Bra-vo! How racy lingerie helped us to brainstorm our way to an unforgettable photo shoot
Any other employer would have been straight on the phone to HR. Having logged in to the company’s Amazon account, the boss was confronted with a recommended items list suggesting she fill her cart with fishnet stockings, racy lingerie and leather outfits which, well… let’s just say they were not entirely appropriate for a professional office environment.
But this isn’t an ordinary office: this is the office of an award-winning communications agency known throughout the UK for its ability to create stunning, thought-provoking and creative campaign images. We don’t just take pretty pictures – we tell a story in a single frame.
The story we were trying to tell here wasn’t the opening of a lap dancing club, but the launch of a client’s new black-coloured whisky at Europe’s biggest gathering of Harley Davidson motorbike enthusiasts.
Stick with us…we will get to the explanation for our PVC trolley dash a little later.
Coming up with a concept for a photoshoot is an all-office affair: we all see things differently and tell a story in different ways. And, as creatives, we all knew that a simple pack shot of a whisky bottle wouldn’t allow the tale of this unusual whisky to unfold.
So, we have whisky. What do we associate with whisky? Drams and barrels - too cliché. The amber nectar - except this whisky is black. The angel’s share – hold that thought you little cherub, you could be onto something here because everyone loves an angel pic.
So, what else do we need to think about? It’s being launched at a bikers’ convention. Oh…hang on, we can’t be seen to link drinking and driving. So, what about the people who’ll be there? Well, they’ll all be denim-clad and leathered up we expect – a bit like those Hells Angels types.
Ladies and gentlemen… we give you The Hell’s Angel’s Share. A fallen angel who has gone over to the dark side. She rides motorbikes, dresses in sexy leather and lace (hence the rather risqué Amazon shopping list), and this ruby black dram is right up her street. We loved her – and so did the dozens of media outlets that featured the campaign images.
Although we credit millennials with the rise of skim reading, it’s been around for a lot longer than that. Rewind to the 1960s and you’ll hear Andy Warhol uttering his famous quote: “I never read, just look at pictures.”
And in this digital age, it’s even more important than we communicate visually. Did you know, for example, that images on social platforms earn 2.3 times more engagement on Facebook than posts with text alone? Break that down further and images that do well on Facebook don’t necessarily perform on Instagram, where users are more attracted to a single dominant colour, heavy textures and lots of white space.
It really isn’t as simple as point and shoot.
Advancements in mobile phone technology now mean that we all walk around with a powerful camera in our pocket. But, conversely, that doesn’t mean that we’ve all suddenly morphed into David Bailey.
Too often in the PR world these days, taking a snap on a mobile phone is the answer to image dilemmas. After all, it’s quick, easy and – above all else – low cost. But think how that badly lit, poorly framed photograph of your managing director against a grubby beige wall as a background reflects on your company’s public image. What kind of story does it tell? Would it encourage your customers turn the page and read another chapter?
One of the first things we do when working with a new client is to arrange a professional photography session. Whether it’s head and shoulder shots of senior managers, beautifully dressed food photographs, or a biker chick who is “just the right side of dirty” we’ll help you tell your story. After all, isn’t it true that a picture speaks a thousand words?
In celebration of World Photography Day, here are some of our favourite images that we’ve commissioned over the years.
Etape Loch Ness – Dreaming of the finish line
How do you motivate thousands of cyclists to complete a 66-mile sportive around the stunning shores of Loch Ness? By promising them a dream ring – the much-loved delicacy that’s a signature of Highland baker Harry Gow – when they reach the finish, of course. Like the proverbial carrot on a stick, there was nothing half-baked about this shot. Luckily, we got it in one – which meant that lots of dream ring stunt doubles made it back from the shoot to Tricker Towers.
Ladybirds in the Borders
Did you know that ladybirds are a gardener’s best friend because they eat greenfly? Well, they do in the Scottish Borders thanks to our campaign putting the spotlight on the region’s fabulous gardens. Indeed, thanks to our eyecatching images – cute wee kids are always a hit – we were able to take that message out to green-fingered gardeners all over the UK with coverage in both the broadsheets and tabloids.
World Vision Easter Chicks
What came first, the chicken or the egg? We can’t tell you that, but we can tell you that we started out this campaign for the charity World Vision with one of our legendary brainstorms. Instead of splurging on chocolate, we asked people to support a family in the developing world by buying them a chicken to provide eggs. Top marks to our favourite printers for this photoshoot – they didn’t even bat an eyelid when we asked if they could print a logo onto an eggshell.
VisitArran – Island Time in No Time
We got a totally tropical taste for the west coast when we were tasked with attracting tourists to the Isle of Arran. Our hula honey, who wore a kilt and a lei made of Scottish thistles, showed that it was possible to soak up the sunshine, scenery and great beaches of the Caribbean without leaving Scotland.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – Whisky Galore
Less is more when it comes to photography – busy images leave the viewer feeling confused and they don’t always understand the message. So, when you have some of the biggest names in Scotch whisky all vying for their fair share of the spotlight in a promo for the world’s biggest whisky festival, what’s a PR to do? The answer isn’t to drink the whisky in desperation. We took bottles from each of the key partners and arranged them on the banks of the River Spey underneath the iconic Craigellachie Bridge to show that, just like the film where casks of whisky were washed up from a shipwreck, Speyside also has Whisky Galore.