I have a dream

Had.

I’ll keep this uncharacteristically brief, and characteristically incoherent.

I get weird dreams often. I don’t know if it’s something in the water or if my brain decides to be its most creative at night because it knows I’ll forget in the morning. Almost as if it is ashamed of what it did like a bad dog, or unsure like a nervous child offering a finger painting over with jaded trepidation to critical parents.

Through Fine Art school it was Fine to ‘do’ creativity any way you saw fit, but every week there were group critique sessions, where everyone would rip apart your work and tell you it was shit. And how it was shit. It’s debilitating and heart-wrenching seeing something you created, born and moulded by your beautiful brain, get beaten around the ring and you’re unable to throw in the towel; left standing to nod with perfect pertinent politeness as appropriate before the Fine Art Critic bunch. The kind who sip expensive wine while they look at art – murmuring “I will break you”. The kind who call anyone who doesn’t like Rothko paintings a philistine, who don’t even deserve to look upon art.

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So maybe because of art school my brain has become the beaten dog, preconditioned Pavlovianly to fear creative thoughts unless they were thoughts good enough to keep their defences up enough to last a few rounds of critique. Adrian!

So basically I now keep a dream journal so I don’t forget any creative thoughts. I lied about this being brief, so I’ll wrap it up. I had a dream I wrote a children’s book about a boy who invents a biological shrink ray gun. He uses it to shrink his dog Bessy (notably a Great Dane) to fit in his pocket. Before long he does this to more and more animals before he creates world peace and is elected President of the World. What kind of world wouldn’t have global peace if people could have dog sized elephants for pets? Or a Shoulder Tiger. Those would be a thing. So I’m going to actually start to write and illustrate this and get it in the ring. Ding! Drool.

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Jonathan Webb   Junior Art Director

Britain’s Lost Women

It was with a light heart on a sunny summer’s evening that I stepped out into SoHo for the VivaWomen’s event at Razorfish. To be honest, my main motivation for attendance was to see what a “business transformation” agency looks like. And I wasn’t disappointed. With a grand off-street, wooden paneled entrance we were led up to a glass walled reception. Fallon and Heineken are also in the building. In fact a keg of beer joined us in the lift. I was disappointed when it exited onto level 2 and we progressed up to level 5. But not for long. We were greeted with a table of sophisticated snacks with beer and wine prior to the event kicking off – very inviting – also an opportunity to check out the interior of the premises. It was a big open space with wooden floors, white walls and loads of big windows letting in the evening sun. Razorfish has a really cool contemporary feel going on, which was exactly in line with my expectations. After a bit of snooping around, I started to get to the heart of why (mostly women) had assembled for this event. VivaWomen is “a network for women, created by women” we were told. Fact: 55% of employees at Publicis are women but the numbers diminish with more senior ranking. Not surprising really. So VivaWomen is about developing and advancing women within the network. This evening’s session wasn’t directly relevant to the overall objective of the movement but the theme was linked into empowering women in the community.

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Karma Nivana was the charity that was addressing the audience tonight, in particular Jasvinder Sanghera, the CEO and founder. Karma Nivana was set up in 1993 to support victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse. Jasvinder told us about her personal story that led to her family disowning her and founding the charity. What I found amazing was the number of young women who go missing from UK schools every year with no alarm bells being rung. This is because the people abducting these children are their own family members. Just think about it: if you are a girl and had gone missing at the age of 15 it would be your parents calling the police! Usually nothing is done. These girls simply vanish from society either carted off to India or held prisoner in their own home. If the disappearance is reported it’s generally the school teachers who have raised the alarm. This evening was of particular significance because on this day, 10 June 2015, the first person had been criminally convicted for honour-based violence in Cardiff. About a year ago this law been passed, due to significant campaigning from Karma Nivana, to make this type of violence and forced marriage illegal in the UK. Despite hundreds of cases being investigated, only one conviction. A huge milestone but still small steps. One of the problems is lack of awareness, and this includes within the police force. Hence on 14 July this year the first-ever annual memorial day to remember victims of honour killings will be held. This day marks the birthday of Shafilea Ahmed who sadly lost her life in 2003 aged 17. After suffering years of honour-based violence, including an attempted forced marriage, Shafilea’s parents suffocated her to death in front of her siblings. An estimated 5,000 women across the world are killed each year for bringing “shame” upon their families; at least 12 of these victims are British, but the true number is thought to be far higher. Consequently why they are called Britian’s Lost Women.

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My heart wasn’t feeling quite as light as I walked out of Razorfish after the event into the evening’s sunlight. I had been exposed to a shocking violence affecting women I had no idea about – a silence crime going on behind closed doors. To find out more or how you can help, please visit karmanirvana.org.uk

Karma Nivana


Bridget Christie   Group Account Director

Communiqué Competition!

Here at Publicis Life Brands Resolute, we’re thrilled to be shortlisted for the Judges’ Special Award for Innovation at this year’s Communiqué awards. And our PHCG UK sister agencies Real Science and Digitas Life Brands are also up for awards too!

To celebrate, we’re giving away a magnum of champagne in our Communique Competition. To be in with a chance of winning, simply Tweet @ThePLBR with the Hashtag #PHCGAtCommunique. The competition is open to everyone who works in Healthcare Communications in the UK.

We’ll be announcing the winner on Friday 3rd July, along with the runners up, who’ll receive Hangover Kits delivered to their offices – what better way to ease those Communiqué hangovers!? Cheers!

Champers

#KittenCamp LOLs

If you were to ask someone outside the media world what they thought young media types got up to on a Monday night after work – they would probably (sarcastically) describe something along the lines of #KittenCamp.

Which is why I duly went down to an underground bar in Soho, drank free (craft) beer, and watched two grown men in onesies ‘battle’ each other using nothing more than the power of internet memes.

Unsurprisingly, I loved it.

To give you a bit more background, #KittenCamp is a quarterly meeting at which the most widely shared memes from the last few weeks are watched, laughed at and voted on. Then, guest presenters take us through a relevant topic of their choosing.

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The ‘Battle’

In the first half of the evening, the two presenters @WilliamEdHarvey (Innovation Lead & Tech reporter at VCCP, and @theQuiggler (Managing Director at Sharethrough) ‘battled’ against each other to see who had found the best meme in a series of preassigned categories.

Aside from literally laughing out loud, the audience were asked to hold up a physical expression of a LOL (a sheet of paper with the word LOL written on it) to show which of the two memes they preferred in each category. The meme with the most LOLs won.

Some of the highbrow entertainment pieces included:

Do the Protein Shake

Arnie blowing sh*t up   

Shia LeBeouf

Charity for Tidal

GoPro kids

Forgetting Ed Miliband

Rapping egg

          


Dimuthu Jayawardana   Strategic Planner

Chris Bracey – Gods Own Junkyard

Chris Bracey’s passing in the late part of 2014 saw the loss of an unsung hero of London. He sadly lost his battle with prostate cancer at the age of 59. He was an artist and designer who owned and created one of the largest collections of neon signs and sculpture. Starting out in graphic design, he later joined his father Dick in the neon business.

The 1980’s saw the glamorous rise of the sex industry in the West End of London and with it came a very bright designer. Chris Bracey ceased an opportunity and latched onto the need for advertising there. His skills in lighting design rapidly developed along side the boom of the sex industry. He was a sought after individual, with his artist work on show in nearly all of the sex establishments in the Soho area for two decades.

His work wasn’t just famous in the underworld of Soho, he was also commissioned numerous times to work in film, retail and fashion. Creating signs for Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, Bladerunner and Batman films as well as creating catwalk and in store displays for some of the UK’s biggest brands and stores. The majority of his work was stored in ‘Gods Own Junk Yard’ in Walthamstow in the north east of London.

After his passing, an exhibition of work from his 40-year career was put on in the part of London he was made famous. A group of us went down to talk a look. It wasn’t until we arrived at the ‘Lights of Soho’ in Brewer Street, that you could really appreciate the artistic craft involved in his career. The exhibition space was full of some of his most famous pieces, large or small, static or animated. It fascinating to see how he conveyed a message through light, using just key words in appropriate colours to sell a product.

Accompanying this blog post is a video Rosie and I put together, that captures the energy and spirit of his career. Documenting a variety of pieces we saw at the exhibition.


Philip Hawkins Designer

Help Nepal. Fast

Nepal has now been devastated by two catastrophic earthquakes in just over a fortnight. At least eight thousand people are dead. Tens of thousands more are injured.

At Publicis Life Brands Resolute, we wanted to do what we could to help. Fast.

So we have created the #HelpNepalFast movement ‒ www.helpnepalfast.com.

The idea is simple:

  1. Fast for 12 hours
  2. Donate the money you would have spent on food
  3. Share a photo of your empty plate, with cutlery arranged to resemble Mount Everest at #HelpNepalFast

It’s a small gesture of solidarity for the thousands in Nepal who are grieving, injured or both, and who will very likely go cold and hungry tonight.

It’s time to help Nepal. Fast.

Nepal ad - DOWNLOAD A4 

Visit our website www.helpnepalfast.com to download a poster for your workplace, and to donate to the victims.

Thank you,

Everyone at PLBR.

Agile thinking – what’s our vision

On a bitterly cold January morning the multi-talented PLBR account handling team gathered for our first monthly breakfast meeting of 2015. These meetings are a fantastic opportunity for us account guys to get together to discuss ongoing projects and best practice solutions; showcasing the creative work each account pod has produced in unison with our award winning creative team; sharing inspiring case studies; and of course an opportunity for us to have a good old chinwag over some lukewarm coffee and stale delicious pastries.

In saying that, this little get together had a twist. We knew that we were in for something different, but we were not sure what was in store. Some people’s minds (definitely not mine!) drifted to a group review of the Victoria’s Secret Super Bowl ad, others to an impromptu Great British Bake-off style challenge (definitely not Harriet) whilst the more reflective members of the team yearned for a ‘This is Your Life’ special starring the late, great, Deirdre Barlow.

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Greetings my friend

How wrong we all were. We were welcomed by our good friend ‘the workshop’, who had been meticulously planned by our crack-team of process junkies Bridget, Nina and Matt. It was to be one of the most energetic workshops ever held at PLBR towers, with discussions hotter than the fires of Mount Doom contained within the walls of ‘The Shire’. Oh, if those walls could talk…

Upon gathering together in mutual fuzziness at what was basically dawn, we were greeted with our topic for the morning, “Agile Thinking – A change from the norm”. A quick glance around revealed that whilst the majority of us knew what both words meant in isolation, only a few wise members knew what they meant in combination.

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So what is Agile Thinking?

An agile thinker is someone who can ask good questions, someone who values balance, someone who can consider different perspectives and someone who can balance execution. Now I know what you’re thinking, so a workshop around Agile Thinking means “Everyone get in a room and smash some marketing type speak on a post-it note?” Well kind-of, but the real overarching goal and drive here was to work as a team (banning words such as – budget, workload and resource) so we could share our thoughts on the agency’s vision and how we as an account handling unit could be a part of that movement.

Following a rousing introduction by Client Services Director Wyndham Clark (I’ll let you decide whether he told me to say that or not) we were split into groups to tackle three topics and began to get down to some intense brainstorming.

Topic 1: What is our agency vision?

Topic 2: How will the account handling team help achieve that vision?

Topic 3: How will our regular account handling forum help us achieve our vision?

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Against the clock

In just 10 minutes for each topic we were challenged to come up with a solution. The fast paced thinking really slapped away any remaining morning cobwebs and post-its began to zip around the room like super-injunctions following a football club’s Christmas party.

And the results

So what were the outputs? Well, we managed to whittle down the many candidates for agency vision to just a few; ‘trust developers’, ‘pioneering’ and ‘thought leaders’ however the overwhelming winner was ‘desired’. Put forward by Anisha, it was decided that this was the word that resonated most with what we were all trying to communicate (in varying forms of chaotic chatter). Desired by potential clients, desired by current clients, desired by the most talented individuals out there and most importantly desired by the people here at PLBR. Having that very rare feeling in this day and age, of job satisfaction. This can come in many forms but we agreed that the most important was coming to work knowing that what we do is making a difference.

How can we help and how will our forums help? Well that’s for us to worry about but keep your eyes to the ground and your ears peeled for further updates on our agency vision!

Ollie Fraser – Senior Account Executive