Monthly Archives

April 2019

the7stars named one of The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to work for seventh year in a row

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We are thrilled to continue our seven-year streak of being named as one of The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to work for. It is a title we are extremely proud of and demonstrates our consistent commitment to over-investing in our staff to ensure they are full of energy and motivated to produce great work for our clients.

Read more about The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies here 

the7stars wins second place in Campaign’s Top 5 Large Companies to work for

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We are delighted to be named 2nd in Campaign’s Top 5 large companies to work for.

“You won’t find a holiday form or a timesheet at the7stars. And nobody has a job title. It’s all because of the founders’ philosophy that good community spirit is the bedrock on which a successful agency is built, resulting in a place where staff can grow their careers and have fun while doing so. Starters are assigned a “buddy” who guides them through their first month at the agency.” -the7stars

Read more about Campaigns Top 50 Best Places To Work here

Lightbox Loves: Easter is getting more and more Spegg-tacular

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With many of us still suffering from our chocolatey sugar crash after tucking into a wide and wild variety of Easter eggs this weekend, it’s time to reflect on how the once simple hollow chocolate egg has become so much more. It appears that brands are now putting our sweet tooth to the test in what seems to be an Easter egg extravaganza. Each year eggs are getting bigger, better and brighter and the holiday period is no longer reserved for just chocolatiers, with beauty to clothing brands now tapping into this space.

One example of this is Lush, who this year encouraged their consumers to “forget the Easter hamper as it’s time to Easter pamper”. They brought out a wide range of Easter treats, from a sparkly gold bath bomb egg, bunny and sheep shaped bath bombs (don’t worry they are all still vegan friendly), to a chocolate lip scrub. Lush have managed to create a buzz each year around their Easter specials, with consumers eagerly anticipating their limited edition products. The popular makeup brand Revolution also got involved in the Easter fun, releasing an egg-citing eye shadow palette in a pocket-sized Easter egg shaped package.

Yet, it wasn’t just beauty brands who got creative this Easter; our favourite flat pack furniture brand Ikea also put on a show with their flat packed chocolate bunny. The bunny starts off as a small cardboard packaged box with three separate parts, and it is down to the consumer to put the jigsaw pieces together – or just eat the chocolate pieces – to form the perfect Easter treat.

Moving back to the more traditional Easter egg – the once standard hollow shell has become a work of art with supermarkets and chocolate brands alike pushing the boundaries. However, they now have to compete with a new set of competitors. One brand who took Easter eggs to the next level was Deliveroo, with their Game of Thrones inspired eggs arriving in time for the return of the final season of the show (1). Harvey Nichols had their own unique take on the Easter egg too and produced a breakfast inspired chocolate egg on toast, which found its way into Stylist’s top 30 chocolate treats (2).

Although Easter is now behind us, it is a great time for brands to think how they can tackle Easter in 2020. As Lush has proved, there is clearly room for non-chocolate brands to enter and dominate this space in their category. Who knows what eggstravagant Easter goodies we will get next year?

Source 1: https://www.standard.co.uk/shopping/esbest/game-of-thrones-dragon-easter-eggs-are-coming-deliveroo-a4098821.html

Source 2: https://www.stylist.co.uk/fashion/style-list/best-easter-eggs-luxury-chocolate-eggs/262420

 

Lightbox Loves: Trying to find the slow lane…

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Due to an age of acceleration, work worries and financial strain, Millennials are now being labelled the burnout generation (1).

Millennials are finding themselves in a dilemma where they feel the need to be on the go and working continuously, just to keep on top. This is driven by them being always available online, leading them being reachable wherever, whenever, giving way to feelings of exhaustion, stress and anxiety – some of the initial signs of burnout.

Research has indicated that 1 in 5 are currently at risk (2). While 49% of those aged 18-24 experienced high levels of stress due to the constant need to compare themselves to others (3). Work is considered one of the main driving forces behind this, yet social media also contributes due to the constant pressure to show you are “living your best life” (4).

Inevitably, when the pressure is relentless, their goals feel unattainable, and the work-life plate spinning never ceases to slow down – this is when the detrition starts to happen.

This is leading to a backlash of “a culture of constant optimisation”, and instead a desire for objective free activity is being sought (5). People are now looking for any opportunity to slow down and reset in order to maintain a healthy mind and body. This has given a rise to fun and/or relaxing activities in order to boost wellbeing (5). This includes wellness, meditation and sleep apps (6), such as Calm and Headspace.

We have also witnessed brands tapping into this space, creating calm, relaxed atmospheres for their customers. For example, skincare brand Origins, provided spaces for their shoppers to sit down in order for them to have a more leisurely experience (7).

It will be interesting to see how other brands and the media adapt and account for this. For example, we may see a rise in demand for more light options, such as Lite media (e.g. the likes of Love Island), where deep thought and concentration are not required – alternatively it offers the chance relax and slow down to a more leisurely pace (5).

1. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/millennials-burnout-generation-debt-work
2. http://https//hbr.org/2018/02/1-in-5-highly-engaged-employees-is-at-risk-of-burnout
3. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-stress
4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/c384d54a-0116-437f-83e8-ddbca65b6c06
5. https://ffonline.foresightfactory.co/content/light-relief-copy
6. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/consumers-see-wellness-apps-way-meditate-improve-sleep-investors-see-n985011
7. https://hbr.org/2018/12/the-growing-business-of-helping-customers-slow-down

The Seven Trends 2019: #3 Political Correctness

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Political Correctness.

 

We are increasingly creating an echo chamber of our own opinions online. When we see something contrary to our sensibilities, offence ensues.

 

Political correctness is a sensitive but crucial topic – arguably it restricts freedom of speech, but should offence be tolerated? Have we gone too far to be afraid of not saying what we think so as not to offend anyone?

26% of UK adults and 42% of 16-24 year olds are reluctant to express their opinions because of fear of being seen as offensive (Foresight Factory, 2018). But no surprise that there is a disconnect between our words online and our actions in real life.

In 2018 there were more than 12,000 mentions of the word “problematic” on Twitter. Topics such as Kleenex Mansize tissues and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – which prompted 36,700 Google News articles – were amongst the offending items. Social media has embroiled us in the culture of offence.

 

‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ proved problematic’ on Google News has 36,700 articles

 

Recently some brands have embraced potential polarisation and run the risk of consumer backlash. It’s a risky tactic as 28% of adults and 42% of 16-29-year old women have boycotted a brand because it offended their own belief or culture (Foresight Factory, 2018).

On the other hand, there’s a danger of becoming too ‘offence averse’ and stripping out all sense of self and individuality: to become ‘wind tunnel’ brands which have no spiky edges or interesting shadows in the face of political correctness.

We contend that political correctness can be managed as a calculated and balanced risk, but when brands shoot from the hip or are tone deaf to the degree of offence they may cause, things can go dramatically wrong.

 

The latest advert in the refreshed British Army recruitment campaign, ‘This is belonging 2018’, shows a Muslim soldier taking his helmet off and kneeling down to pray on the battlefield

 

As the idea of political correctness is turbo charged in the digital age, brands need to draw a line in the sand, using it as leverage for a strategic purpose, whilst not obliterating that line completely.

Lightbox Loves: Brace yourselves, regulation is coming

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What do we want? Regulation! When do we want it? Now! This was the request of Mark Zuckerberg in an op-ed in The Washington Post last week. Not what you would expect to hear from the world’s most popular social networking site. Nevertheless, the media titan has called for more laws to guard the use of social media platforms against those who wish to publish malicious content, compromise the integrity of elections and infringe upon user privacy.

Facebook is the first of the big tech giants to go on the offensive to make this happen, posting a new commitment to protect EU elections from interference and promising a searchable archive of all advertising on the platform. Zuckerberg has furthermore called for all tech companies to release a transparency report every quarter, along with their financials.

This could go some way to restoring the confidence that is currently on the decline in media, which according to our very own QT, is at an all time low of -38%. Crucially, the new common rules for adherence by social platforms, as Zuckerberg envisions them, are to be enforced by third parties: “Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree.”

However, calls for tougher regulation of media outlets have not always gone smoothly. The Leveson Inquiry set up in 2011 after the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, failed to bring about a unified approach to the regulation of the Press. Only a small number of Press titles joined the ‘approved’ regulator, with all the major newspapers instead going on to form their own regulator (Ipso), which has no official government recognition (the Guardian and the Financial Times self-regulate).

However, is change on the horizon? Just today the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has proposed a independent watchdog that will write a ‘code of practice’ for tech companies. Whilst this is long overdue for many, how it will hold companies in Silicon Valley responsible remains to be seen. And where to start with this ‘code of practice’ is a complex enough task in itself. It’s not as simple as deactivating accounts – our laws need to be adaptable enough to apply to the virtual space of social media, so that the consequences are clear.

 

  1. QT: February 2019
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mark-zuckerberg-the-internet-needs-new-rules-lets-start-in-these-four-areas/2019/03/29/9e6f0504-521a-11e9-a3f7
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47826946

Lightbox Loves: All Brits to be vegan by 2024

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With 2 in 5 Brits supporting quests to reduce our country’s meat consumption, 1 in 4 claiming to avoid meat in their diets (1) and a record number of sign-ups to ‘Veganuary’ this year, it seems like many of us are aware of both the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.

Brands are getting on board. Marks and Spencer added a vegan range to their chilled shelves, and Veggie Pret is no longer restricted to a single Soho outlet. Ever since scientists revealed last year that cutting out dairy and meat is the single most effective way to reduce individual impacts on the planet (2), the Government has turned their attention away from Brexit for a couple of hours, to pass legislation ruling that all meat and dairy products will be banned in the UK by 2024. Announced in the small hours of this morning, it is too early to understand reactions to this major but arguably necessary change in British culture. Akin to most things in politics, it will undoubtedly be divisive.

Happy April Fool’s Day! Did we get you? Never fear, your bacon-filled hangover cures are going nowhere. April Fool’s Day is here and I’m sure many of us will be waiting to see what new technology Google is releasing today, and which food products are re-launching in new weird and wonderful flavours. We know that April Fool’s Day is a great opportunity for brands to show their playful, creative and ultimately human sides, so why is it that brands can often feel they can joke with their consumers only one day a year? Laughing is great therapy, it releases stress, increases immune cells and lowers blood pressure (3). If brands can play pranks on their customers, resulting in laughter, positive buzz and sentiment, then why not try it more often? Would you still be with your partner if they only made you laugh once a year? I hope not. April Fool’s Day lets us acknowledge that brands have personalities too, which should be showcased for the long haul, rather than a single day.

If Brits need anything right now, it’s a reason to laugh, and brands, we invite you to do just that.

 

  1. YouGov, 2019
  2. The Guardian, 2018
  3. Helpguide.org; https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm/