Craft Beer

The real deal

It’s easy to see the recent growth of “authentic” brands as a reaction against globalisation. The idea that in Mexico, Tokyo and London people are all eating the same breakfast cereal, using the same deodorant and eating the same burgers seems somehow to be bland and uninteresting. It goes against our sense of individuality. (more…)

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The book of Comms 10:1

From cascade to conversation, from monologue to dialogue

Employee communications were traditionally built around a simple belief that senior leadership knew more about everything than their employees. Internal communication strategies were built around this concept aimed at finding ways to get information from leader’s heads into the hands, hearts and minds of all employees. Cascading messages through layers of management to ensure that employees all got the same message, in the same manner, at the same time. This top down approach focused upon monologue rather than actively encouraging participation, discussion and dialogue. For many years this one size fits all approach was based upon traditional employee communication channels such as town hall meetings, newsletters, emails, magazines and bulletin boards. (more…)

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Granary Square Kings Cross

Creating a sense of place

Great placemaking is about understanding and defining what makes a place unique, developing a promise and authentic vision, then applying that through the physical environment, the branding and the marketing. Curation is key to bringing the right mix of retailers, businesses, cultural events and public art into an area.

King’s Cross is a great example of what can be achieved in transforming and rejuvenating a neglected area. Once an important Victorian industrial heartland, it had, by the 1970’s, become a post-industrial wasteland with a notoriously poor reputation. Lack of investment in the infrastructure, in business, retail and residential properties had created the perfect breeding ground for antisocial behaviour. (more…)

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Bling watch

Have Apple reinvented luxury marketing?

The Apple Watch went on sale today and while many in the tech industry have been wondering if Apple have once again created a new tech market – doing for the smart watch what they did for digital music players in 2001 – from a marketing perspective it’s perhaps more interesting to consider what effect they will have on luxury marketing. (more…)

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Content is king

Content is king

People say Seth Godin is the Godfather of content marketing, but way back in 1996 Bill Gates wrote a now – mostly – forgotten blog post called “Content is King”.

It’s worth remembering that this was two years before the term blog was ever used, nine years before YouTube and eleven years before, Tumblr and WordPress. The Internet was a different place back then. Fast forward nineteen years: Blogs are ubiquitous, content is everywhere and everyone seems to have agreed with Seth Godin’s famous quote “Content Marketing is the only marketing left”. The thing is, too many of us seem to have forgotten what Gates had to say all those years ago. (more…)

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No more white walls please!

In fact, no more walls at all, thanks… not how we currently know them at least.

It really is the end of those narrow corridors, identical desks and chairs in their hundreds in dull, uninspiring spaces with low ceilings and lights that turn you into a zombie by midday. Goodbye to those rigid, so called ‘formal’ meeting rooms, tiny kitchens and limited social spaces.

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Trends for 2015

Trends for 2015

It’s that time of the year again. Time to look ahead and see what the immediate future looks like for the world’s top brands.

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pressplay

Getting animated in 2014

The past 12 months have been full of firsts for Playgroup, and one of these ‘firsts’ that really really stands out for me — not least because I’ve found myself saying this word about 50 times a day for the past few months — is animation.

At Playgroup we have managed and delivered many extremely successful, engaging and well received animations and videos for clients in previous years, so animation in and of itself is not new for us. What is new however, is that rather than working alongside various talented freelancers and external studios to handle the end-production as we have in the past, we made the decision to change things up and bring it all under our own roof. (more…)

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Tour de Playgroup: Poster 2

To commemorate our charity bike ride in aid of Tommy’s we have designed a set of posters to represent our intrepid journey from our office here in London to our office on the south coast.

This is the second of our series and we will be releasing one every day until Wednesday 17 September. Check out yesterdays poster here.

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Blog

Tour de Playgroup: Poster 1

To commemorate our charity bike ride in aid of Tommy’s we have designed a set of posters to represent our intrepid journey from our office here in London to our office on the south coast.

We will be releasing one every day, from now until Wednesday 17 September. (more…)

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Blood, sweat and gears

So the Tour de Playgroup is less than five weeks away and I thought I would give a brief update on our training and perhaps just a few thoughts on why the challenge is so important to me. I think it’s safe to say that some of us are taking training more seriously than others – I am most definitely one of the ‘others’. Kudos to Paul for getting out in his lycra come rain or shine. (more…)

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Tourdeplaygroup

Tour de Playgroup

So the Tour de France 2014 is over; from the grandest of Grand Départs in le Yorkshire, to the frankly bonkersness of the Hautacam climb, this year’s Tour has been compulsive viewing and has captured the British imagination like never before. Of course; after Wiggins didn’t start, Froome crashed out on stage five and Alberto Contador broke his leg on Col du Platzerwasel, Vincenzo Nibail’s dominance has been inspiring to watch, but if you can feel the withdrawal systems kicking in already, fear not, because the Tour de Playgroup is less than eight weeks away. (more…)

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Work Experience at Playgroup

My week had started out by staring at the greenery and trees turn into skyscrapers, on the train. I’m born and bred in East Devon (much to my dismay as a teenager) so London was going to be a different style of living for me. The thoughts running through my head were ones of worry and excitement; the UK’s capital is one of my favorite cities so I couldn’t wait to be commuting in it. But, sitting on that train I was asking myself if maybe 15 was too young for what I had set out to do? Was it a too bigger jump from my sleepy village? (more…)

Digital Revolution Installation At The Barbican Centre

Digital Revolution

It’s a digital revolution at the Barbican and we went along and had a look. Digital has come a long way since young Matt designed his first graphics with a Mac Colour classic 25 years ago. We now have lasers left right and centre, movement tracking cameras, 3D projection mapping, the world wide web, fibre broadband and phones that would have been capable of launching a man to the Moon in the late 60′s to name a few. (more…)

Web

Employability – it’s not just about qualifications

We have had some fantastically ambitious and creative young interns in the studio recently – all benefitting from the rich and varied work experience on offer here at Playgroup. Like all good agencies, we’re committed to giving design students the opportunity to expand their horizons and experience the pressures of the commercial world in a busy and stimulating environment. Our designers are experienced mentors. They’ve all been through a creative education (some more recently than others) and understand the challenges faced by students and recent graduates. Consistently we’re told that life in an agency is completely different to the art school environment. Hopefully they leave with a better perspective of what life at work is really like.

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The World Cup!

The World Cup is well and truly underway, England have been and gone, Robin Van Persie, James Rodriguez and Tim Cahill have all scored stunners, Suarez has bitten someone else and Spain forgot how to play football, we’re loving it. We recently received this beautiful World Cup wall chart from our friends at Team Karoshi, the World Cup is a great excuse to wheel out a nice a bit of graphic design so we decided to go looking for more. We found loads, so here are a few of our favourites plus a few classics.

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Design at play

Yesterday I popped next door to have a nose around the Clerkenwell Design Week exhibition in the Farmiloe Building. Playfulness in furniture, object design and interior accessories has been a trend for some time, but this year tops it all. A chair is no longer just a chair to sit on, a cable organiser isn’t just doing it’s job and who said that a table top has to be flat?! Objects no longer simply serve a purpose, they are here to entertain and they are full of attitude. They surround us and reflect our personalities. Some try a little too hard but others just get it right. The rule is that there isn’t one. Anything goes really. A mix of different materials and finishes, flat colours, gradients, patterns etc. All very tactile and sensory and a joy to behold.

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