Monthly Archives

January 2019

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: The Cult of the Banal

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We’ve all heard that sex sells, but these days it’s the ordinary pleasures that are exciting consumers the most. The meteoric rise to fame of Essex housewife Sophia Hinchcliffe in the last six months is a case in point. ‘Mrs Hinch’ cleans for 30 minutes every day, documenting the process on her Instagram stories and her cleaning demonstration videos have earned her 1.5 million Instagram followers, now referred to as the Hinch Army.1

The cleaning craze is only the latest of mundane obsessions to take hold of Instagrammers. In 2016, the mania for paint-mixing videos inspired dedicated accounts with followers in the hundreds of thousands, as did fizzing bath bombs and icing cakes.2

It’s not just Instagram where ordinary events have attracted interest. ‘Slow advertising’ was made famous on TV by Ronseal, the paint and wood stain brand, with its 2016 Gogglebox ad break spot. The three-minute advert simply showed a man painting a fence. The literal representation of the product reflected the mundane nature of DIY, not only bringing the brand to life in an authentic way but standing out by doing something radically different from other splashy adverts.

Samsung followed up in 2017 with a similar Gogglebox ad break takeover, featuring three minutes of a washing machine cycle. The hypnotic spot was so popular that a 66-minute version was created. In 2017 Argos live-streamed a room of playing kittens to provide a distraction for stressed Black Friday shoppers.

While YouGov reports that 56% of all British adults agree that adverts should entertain them, entertainment could mean something very different from what we have come to expect.3 There are many reasons why visually monotonous, prosaic content continues to take hold of viewers’ attention. It soothes, de-stresses and engrosses with addictive repetition.

With competition for attention at an all-time high, advertisers who want to stand out should look for more ways to engage with the cult of the banal. Cleaning product brand Easho teamed up with Mrs Hinch to run an influencer campaign and claimed that sales of some products increased by 200% off the back of it.4 Advertisers who can drum up the humdrum may find they can appeal to consumers exhausted by their hectic lives.


  1. Gay, Hannah & Ali Gordon. (2018). ‘Cleaning product sales set to continue to rise in 2019’, BBC, 1 Jan 2019. Available at:
  3. YouGov Profiles+ GB Nat Rep, definitely or tend to agree that ‘I expect adverts to entertain me’, 6 Jan 2019.
  4. Gay (2018).

Suzuki Take Saturday Nights up a Gear with ITV and Take That

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Suzuki have become synonymous with Saturday nights on ITV; famed for their family friendly antics, previously fronted by Ant & Dec. This long term strategy has just been taken to a new level with the introduction of Take That in 2019.  The campaign sees the UK’s favourite boyband travel across the UK in a Suzuki Vitara SUV to surprise fans with a journey they will Never Forget – and enjoy an in-car karaoke session with their idols on the way.

Suzuki will shine even brighter on Saturday nights with the Take That ad spots placed in ITV’s very best entertainment programming, starting with The Voice.  Content will be brought to life further with extensive paid social, consumer competitions, dealer activations and a few new surprises that are yet to come…    

Take That content will be refreshed throughout the year, maintaining the sense of mischievous fun that has helped to cement Suzuki at the very heart of family entertainment.

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: When is a sausage not a sausage?

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…when it’s a Gregg’s vegan sausage roll. Launched last week across their 950 UK outlets, Gregg’s took the #Veganuary trend to a new peak with their first ever vegan friendly sausage roll.

The fast food giant introduced the world to their new product in a style similar to Apple’s iPhone launches, sending specially boxed rolls to the most influential bods they could find to record their “unboxing” reactions. The polarizing Piers Morgan obviously got in on the debate, engaging in Twitter banter with @Greggs and provoking further support for the baker purely through his own Marmite personality.

A smart stunt? Or a longer term strategy for Greggs? We think a bit of both.

As the trend towards lower meat lifestyles accelerates, even the protein-heavy Body Coach Joe Wicks has released a Veggie cookbook as his 2019 hit. And, we are now seeing mainstream food brands finally pick up the pace by including more meat free  products in their repertoire.

Iceland this month became the first UK supermarket to stock the “No Bull burger”, a meat-substitute popular in the US, as, like Gregg’s, they’re also looking to take a chunk of the growing meat alternative market. A market estimated to be worth $5.8bn by 2020 (The Grocer).

It is for Gregg’s, of course, not simply about the vegans. A vegan sausage roll shows a progressive side to a very traditional bakery brand, the home of steak bakes and stodgy carbohydrates. It opens up a world of flexitarians, pescatarians, non-factory farming enthusiasts, allergy sufferers, non-pork eaters and more.

It also gives meat eaters another option. 56% of meat eaters have eaten meat free alternatives in the past 6 months and 1 in 3 claim to have already reduced their intake overall, as cutting back consumption becomes fashionable. (Mintel, 2018)

Where other quick service restaurants such as TGI Fridays have taken a “limited time offer” approach to their new plant-based offerings, we think both Gregg’s and Iceland are making smart steps to be part of the new-normal when it comes to diet.


The Money Shot: Instagram-Led Holiday Destinations

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With the recent rise of travel influencers and the #travelblogger hashtag, it appears that social media is not only inspiring us but also informing users about their travel destination of choice.

The youth of today, in fact, seem to be ditching the traditional club 18-30 holidays in favour of more ‘Instagrammable’ locations. Forget going down the strip in Magaluf, it’s all about getting the perfect selfie at Coachella.

A recent survey of British holidaymakers found that ‘Instagram-ability’ is the number one priority for millennials when booking a holiday. Over 60% 18-24 year old’s are ditching the Sambuca shots for a shot on the ‘gram, and 78% of those aged 25 to 34 are seeking to spur social media envy with their posts.

But they’re not just #travelbrags – Instagram is genuinely changing the way in which we search for destinations and book holidays.

In a report by WeSwap, 37% of millennials have had their holiday destination influenced by social media and 34% have actually booked a holiday because of content seen on social media.

This comes with the decline of traditional youth holidays. Earlier this month, Thomas Cook announced that it is retiring its infamous Club 18–30. The final Club 18-30 package holiday departed from Manchester on 27th October, landing in Magaluf in Mallorca.

In addition to this, EasyJet is also now launching an Instagram booking service called ‘Look&Book’. This tool closes the gap between simply ‘liking’ a photo and actually transporting the user to the destination, allowing potential holidaymakers to book instantly from an Instagram picture. Users can take a screengrab of a beach, town or location and simply upload this to the app – where the image recognition technology will allow users to seamlessly plan their holiday.

This highlights that we are now seeking inspiration from non-traditional sources, driving the Instagram travel trend.

According to Forbes, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, after all, the millennial generation is known for trusting peers more so than brands or celebrity endorsements.

Travel marketing isn’t only about promoting practical aspects of a destination – hotel price comparisons or ease of airport transfer – but about inspiring would-be travellers with visual content.

The world is full of incredible places with billions of incredible photo opportunities. Marketers should be tapping into these opportunities, posting content at “dreaming” moments to inspire consumers through to booking and beyond.

And with half of UK web users suggesting they have made a purchase through social media, a similar approach could easily be taken across other categories; from furniture to meal prep, anything ‘Instagrammable’ goes.