opportunity to stay in rugby players’ homes during the Rugby World Cup. Then we announced that people could stay in Highclere Castle – aka Downtown Abbey – for the first time in history. That went pretty well. And then we listed Barbie’s Malibu Beach House on the site. That went nuts. Just because we didn’t have anything better to do we also announced that the King of Jaipur had listed a palace on the site. And why not?
Along the way we also found time to launch The Clean Vic with Sainsbury’s – the UK’s first non-alcoholic Pub. We created some pretty awesome content-led work with Sky Sports for their summer of women’s sport. We brought mental health awareness to Kings Cross and London Design Festival with Stuart Padwick. Because we had a quiet moment.
We launched a Doctor Who experience for HTC which got a lot of fans VERY excited about the whole thing and – in the process – made sure the new Vive Cosmos was written about all over the place.
Oh, and we made a coffee for Guinness. Christened 232 (because the beans were roasted at the same temperature that Guinness uses to roast its malt) it took the rugby world by storm during the World Cup – because the games were on pretty bright and breezy UK time.
James lost his customary cool at the PR Week Awards. Sorry about that.
Meantime, October was all about hmv. There was a lot of other stuff that happened. But hmv was awesome. We opened their new store in Birmingham. Europe’s biggest entertainment retail outlet made the news across the board. Full pages across the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Daily Mirror and The Times. Over two hours of BBC national radio (with another two hours to come over the Christmas break). It was a bloody amazing piece of old-school PR.
And talking of launching retail to widespread acclaim we also found ourselves launching the Pokemon Center in London’s Westfield. The queues were six hours long. Supply of plush could barely keep up. It was insane.
And sticking with the theme, we created another set of queues. This time for IKEA with the launch of their collaboration with Virgil Abloh. Not only did we get to announce that the brand had changed its logo for the first time ever – to “IKEA” – we built the world’s comfiest queue to ensure those waiting to get their hands on the collection had a happier time.
To keep ourselves busy we dusted off and delivered an idea that we first had for O2 about six years ago. Recycling phones into an engagement ring. Ringing, engaged … you can see where a spot of wordplay gets you, right?
Then we hit Christmas. Hard.
We announced the first of the Christmas ads – for Argos. It went on to be widely lauded as one of the best campaigns of the season. Next up, we launched the other contender for Xmas ad of the year as we announced IKEA’s first ever festive spot. Then we squeezed in the launch of the Sainsbury’s blockbuster Christmas offering to yet more widespread media acclaim.
James managed to either delight or irritate a variety of brand marketers by reviewing all the ads for PR Week. We won’t be letting him do that again. We also announced a spot of a management reshuffle as we structured for growth.
December brought further merriment.
We created the world’s first smart boat (seriously) with Argos and Google. We smashed out more Black Friday deals than anyone has ever smashed out Black Friday deals and did around 100 pieces of national coverage.
With the return of The Crown we created a “Queen Eats” menu for Uber Eats and we listed Belvoir Castle – home to the show – on Airbnb. Both to widespread media acclaim.
And speaking of Uber, we landed a load of work for the brand. We announced free rides for NHS workers over the festive season. We offered free rides for disabled people who wanted to get to the polls to vote and we created a Christmas ad for Uber Eats by delivering Martine McCutcheon to people. As you do.
We announced that Airbnb is a new Olympics sponsor. We made a couple of national front pages with that one.
Then there was a trio of BIG pieces of work as we launched an The Edit by Instagram @OfficialSelfridges – an exclusive concession of Insta-first brands in the iconic retail establishment. We created the perfectly sociable pub for Guinness in Flat Iron Square and then we launched the Reebok Zig silhouette in London with an immersive event.
We also found time to create some fun with hmv and Lewis Capaldi to reassure the public that #hmvisopen.
We built a pretty remarkable diner for dogs for Sainsbury’s. We landed two double-page spreads for Stubhub with a cheeky Christmas Number Ones story.
Oh, and we were shortlisted as one of PR Week’s Agencies of the Decade. That came on top of awards as Creative Agency of the Year from the Sabres and an Agency of the Year at PR Moment and the PRCA Awards. Alongside 45 awards for our campaigns work.
And that was just about that.
We did a HUGE amount of work that doesn’t get a mention. But this post has become longer than ever was expected. And has taken a day to write. So we’ll call it quits there but nevertheless observe that the stuff above is the tip of the iceberg. It’s been a gloriously mad 2019.
So there we are. Done. Knackered. Have a merry Christmas. We’ll be back to do it all again next year.