• Team 12.02.2014 No Comments

    Sandwiches at the ready! Put on the kettle! Yes- it’s Binge time at the Minimart.

    Every other Wednesday us Minimarters  gather around and lunch together, whilst someone external, or in-house does a short talk on a topic of interest. This week we had our very own Head of Strategy, Jo Booth, explain why she thinks planning matters and what “Thoughtful Provocation” means for creative work here at the Minimart.

    Jo began our journey … a long, long time ago when “Yoda” was created in advertising. In fact it was the grand vision of Stephen King and Stanley Pollitt and their quest to find a place for ‘objectivity’ within the advertising process that helped strategy be placed at the heart of the creative process.

    Boothism No 1, in order to be a good planner, you must first listen and understand the consumer. The role of a planner began with the premise of searching for a balance between insights, truths and facts and the ability to argue, based on their independent merits, what a brand should stand for. To be able to do this well she urged us all, in the words of Jon Steel, not to be “clever, but to be useful”.

    Boothism No 2, was exciting. Jo argued that digging out what clients really need to make their businesses successful poses the biggest challenge for planners. Jo raised the question are we Washington or Hollywood in terms of our approach to the discipline? Washington being the more rigourous, authoritative, category-centric, consumer closeness approach; Hollywood being the radical, culturally conscious, category bursting approach. Using the example of a Sony proposition – “Bravia brings incredible colour into your life” – Jo argued that neither approach lives in isolation of each other, that it’s where the two collide that tensions fly and planning fuels interesting work through what she calls “Thoughtful Provocation”.

    In Boothism No 3, Jo argued that planners need both rigour and radicalness in their thinking to dig properly and it is easier today to combine the two as in this era of planning we have all begun to understand how the brain works. She quickly and usefully then walked us through how Behavioural Economics has had to Nudge our thinking forward and how Kahnemen’s views on “System One” thinking means that it is a great life if you don’t reason.
    Jo neatly explained, using the history of ideas, that over the years the role of a planner has been challenged and has therefore had to adapt; Boothism No 4, took us at warp speed into the digital era, one of the fastest and hardest technological changes since the Industrial Revolution. How are planners dealing with this? – the fact that 97% of the Worlds data has been created in the past two years – they’re combining magic and maths, turning vast amounts of data into insight and insight into interesting and influential strategies.

    For Jo, Yoda still exists; in fact the building blocks of planning still remain the same. So what does this mean for our clients and how we help them solve their problems here at the Minimart? It is her view that all our  ideas need nurturing  through  “Thoughtful Provocation”. Whether that starts from a rational or emotional standpoint ultimately depends on the objectives of the brief.

    There has never been a better time to get curious.

  • As the new football season kicks off, The Minimart has been appointed to work with Women’s Aid on Football United Against Domestic Violence to highlight the rise in domestic violence around football matches by encouraging fans, clubs and players to show domestic violence the red card once and for all.

    Alarming research shows that when the England football team play during international tournaments reported incidents of domestic violence increase by a quarter on the day and more than 10 per cent the following day.

    The Minimart created the campaign name and identity and has shot two films: a hard hitting viral to highlight the core issue and a fundraising film to support ‘Charlie’s Big Challenge’, a 250 mile, seven day ultra-marathon being undertaken by TV presenter and Women’s Aid ambassador, Charlie Webster. The challenge will see her visit over 40 football clubs across the country with the goal of raising £100,000 for Women’s Aid and sending out the message that domestic violence has no place around football. She will be joined by footballers and other celebrities who will run sections of the route with her. Women’s Aid will be promoting the challenge at every opportunity, encouraging the public to get behind Charlie by sponsoring her to complete the challenge.

    The ‘Charlie’s Challenge’ film will air in the lead up to the event in January, while the viral will launch in the lead up to the World Cup in June 2014 for maximum impact.

    Show your support, sponsor Charlie at www.justgiving.com/charliesbigchallenge or text CBC to 70300 to sponsor Charlie and donate £3* to Women’s Aid

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  • What were you passionate about when you were 12? Are you still passionate about the same thing now? Paul Gambaccini reckons that it is the golden age of 12 that you will remember for the rest of your life, and the passions or hobbies you had then will stay with you forever.

    When Paul came in to speak to us on Wednesday, it was my job as the current intern at The Minimart  to review the event. I am sure that everyone in the room will have taken something away from the session, however, as a third year student intern trying to get a foot in the door of a notoriously competitive industry, I found it particularly inspiring.

    Paul first realised his passion for music and the radio when he was still a young boy. He was listening to the radio with his father and as his father left him to get ready for work, the music track changed to Elvis.  Paul was scolded for listening to it and it was also the first time he had heard his father swear. It was at that precise moment that Paul knew that the music he enjoyed was something special.

    Throughout the talk, Paul kept referring back to this lifelong passion he has for what he does and the importance it had in driving him on to succeed.

    Paul stayed true to and followed this passion, despite receiving opportunities that many people would jump at, to divert away from it: one of my favourite parts of his whole talk, was his description of turning down offers from both Yale and Harvard in order to attend Dartmouth- simply because it had a better radio station. His message was simple; when you know what you want to do, the choices you face are easy.

    We were all captivated by the stories of celebrities he’d met. But even these stories had a message in them. His analysis of the process of releasing new records was particularly relevant to the industry we work in. Back in the old days, artists would continually release new material, staying fresh in the public eye. People just weren’t  able to forget or know what it was like to live without them. The Beatles, for example, would release 2 or 3 albums a year plus a string of singles, yet now, artists can go years before releasing an album, which has all their material from that period on it. It’s easy to see why so many artists come and go so quickly. The music industry could benefit more from thinking of their artists as brands, and managing their creative output accordingly.

    The point, he summed up, was ‘don’t go away.’ It’s no good to be able to produce a great piece of work every so often, but do nothing much in between.  If you’re not producing work consistently and on a regular basis, you may just be overlooked for someone who is.

    But by far the best advice I took from Paul’s talk was ‘things are done by the people who do them.’ Paul is certainly a doer- we can see this from the fact that he was the youngest manager of the Dartmouth radio station in its history at the age of 20 whilst still managing to gain good enough grades to get a scholarship to Oxford University to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics alongside Benazir Bhutto. So to all those students, myself included, who complain of too much work, yet spend all their free time in between lectures partying or playing video games- if Paul can run a whole radio station, I am sure we can at least get a work placement in our chosen industry or maintain a blog!

    The ‘go-getter’ attitude that the above quote embodies also reared its head when Paul managed to secure an interview for Rolling Stone Magazine with Elton John, which ultimately got him noticed by the BBC. Whilst at a concert at The Royal Festival Hall, Paul saw Elton John heading towards the bathroom. Most people would probably be intimidated by the fact they’re in the same room as the star- not least a young reporter, still out to make a name for himself. But not Paul, who seeing this as a golden opportunity, followed him into the bathroom and asked him directly, would he give him an interview? Elton John said yes, but referred Paul to his manager. Nothing happened straight away, so Paul kept in regular contact, not pestering, but staying on their radar, until finally, they realised Paul meant business and gave him the interview he desired at a time which was good for them because Elton was about to tour America.

    Overall, the most important thing that I, and others in the room learnt from this session is that you if are truly passionate about something, the key to success is to follow it and not hold back because of any doubt that it may not be achievable. Things are done by the people who do them.

    Adam Roberts (Intern and future planner)


  • Agency, Team 25.07.2013 No Comments

    Andrew has over 20 years’ experience working with some of the world’s leading brands, in some of the world’s most famous agency networks. Previous clients include Philips, Visa Europe, Heineken, Carlsberg, Johnson & Johnson, SABMiller and COI; he has served on the boards of Euro RSCG, TBWA, Lowe Lintas and Saatchi & Saatchi. He has also spent time working in independent agencies, working through the line across any number of categories.

    After graduating from Nottingham University Andrew spent a year playing professional rugby in France, pursuing a love for the game that has never diminished. Returning to London, he joined the marketing department of Barclays Bank, where, he developed a range of campaigns for the retail bank before onto the agency side.

    Outside of work, Andrew splits his time between his two ‘families’, which include wife and children on the one hand and rugby club on the other.

    He joins The Minimart with some experience and a bucket-load of enthusiasm for the challenges ahead.


  • We are really excited to announce that The Minimart has won the prestigious Gold accreditation for Continuous Professional Development from the IPA. This is a benchmark for best practice across the advertising, media and marketing communications professions, supporting growth within each agency and the industry as a whole.

    Inspired by our creative department, we made the decision in January to create a facebook page devoted entirely to the training we do here at The Minimart. Every person in the agency is featured throughout the year’s timeline and all give voice to their objectives both personally and as a team. So the main support for our ‘Pursuit of Gold’ is in keeping with our own objectives as an agency, a nod to the world we occupy and in line with our own environmental policy.

    This is how we feel we gave substance to the work we have done throughout the year. The page is rich in video and content generally. It details our successful weekly ‘Binge Thinking Sessions’, our Agency weekend Challenge in Montreux plus a ‘smorgasbord’ of internal and external training events which have helped us to improve the quality of our service. Caring about how we train our team is also an important factor in why good people want to join us.

    The IPA reported, “The Minimart have prepared a superb submission. Brilliantly presented and delivered in an innovative way, but it certainly is not style over substance. The culture of CPD and the focus on people as the key driver for growth was seamlessly integrated into the plan for the year. A really innovative and powerful build on standard appraisals. A truly great submission demonstrating the power of embracing CPD into the heart of the agency. “

    Says Pete Markey, Chief Marketing Officer, RSA Group and 2012 Chairman of Judges: “It’s been a huge privilege for me to be this year’s IPA Gold Chairman of Judges. I have been massively impressed by the sheer passion, energy and drive among IPA member agencies to really invest in and develop their teams. What is clear is how IPA member agencies are seeing the direct and powerful link between investing in their people and business performance – for agencies at the very top of the game, these two elements are very evidently entwined. As a client, it gives me an even greater confidence in how our excellent IPA member agencies are helping to drive real competitive advantage and results for a business like my own, by recognising and valuing the importance of their people. Exciting times.”

    If you’d like to find out more and take a peek at our timeline contact Jo Smith.


  • Jessica is our newest account director. She developed her career in the world of BTL marketing at a fully integrated marketing agency for over 5 and a half years. Working cross-discipline, Jessica looked after the “yellow fats” account for Anchor Butter, along with everyone’s favourite Squirty Cream, where she created and managed consumer engaging on pack promotions and consumer loyalty clubs.

    Away from the dairy aisle, over the years, Jessica also headed up the marketing team for The Times newspaper, ran the successful TalkTalk X Factor ticket promotion and helped to create brand partnerships for LOVEFiLM.
    Jessica was thrown into presentation training at The Minimart in her first week;
    ‘Wow, what a week. As I prepped myself at the weekend, I really didn’t expect my first week to include performing a Margaret Thatcher speech on stage at The Soho Theatre… thankfully with no audience.
    It already seems as though The Minimart is as much about training and development as it is about office jollys, which makes for a fantastic agency to be newly part of. Introductions to our client businesses, masses of office banter, the pressure of “choosing the music” and a ridiculous amount of December invites, it’s been a fun 5 days. Bring on week 2!’

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  • Agency, Team 02.11.2012 No Comments
    The Beard has gone, it most be Movember!

    Movember's Latest Recruit - Baz

    Movember is here! Yes that special time of the year when it’s ok for a guy to wear some facial foliage upon his top lip and no one not even his other half can tell him to shave it off.

    This year the whole of The Minimart has got behind this great cause. So through out the month of November we will all be struggling (well some of us) to grow a respectable moustache. Our aim is to raise awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer and raise a sizable chunk of change for charity.

    We would really love it if you could help support our effort by visiting our team page and making a donation to this worth cause. Lots more photos of the team and their efforts to come.



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  • The whole team from The Minimart  joined a host of luminaries at a private viewing of the ‘Horrorgami’ exhibition at Gallery One and a Half. The artist (or ‘paper engineer’ as he is referred to) is our very own former designer at The Minimart, Marc Hagan-Guirey (aka Pixel Dandy, aka Paper Dandy). This was his first solo show and the series is the culmination of a lifelong fascination with the macabre.

    The exhibition consisted of 13 original kirigami works, each one cut from a single sheet of paper. Each construction represents an iconic location taken from a cult horror movie – The Overlook Hotel from The Shining, 112 Ocean Avenue from The Amityville Horror, The Fire Station from Ghostbusters and the Dakota Building as seen in Rosemary’s Baby.

    Presented within light boxes, by night the silhouetted paper sculptures appear as spectral and ethereal as the buildings on screen. By day, the works exist in their pure white and tangible form – displaying an innocent and simple beauty and showing their physical construction.

    This series encourages us to consider the artifice of fear, and its psychological construct.

    The exhibition is on until the 14th November. Go see it. It’s simply stunning.

    www.one-and-a-half.com or check it out on Twitter #horrorgami

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  • Agency, Team 22.10.2012 No Comments

    Dan, Pippa, Chris, Nikki, Theo

    Our New MD

    Congratulations to Dan Whitney who was promoted to Managing Director of The Minimart. It’s hard to imagine that only 14 years ago he was in artist management for the likes of Iron Maiden and Gun’s N Roses. Moving on to Sony Music Entertainment in 2001 he was responsible for managing release schedules and media campaigns for album launches within the Commercial Division. He received a nomination at the highly prestigious Music Week Awards in 2006 for the ‘Best Marketing & Communication Campaign of the Year’. Dan went from client to agency side in 2008 joining The Minimart and embarked on this new adventure. He also married a teacher, so that put an end to his rock and roll lifestyle!! So he claims!

    New Minimarters

    Chris Sherwood – Account Director

    We also welcome Chris, ex AMV, to The Minimart. After graduating in 2006 from Oxford University with a degree in Human Sciences, Chris turned his interests in human behaviour to the world of advertising after securing a place on the graduate scheme at Grey London. Chris gained a great breadth of experience working across some of their flagship accounts, ranging from P&G brands such as Lenor, through the Dairy Crest brands of Country Life Butter, Cathedral City Cheese and FRijj Milkshakes, to Macleans toothpaste and Poligrip denture fixatives for GSK. At the same time he also worked with the British Heart Foundation on an IPA Award winning campaign aimed at tackling childhood obesity. After 4 years at Grey, Chris moved to AMV BBDO to take the reins for two years on the Starbucks and Maltesers accounts. Chris is thrilled to have joined the team at The Minimart for the next phase of his career.

    Nikki Chapman – Executive TV Producer

    Nikki’s brings a very heavy ‘Little Black Book’ to The Minimart and her production experience stretches across both agency and production companies. Her passion for commercials began agency side at Saatchi & Saatchi. From there she moved into Post Production. Nikki’s worked in some of London’s busiest production companies, Bikini films, Great Guns and then finally to Park Village. She has developed & signed new talent along with Exec. Producing over 30 commercials in the last 4 years. Joining The Minimart has enabled her to pursue the ambition of working directly with clients and combines both her agency & production company producer skills. At the heart of her experience is her continued passion for creativity and she strives to achieve the best production values on all films. Plus she juggles all this with 3 children… aka The Smalls.

    Theodore O’Mahony - Community Manager & New Business Co-ordinator

    Theodore graduated in 2008 with a degree in Marketing & Management from Gloucestershire University. Even before he had started university he had gained valuable international experience working in Tokyo for Hilton Hotels in their New Business department. Since graduating Theodore has further built upon his international experience, he has worked in Bangkok for one of the country’s leading design agencies “Farm Group” working with international clients such as Bacardi and W Hotels. He maintains a wide-ranging set of marketing skills from New Business to Social Media. Interestingly he has also been a double in Snow White and the Huntsman.

    Pippa Kennard – Director of Fun

    Pippa & The Minimart Team

    Pippa was born and raised in California. She graduated from Bristol this year and with impressive work experience from both sides of the Atlantic. She was lucky and persistent enough to secure work experience as a Showcasing Host at London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics with iLUKA Limited. Her feisty, energetic personality made her a perfect fit for our new Director Of Fun opening.

    Home grown talent

    That’s how we like to do it here.

    Congratulations to Isobel who was promoted from Director of Fun  to Account Executive (her success in organising The Minimart Weekend in Montreux paid off) and to Daisy Carpenter who’s hard work has paid off and is now Account Manager on a number of our accounts.

    P.S.  Do check out Daisy’s advice on getting into advertising! Special mention to Marc Shelkin, Director of Twist or Stick for a great interviewing technique.

    Life as an agency account handler at The Minimart


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  • The Minimart  weekend in Montreux was voted the best ever. The entire team were treated to the best Switzerland could offer. A Grand Hotel beside the beautiful Lake Geneva overlooked by magnificent mountains and a seminar in a castle. In a Dragon’s Den scenario 3 crack teams presented their ideas for the best new product/business idea that the agency will get behind and launch in 2013. A fabulous sum of money was awarded to the winners, Nikki, Natasha, Sampo and Daz. Honourable mention goes to the team who took being based in Soho to heart and treated us to a presentation dressed in towels. Nice try guys but we saw through you. Quite literally.

    This was also the first year that we introduced the Creative Star Awards. These were handed out to the ‘Best of’-Best Creative Concept to Daz and Baz for Maximilk, Best TV Campaign to Baz and Daz for Rubicon 2012, Best Design Awards to Alex for Maxifuel, Best Digital Creation to Sampo for his amazing work for Investec, Creative Energy Award went to Natasha, The Rising Star Award to Daisy, and special congratulations to her as she is now moved up to Account Manager.  Outstanding Contribution To Creativity to Duncan and last but by no means least, the best Social Content Award went to Ed for his Rubicon 50p Challenge Video.

    It was also a time to celebrate with our very own Dan who is now confirmed as Managing Director. Once he was looking after Iron Maiden and now he’s to looking after us; no difference there then.

    Like last year it was a baptism of fire for our newbies and this year it was no different as we welcomed Theo our new Communities Manager, Nikki C our fabulous new Executive Producer and Chris our new Account Director; it isn’t always like this but we do try to have fun doing what we do. Big thanks to our Director of Fun, Isobel for arranging it and giving us a great time. The biggest question is how are we going to beat it next year? Watch this space…