Thursday 21st February 2019


Viva la Vuca

It’s a widely acknowledged truth that an agency’s worst client is itself.

In theory, creating a new brand identity for one’s own company should unfold as the perfect creative, collaborative process, all boldness and bravery and no limits.

In practice, one team-mate’s boldness is another one’s bollocks: no constraints can all too often lead to no consensus and an on-going project that becomes the bane of the brand.

When the agency in question has a 20-year track record of being Different, the pressure is naturally pretty intense.

So imagine our surprise during a team scrum, aka brainstorming workshop, when an idea of such sheer fun was flung into the melee (we think it came from Ben, but nobody’s entirely sure) that it got everybody on side faster than a poo in a pool training session.

Saving the world from sameness.

Why do we love it? Because it’s not up itself.

It says exactly what we do, clearly and simply, yet it’s never boring.

It’s broad enough to accommodate every creative interpretation – in fact, the more diverse interpretations we give it, the more engagingly it comes to life.

And it makes us see ourselves as superheroes in a Mission Possible kind of way, which is always good.

When every member of your team is a passionate campaigner against sameness, there’s never a dull day.

It’s the challenge we’ve always set ourselves: how can we help brands stand apart, day in, day out? How can we do it with relevance? Intelligence? Empathy? Wit?

It’s a challenge that never loses its grip. Never stops firing us with enthusiasm.

And on a fundamental level, it’s necessary.

Creative review recently published an article by life coach Tanya Livesey entitled ‘Why Creative Leaders Must Accept Fear’.

To quote Ms Livesey: “The anacronym VUCA, meaning volatility, uncertainty, chaos and ambiguity, was coined by the military last century, to explain exceptional circumstances. Nowadays it defines the world.”

Fear breeds a risk-averse culture. And risk aversion shuns the unconventional, the maverick, the different.

In a climate of political and economic uncertainty, every instinct tells us to play it safe.

More and more, as budgets are cut and accountability grows ever more cynical in its old age, marketeers request the tried and trusted – lookalike campaigns, because if it worked for Brand X, it’ll work for us, right?

Problem is, it worked for Brand X because it was new, and unconventional, and maverick and different. A lookalike would simply be…another lookalike. Lost in monotony.

In the age of VUCA, risk aversion is the risk. Same is not safe.

Only by standing out can we become outstanding.

That’s why our mission is to save the world from sameness.

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