Sector: Creative Services

Grayling named Large Consultancy of the Year at the European Excellence Awards

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Grayling has been named Large Consultancy of the Year at the European Excellence Awards 2021. The awards, which took place on Friday 10 December, also saw Grayling win across four other campaign categories including Food & Beverage (UK), NGOs & Associations (Russia), Benelux & France, and Germany, Switzerland & Austria.

These awards cap a stellar 2021 for Grayling across Europe. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Grayling has delivered double digit revenue growth across the continent. Underpinning this growth has been a strategy which has driven greater integration and collaborative working across all European offices. In the past year, Grayling has focused further on blended services, particularly higher margin, strategic consultancy work. The existing diverse set of skills has been bolstered by key hires across Grayling’s pan-European teams.

The multiple awards reflect the hard work of Grayling’s staff across Europe. Despite the pandemic, Grayling colleagues have delivered the highest quality of service for the clients.

Sarah Scholefield, Global CEO said: “We are delighted to be named Large Consultancy of the Year at the European Excellence Awards, alongside four wins for outstanding client campaigns across the region. These incredible results are testament to the dedication and hard work of our staff across Europe. The pandemic has presented many challenges for our people, but they have all consistently delivered outstanding campaigns and results. I couldn’t be prouder of the work they have done and we’re all looking forward to continuing this success in 2022.”

European Excellence Award wins:
  • Large Agency of the Year category – Grayling won the prestigious Large Agency of the Year award following a year which saw growth across all our European teams, in both revenue and employee numbers, and a number of landmark client wins.
  • Food & BeverageGrayling in London picked up the award for their work with fish-free brand Good Catch with OurWay, a campaign described by Ad Week as “promotional gold”.
  • NGOs & Associations – the Grayling Moscow team capped off a brilliant year – having already been named Russia/CIS Consultancy of the Year at the PRovoke Awards – with a win for their work with the Social Partnership Development fund, on the campaign No more Chemistry with Chemo which tackled the issue of social isolation for women with cancer in Russia.
  • Benelux & FranceGrayling in Paris were recognised for their work with client Badoo in the Benelux & France category. The campaign, entitled Yes to Real Encounters, Yes to Beautiful Encounters, addressed the issue of microaggressions in the dating process and involved the production of a short film to raise awareness and educate the public on the issue.
  • Germany, Switzerland & Austria – The team at Grayling Vienna have been named in the regional Germany, Austria and Switzerland category for their campaign Raising Worldwide Awareness about Old Age Poverty. This campaign was carried out with Vollpension Generationencafé and aimed to raise awareness about age-poverty and Covid-induced isolation for elderly citizens around the world.


For more information about the European Excellence Awards click here.

Creative magic doesn’t exist

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Being a creative is a terrific job.

I can’t think of many other roles where you can have an idea in your head one minute and see it enjoyed by millions the next. Where your ideas can be featured in the newspaper your dad reads, shared in your mates’ WhatsApp group, or appear on a morning breakfast show watched by the nation as they munch their Weetabix.

It’s absolutely great… most of the time.

But sometimes your brain refuses to connect the dots, can’t find that ‘creative magic’ that everyone assumes you have in abundance, or is just a bit too knackered to have ideas.

Sometimes you feel imposter syndrome, leading you to pitch half-heartedly or concede that your idea isn’t good enough.

You need a thick skin.

I’m not here to get a violin out to serenade creatives having a hard time, because there are a million and one jobs that are much harder, but I do think it’s important to shed light on the reality.

I spoke to some creative leaders in the PR industry to find out how they get to an idea – not the poetic version – but the reality.

What happens when you have an off day? What happens if you have an idea without any strategy? What happens if the only idea you have is that one you’ve tried to sell to four different clients already?

The creative process is dead, long live the creative process

Process… not exactly a word that oozes creativity is it?

Well, actually, yes. According to some it is.

Whether consciously, or unconsciously, we all have a process as to how our brains come to an idea.

Some I spoke to said “ideas just fly in before I’ve even finished the brief” whilst others opt for deep-thinking techniques, taking a break from the relentless bombardment of Teams, Slack, WhatsApp or emails to give their minds time to percolate.

Others remove themselves completely from consciously thinking about the problem they want to solve and run a bath or run themselves around the park to try and find an idea.

Some have a more concrete process, from hour long question-storming sessions to ask everything from “the obvious to the down-right illegal”, to a creative system forcing them to look at a series of different and unusual websites for stimulus, or creating an ideas bank so they can study other people’s ideas and, presumably, nick the best bits for themselves.

Environmentally-friendly creative is what it’s all about

Ideas are subjective and many things can turn clients off an idea. From those I spoke to, many echoed the view that: “If you’re passionate about an idea, don’t let that passion die if the first client doesn’t bite your arm off for it”.

One consumer PR creative told me they have ideas that they’ve loved for years and they “Keep evolving the idea and bringing it out of the ideas fridge when the time is right”.

Speaking from my own experience, I’ve always kept ideas stored somewhere (either a Post-It note or on a Google Doc) but I also try to squirrel away interesting photography techniques, arresting images that have made international press, or snapshots on my phone from exhibitions. Upcycling creative works and feeding your brain with consistent stimulus is so important.

However, a word of caution also comes with recycling ideas. One creative warns: “When you hear yourself sell something again it always loses something, so I wouldn’t advocate ramming in the same ideas for years… There’s a reason it hasn’t been bought.”

Allow yourself an off day

Everyone has off days and the pressure of having to be creative all the time can be detrimental if you don’t embrace having a day where you admit that your brain just isn’t ticking (some call it a hangover).

Working under constant pressure isn’t great for a constant flow of good quality ideas. One business leader told me: “The PR and creative industry has increasingly been talking about mental health, but then it’s become standard to juggle several briefs and deadlines, work under pressure and constantly churn out ideas whilst conveying a sense of always being busy”.

They also mentioned that when this happens, they make a conscious effort to recognise their mental capacity and switch off if they’re not in a productive state to generate ideas or solve a problem.

Others mentioned the power of getting outside on off days (nice one, English weather) and when ideas are harder to come by, trying “more walking and talking”.

It’s also worth remembering that this is all a team game and great ideas happen not because of one individual, but because of a collective group with a shared desire to make stuff they’re proud of. As a seasoned professional told me: “An idea never just comes from one person – surround yourself with great people and you’ll always get to great ideas”.

That seems like a good way to end this post.

If you have scored yourself a creative role then embrace it, enjoy it, revel in it but also remember that the best work comes from teamwork, from collaboration and from surrounding yourself with people you learn from.

Creative magic doesn’t exist, but magic creative ideas can. Just find yourself the right environment and the right people to make it happen.


Written by Andy Garner, Creative Director Grayling. This blog post was first published on the PRCA website.

Grayling invests in senior strategic and creative hires in London and Manchester

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Grayling today announces the appointment of two new senior hires with Bronwyn Fieldgate joining the agency as Head of Strategy and Andy Garner as Creative Director.

Fieldgate joins Grayling from Ogilvy where she was a managing partner and strategic lead across the agency’s Walgreen’s Boots Alliance portfolio of brands. Prior to Ogilvy she was Planning Director at M&C Saatchi PR.
Garner, who will be based at Grayling Manchester, joins after a decade spent within the Engine group, most recently at MHP and Mischief. Both hires join IGNITE – Grayling’s central global strategic and creative team – with Garner acting as the agency’s first dedicated IGNITE hub outside of the London office. Fieldgate and Garner’s appointment is the latest in a continued investment from Grayling into its strategic, creative and design capabilities and follows client wins, including Badoo and MoreThan.

Commenting on the hire, Fieldgate says: “Grayling is moving at such a great pace and we’re really accelerating the strategic expertise we provide to clients. It’s a unique agency – a regional UK footprint that can’t be matched, a top-class network abroad, and of course a powerhouse London office. Add to that the combination of disciplines we offer and the fact that our talent is down-to-earth, happy and collaborative, the company feels perfectly positioned for where the communications industry is moving.”

Garner says: “I’ve always strongly believed that creativity exists outside of the M25 and Grayling clearly recognises that. I’m looking forward to helping to strengthen and grow Grayling’s foothold across the North but also tapping into the incredible creative minds that the area has to offer. The Beatles, LS Lowry, James Rodriguez… The North has long history of producing and attracting brilliant creatives and the future is just as interesting. Grayling has incredible teams serving both local and national clients and it’s really exciting to be building out our creative offer in the work we do across the region and beyond.”

Commenting on the hires, Nathan Kemp, Grayling’s global head of strategy and creative says: “Bronwyn and Andy are formidable – with talent like this joining the agency alongside the wider team there’s good reason PR Week named Grayling as a one to watch in 2021. We’ve invested heavily and consistently in ensuring we put brilliant strategic and creative thinking at the heart of everything we do, not just in London but across the Grayling network and these hires will ensure we can continue to do that as our client base grows, globally and locally.”

MORE THAN goes the extra mile with Grayling

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Grayling has been appointed as a retained PR agency for MORE THAN insurance, part of RSA Group, as the insurer looks to build more emotional connections with consumers and reinforce its purpose of ‘doing more’ in the UK’s insurance sector.

Grayling will be responsible for driving brand awareness for MORE THAN across its home, motor and pet product lines, as well as providing creative communications and strategic counsel for the brand.

MORE THAN, first launched in 2001 with a mission to freshen up the consumer finance market, is currently undertaking a revamp of its marketing strategy across PR, social, digital and ATL. Brand communications is being underpinned by principles based on simplicity, ‘more-ness’ and forward-thinking to position MORE THAN as an insurer going the extra mile for customers, delivering more than words and treating customers as individuals.

Jonathan Curtis, Managing Director at Grayling, says: “We’re thrilled to be working with MORE THAN to reconnect consumers with its original brand ethos of doing more through compelling storytelling. As the UK’s best-connected agency, this brief plays right into our strengths of understanding both local nuances right through to what is happening at a national level. We’re excited about working in partnership with MORE THAN as it enters a milestone anniversary this year and deliver insight-led and creative campaigns.”

As part of the new brand refresh, MORE THAN recently launched a new website, putting simplicity, ease of use and care at the heart of its design.

James Loder, Chief Marketing Officer at MORE THAN, says: “PR and communications play a vital role in insurance, giving consumers reassurance that their provider will go above and beyond when they need them most, but also through using our insights to guide them on ways they can best manage their risks.

“Grayling stood out for us as the agency that can get truly get under the skin of the issues facing our customers, and has already been helping us creatively communicating how we as MORE THAN can be part of the solution.

“As MORE THAN celebrates 20 years of going above and beyond for our customers, we’re looking forward to beginning this new chapter with Grayling to deliver emotive, category-leading campaigns that puts more-ness front and centre.”



Grayling creates a hair-raising social experiment to protect people against fraud

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It’s not every day that a trip to the barbers can help protect you against fraud; but that’s exactly what we did in a recent stunt and creative campaign for Lloyds Bank.

In the first half of 2020, there were over 1.4 million cases of fraud, totalling £582 million of financial losses. Despite this, more than eight out of 10 Brits (81%) say they could spot a scam, with men in particular being most confident.

This confidence however, is misplaced, with only 1 in 10 being aware of the most common scams or understanding how social media data is being increasingly used for financial fraud.

Lloyds Bank is committed to fighting fraud. Working with their experts, we designed a campaign to help people protect themselves, by making them think twice about what they share on social media.

Step inside Johnny’s Chop Shop – an iconic barbershop in central London and home to our fraud awareness stunt.

Our barbers scanned the public social media profiles of each unassuming customer, to find out as much as they could about them.

The last place they went on holiday? Check. Marital status? Check. Mum’s name? Check. Armed with this information, along with the scissors and shampoo, our barbers started to drop these anecdotes into conversation, while customers were in the chair. And we filmed the results.

A mix of surprise, shock, nervous laughter and suspicion, as our barbers revealed more and more personal details about their new customers. And if we could find all this out, so could a fraudster, couldn’t they?

This high-impact stunt got everyone talking about online fraud and social media – with 40+ pieces of media coverage, reaching a quarter of all Brits. We further amplified the campaign through a partnership with LadBible, with 300,000 followers taking an Instagram quiz about the latest techniques scammers are using.

And the result? 75% of people who saw the campaign said they will think twice about what they post on social media in future. This increased to 79% of men – a real result.

Want to find out more about this campaign or how we can help you? Contact