Advertising, Branding and Creative Agency

Specialists in 360, Through The Line Advertising across TV, OOH, Radio, Online and Print, globally.

Best Film of the Year
US International Film and Video Festival
Grand Prix - 1st Prize
Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards
Best Broadcast & Best Multi-Channel Campaign
The Drum Awards
See our works

From the blog

Visit the Blog

Why purpose driven brands must advertise differently? “Purpose” is a tricky word to describe. I define purpose as “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”: without the sacrificial casualties of utilitarianism as in the case of Jeremy Bentham’s thinking. Because in a venture capital backed capitalist marketplace consumers akin to a colosseum’s audience have choice and can decide to use (thumbs-up) or not to use (thumbs-down) a product or a service, rather than it being enforced upon them. Making a good product is not good enough, if a large number of people do not use it, it’s viability is flawed and in turn the existence of the very company itself. This is what puts advertising in the spotlight, which is one of the most important tools in reaching out to your widest possible audience in the shortest period of time.  Right now, I see a lot of mistakes being made by car manufacturers who are being forced into the electric revolution and are advertising their new electric cars in an obsolete way like they have been selling their petroleum hungry cars for over 100 years. The same applies to insurance and banking companies wanting to launch cool digital products. They forget to strategise and rebuild their communication around the true purpose of their brand and products. Maybe they do not know what that is and need to regroup and find one. This is a fantastic financial opportunity to capitalise on, which will also do good for society. Why not re-think your advertising strategies and develop the new age of advertising for the purpose driven market of today and the future. Purpose is not the sole domain of startups building the shiniest companies in finance, insurance, transport, agriculture or satellite and communication space. You might be an old colossal business with piles of cash, re-investing in your products and services to stay relevant in the new age of the awakened-consumers, especially after a post Covid world, who demand more of every company.  If you are so fortunate to be developing a product or a brand for a purpose driven company then you must not fall prey to cowardly advertising strategy traps that the highly competitive products of different industry segments fall into, keeping their head above water and trying to differentiate in the sea of sameness.  Find your brand’s purpose and make sure your entire team is on board with it. Communicate that purpose across all your communications, across all your channels. It needs to be truly integrated, across websites, landing pages, retail stores, product manuals, packaging, emails, sales, customer service, social media, tv, print and radio. Communicate your brand story on your company’s purpose, mission, vision and values, not just solely on price, features and benefits. A consumer is more likely to purchase a product that stands for something, has great features and is being offered at an excellent price. The virtue of purposeful brand building starts with selflessness, which could in many ways be seen as the most selfish act, because it brings great joy to the self. Your crusade, if I may dare say so, is both noble and gifted. Nobel for the greater good that it can bring to the society at large and gifted so that the people who work for your company have joy in their hearts, as they all work towards a collective “do-good” purpose, a real north star that shines brighter than any other. And not to forget, your customers who absolutely enjoy relating to your product because it stands for something and they too feel part of that collective, moving towards that bigger purpose.  Some of the early stage investors, advisors, directors and employees of Facebook might have had that feeling of deep purpose: building an online community to bring the world closer together. That is why so many talented people wanted to join it and consumers wanted to use it. But sadly, only to find the business fall trap to short-term polarised and petty politically motivated revenue models. Now many want to leave Facebook for that reason.  So if you happen to be in charge of a purpose driven brand, be fearless and create bold campaigns to announce your purpose to the world. And if your brand starts to become evil, your employees and consumers will help force you to correct your course and steer your ship in the right direction. Advertising Arianna Huffington B2B B2B Marketing brand messaging brave marketeer Business Business and Economy Case study case study videos Cisco communication Company Competitive Advantage Content Marketing Corporate Identity corporate videos Customer ekstasy Ekstasy Films Employment Facebook H2H Human resources Innergy Innovation James Osborne Karen Walker Marketing Marketing and Advertising marketing director Marketing Strategy Marketing Support Services Mike Saraswat Peter Thiel Purple Cow Relationship Marketing Search engine optimization Seth Godin Social media training videos Video YouTube

The representation of Mothers in advertising

For mother’s day I thought I’d write about how the representation of mothers has changed in advertising. It’s a very interesting topic and I’ll cover how the representation of women has changed in another article but for now, I want to write about mothers specifically. So what has been the change? Let’s start where I usually start, the ‘50s and ‘60s. Most women were full-time housewives with society thinking that for them, their family should come first and their own goals/ambitions should not really come at all. In ads they’re almost all white, middle/upper class, skinny and doting. Let’s face it, nobody is this simple, that’s the problem.  They’re cliché, one dimensional but also harmful, a mother back then could have seen this ad and may have felt bad that they aren’t this idealistic mother. Nobody’s perfect and we all have our shortcomings. That’s what they fail to mention, they’re trying to sell through false promises and a good ad should never have to do that. Ah the 1980’s, Consumerism was in, Greed was good and it was a great time to be in advertising, or so I’ve been told. A lot had changed from the ’60s but some things had not. When doing my research I actually couldn’t find too many ads directed at mothers but the one I did find that seems very well known, it’s the Oxo Lynda Bellingham ad from 1983. In this ad a mother brings her family together through a dinner made with Oxo, it does a lot of good things like make the mother and family more realistic in the way they look and talk to one another. It’s less aspirational and more relatable. The only place where I think it slips up is it still presents the mother as taking care of her family and home as her only role. However, one print ad I saw that I really liked was this ad Johnson and Johnson ad. I think it’s more diverse than past ads while keeping its authenticity. The 2000s really weren’t too long ago now, well we’re still in them but I’m talking specifically about the early 2000s. When I was doing my research I found something interesting which is whatever I searched for I couldn’t find many examples. I’m sure they exist but I couldn’t find any, it’s interesting as maybe it signifies a social shift in advertising? Moving away from targeting a specific demographic and targeting a broader and more diverse audience. Whether this is true or not I don’t know, it’s just a thought, and whether you think ads should be specific or broad is a topic for another time. Finally, we have recent mothers in ads, and what do they look like? Well, more like real mothers to be honest. The ones that have stuck in my mind have been P&G’s legendary Olympic ads celebrating the mothers of Olympians and the World’s Toughest Job campaign from Cardstore. The reason I love the P&G ads is because of the realistic depiction that being a mother isn’t always easy or glamorous as it was suggested in the ’50s/’60s Another reason is it shows just how much of an impact our mothers have on our lives all the way from childhood to adulthood, deep right? A concept that I don’t think could have or would have been explored in previous decades. The Cardstore ad is along the same lines where it talks about the truth of being a mother and really puts all their hard work in perspective. In conclusion, I think the shift in mothers’ representation has been looking at them honestly, showing that it’s not always easy or glamorous, but that it’s worth it. I think this honesty is spreading throughout advertising and it’s truly great to see. Despite the troubling times we currently find ourselves in, I’m still optimistic about what the future will bring, everyone stay safe, stay positive, and I hope you enjoy mother’s day. Writer – Travis Usher – Creative Manager @ Ekstasy

What are Anti-Ads?

Interesting phrase right? It seems like two words that should never go together, but they do. Like getting a dish that’s the perfect combination of sweet and sour. What brought the idea to mind and made me want to write about it was the latest burger king ad, which really made me think. I love the ad but I wonder how many Whoppers it’s going to sell? I’m personally not a fan of their burgers but I want to buy one now just to say well done on the campaign! It’s creative, honest and brave, but we’ll have to see how the results turn out. So what’s the idea behind ‘anti-advertising’? Well, it’s essentially reverse psychology and honesty weaved into an ad. If someone says “Don’t buy this product, this product isn’t for you” it’s human to want to buy the product. Or if a brand is honest with you in a comedic way you’re more inclined to trust and buy from them. Sometimes this is done very well, and sometimes not so much. There has to be a reason behind its use, otherwise, an ad could come across as just sounding arrogant. So without any further introduction let’s look at some examples of ‘Anti-ads’ that got it right and some that got it wrong. The original ‘Anti-ad’ was the series of VW Beetle ads that came out in the late 1950’s. “Think small”, “Lemon” and several more, they’re iconic have stood the test of time being spoken about 60 years later. Why were they so good? Because they were innovative, witty and most of all brave. Just imagine getting the brief of selling an ugly German car to the American population in the 50’s and 60’s, that’s no easy task. So they decided to go with what the audience was already thinking and addressed it with self-deprecating humor. This had the effect of showing benefits like “Small insurance” “Small repair bills”. Showing how the car hadn’t changed in years showed you wouldn’t be afraid about having the latest model. The ads were genius and paved the road for more to come. Next is a trend that’s become popular not only in advertising but media in general, breaking the fourth wall and being self-referential. This ad for BrewDog literally says it’s an ad and shows their product, nothing else. I know that for me this was a breath of fresh air, an ad that wasn’t trying to sell any lifestyle, health benefits, or social message but just wanted me to know this was an ad and it was for them. I loved it, it reminded me of an Oasis ad I saw when I was younger which just said “Your favorite celebrity would drink Oasis if we paid them” I literally bought an Oasis because of that ad, I thought it was funny. The honesty of some ‘Anti-ads’ is just funny and refreshing to see, and it makes people more inclined to buy your product. Another ‘Anti-ad’ which has a tagline which at first confuses you, then makes sense is the campaign for Hinge, “Designed to be deleted”. At first, this seems odd, what app is designed to be deleted? Then you realize, a dating app that wants you to find someone special. I’m no expert on relationships but what I do know is if you’re in one it’s best not to have a dating app on your phone. It’s a great riddle of a tagline and personifying the app in the video was a clever choice. Now one that didn’t get it right, this was a famously poor received ad from Protein World asking the simple question, “Are you beach body ready?” with a stereotypically and unrealistic depiction of a beach body standing next to their weight loss collection. If this ad had been satirical it could have been great, but it feels like there’s no irony to this ad at all. The really sad thing, along with the misogyny, is the fact this ad actually increased their sales dramatically. Whether that makes it a good ad or a bad ad is up for you to decide. Another that didn’t hit the mark for me but still came closer than protein world was Patagonia’s “Don’t buy this jacket” print ad. The reason I’m not a fan of this ad was the fact that it uses reverse psychology so blatantly, and while I’m sure that it will hook the audience’s attention I think they could have been more creative in the way they did it. I’ll say however that this one is really just a matter of opinion, if someone else liked it I could understand why. Now one last self-referential ad that I think worked well, Oatly milk’s recent OOH campaign. While some of them I think are a little condescending on the whole I think they walk the line while keeping their humor. They definitely made me stop and read them as well as remember them. I now associate the ad with the milk when I see it in the shops and think that’s the Milk from those ads. All of this is just my opinion, let me know what you think of these ads, some people love them, others hate them. I think the point of a lot of these ‘Anti-ads’ is they create a sense of brand identity and they’re memorable. Just look at the Beetle campaign that came out over 60 years ago, people are still talking about it. I still remember that Oasis ad from years ago, because I thought it was witty and true. A brand poking fun at themselves is one of the strongest things it can do, it humanizes them in the eyes of the consumer. Writer – Travis Usher – Creative Manager @ Ekstasy

Why use film in 2020?

I never intended for this to be an article, it was just a question I was thinking about. It seems using film cameras is becoming more popular, and why? Is it just for hipsters and Tarantino or is there a reason to use it? For starters film requires more time, effort and money to capture a moment than a camera that’s digital…not to mention most phones these days have pretty great cameras themselves. I have a theory to answer this question and that’s because of the charm film has. The care I think this comes from several factors, the first being the fact when you know you have a certain amount of film you’re a lot more careful with what you shoot. You really have to take time and  think about what you’re shooting as you do it. I think this refines and distills what ends up in the frame. The practice Not to mention it takes a lot of practice shooting on film, I remember the first time I tried film photography, I used the whole reel, thinking I’d captured some at least a few decent photos, but low and behold, I arrived at the developers and was told that my finger had slipped on the release button meaning the whole reel had been wasted. While this was a pain in the neck at the time I’ve never pushed the release button accidentally again. The same goes for all the aspects of film, I’ve messed up lighting and corrected it, I’ve messed up framing and corrected it. Although this can also apply to shooting digitally there’s a lot more that can go wrong using film. The story   It’s all well and good what film can teach you but what does it provide to the story? Well, a few things in my opinion, one of them being a real sense of nostalgia, you can usually tell when something’s been shot on film due to the slight grainy texture and the colours that seem so much more interesting that the ones captured digitally. When I see modern films and have a feeling they’ve been shot on film I feel more invested, asking myself why the director has done this? For instance Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, well it’s set in 1969 so film helps take the audience to that period. The same can be said for Mid90s, though digital cameras were around at this time the film still has the effect of taking the audience back in time. In advertising Now what about the use of film in advertising, strange right? I wondered as I wrote this how many modern ads chose to use film and quite a few surprisingly. The surprise being fim is harder to use and when one has deadlines, clients to please and specific points to hit, it might seem like an unnecessary extra step. That being said the ads do look great and there’s a reason behind the madness. It’s the same reason as the movies, to transport the audience to another time, look at this mini cooper ad which I absolutely love, you’re transported back to this moment in history and it almost feels like you can smell the petrol and burning rubber. Another ad to use this technique is this ad for Audible, I think they chose to use film to make it more personal, almost like it’s raw and unpolished and we’re genuinely walking and listening to this man speak. In this use I don’t think they’re trying to make you time travel but rather you’re connected to a character you just met. In conclusion, I really do have a love/hate relationship with film. It can be frustrating and challenging at times to use but as a filmmaker if you’re not challenging yourself then you’re doing something wrong. Also, when you finally get that shot, that image, that moment you were hoping for it feels amazing. Even in 2020 when you can make movies on your phone and get good cameras for a few hundred pounds, I think film still has its time and its place. I think it always will. Writer – Travis Usher – Creative Manager @ Ekstasy
This is some text inside of a div block.