It’s been another fantastic year in Hope&Glory so it seems a good time to look back at our best bits and relive some of the highlights …
28th December 2023

It’s been another fantastic year in Hope&Glory so it seems a good time to look back at our best bits and relive some of the highlights …

It was become agency tradition that we re-cap our year. Some folks like to do theirs before Christmas. I tend to find that the Twixmas season is ideal when there’s a chance for three Rs – rest, recuperation and reflection. It’s a chance to look back on the last twelve months that have flown by and to pick out a few favourite pieces of work from the hundreds we send out the door each year.

It hasn’t been an unmitigated success. There were a handful of pitches that we didn’t win. There are a few ideas on the cutting room floor that we loved but that clients didn’t buy. We said farewell to more people than we’d have liked (our loss is the Australian PR market’s gain in six cases). But we also welcome lots of new faces to the team, saw existing team members promoted and, most of all, we did some really good work. These are (in the view of one of our team) our best bits …

We kicked off the year with a pun. Because it’s always a good idea to start the year with a pun. To help Trainline land their message about sustainability (relative to road), we worked with fashion designer RÆBURN to create “Tracksuits”. Fashionable takes on classic train seating fabric designs they became an internet sensation and sell-out collection. Pretty odd thing to do to kick off your January but it rather set the scene for the year to come and was one of many Trainline highlights in 2023.

We followed that with another spot of cheeky brand work for newly-won client Dacia. The no-frills car brand wanted a way to show that, with a Dacia, you get what you pay for. We spotted that a series of premium marques – the likes of BMW and Tesla – had started to charge drivers a subscription to activate services (in this case heated seats) that were already built-in to their cars. We made “Hot Motor Bottles” and offered them for free to BMW drivers who popped into a Dacia dealer. As it turned out we sold seven cars as a result of the campaign.

Next up we went a little more serious. Working with IKEA we activated their partnership with homelessness charity Shelter. The team worked to create “real life roomsets” in four of the retailer’s stores. Each was modelled on real – and often appalling – temporary accommodation that those without homes have to endure while they wait for anything up to two years. The arresting installations garnered widespread coverage and picked up a couple of awards along the way.

That was closely followed by the next – and as it turned our final – step in our on-going campaign supporting Bumble with their #DigitalFlashingIsFlashing campaign. While the government agreed to include Cyberflashing – unsolicited dick pics to you and me – in the Digital Safety Bill, we called on them to make the action criminal regardless of whether a recipient could prove harm was intended or not. Once again, support, social attention and coverage was garnered.

Sticking with a purpose-related theme we next found ourselves at Pride helping Pride In London to promote a string of events during the month and culminating with running media support for the Parade through the streets of London. We take on a couple of pro-bono (or in this case near pro-bono) clients a year and we were incredibly proud (pardon the pun) to work on this campaign with a wonderful team of people on the client-side.

Next to a string of Virgin Media O2 campaigns that we rolled out across the year. This was undoubtedly the most visually arresting. Our insight was that we might be able to turn the often negative conversation about mobile and broadband access into a positive one. That saw us in a playground in London digitising the play equipment to make it musically interactive and really bring to life the potential learning and creative opportunities of high-speed broadband and 5G. It resulted in some of the images of the year here in Hope&Glory.

There was then a brief pause as we knocked it out of the park at two of the awards shows that traditionally kick off the season in PR Land. We trooped along to the PR Moment Awards and left with a clutch of trophies in no small part thanks to our work in 2022 with CALM. We also hit the Sabre Awards and similarly left with a host of gongs which were the result of work with Bumble, CALM, adidas, Greggs and VMO2. Particularly gratifying was picking up Campaign of the Year.

We also discovered that we were named Best Mid-Sized Agency to Work For by PR Week and Best UK Agency to Work For at the Sabre Awards. Oh, and the Sabre Awards also found that we were the agency that most people wanted to work for – I guess making us the most destination employer of the year, albeit that’s a terrible mangling of the English Language.

Anway. On with the show.

Work-wise we landed two huge campaigns with Edrington UK. The first a partnership with Harrods to create an exhibition celebrating the brand’s long and storied association with the Bond franchise as it turned 60. A remarkable showcase of related memorabilia at the world’s most famous retailer attracted a host of national and international luxury media. That was closely followed by a taste of Orkney arriving in London as a vast interactive experience was laid-on for trade, media and influencers by Highland Park.

One of my personal favourite campaigns of the year followed shortly after as we got Logan Roy (played by Brian Cox) to open the London Stock Exchange Markets. He did so with impeccable style and pretty much in character as we announced the airing of the final season of the show on NOW. A riotous success we cleaned-up across broadcast media, landed a tonne of online picture stories and generally had a pretty remarkable time of it across editorial.

As they say “and now for something completely different …” we worked with internet legend Pete Wicks, taking advantage of his famously fabulously flowing locks to promote the fact that the Dyson range of hair-styling products had landed at Argos. Well over 1 million views and several thousand engagements later it turned out that we’re dab hands at selling hairdriers.

And speaking of working with men famous for their hair we next worked with Keanu Reaves (Okay, slightly different order of celebrity there, sorry Pete). We celebrated 100 Years of House of Suntory with a sumptuous media dinner, a party at Sexy Fish and a host of media pieces that marked the anniversary of one of the world’s great whisky brands.

Feet firmly back on the ground we ventured to Newcastle next to celebrate the homecoming gig of local lad done good Sam Fender. A man who loves a sausage roll birthed in the town of his birth and made by none other than Greggs, the brand opened a dive bar in his name. The four day pop-up saw us transform a Greggs branch into Fenders – complete with cocktails and Newcastle Brown Ale, all served with plenty of bakes and a cast of local talent turning in live performances to keep the crowds entertained.

Another awards break meantime saw us go from sublime to ridiculous. We picked up abour 20 or so awards for our work with CALM including D&AD pencils, Clios, The One Show Pencils and … some Dare Awards. We also picked up Dares for adidas, Dacia and VMO2. Oh, and if that weren’t enough, Campaign Magazine named us the Best PR Agency to Work for and put us number three in their list of best workplaces across all of the marketing world. Not at all bad.

By this point the VMO2 team were still hard at work landing campaign after campaign. Another couple of highlights saw them recreate a classic air-safety video with Roman Kemp in the name of promoting their “roaming” product (see what we did there?). And then we took the battle to other operators calling for them to stop the #SmarthphoneSwindle where they continue to charge customers for their handsets even after the cost has been paid-off (something O2 doesn’t do).

Our social and influencer work continued apace with Le Creuset. Social has been an area that we’ve invested in this year so it was gratifying to see the team producing some stunning and stunningly effective work for the brand – promoting their Shell Pink and Nectar ranges as well as working with a cast of social media personalities and chefs over the course of the year.

As we hit the summer months we had a healthy stock of brand campaigns go live. Another favourite was work with Lick that saw the much-loved paint brand team-up with Heinz. A collaboration made in heaven as Heinz got some Millennial credibility while Lick got some mass-market exposure, the creation of HTK57 (a paint the same red as tomato ketchup) was born and took the media by storm. It was one of those campaigns that the media and the industry fell in love with so we’ve high hopes that it might make an awards shortlist or two in the year to come.

In more serious moments we worked with CALM once again to elevate their campaign around the Women’s World Cup. They wanted to raise awareness of the fact that suicide rates are rising amongst young women and that all too often the signs are missed by those who should be able to spot them. We worked with Fran Kirby on the launch which – once again – garnered widespread media support.

On lighter notes altogether we worked on a trio of Airbnb campaigns that brought some much-needed lightness over the course of the summer and early-autumn. Barbie’s dream house was listed on the site – this time hosted by Ken who had taken it over in-keeping with the film narrative it was tied-into. Then there was a partnership with House of Sunny for September Fashion Week that saw the brand’s studio transformed into a stay that fashion-lovers couldn’t get enough of. And we built Shrek’s swamp in the middle of Scotland, something that generated several hundred pieces of coverage for the brand.

As the world turned and the year moved on so too did we. Our next escapade saw us assembling over 250 budding portraitists in London and over 1,000 online to set a new Guinness World Record. We enlisted the support of none other than Sir Lenny Henry who graciously sat while hundreds of people painted his portrait to set said record for the highest number of people simultaneously painting a portrait. All in the name of marking ten years of Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year.

Another brief pause was made as glad-rags were once again donned for some awards. The team once again came home with an arm-full. At the PR Week Awards we left with six trophies for work with CALM and IKEA. The Creative Moment Awards saw us pick up gongs for CALM, IKEA and adidas while the PRCA Awards acknowledged our work with CALM with another four awards including the Campaign of the Year.

Noses back to the proverbial grindstone it was an insane run-in to the festive season.

We opened our seasonal account with a campaign that saw us partner Trainline with Missing People to incorporate their alerts into the Trainline app. There were over 753,000 alerts served to customers and no fewer than three people have been reunited with loved ones as a result of the campaign. Needless to say the coverage was utterly brilliant we’re proud to say that the idea will be rolled-out to other markets over the coming years.

Once again light and dark were balanced in our work this year. Spotting that Balenciaga had unveiled its “Towel Skirt” the IKEA team was quick-off-the-mark with a cheeky social media response showing how no less than £685 could be saved on this item of high fashion simply by using an IKEA towel. The social post became IKEA’s most engaged ever on their owned media, it was shared across high-traffic accounts including Drop, Culted, Dazed, Hypebeast, Complex, High Snobiety and hundreds of others. Millions of views, hundreds of thousands of engagements and all from a thought on the tube.

Heading fast to the end of the year we worked with hmv to launch their new flagship at 363 Oxford Street. By the end of our work with the retailer on the announcement we’d generated over 1,100 pieces of coverage, landed five full-page pieces across the nationals including a front-page feature with T2. There was more broadcast than we could track and owner Doug Putman had appeared on just about every outlet available.

Next-up we worked with Uber on a new product launch and a new platform in the space of about a month. We jetted-off to Turkey to launch our first global campaign for the brand. One of our number (an SAE) came up with the idea that Uber should offer balloon rides on its platform. Not content with just rides, we ended up acquiring a balloon which is now bookable via the Uber app. That campaign was barely wrapped-up and evaluated before we launched Uber Hosts with the UK’s best restaurant joining Uber Eats to offer “the world’s poshest takeaway” as The Times put it on the front page of T2.

There was also time enough to launch our first major piece of work with Polestar as we created a “Truth Bot” to challenge climate deniers during COP. The clever little piece of kit hunted down examples of climate denial messages on X and retweeted them with corrective facts. It was a bang-on-brand campaign for the car brand that is aiming for net-Zero.

Elsewhere we rolled-out a clutch of Christmas campaigns for brands including Argos (a festive social media hints service with Pete Wicks), Sainsbury’s (masterclasses for those hosting Christmas for the first time), Prezzo (tackling menu anxiety), NOW (launching “Box Set Baubles”), Amex (their annual Shop Small and Small Business Saturday campaigns) and many more besides.

A favourite though was one of Greggs’ festive contributions as we generated well over 300 pieces of coverage (including a positive review from Jan Moir no less) for their collaboration with Newcastle near-neighbours Frenwick. Bistro Greggs was the break-out hit of the season with its menu including my personal pun of the year award winner “Greggs Benedict”.

And that was basically it. There were at least another twenty or thirty pieces of work I could have included in this round-up. From Makers Mark, Skittles, VMO2, Depop, Quizlet, Atlantis, Barclays and pretty much all of the clients that we’re proud to work with. But those are the ones that made the cut for all sorts of reasons. It’s been another fantastic year. One well worth looking back on. And now we can’t wait for 2024 …

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