At Guy & Co, we’re all about giving our clients the confidence to challenge. This comes from our creative & research system, which helps us validate bigger insights and bolder ideas for bravely effective results. These results are helping us grow our clients, scoop some pretty cool industry accolades, and continue our growth spurt. But our real secret sauce? Our Guys. We recruit diverse personalities, invite challenge, have each other’s backs, and invest in giving each of them the confidence to smash their potential.  

We’re looking for an ambitious Account Manager to support our mix of financial and professional services clients. You’ll help us put the fun into funds and funerals, challenge categories like insurance and investments, and manage everything from tactical content to multi-channel campaigns.


Expertise & attitude:

  • Someone who knows their onions about multi-channel marketing and has a track record of bringing bold insights and ideas to life, no matter the final output.
  • A self-starter who isn’t afraid to get stuck in and create momentum, and can quickly pivot if the goalposts change.
  • A stickler for process, able to juggle priorities and make sure projects are delivered on brief, on time and on budget.
  • A team player who knows there’s no I’s in guys and sees the strength in collaboration. Someone who can draw on the right people and process – with production partners and roster agencies, as well as our own team. And who believes in leaning in and listening hard to help build strong relationships – especially with our clients.
  • A confident communicator who can be hard on the work but not on the people – articulating and defending their point of view, and challenging others when needed.

Skills & experience:

  • Minimum 2 years’ experience in an agency role with experience in financial or professional services.

…Although we’re far more interested in the person than the CV – someone who doesn’t follow a strict job description and is excited by what we’re doing as a challenger agency. We’re not looking for the finished article, just the right skills and attitude. We’ll help you grow and develop in areas you’re passionate about.


Salary from £28K, depending on experience.

We challenge ourselves to attract and grow great people, as well as great clients. So that means offering things like:

  • Great professional development: generous training budgets to support your career pathway.
  • Great holidays: with an extra day’s holiday for every year you’re with us, and half-day Fridays during the Edinburgh Festival (all in the name of creative research, of course).
  • Great benefits: private healthcare and perks through Vitality.
  • Great flexibility: a blended working culture that helps work, work around you.
  • Great fun: of course we have an agency bar, but also a coffee shop, all in the heart of Edinburgh city centre. And visits from family, friends & dogs are positively encouraged.


Please send your CV and a cover note, explaining what would make you a fit with our Guys, to

We’re over the moon and back – not once, not twice, but six times over, thanks to the tremendous recognition at The Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards!

Six award wins are now twinkling proudly in our trophy cabinet, illuminating our commitment to the art of innovative marketing and never turning down a challenge; the more difficult the better.

Astonishingly, four of these are gold – gleaming testaments to our work that not only catches the eye, but also truly delivers. We’ve made a mark in Advertising and Food with Albert Bartlett, as well as Brand Development and Integrated Marketing with GoFibre. You heard it right, not one, but two golden acknowledgements for each!

But we didn’t stop there. A pair of bronze awards joined the constellation, celebrating our efforts in Brand Development for Smokehead and our eye-catching Design Strategy for Dark Art Distillery.

Being recognised for our creativity and effectiveness is immensely rewarding, but the glory is shared. These accolades are the result of the collaborative brilliance of our Guys and our extraordinary clients, working hand in hand to create magic and results that shine.

Furthermore, amidst the sparkling stars were 5 additional nominations, spanning coveted categories like Agency of the Year, Rising Creative Star, Inspirational Agency Leader, and Financial & Professional Services.

Here’s to the hard work, the creativity, the strategy, and, most importantly, the incredible partnerships that make these achievements possible.

The galaxy is vast, and we’re just getting started. Until the next spectacular starry night at The Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards!

Until then, we’ll continue to push boundaries, defy norms and create extraordinary work, together.

Visit our views and news page for more details on our brilliantly effective work, or get in touch at to see how we can bring award-winning creativity and research to your brand.

Welcome to the latest episode of our written podcast. (Yup, we’re sticking by that gag.)

This time around, it’s an all-gal Guys’ takeover to celebrate International Women’s Day, as Digital Account Director, Siobhan McMorran passes the baton to our Account Executive, Lily Strachan.

Would we be more likely to find you in the agency bar or coffee shop?

Both, espresso martini please! But it’s nice to grab a coffee out in Princes St. Gardens too and get some fresh air, we’re really lucky having this on our doorstep.

Do you have any resolutions or world domination plans for 2023?

To read more! I used to read a book a week, then TikTok appeared in my life. I am embarrassingly a little addicted.

Are there any female industry leaders or mentors that you look up to?

Stef Sword-Williams. She spent seven years working in advertising becoming an expert in storytelling before she started teaching people how to tell their own personal stories. She hated seeing talent slip through the net and the lack of diversity in the industry, so she created Fck being humble – a platform that helps women in the industry find their voice and confidently speak about their talents. Since launching in 2018, she’s become an author, delivered a TEDx talk, made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, got her own radio show, named one of 100 women changing the creative industry (twice), and recognised by the Royal Society of Arts for making a significant impact towards social change. I think she is pretty awesome and would love to hear one of her talks in person! 

What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve learnt since starting your career in marketing? 

That you can become an expert in very random and sometimes niche fields! In an agency you’re quickly immersed in different brands and industries – I know a lot about fibre optic broadband from the past few months alone.

Do you have a favourite advertising jingle or strapline that always gets stuck in your head? 

The Just Eat song with Katie Perry, and I blame TikTok for that one! It was trending last month and all over my FYP. 

What brands are impressing you just now?

The MSCHF art collective. I say this cause they not only challenge themselves but also challenge the consumer. They just released these comic books, Big Red Boots, that hold a really hilarious lens on hype culture. The brand releases products that are upweighted as challenges, like Museum of Forgeries, which allowed customers to possibly buy a real Andy Warhol painting that was in an online store amongst 999 forged copies.

One of their recent campaigns was called Severed Spots, where they chopped up a £30K Damien Hirst spot-painting ‘so everyone could get a spot’. I just think they are hilarious, clever and have a great habit of reminding us not to take it all too seriously. That, and you never really know what you’re going to get from them next.

What’s the most creative way you’ve seen a brand celebrate International Women’s Day in the past? 

Less of a brand but a very clever bot on Twitter, whenever a company listed on the Government’s gender pay gap service tweets International Women’s Day key phrases, the bot automatically responds with their median gender pay gap. A great way to keep people informed and stay relevant!

Which industry trends are you most inspired or intrigued by?

I heard the term ‘climate positivity’ for the first time at a Marketing Society event, and it makes so much sense to me. The scare tactics of climate awareness groups just aren’t doing the trick anymore. And with the world in the sorry state it is, I want to see more brands taking a positive approach to building towards a brighter future. We all need hope and positivity to get through the day!

What do you think is the most important quality for success in account handling? What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out?

If you are fresh to account handling like I was, it’s a lot to take in and can feel overwhelming. But trust yourself and learn through the experiences and challenges you face, and they will quickly become second nature. Listen and be inquisitive, but also don’t forget to be yourself.

It takes time to find out what works for you. Each job that didn’t feel right, or like it was going nowhere, pointed you in the perfect direction. The years of figuring out what does work for you will be the biggest life lessons you learn – and most fun you will have!

Lastly, what are you most excited about doing in Guy & Co’s tenth year?

Just constantly learning. Everyone at Guy & Co is so talented and you can learn from just being in the same room with them. All the experience and creativity, it’s pretty epic to sit and absorb!

Big challenges are what get me out of bed in the morning. You don’t join a start-up for an easy life. And when I joined GoFibre as Consumer Director last year I knew we had a good few to tackle.

The broadband market is dominated by the big players, with over 85% of UK customers signed up to BT, Sky, Virgin Media or TalkTalk. So how do you stand out amongst their noise, and create a memorable, relatable, educational brand, especially when broadband has become a hygiene factor?

Well I was inspired by our CEO, Alex Cacciamani, (a fellow Kiwi, which also helped), who founded GoFibre in 2017 when he moved from London to a small town called Duns in the Scottish Borders, and was frustrated by a chronically-poor connection. His philosophy, and now GoFibre’s, is that fast, reliable broadband should be available to everyone, not just city dwellers, so we’re focused on connecting towns and villages often forgotten by the telco heavyweights. We’ve got an ambitious plan to enable half a million homes to connect to full fibre in the next 3 and a half years, which comes with some big sales targets.    

When I wrote the pitch brief for a brand and creative agency earlier this year, I was looking for a partner that would relish this challenge as much as I do. We needed a big and disruptive creative platform, but rooted in our everyman values and local proposition, since our product isn’t readily available everywhere just yet. Our business model is based on demonstrating commercial viability before we can dig our full fibre cables and connect towns, so the marketing needs to ramp up interest location by location, but carefully manage customer expectations.

I’m a big believer in creative simplicity and trusting your gut when building a brand, and when I was presented with Digby the gopher it was hard not to get excited about his potential to front the GoFibre campaigns. I’m a big believer in fluent devices, too, having been the Marketing Director behind ”That’ll Do” with Plusnet Joe, who delivers their brilliantly basic positioning and distinctive Yorkshire identity. So having a charming character to bring to life the digging work that GoFibre are doing, and to make a virtue of it, was a big plus. It was really important to create a positive brand from the outset – not one that would go about bashing competitors, or making claims they couldn’t deliver on. I also loved the earworm of a gopher telling people to ‘go for it’, language that we’re already seeing being picked up freely. And it wasn’t just me; Guy & Co tested a number of different creative concepts with target consumers and Digby was a clear winner. My personal favourite quote from research; “It’s such a terrible pun, I love it!”

I also challenged Guy & Co – and our wider agency partners: Stripe PR, Lane Media and Clickboost, to go fast. In the alt-net goldrush you can’t hang about, and summer is primetime to connect broadband customers. We didn’t have the luxury of time (or arguably, budget) to give Digby the same CGI treatment as the likes of the Meerkats, but nor did we want to. Part of Guy & Co’s creative approach was about making him feel real to help create that charm – think Gordon from the broom cupboard. (Or so I’m told from people that grew up in the UK).  

Digby’s got a lot of work to do and hats to wear – we’re using him across both B2C and B2B, across a complex customer journey, and executed across very localised media plans as we roll out town by town. But we believe he’s up to the challenge, and are confident in why we picked a challenger agency in Guy & Co to partner with us.

“I’m Iron Man” was not an admission that I ever thought I’d hear our Technical Director say. For the record, he is not Tony Stark, however, for the purposes of an internal workshop he was!

I’d been tasked to reinvigorate our company values and, through word of mouth had found and contacted Guy & Co to help.

Getting corporate values right is as essential as it can be hard to do. On the one hand, you can end up with values that are too general and don’t act as a call to action. And on the other hand, they can be far too specific and then don’t necessarily resonate as they should.

Angel Trains is a fairly unusual company in that we operate in a highly regulated market, with a pretty fixed customer base, with well-established competitors. Our ability to differentiate ourselves by what we do is therefore pretty limited.

The challenge that we set Guy & Co was, in this context, to help us to identify values that would set us apart from the competition, resonate with our employees and be authentic. Simple then.

From the start, the approach they took hit the mark. Their initial analysis clearly showed that in a very small space of time they understood the market dynamics. The workshop approach we then took applied a method with candour and no small amount of challenge. It was insightful in a way that not many of us who took part expected.

Having established a working framework for discussion Guy & Co helped to pull together the output from a series of cross-company working groups designed to tease out values that came from the people within the business. We wanted to ensure that these weren’t value dreamt up at a senior leadership team offsite, but ones that came from the real lived experiences of everyone in the business.

At all times during the process, we were constructively challenged to ensure that the values we were identifying truly reflected our business. With a room full of finance, legal and engineering experts this wasn’t always straightforward, yet the Guy & Co team were able to help us keep to the right balance of detail and debate.

I’m happy to say that the five values that came out of the process were ones that every member of staff felt like they had a stake in.

Angel Trains values

To help demonstrate this, Guy & Co created an internal video in which members of staff were asked a series of questions on how the values resonated with them. It was the perfect medium to communicate back to ourselves the emotional attachment that people felt.

With the help of the Guy & Co team, our next steps are to continue to embed the values in our business and to use them and the positive behaviours that they drive, to truly differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

I was thinking about how to end this piece, but I think I’ll just use the words that Malcolm, our CEO, said to me just after one of the first workshops with the Guy & Co team. “They get us,” he said. He was right.

I’m Fi – a Festival-loving Activation Manager at Guy & Co. It’s certainly been a challenging couple of years for brands, and none more so than in the activation space, so I was intrigued to see which brands would take a leap back into the world of experiential during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, in its IRL reboot. As well as seeing around fifteen shows outside of work, I was lucky enough to oversee various Festival activations for our clients, like pop-up bars and on-trade installs for Blue Moon and Madrí. Anyway, this piece is not about our work, but rather to highlight some of my favourite activations throughout the city in August…

TikTok: Find More Funny

TikTok launched in the UK back in 2018, but it certainly wasn’t a well-known social channel before the pandemic. It’s now a completely different story, with over a billion users globally, and this year TikTok positioned itself as the Fringe’s first ever official virtual stage, giving the TikTok community ‘the best seat in the house’. Its main installation appeared in a prime spot at the bottom of the Mound, and it didn’t hold back with surprises. As well as giving out free coffees daily, there was also the opportunity to win prizes like tote bags, which became must-have accessories (and cunning brand visibility pieces) across the city. This felt like a fairly unique concept at the Fringe this year, at a time when brands could have understandably been tightening their purse strings. It also hero-ed its most prized assets – TikTokers themselves. Some of Scotland’s biggest TikTokers got involved, with a giant screen on the Royal Mile showcasing their reels. I loved this activity as it cleverly put the TikTok community at the heart.

Naked Malt

Recently rebranded, Naked Malt was an unexpected pop-up that was enjoyed by many passers-by looking for a refreshing whisky cocktail in the heart of Festival village. Naked Malt’s positioning is ‘whisky at its most uncomplicated’, which was reflected in the space it took over. Hidden away behind big venues like McEwan Hall and Teviot, this bar was perfect for avoiding the lengthy queues and crowds mere metres away. As well as its more chilled atmosphere, it also had a clear roof, perfect for sheltering with a drink when the heavens inevitably opened. The décor had a warm and inviting feel to it, with foliage, soft furnishings and illustrated fruits, which first tempted me in. I enjoyed many evenings here in August and hope to see the brand pop up elsewhere in future. 

Arbikie: A Club

Table-served cocktails can be hard to come by during the Fringe, especially before a show. I was pleased to see that the ‘A Club’ had returned to Merchants’ Hall this year, an iconic venue that featured a brilliant range of music acts, from tributes to traditional folk. It’s not easy to dress the front of a listed building, but Arbikie did a great job, making the venue eye-catching and welcoming. Arbikie have recently opened their Highland distillery to the public, and were able to use the A Club as a bit of an outpost. This immersive experience is one not all drinks brands could pull off, and is an unexpectedly brilliant addition to the Fringe.

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo: Giraffe About Town

Finally, this genius little idea from Edinburgh Zoo has surprised and delighted both tourists and locals alike throughout summer. 40 giraffes could be spotted across the city, each one designed by a different artist and community to help celebrate Edinburgh’s extraordinary heritage and cultural diversity. Finishing on the same day as the Festival, they’ll now be auctioned off to raise vital funds for the zoo’s conservation work. This activation was brilliant simplicity at its finest, appealing to kids and adults alike. I used to walk past three on my way to work every day, (not to mention the miniatures that could be spotted in shop windows), so I’ll really miss them.

So, from gin-fuelled Abba tribute nights to tartan giraffes, I for one am delighted the Festival is back. And whilst much more is worthy of celebration, for me the most exciting part is the clear signal that brand activation is firmly back on the menu. Bring it on.  

We’re going old school with our written podcast series, and grabbing a drink with our new (and first ever) Creative Director, Sean Mulholland.

Now we’re back in the office and his feet are comfortably under the desk, Deputy MD, Cat Summers, sat down with Sean to fire some challenging questions (and some frivolous ones) his way…

First off – G&C Bar or Coffee Shop?

Well since it’s a Friday afternoon there’s only one sensible answer there.

*Pours a pint*

Now you’re comfy, if you were doing a stand-up show, what’s your opening line?

All proceeds of tonight’s performance goes towards overshirts and skin fades.

However, the real elephant is – who’s buying tickets to this atrocity?

Sean Mulholland – The Life of a Creative Director. £33 at The Assembly Hall.

A person of questionable taste I’d imagine.

Although, as the old festival logic goes – he is on at Assembly Hall,

and he’s pretty pricey…so it must be good. 

Keeping with the creative theme – If your career to date was turned into a film, what would it be?

Well, I didn’t do ‘the advertising course’, as many do – which is great by the way. I  hitchhiked my way into the industry with a mate who did pay for the course – cheers AC!

So I’d say The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy seems the most appropriate.

Especially when Martin Freeman’s character, Arthur, finds himself surrounded by aliens. It definitely felt like that at the start. Everyone speaking in strange languages, huddled round massive glowing tables, (lightboxes, remember those?), decoding drawings – the aliens called them ‘scamps’. But, like Arthur, I found my feet, and wearing more than a dressing gown (thankfully), I started to get stuck in and ended up loving this weird alien world. I jumped from planet to planet (those are agencies in case no one’s noticed I’m absolutely milking this question) and gained invaluable experience from each. And like any new place, it might seem similar on the outside but it’s a whole new world on the inside. From ATL to BTL and from B2B to B2C, each had their own in-depth alien language to learn. And drinking customs. Which was both fascinating and terrifying at the same time. And just when you think you’ve mastered those, neatly making your way up the ladder, a whole new alien language is presented to you. Client speak. *Faux horror music*.

But as alien as everyone and everything seems at first, the more you get to know agencies and clients, freelancers, and production companies, etc, etc, the more you realise we’re all just people trying to make the best work we can. I’m sure there’s a good lesson in there somewhere.

But that’s a bit soppy so, and to end this painful parallel, another reason it’d be this film, is only in advertising would the answer ‘42’ to the question ‘what is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?’, make complete sense.

Spoiler: It’s probably the rounds of amends.

Right, fun over, let’s talk business! If you could be behind any challenger brand, what would it be?

In true challenger brand style I wouldn’t be like any of them, they’re all way too mainstream for me. I’m way cooler and they’re all shit. You’ll need to imagine that statement in a massive typeface too, obviously.

But seriously, I think right now Oatly are doing an amazing job – which is strange classing them as a challenger brand, considering they’ve been around for over 10 years and pretty much own the alt milk market. But, they’re definitely challenging the status-quo of how a brand is ‘supposed to advertise’. Not just in their tone of voice but in every single manifestation of their brand. It’s a masterclass in adopting a positioning and completely living it. Also sticking to the vision when the buck starts to bang, and not becoming globally dull like a certain drunk pootch.

If you were a TikTok challenge, which one would you be?

I’d be the coolest one, you know, the one that everyone’s doing right now, you know the one.

The one with the cats? Cactus? Thankfully there’s cooler and younger people in the agency that actually use this platform but I’ve no idea. But I do know the cat cactus challenge is available if anyone wants a sick new challenge… That’s the original meaning of sick btw.

If Guy & Co was on Tinder, what made you swipe right?

Sexy client names surely! (Did I write that correctly guys? Yeah? Great.)

Honestly, it’s for a reason that absolutely no one’s on Tinder for, and that’s for how Guy & Co thinks. Genuinely, I love the idea of allowing our clients the chance to test creative with the public before buying into it. To get a true gauge from, not just ten students promised pizza and 50 quid, but from a huge cross-section of a specific audience anywhere in the world. It’s a real positive for me. I’ve always been ‘brought up’ to think testing’s the Devil, but the real Devil is putting average work in front of a group and hoping they’ll not choose it.

So, for me, I love the idea of Guy & Co’s positioning – ‘Giving you the confidence to challenge.’ The challenge for me is making sure that the Devil stays off of the testing table. Swipe.  

It’s our tenth birthday next year, so if you were running that – where would you take us?

To be honest, knowing David now, I think even my craziest idea will probably end up falling short of the reality so I’m going to reserve my ideas for that in worry that I’ll lower the culture bar!

If the world ended tomorrow, what brief would you want to work on today?

Playstation. Every day of the week. They’ve always been an amazing storytelling brand with a world of potential lying within their games and audiences. And a brand that have always made incredible ads. The challenge would be – how to do it differently. But, what’s not to love about that challenge.  

Closer to home I’ve always wanted to work on Tunnock’s, another brand with loads of potential. Why couldn’t they have Irn-Bru-type fame? Again, it would be a challenge but another amazing one.

But I mean, if the world’s gonna end and I’m sat at my desk doing a Playstation or Tunnock’s brief, someone better give me a shake.

You’re standing in a bar, and in walks 21-year-old Sean. What do you say to him? What’s your words of wisdom?

Put down the beer! Run away!! Joking, but that’s a no-brainer for me. It was the best bit of advice I’ve been given as a professional worrier – stress is the killer of creativity. And as simple as that may sound, when you’re surrounded by intensely passionate creatives all hungry to crack your brief, it’s much harder to remember.

But when you think about it, creativity is about letting your mind play – play with the information on the brief and the research and the other random stuff in your head.

To make unexpected and fun connections that only a playfully calm mind can.

Trying to be creative whilst being stressed is like trying to think happy thoughts 100 feet from the ground as you realise you’ve no parachute. Impossible.

Finally, what are you most excited about doing with us at Guy & Co?

Well, if you’ve read this far then working with you, because something tells me we’ll get on. But seriously, it’s a new chapter in my career that I’m genuinely excited about. It’s a great agency, full of great people, built on a great idea – and I’m not just saying that because they pay me. But I’m most excited about seeing where we can go next, helping to build out the creative department with even more talented people will be wild and most importantly – fun. And harnessing those talents to make sure Guy & Co’s name becomes as synonymous with great creative as it is with great results.

Also, we’ve got a pool league starting, so winning that.   

“A potato is a potato is a potato” – an often quoted maxim, but one which the Albert Bartlett and Guy & Co team has been successfully combating for a decade.

Albert Bartlett founded the company in 1948 and since then it has grown from selling beetroot boiled up in a tin bath in a garden shed in Coatbridge to a large food company, specialising in potatoes of which it currently supplies almost a fifth of all of the UK’s consumption. It remains an independent, family-owned company, headquartered in Airdrie, with further sites in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Jersey and Perthshire.

The company’s breakthrough into branded fresh potatoes came with securing the exclusive rights to the Rooster variety in the early 2000’s. The Albert Bartlett Original Rooster is a premium quality potato with a distinctive red skin, but still, “just a potato”. It required dogged determination and considerable investment in distinctive blue packaging, TV advertising and an insistence on stringent quality control and service to our retailer customers to build it into a brand which now has almost 50% share of the branded potato market and one of the highest levels of consumer loyalty in the category.

The Albert Bartlett brand has been built on a no nonsense, earthy, honesty.  For example, chef ambassadors Michel Roux Jr and the late Andrew Fairlie endorsed our products only after serving them for years in their restaurants first. The company has also not been afraid of some self-deprecating humour over the years – notably in the famous Marcia Cross adverts. In 2015, faced with a fresh potato market which remains huge, but gently declining and ageing, the company took the decision to diversify into frozen potato products. The market is younger and in growth but is also fiercely competitive – in fresh Albert Bartlett dominated the branded category; in frozen, the might of McCain’s, Aunt Bessie’s et al was a different story and early branded progress was tough. The same insistence on product quality, making our chips from potatoes grown, prepared and frozen in the UK, great service to our customers and investment in marketing have allowed the brand to grow to have a sizable foothold and it is now the fastest growing frozen potato brand (Kantar 52 weeks to 11/7/21). The portfolio was further complemented by the addition of chilled prepared potato products manufactured in Airdrie from 2019.

Guy & Co became the lead creative agency on the Albert Bartlett brand in 2019 and the “Do the Albert Bartlett” campaign was born that autumn with an ad tapping into the shared joy of cooking and the emotional attachment to potatoes. Our Dad and Daughter dream team danced around the kitchen to the funky sound of James Brown’s Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag, whilst members of the band appeared in unexpected places like the kitchen cupboard – or maybe they were just imaginary? The Brand New Bag of the song was carried over into reality by adopting the use of reduced thickness, recyclable plastic packaging for all of our main products, saving 92 tonnes of plastic in the first year.

Moving to the present and just-launched “Do the Extraordinary” campaign. We listened to research with our consumers which told us that they loved the entertainment and emotional appeal of the Dream Team execution, but felt that we were not providing enough rationale for why they should pay a premium for Albert Bartlett potatoes. We took the feedback and made our obsession with product quality into the focus of the advert, in a bold and humorous new direction for the campaign.  Three acrobats leap, tumble and juggle through the process of selecting, washing and drying not just good, but extraordinary potatoes to make it into Albert Bartlett bags. Music, which was so vital to the Dream Team advert, remains important but once again has been subverted by using an extract from an opera (of-course!). The acrobats are fully integrated across all of our activity from the hero TV ads to social media films and even our new recipe films.

The Guy & Co and Albert Bartlett team believes that these new expressions of the campaign will shake up the category and consolidate our position as a brand leader – the proof will, of-course, be in the next few months, but, to return to the opening statement, it could be amended to state, perhaps more accurately, “All potatoes are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

I remember 8-10 years ago I worked on client briefs that prophesised 2020 as a nirvana-like milestone of corporate perfection. We were working on corporate brand purpose and vision briefs to signal the high-performing goals that organisations would achieve in this motivating big-ticket year. Well, that changed and escalated quickly. Corporate perfection is now replaced by corporate survival, and we are now working in days rather than years to help plan, research, create and produce brand projects.

Here’s a short story of why our belief in intelligent agility, or pivoting at pace, has become even more profound in these times.

Like other businesses focussed on growth and service excellence, our first quarter in 2020 was a busy belter of a period, doing great work and with exciting new projects on the horizon. On the 6th of March I went for a ski touring holiday to St. Anton in Austria and unfortunately our poor European cousins were ahead of a curve we’ve all become familiar with. And, when we hurriedly got out of the ski town on the 13th of March, we also packed with us flu-like symptoms and a loss of smell and taste. Once we emerged from feeling crap, but thankfully not hit as hard as other poor souls, we got back in touch with colleagues, clients and life. The world was quickly affected and our plans for 2020 were now dangerously off-piste. Which is why, when we pride ourself on agility and telling clients we can deliver “100 days ideation to market” – we better be prepared to walk the walk.

So we got busy; ensuring business continuity by doing financial planning with trusted advisers, and agreeing with our amazing team the sacrifices we’d make to ensure we stayed safe and weathered the storm as a business. But what we are especially proud of is quickly changing tact with clients; pivoting on existing projects and proposing new ones that would sensitively ensure their brands could add a societal value to audiences – consumers who do not need overt selling messages but instead useful information and an emotional lift during this (fingers crossed) once-in-a-lifetime situation.

Here’s some of the things we have proudly built at speed for our clients during lockdown:

Smokehead TV

When the on-trade shut down and bottling stopped for Smokehead whisky, marketing projects halted to help preserve resources for when the world resumes. But the great team at Ian Macleod Distillers agreed with us it was a time we could bring the bold, upbeat and independent attitude to entertain our Smokeheads isolating at home. And within 48 hours, Smokehead TV was born.

We’re scripting and producing Instagram live events to bring a cross between a TV show, podcast and Smokehead bar to isolators’ screens every week. Our brand ambassador is joined by a whole host of special guest collaborators for whisky tastings, bold cocktail masterclasses, and edgy music and film nights, all scarily streamed from home. Post-lockdown we will analyse the potential of this fast pivot to scale for global rollout.

Baxters Super-licious

In March we were in full swing running a trial campaign to target a younger cohort of consumers for new Baxters’ Super-licious soup pots. We were activating at UK travel hubs and stopping commuters in their tracks, using guerrilla tactics such as sampling outside ‘competitors’ like Pret to campaign for better, tastier, fairer and more convenient lunchtimes. And then the world changed. Eateries closed. Commuters were forced indoors. And our plans for the final weeks of activation during prime soup season were redundant.

But our great client saw merit in not going quiet. There was an immediate opportunity to use our sampling stock for good, so we planned and redeployed resource to drop-offs for key workers in the NHS and Fire Service (quietly promoted through internal and stakeholder channels, rather than overtly shouty consumer PR). Our latest pivot is a digital retargeting and ROS campaign with contextual messaging, making sure we keep the brand front of mind and relevant to consumers’ new at-home routines. We can’t now frame a £2 microwaveable soup pot as an alternative to battling queues for overpriced ready-to-eat options… but at 3 minutes in the microwave, it’s a quick and delicious lunch option for juggling the pressures of WFH life.

Do the Albert Bartlett – at Home

In a commodity category like potatoes, brand salience is vital in a time of crisis – Kantar report that brands with strong equity that continued to communicate during the 2008 crash recovered nine times faster than those that didn’t. And, with consumers hungrier than ever for new ideas to feed and entertain the family at home, the nation’s favourite potato brand was perfectly poised to serve up meaningful branded content. Building on our December 2019 ‘Do the Albert Bartlett’ campaign with a simple addition of ‘at home’, we rapidly researched territories with our 4 target consumer segments and ran a virtual creative workshop to create a highly relevant new lockdown-led content platform.

More than just great recipes and cooking tips – it’s about entertaining and inspirational content. After all, who needs another virtual dinner party or pub quiz? Instead, we’ll be challenging the nation to host cook-offs and score their roasties on Zoom; or to follow through on dreams of summer picnics from the comfort of their front room with virtual screensavers, games and recipe ideas. All using influencers and celebrity chefs to help boost viewing and create authentic earned content.

So, what can we learn from this crisis as marketers? Two big things for me. We need to speed up our ability to react to a world that can change faster than we perhaps ever imagined, and work hard on our organisations’ culture to ensure the team can react as one to deliver accelerated agility. Last year when I wrote an article on how great Zoom was for global creativity and connectivity, its impact on positive corporate attitude to flexible and creative working practice has now grown exponentially – in a good way.

Stay safe, think fast, stay home.