After much anticipation and speculation, on October 23rd The Minimart team were finally ‘swept away’ to a new and distant land – to bond, brainstorm and brim with creativity. The weekend wasn’t just a spontaneous treat. The trip marked a huge turning point for us as a company. So how did Barcelona come about?

    Well, the seeds were planted over a year ago, during a time when creative agencies were unanimously feeling a particular strain. Tim and Ed boldly decided that if company objectives were met in a year’s time, despite the unpredictable climate, The Minimart would jet off on a weekend away.

    These ambitions were not only met, but they were surpassed. Over the past year The Minimart has made leaps and bounds forwards, keeping one step ahead of an accelerating industry. Soon came a turning point where the agency was filled with new talent and new ambitions now needed defining. What we required was a moment of clarity, where we could all take a step backwards and re-configure how we represent ourselves as an agency, what made us unique and where we wanted to go in the future.

    Where better to find clarity, than in a beautiful villa in Barcelona?

    The Minimart

    We all owe a huge thank you to Miles and Amelia, our directors of fun who planned every detail and made the weekend a huge success. The food, entertainment and endless elements of surprise went beyond any expectations. Olly led us through a “big-brand workshop”, defining the equity of the agency, allowing us all to be authors of our identity, but also to learn the strategic process we often do with clients.

    The highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly The Minimart Awards 2015, which celebrated the stand out team members who’d made the past 12 months possible. Massive congratulations to the following Minimarters:

    Best Print Ad:
    Gina & Jen
    Sci Mx Best

    Best Film:
    Baz & Dave

    Design Award:

    Best Digital Creation:
    Steve Lavine

    The Rising Star Award:
    Miles Woodford

    Outstanding Contribution Award:
    Nicky Baker

    Congrats to all!

  • digital 27.10.2015 No Comments

    On Sunday night the MTV EMAs in Milan became the first global music award show to fully integrate a live virtual reality viewing experience. Cameras were tactically placed throughout the red carpet and main show, enabling fans around the world to choose their own view of the event. The result? An individual and interactive virtual reality experience that truly brought the red carpet into music lover’s homes. Pretty cool right?

    We’ve all been exposed to the now primitive manifestation of VR, whether it be built into a game at a pokey arcade or a gimmick at sci-fi conventions. VR as we knew it two decades ago could be described as a headache, rather than a ‘state of reality’. Today, virtual reality offers a form of immersive multimedia for users, born from an incredibly well designed digital experience.

    VR is an artificial sensory experience, geared towards enhancing your immersion within any view. In simpler terms, it adds that extra dimension to the ‘traditional’ screen. When a user places a VR headset on, their own digital presence will be simulated within a real or imagined world, giving the user opportunities to interact with that world in countless ways.

    Whereas new changes in technology over the past few years might have acted as a tricky challenge for the creative industries (the music industry’s battle with file sharing and ad blocking’s hold on online advertising come to mind) VR is increasingly looking to aid the industry by adding a much needed extra dimension to content consumption. Some consider VR to the be the “final frontier” of mediums, due to its ability to tailor a digital experience to precisely what the user wants or needs.

    It’s no surprise that marketers are already plotting ways to insert themselves into what Oculus owner and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have called “the next great communications medium”. As seen at last night’s awards, VR can offer a uniquely raw experience. Not only could this help brands working with events to resonate with users on a distinctively native level, it could also effectively animate products to move beyond the shop shelves or E-commerce sites. The real beauty of VR is that it seems to be where audiences are trending towards -  but it’s not yet mainstream. It’s a new territory for brands to explore when it comes to the competitive need to push boundaries to reach a digitally demanding audience.

    Still, like all new technologies, virtual reality has challenges to overcome before it can be taken seriously as an advertising platform. Brands will need to heavily invest and take compromising risks to keep up with VR’s rise. Predictably, they wont be able to help but worry that this could all end up like another Google Glass failure. A lot of experimentation will be needed, and with post-production needed for a 360-degree video (A poll of marketers who are experimenting with the technology reveals that a three-minute VR video can cost more than $1 million to produce) sustainability will be the biggest challenge.

    Regardless of this, the consumer data gathered from VR could potentially be the ultimate goal for advertisers working in both the real and virtual world. The need for users to take a headset on and off will communicate exactly what consumers are looking at, when they are looking at them and for how long. Plus, the tracking of this behavior could not be more accurate and reliable.

    So how groundbreaking could VR be? Consider that brands are currently doing everything they can to make their ads blend into the content they’re being served with (think YouTube). VR will turn this on its head. Instead of trying to do anything to blend into the surplus of digital content online, ultimately with VR brands will be looking for ways to stand out.


    By Kate Naylor
    Social Media Manager at The Minimart


  • digital 22.09.2015 No Comments

    A recent survey from YouGov revealed that less than half of UK adults are aware that the majority of free online content is funded by advertising. In an age where content pours in from every click and our consumption is second nature, are we running the risk of taking free content for granted? Of course Apple’s unveiling of iOS9 and it’s open arms welcoming of third-party ad-blocking software has been well received, given that the UK alone has ramped up its ad blocking activity by 82% in the past 12 months. It’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s one that may spiral out of a webmaster’s control.

    Statistics like this reveal a worrying discrepancy between this rising trend and the fact that 90% of everything we actively seek online for updates, enlightenment and entertainment is still funded by the very ads we’re avoiding.

    So what does this mean for the internet’s economic backbone? To say it quite bluntly- either content marketeers must intervene with new creative advertising strategies or users may have to bid farewell to the free net and be prepared to dish out for their journalism and entertainment.

    In order for digital marketeers to maintain their audience, despite the growing obstacles they need to be savvy, and savvy means understanding why exactly users are resorting to ad-block software in the first place.

    Ads must be adapted to cater to the desires of the modern day browser who’s after stimulation, not a traffic jam of uninspiring banner ads and video popups. Next time you delve into Google, take a look at how much space is taken up by ads on various webpages- it’s no surprise ads have become a inconvenience rather than an enticement. Marketers must aim to inject a little bit of TLC into digital marketing, to bring back those endearing qualities found in the TV ads which made the industry tick – only digital demands everything to be more engaging, more bespoke and all-encompassing. So bring on the innovation.

    To save each other, it may be that advertisers and publishers need to team up to create content thats brilliant and engaging, yet commercially effective. Brands must make the headlines, rather than sit alongside them on a webpage. Would you be willing to pay for your content, or do you believe there’s a compromise to be made?

  • One of the key motivations behind health and fitness is based on our innate desire to win – the Darwinian gene in us all. This insight has led to decades of brilliant communications from brands like Nike and Lucozade Sport inspiring countless other health and fitness companies to up their game.

    After all, the difference between winning and losing is serious stuff.

    It was no surprise that when we started working with the sports nutrition brand Maximuscle in 2008, all the competitive brands carried almost identical, gritty imagery. But they were missing a fundamental trick – sport should be fun. Getting in good shape and being healthy makes you feel happy and great – an almost opposite emotion to being driven, dedicated and serious. Just go down to any gym or follow conversations in social media about working out and there will be banter and jokes – especially in younger groups. So we found that a little irreverence can help unlock this audience for a brand.

    The more that working out is considered a serious activity, with serious goals, the more it is a means to an end (for example, to get back in to shape after Christmas or get the bikini body for summer) rather than a fulfilling lifestyle. We saw in countless research groups that some people didn’t want to associate themselves with “those gym types who take themselves too seriously” despite confessing to going to the gym themselves. Our task with Maximuscle was to normalise getting into shape and taking sports nutrition. Advertising proudly but with irreverence was the clear solution and it worked.

    Nike utilised this strategy as part of their Find Your Greatness campaign. It aimed to break the mold of the stereotypical gym-buff the brand is arguably responsible for creating by featuring an overweight kid pushing for a healthier lifestyle and putting the full weight of the Nike brand behind it. For health and fitness brands to keep people motivated, they must be relevant, aspirational yet attainable.

    We also must realise that, to a large degree, the brands in the health and fitness space perpetuate their own problem. They concentrate their marketing efforts around seasonal trends, such as gyms promoting New Year sign-up offers, then wonder why sales back off the rest of the year.

    The biggest cause of fitness regime failure is loss of motivation. The best way to keep that motivation up is to make fitness fun and the goals achievable. I quite like to be in good shape in May. I don’t mind being fit in October either. Brands must make it a normal, fun part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain consumer engagement. And I am not alone on this.

  • Agency 02.02.2015 No Comments

    Throughout Christmas, the battle was hard fought. As the final snowball was thrown and the dust settled, only James O’Shea, Marketing Director of from The Harley Medical Group was left standing victorious.

    But, like a true and just leader, he has heroically decided to donate his prize to one of our charity clients, Brook,  who promotes free sexual health care and advice for young people.

    Go forth James O’Shea, Legend of The Minimart snowball fight.

  • Interests 30.09.2014 1 Comment

    At The Minimart we have noted an evolution in the relationship between brands and consumers. This change has been brought about by what we believe to be the most significant effect of the growth of the internet. People have become publishers in their own right, using social media platforms to say and publicise what they believe. And the currency of this new world is the share of mind they can take from their friends and network of peers. These people have, in effect, started to behave like brands. Content is used and shared to build and confirm their brand positioning. You needn’t take our word for it. Go onto your Facebook page and you will see what we mean. You’re bound to know of several prolific ‘posters’, who continually share snippets of their lives. What these people are doing is more than keeping you in the loop, they are broadcasting their brand message. This behaviour can be quite extreme with one consumer telling us they could not be pictured in the same outfit twice, once they had ‘worn it on Instagram’.

    In this world where people have become brands and prolific hunter gathers of content, commercial brands need to carve out a different relationship with their intended target audience. Beyond projecting an image or a USP they will need to think about how their brand can provide social utility and add to their consumer’s own brand identity. This means thinking beyond the immediate relationship of brand and consumer and developing a deep understanding of people, their passion-points and what they are likely to use to build their brand persona and share. Welcome to the age of ideas worth sharing.

  • Team 17.07.2014 No Comments

    Bobby has 17 years experience in advertising and has held a number of senior posts within the industry including Head of Planning at Saatchi & Saatchi, Director of Advertising for Europe at the Coca Cola Company, Executive Planning Director of G2 Joshua and most recently Chief Strategy Officer at Arena Media.  Bobby has worked on both domestic and international campaigns across a diverse range of categories from cars to coffee.  He wrote the strategy for the ‘Carlsberg don’t do but if they did’ campaign and the ‘life flows better’ positioning for Visa Europe.
    Bobby writes extensively and has been published in titles such as Marketing, the FT, Campaign, Strategy and The Drum.  He is also a member of the IPA and the APG and recently won a Euro Effie.
    Outside of work Bobby likes to indulge his passion for great food and flinty dry white wine.

  • 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.