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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).

Iceland’s Rang-tan Christmas

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Frozen food is often seen as substandard, with people believing it to be packed with more artificial additives than fresh food. Other supermarket chains treat frozen produce as though they’re ashamed of it, hiding it towards the back of the store and cooking from frozen is perceived as lazy and unhealthy.

In fact, the complete opposite is true. Frozen is nature’s preservative. It means fresher, healthier products on your plate. For Iceland shoppers this penny has dropped. For them it’s the best kept secret on the High St – from Chateaubriand for a tenner to real Italian pizza. We have set out to bring these ‘penny drop’ moments to the nation. Driving business growth through improving quality and value perceptions.

In Christmas of 2018 Iceland’s stance on palm oil became one such penny drop moment for the nation. With our Rang-tan Christmas creative unable to run on TV we set out to use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to take our young Orangutan’s story to the country. A route which, thanks to some positive PR, went on to deliver 70 million views for the creative, making it one of the most watched Christmas ads of all time. The campaign saw Iceland rise above Waitrose in consideration levels and sales of palm oil free mince pies surge by 11%.

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.

The Deliveroo Timeout Partnership

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December saw Deliveroo crown their final Food Battle champion in the breath-taking “Battle of the Broth”, after an epic three months of celebrating the ‘Joy of Food’ with partner Time Out. Across four foodie events (“Battle of the Burger”, “Pizza Prize Fight”, “Fried Chicken Fight Cub” and the aforementioned “Battle of the Broth”), 5,000 hungry Londoners had chewed, chomped and slurped their way through over 35,000 portions of food, voting for their favourite in each category.

Reaching over 5 million Londoners through Time Out’s platforms across editorial, experiential and social, we recorded a surge of brand love through UCG and online. Together Deliveroo and Time Out delivered the ultimate in mouth-watering experiences, supported by customer research and using data to identify the Capital’s food passions, proving that Deliveroo is a heavy-weight in the field of food delivery.

Reaching The Illusive 16-34s With Cinema

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Cinema can mistakenly be seen as a last minute thought to a media schedule, with brands seeing it as almost a luxury addition and can often be the first element to be removed if budgets are cut.

However, amongst 16-34 year olds – the demographic least engaged with media – cinema is really coming into its own, and can actually be very effective at drawing in incremental, unique reach.

That is according to a report conducted by DCM in partnership with research company Differentology.  At its recent Upfronts conference, DCM said that unlike many other media channels, cinema is one place where young people can forget the world they are currently in, and fully engage with what’s in front of them.

Advertising is an essential part of that experience, with 16-34s actively looking forward to and discussing the ads played before each film. The same appetite for advertising does not appear to be shared elsewhere on the media spectrum, with many reports showing that this demographic is intent on avoiding advertising as much as possible, through means like ad-blockers.

Cinema is therefore a goldmine for advertisers wanting to engage with this particular age group, which accounts for 44% of cinema ticket sales, boasting an attendance 19% higher than the national average at eight times a year.

In addition to the study, to prove the value of advertising through the cinema, DCM looked at its own internal data sources, including six years’ worth of spot data, admissions data and 12 years of audience profiles on films, combined with the help of RSMB.

As a result of its findings, the company is now able to convert admissions into equivalent TVRs and show that cinema adds cost-effective, quality TVRs. Not only that, due to the nature in which cinema is consumed, it can also guarantee unique reach.

Looking back at the film slate from 2018, the company was able to divulge impressive numbers to show how blockbusters faired when it came to eTVRs. Of the findings, Avengers: Infinity War delivered twenty 16-34 TVRs in the first two weeks, while Incredibles 2 delivered nine 16-34 TVRs.

This is an invaluable tool for planners. Being able to convert admissions into a metric that is well-known, makes cinema a lot more accessible, and ultimately an easier sell on to media plans.

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.

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: 12 Year Countdown

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We are reminded every day that we live in a time of political and economic uncertainty, so much so that some of us might have just become immune to it, ready to brew a cuppa and wait for it all to blow over. Another worrying headline has recently been added to this negative atmosphere: we’ve got as little as 12 years to limit our negative impact on the planet[1], or else!

As we wait for our government to take the lead in the fight against climate change and pass new laws on single-use plastic, recycling, green energy and everything in between, 15-year-old Swedish eco-warriors[2] are showing the world how change doesn’t always happen from the top down. Greta Thurnberg is the 15-year-old climate activist who skipped school and camped outside the Swedish Parliament demanding action against climate change. She also took part in the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland, alongside climate advocate David Attenborough.

One of the major contributors to climate change has been the fast-fashion industry, with Brits throwing away tons of clothes each year[3], sometimes after only wearing them once or twice. According to EcoWatch[4], the clothing industry is the second dirtiest industry in the world, next to Big Oil, making it a great contributor to our damaging carbon footprint.

Good news comes from the Waste & Resources Action Programme though, which has launched a Sustainable Clothing Action Plan[5], which has already helped reduce the carbon footprint per tonne of garments by 11.9%. 11 retailers have already signed up to this plan, including H&M. With more brands soon to follow it looks like sustainable fashion is becoming more and more… fashionable.

It hasn’t come as so much a surprise then that online retailer ASOS has had the worst ‘November in living history”[6], seeing its shares plunge and underwhelming growth, despite unprecedented discounts. As brilliantly put in our previous Lightbox Loves article, big brands need Pathos to keep their customer loyalty.

Moreover, studies have shown that “93% of the millennial generation want to buy from companies that have purpose, sustainability and environmental stewardship built into their ethos”[7]. This number may seem a little high for a generation famous for living their life on Instagram where they can’t be seen wearing the same thing twice, but reality trumps the occasional vanity photoshoot. The climate change threat is real and, unlike previous generations, millennials have knowledge at the touch of their fingertips 24/7, being able to fact check everything they hear, see or read in seconds.

Studies have shown that almost half of Brits don’t remember what they got last year as a Christmas gift[8]. The pressure to buy expensive gifts and the last-minute rush, results in piles and piles of unwanted gifts every year. What better time to start thinking about the impact your fashion habits have on the world around us!