Back in London in 1982, life was relatively simple – our big ideas were expressed exclusively through ads. Today they have to work in dozens of different ways.
Our first ad was for Levi’s® and it showed a black sheep going against the flock. It became our agency icon. Now it reminds us that when the world zigs, we zag.
Our films like ‘Launderette’ became cultural events in their own right. In 1982 we created the tag line ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ (progress through technology) for an Audi ad. Today it sums up Audi’s business philosophy. We now produce fully integrated campaigns across multiple touchpoints from above-the-line broadcast advertising through to local and tactical radio and press, showroom collateral and CRM.
When we got itchy feet, we decided you didn’t need an office in every back water in the world, you just needed ideas that could unite nations. So we started a new model of global advertising – a creative micro-network.
We went East first, to Singapore, and from there, to New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Mumbai and most recently, Los Angeles.
We got the chance to work with international companies.
Our ‘The Lynx/Axe Effect’ campaign for Unilever is over a decade old now. It helped triple sales. We produce campaigns from our offices around the world and have helped to launch the brand in new markets.
Then in 1999 we came up with the ‘Keep Walking’ campaign for Diageo’s Johnnie Walker Scotch. It has since run in over 120 countries. Diageo reckons it created over two billion dollars of value for the brand and reversed the decline in the whole Scotch market worldwide. We were handed the IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix for Johnnie Walker in 2008.
Alongside the Cannes gold winning broadcast campaigns such as ‘Fish’, we created a new expression of ‘Keep Walking’ called ‘Walk with Giants’ – a series of online films and podcasts celebrating the personal journeys of many of the world’s most inspiring people. The online platform tapped into a new generation of customers who are engaging with media, brands and each other in new ways. We have even turned our hand to internal communications with the creation of a film that shows the heritage of Johnnie Walker. ‘The Man Who Walked Around The World’ won Gold at Cannes in 2010.
As we have grown, so have the opportunities. We think digital is an important – but not standalone – part of the marketing mix. We believe that in a digital world brands need participation but they also need broadcast fame. If you create major broadcast events and then socialise them you’ll get a disproportionate return on your marketing investment. It’s something we call ‘Super Bowl, Super Social’. Now we are one agency in seven places, producing local, regional and global work for some of the world’s most illustrious brands but we still live by our mantra, when the world zigs, zag.