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!



#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.



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 ‒

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 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.


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.


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?


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

Working with strangers and my first time abroad alone

In July I disappeared from the office to spend some time in Rome. ‘On holiday?’ I hear you ask. No, I spent the week at the EACA Summer School, with advertising folk from agencies around Europe, learning new skills and working on a live client brief.


The process of getting to Rome wasn’t an easy journey in itself – PLBR held a competition with the prize being the opportunity to go to the Summer School. All we had to do was to pretend the Management Team were our clients and develop and present a communications plan to them – a pretty nerve wracking experience in my opinion. On top of this we had to explain why we think we should attend the Summer School (knowing that everyone competing would have similar reasons for going).

As you can guess, my presentation went well (although I think the give-away Smarties were the secret to success) and I was off to Rome. That was when the panic set in. You may laugh, but this was the first time that I had been abroad alone. Questions were going through my head: How am I going to get home at night? Who am I going to eat with? Blargh, am I going to have to talk to strangers? But hey, it’s all a learning curve. Right?!

anisha 3

From Monday to Friday, during the hours of 9–5, we attended lectures from some of the most senior and inspiring advertising professionals in the business. The topics we covered ranged from Behavioural Economics through to the Future of Digital and Mobile Creativity. Out of working hours, we slaved away on our pitch presentation – although that’s all I can say due to my signing of a non-disclosure agreement!

In terms of a quick overview of what I learned, I would have to say that while all of the lectures gave me food for thought, there was one that truly sparked my interest – Big Data.


Big Data

It seems to me that the more I read about this subject the more there is to learn. So, I thought I would share some of the basics I managed to pick up whilst in Rome.

Big Data is not just lots of small data. In fact, it’s not really about data at all; it is about the tools of data analysis and the knowledge that can then be ascertained. After all as Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.”

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (equivalent to about half a billion HD movie downloads). 

Companies who analyse these big data sets can then adapt their own products and services to better meet customer needs; optimising their operations and infrastructure, which in turn helps them to create new revenue streams. In essence, Big Data helps them to predict the future and it is something companies are willing to pay handsomely for.

We live in a world where the internet of things exists (where everyday objects have network connectivity allowing the sending and receiving of data), and we just cannot opt out of big data any more as it is in everything we do. Every purchase you make, every post you share, every device you use, your data is being collected for commercial gain, and this is a trend that will only continue.

90% of the data created in the world today has been generated within the last two years.

Now back to Rome

On the rare occasions that we managed to escape from the university campus, we were able to enjoy the World Cup – this was shown on a cinema size screen which highlighted Germany’s epic win over Brazil.Anisha 2

On my final night, I was able to enjoy a whistle stop tour of Rome, before resting my feet at a riverside festival – phew!

All in all, I learned so much about different Advertising disciplines as well as myself. When you find yourself outside the B&B at midnig inht with the key broken the street door lock and no one around to help you, you get a chance to embrace your creative side.

Bright Sparks: Picking up the pace

It is week 4 and our bright sparks are embracing the pace of advertising life.

Jonathan Webb – Creative Executive 

Well, here I am at the end of my fourth week!

The pace has certainly picked up; I feel I have definitely been in the thick of it, especially in my fourth week where we had many hours to put in to complete two briefs that were at different stages. It was hard work and stressful at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have still loved every minute of working here at PLBR and I look forward to the weeks to come with the same fervour.

I had a presentation given by Vineet Thapar from Digitas Health Life Brands, where he detailed all the digital focused work that they do, and it has made me very excited when I start my next placement there!

Vineet Thapar - SVP, Group Creative Director Europe.

Vineet Thapar – SVP, Group Creative Director Europe. Digitas Health.

Everyone is still extremely nice, funny, hard working and wonderful to be around up at PLBR, making me think it’s genuinely how they are and not just how they presented themselves when I started. It makes for a great environment to work in. They also still eat a lot of food, there’s always chocolates or cakes or something being shared out, which is always great.

I’m also looking forward to the Christmas party! Roll on week 5!

Amma Osei-Owusu – Account Executive

Looking back, I’m finding myself wondering how time has gone by so quickly! It seems to be moving insanely fast, I suppose when I consider the fast pace of the agency it’s befitting everything flies along with the pulse. That being said after the whirlwind of the first weeks the dust has finally settled. I feel as though I now have a grounded routine where I “sort of – kind of” know what to expect. I have the expectation that every day will bring something entirely new to learn. I feel as though I’ve been finding my feet here, I’ve been learning the ropes. Daily I’m met with a vast array of different tasks to accomplish, most things are completely new to me and each task I  complete brings  that sweet sense of fulfilment; the sort that makes you want to pause and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done but the learning doesn’t plateau. The thing about the LAB experience is it’s a bit like a decathlon, it’s a constant roll of events and hurdles to face and it’s all about constant progression. Already looking back I’m amazed that in such a short period of time I’ve picked up so much it’s like an intensive course where I’m actually able to apply the new skills I’ve learnt and that gives me a fabulous sense of achievement.

Amma at work

Amma at work

The thing that most distinguishes the earlier weeks from these latter weeks is the growing sense of responsibility that comes with being increasingly involved with clients. As an account manager, client interaction is undoubtedly the biggest part of the job. I’ve been gradually integrated into the conversations between the agency and external clients whereas in previous weeks I was solely engaged with internal communications. I’m so grateful to be involved in the process – to be the link between the client and their desired goals, this is major stuff for me!

Part of getting stuck into the role of an account manager means constantly accounting for finances; total project cost, out of pocket expenses and so forth. It also means tracking the development of projects right from the first brief, estimating cost and raising job numbers, warranting that time is allocated appropriately, constructing and ensuring timelines are met, ensuring the client is not just satisfied but is happy. We are required to do that little bit extra in order to be successful. Here at Saatchi and Saatchi health we build meaningful relations with clients this means they see us as an extension of the team and not just an agency, these are just some of the things I constantly have to be thinking about.

Finances, finances, finances

Finances, finances, finances

Considering I entered into the LAB without the same background in healthcare that others in this profession possess, the amount I’ve learnt about the healthcare industry within the scope of time is gastronomical. I feel like I’ve suddenly delved into vast world that I previously didn’t not realise the breadth and depth of. There are so many complexities to it. Working on different accounts means I’m constantly introduced to different conditions and drug treatments. The variety in the types of clients we work with is also what makes this job so enjoyable. One minute I’m working with a client that produces an anticoagulant for stroke treatment and in the very same day I’ll also be working with a client that specialises in incontinency care. They all have varying needs and wants. In addition to that there is the tricky and sticky “red tape” restrictions that regulate healthcare advertising. The task presented to us to us to rise above the challenge is quite a big ask, but from my time here already I’ve learnt that the Saatchi mantra “nothing is impossible” couldn’t be more true when it comes to healthcare communications. To overcome the obstacles set before us it is important we approach them at different angles and perspectives. My unique contribution I believe, perhaps stems from my unfamiliarity with this world. My eyes are wide open just like a child in a sweet store I’m overwhelmed – filled with awe by the mass and scope of it all, but seeing the bigger picture – the holistic picture is so vital in this industry, and asking the questions my curiosity probes me to ask, may lead not just to greater understanding for my sake but also to further innovation in the approach to healthcare communications.