Archive for March, 2017

I Am A Refugee: One year on…

This time last year, we teamed up with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) to launch our campaign ‘I Am A Refugee’, during World Refugee Week 2016. Now, one year on, we’re taking a look at how successful the campaign has been.

At a time of heightened sensitivity during the European Referendum, we wanted to encourage a positive narrative around the impact of refugees on British culture. To highlight the huge contributions made in the UK by refugees both historically and today, we created a platform for people to show their support. Visit  www.iamarefugee.net to show your support.

We took inspiration from something very ‘establishment’ and British – the iconic blue English Heritage plaques that recognise historically important people that have lived in Britain – and gave the concept a twist to surprise and challenge assumptions about refugees and Britishness. The plaques were designed in a variety of colours to reflect the diversity of the refugees that come to Britain. When viewed together, they are beautifully bright, colourful and positive – representative of the contribution refugees make to society.

A number of plaques were put up on significant sites across the UK for refugees who have contributed to life in the UK. Each plaque featured a high-profile refugee, including Rita Ora, Alek Wek, Michael Marks (Marks & Spencer founder) and Dame Stephanie Shirley. And, one year on, we are happy to say that most those plaques still stand, with many other influencers creating online plaques, including MP Alison Thewliss, Lord Alf Dubs, and stand-up comedian Shappi Khorsandi.

We also created an exhibition, which was launched last year at St Paul’s Cathedral (where it had over 78,000 visitors). It has since toured the Museum of Immigration and Diversity in London, and even the Houses of Parliament.

Saira Grant, Chief Executive of JCWI, said “The exhibition was launched in St Paul’s Cathedral and is now touring the country. The website allows refugees and those who support them to create digital plaques. A platform such as this is needed now more than ever and we are very grateful to Coley Porter Bell’s brilliant creativity.”

So far the campaign has been successful in creating a positive dialogue about the subject across social media, and, to date, there have been hundreds of refugee plaques created on the website, with many more being added daily.

Health and Wellness Day

Our Account Manager, Marina Hui, writes about our first Ogilvy UK Health & Wellness Day.

Small talk in the office consists of two topics; the weather, and how tired we are. From sleeping badly to non-stop meetings, our brains never seem to get the break they need.

This ‘always-on’ mentality is not unusual. However, luckily for us, this week Ogilvy signed a pledge with mental health charity Time to Change, promising to raise mental health awareness within our workplace.

This dedication was made as part of our Health and Wellness Day; a company-wide event that saw Sea Containers play host to a variety of talks, wellness sessions and exercise classes.

Myself and a few others kicked off our health and wellness for the day with a yoga session on the roof. It was a little windier than anyone expected, but once we’d pinned down our yoga mats we were able to enjoy a full hour of mental de-stressing. Despite our lack of physical balance, we found the session gave us a great mental workout that was both invigorating and relaxing.

In the afternoon I went along to a session run by UsTwo, the tech company behind a mental health app called ‘Moodnotes’. It’s a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-based mood journaling tool, with the end-goal of the app being to reveal to the user the ‘thinking traps’ they most commonly fall into. Personally, I’m sceptical that the answer to mental stress is to spend more time on a device. However, if you were to commit to using the app daily over a long period of time, I think it could provide an interesting insight into your mental health.

Overall, our first Health & Wellness day succeeded in getting lots of us to take a break from our jam-packed Outlook calendars, and instead spend a little time thinking about both our physical and mental health.

It was a great first step, but it’s important that we don’t let momentum slip. Ogilvy’s latest campaign for Time to Change is all about ‘being in your mate’s corner’; we should take note from this in our day-to-day lives, and make sure that we’re supporting our colleagues by being considerate and checking in if we think someone might be struggling.

Mental health isn’t a box that can be ticked; it’s something that needs to be maintained. It’s hard to remember, but our brains need to be given time to recover after a long day of back-to-backs. But whether it’s by switching our phones off on the train home, or making time for a hobby, we need to prioritise it.

So who needs ethics in a “post Co-op Bank” world?

After the news broke that Co-op was selling its bank, we question whether ethical brands still matter in financial services, when The Co-op Bank has shown that it can’t make the finances add up.

Branding, first and foremost, is about trust. Brands exist because humans find it easier to commit themselves to entities that they’re familiar with and that they trust will deliver. Brands are a shortcut to a quick decision. Few things are more stressful than having to make choices, so anything that can help us decide quicker earns a favoured place in our day to day life.

Ia world of increased transparency and feedback, brands need to have a clearer purpose than ever. Consumers don’t just need to believe in the end result of your product or service, they need to engage with why you’re doing it in the first place.

No-where is this more necessary that in the world of financial services, which deals with critical and significant aspects of our lives and our futures. We’ve been massively stung (emotionally and fiscally) by the financial shocks of the last decade, and trust in financial services is at a low ebb.

Brands and businesses with a consistent higher purpose do so well in other spheres (Nike, Google, Unilever), surely there’s mileage for integrity and purpose in what ought to be the most ethical sector of them all?

It’s surprising then that the Co-op’s staunchly ethical status looks like it may be a sticking point in their proposed sale, as this ethos is exactly the kind of transparency that “the people” have been calling for. It isn’t easy being principled, so it will be a shame if it proves a factor in the brand’s downfall.

It could be used as a brand point of difference than a point of contention – wouldn’t it be nice if there was good money in being good; if our banks could be commercial AND ethical, rather than one or the other?

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