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The intern who never made a cup of coffee…

Almost 6 months after handing in the final essay of my BA Film Studies degree I find myself working full time in one of the most intriguing industries there is: Advertising. The day I clicked ‘submit’ for the last time there in the University of Southampton library, I assumed I had many long months of job hunting ahead of me before finding anything even remotely relevant to what I wanted to do. So when I found the Blue Hive advertising intern position on the University’s pages only a few days later, there suddenly was a glimmer of hope. I spent the following mornings and evenings, while also doing some work experience for a production company, writing an application and rewriting my CV. It definitely paid off because one week after my graduation ceremony, I could walk into the Blue Hive offices where I was to work as an intern for 6 weeks.

I didn’t quite know what to expect and feared mundane office tasks. Amazingly, I actually got to make a contribution to the work they were doing. I didn’t make a single cup of coffee or anything of the sort, but rather got to help out where I could with research, putting together presentations, and even got to come along to meetings. It was definitely six interesting and educational weeks, and a lot more rewarding than I could have hoped for.

What made the entire experience even better was the amount of really cool people I got to meet. The Blue Hive team is an incredibly versatile bunch who had a ton of great advice for me and who definitely know how to make work fun. But then you don’t really get bored in an agency that has something new in the works all the time. Two of my favourite experiences as an intern (as the film geek I am) was to go on a studio shoot and a voiceover recording. Having that as part of my job has been on my wish list for a while so I was pretty thrilled. If I was already secretly hoping to get to stay, experiences like that only made me want it more.

With some hard work, some subtle begging, a dash of luck and a bunch of great people supporting me, I actually got to come back after my six weeks as an intern. I am incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to keep contributing to the amazing work done by Blue Hive, now as an Account Executive. So when it comes to Blue Hive’s internship programme: Would I do it again? Obviously. Would I recommend it to others? No doubt.




Success at the Euro Effies

The Euro Effies is a pan-European award, one that’s designed to reward advertising that ‘builds brands across borders.’

As entries are rigorously judged on the basis of effectiveness, it’s a real measure of a campaign’s success to be recognised at this fiercely contested event.

In fact, this year’s finalists came from 34 agencies across 11 countries. So we were delighted to beat some stiff competition to the prize and, in the ‘Most effective use of a small budget’ category, receive a Bronze award for our innovative EcoSport ‘Limited Edition’ pre-launch campaign.

The picture shows our proud trio of official awards collectors ‘representing’ on behalf of the wider team and, of course, Blue Hive itself.

Well done all!





A campaign with extra punch

Of course, our creatives are always focused on their day job. But they can’t help coming up with ideas.

So when the local Sasori Karate Club wanted some help promoting their business, Kevan Ansell (our Head of Design) and Nigel Edginton-Vigus (our Head of Owned Media Copy) were quick to volunteer their services.

After a few late nights, the team came up with a simple, yet striking idea.

As Nigel puts it: “If you see a black belt, you automatically think ‘Karate.’ So it’s a powerful visual device. It’s a real symbol of achievement too… everyone who starts training in Karate wants to own one, one day. And that was the insight that inspired our idea.

Kevan added: “A black belt isn’t an easy thing to get and there’s a sort of aura about it. So we aimed to show it as a reward, but also present it as a challenge to the very people we think will rise to it. We also wanted to avoid martial-arts cliché’s, like showing aggressive looking instructors punching through bricks, or doing flying kicks. The club attracts a lot of women and the advertising needs to appeal to them, showing that Karate isn’t about hairy-arsed blokes trying to punch each others’ lights out!

The team wanted to get the ad in front of as many relevant people as possible, for as little cost as possible. So they recommended freestanding banners as the choice of media. And as these will be positioned in the reception areas of the sports/leisure centres where the club holds its classes, they’ll be seen by hundreds of passing visitors.

A set of posters is next and Nigel has also helped create a new website for the club:





A well deserved promotion for our resident creative genius

Three cheers for our “wonderful force of nature”* Karin Onsager-Birch! The reason: she’s just been promoted to the newly created position of Chief Creative Officer of Europe.

Karin joined us as Executive Creative Director, in 2012, from the legendary US agency Goodby Silverstein. And from a sunny Califor-ni-a to a rainy UK (surprise, surprise), Karin arrived smack-bang in the middle of a Europe wrestling with the toughest market and economic challenges the EU had faced for 50 years.

The scale of the task in hand would have sent many straight onto Skyscanner, to find the earliest flight back to the States. But Karin’s made of sterner stuff and recognising opportunity in this sizeable challenge, she set about galvanizing the Blue Hive troops to action.

Creative expectations and standards were raised overnight. And this naturally inspired both agency teams and clients to expect and demand more: from the briefs, from the work, from each other and from themselves.

Leading by example, Karin helped create a campaign for B-MAX that was three times more socially shared than any previous project. The result: a product launch considered by clients to be the most successful in recent history.

And that was just the first three months of her arrival.

The momentum continued with a revamped and more confident brand strategy, a ‘Primary Brand’ campaign to promote it and new visual identity (and tone) that continues to underpin every piece of work we produce for Ford…across the hugely diverse cultures of 17 different markets.

A new briefing process ensures high standards from the start and by establishing an in-house TV and video production department, Karin has enabled us to create and execute more ‘content’ than ever before. Quantity is matched by quality: our digital films, TV spots and brand/product videos have increased views, digital engagement and brand consideration by a whopping 250%.

And to discover why, check out our integrated campaigns for Transit, the Ford Primary Brand and new Mustang, as well as many other examples of our work.

If this were a school report it would be ‘Distinctions’ all round, hence the well-earned promotion. But there’s another reason why Karin’s new job title is so important…

While women influence over 80% of consumer spending, a mere 3% of all Creative Directors are female. It’s a ridiculous situation, and one that our lead client (Ford of Europe), and the whole team here are committed to putting right.

As Karin said herself: “I’m thankful to our dynamic team across the region for how quickly we’ve raised the bar of the creative work, to Ford for this great opportunity and to WPP for their commitment to creative excellence and for their awareness and vision in hiring and promoting women. I’m honoured and now, as we say in automotive, its time to motor!”

So “hurrahs!” all round and ¡felicidades, gratulerer, tillykke, felicitations, congratulazioni, gratulation and congratulations to the multi-talented and multi-lingual Karin from all of us here at Blue Hive.

*An apt description by Toby Barlow (Global Chief Creative Officer), who added: “… smart, passionate, and immensely capable. We are truly lucky and blessed to have her on our team.”





Brand Republic Digital Award for Ford EcoSport Limited Edition website strategy

We’re really proud of our Ford EcoSport Limited Edition website so we were delighted when it won a Brand Republic Digital Award at last night’s ceremony. Our intrepid team brought back some photos along with the trophy.

A massive thanks to the many many people involved in this campaign – great work team.




The Fiesta24 Facebook campaign: shortlisted for the Shorty Awards

We’ve just heard the great news that our Ford Fiesta 24 app is in the finals of the renowned Shorty Industry Awards. Entered into the Best Use of Social Media for Auto Industry category, the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Monday, April 8th, 2013 in New York City. So until then, it’s fingers crossed!

With the Ford Fiesta 24 app, we showed people just how many fun activities they could pack into their day. And based on the campaign theme ‘New Ford Fiesta 24hrs—what would you do?’, we encouraged them to submit their own ideas.

Fiesta 24 Facebook app

The app uses the Facebook API to search fans’ news feeds and liked Pages to find out what makes them tick. Once the behind-the-scenes magic has been performed, fans will be presented with a video featuring them, their friends and family, pictures and even a few surprises. With multiple combinations built-in to the app, we delivered a highly personalised and entertaining experience and a unique video for people to view and share.

Feel free to try it out for yourself at




For one day only! The ‘pop-up’ Style Showroom with Ford Fiesta

Claire Milton reports back on the recent Ford Fiesta Style Showroom event in London’s Soho.

Saturday 1st September, London W1

Our UK Blue Team (Mindshare, Ogilvy and Wunderman) have been busy refreshing and revitalising communications for Ford Fiesta, targetting stylish young women (who are as ‘effortlessly cool’ as the car’s technology), the team recently organised an innovative and exclusive event: The Style Showroom with Fiesta.

On arrival, guests were treated to delicious cupcakes, mocktails and a goody bag (complete with the latest magazines, as well as Fiesta brochures) while sharply dressed hosts made sure everyone was made welcome and the talented Fiesta DJ kept up the party atmosphere…

The Style Showroom with Fiesta     Mocktails and cupcakes     Fiesta Style DJ

‘Clients’ at the beauty salon received amazing hair, make-up and nail makeovers by experts. In the style area they could chat to enthusiastic stylists who shared their knowledge of fashion and the latest trends, as well as a team ready to talk about the Fiesta’s cool technologies; such as the vehicle’s Bluetooth link-up with Spotify. A professional photographer was on hand throughout to capture the glamour of the moment – which was particularly fun in front of the Green Screen, where visitors could have their photo taken with the Fiesta against various backdrops.

As if that wasn’t enough, there were even hourly competitions with winners collecting gorgeous prizes from the spacious boot of a vibrant red Fiesta.

The event was a real success, engaging style-savvy Fiesta customers in both a relevant and entertaining new way. And by involving Marie Claire, Look, InStyle and Now magazines, Ford was positively associated with these popular brands in the minds of potential customers. Of course, this initiative also showed an understanding of the target audience as a whole, not just their car buying habits and behaviour.

Last but not least, visitors were encouraged to share their experience via the #FiestaStyle hashtags ensuring the social media aspect was covered too.

Thanks to the UK Blue Team for their hard work in creating such a unique and successful event. Here’s to the next one!

Be a DJ with Ford Fiesta     Ford Fiesta




Caz Swanne interview

We decided to give our meeting spaces a completely new look. So after a company-wide poll of ideas, we chose the Cluedo board game as our theme then named each room accordingly: lounge, dining room, study, billiard room, library and kitchen.

To really bring those rooms to life, we commissioned the brilliant illustrator Jo Bird a.k.a Caz Swanne to decorate them. And while she was doodling away. Charlotte Rose asked her about her experiences and inspiration.

So how did you first get started in illustration?

“Well, I studied Illustration at Kingston University straight out of school; I always knew I wanted to work in art and illustration seemed more commercially viable and accessible than fine art. After graduating, I went to work for a visualizing agency called Three Blind Mice where I learnt about the sales and marketing side of the industry. I was project managing the creative when, in fact, all I really wanted to do was BE a creative. So in the end, it was JELLY LONDON that gave me my big break by representing me. It was actually only about two years ago that I gained the confidence and acquired the clients to be able to full-time freelance for a living.”

Perched like a pixie in the Lounge

Good decision! But how did you manage to find your own style and stand out from the crowd?

“Well, funnily enough, I have two styles. When I left Uni I felt I had too much of a ‘house-style’ which was probably the influence of my tutors, but I needed to find my own style by experimenting. At visualizing agency Three Blind Mice, I picked up lots of computer tips from the other artists and that’s really influenced my Miss Swanne style. This is graphic design focused, whereas my Jo Bird style has a more hand drawn look and feel, and that’s what I’m using for your meeting room walls as we speak!”

What do you enjoy most about working as an illustrator?

“It’s fun because I get the chance to create stuff that’s unique. I also love a challenge and get a real kick out of seeing my finished work published as well as knowing other people will see it too. I was in a Harrod’s magazine recently and my most recent Miss Swanne commission can be seen in TOWIE’s ident for Surf! It’s well reem!”

When you’ve got such a unique style, how do you work with clients to get a finished artwork that everyone loves?

“My process is straightforward, which sets illustration apart from art: I like to think I’m the pencil in the clients’ hand allowing their idea to express itself. After the initial briefing with the client, where we’ll discuss their key requirements and expectations of the creative, I always take some time to consider the brief and give it my own input. I then create a rough pencil draft so I can get the client’s feedback, and there are usually a few sketches before I go into the final line work and add color. The Blue Hive project is a bit different as I’ve got more creative freedom to art direct which is refreshing and great fun!”


We’d seen your work elsewhere and knew we’d like to work with you. But how do you promote yourself generally?

“There are two ways. I rely heavily on my fabulous agent Hulya, who is a marketing wiz, but I also have business cards, a website I can regularly update myself. I also have an online persona and use Facebook, twitter and my food blog, to get my name out there. My poor old printed folio hasn’t been out and about for quite a while. Of course, my commissions also come from networking, word of mouth, that sort of thing.”

What’s your all-time favorite assignment to date?

“Easy. Blue Hive. Really!”

And if you ever get those annoying creative slumps, what’s your quick fix?

“Cry. Phone a friend. Just…draw.”

The Dining Room doodle

Finally, any advice for anyone trying to pursue creative ambitions?

“Don’t give up! Determination is key. If you want it badly enough, someone will give you a lucky break. Keep going. I have had jobs take a wrong turn, and lost some altogether, but essentially illustration is what I want to be doing with my life. So you just keep creating.”




Blue Hive meet Becki and Simon. Becki and Simon meet…

Becki and Simon's lemonade standEvery month, we’re delighted to welcome a new junior creative team into the agency: each handpicked for the placement by our very own Head of Copy, Mr Nigel Edginton-Vigus.

Every team gets to work on live briefs as well as experience real agency life. And as part of that, the placement guys and girls are encouraged to go talk to Blue Hivers, ask loads of questions and generally tap into their knowledge and wisdom. Our newest recruits, Becki and Simon, decided to announce their arrival with a particularly novel and ice-breaking conversation starter; they pushed a trolley around the office offering free lemonade for all.

Great initiative guys. We just hope the typography on the ‘homemade lemonade’ sign is part of the idea, not an indication of your copywriting ability!




How to create an award-winning game of pinball

The jury’s verdict is in. And it’s official: ‘Ford Pinball’ has just won a Bronze award at the prestigious Cannes Lions advertising festival. (Cue sound of people cheering, champagne corks popping and glasses clinking!)

The piece was part of our Real World Challenges campaign and was designed to dramatise Ford Active Park Assist technology. The idea? Well, everyone knows that Parisian street parking is a bit of a contact sport. So a giant pinball machine was built to score the number of ‘strikes’ drivers made as they attempted to get into a tight spot.

People loved the installation, including the esteemed panel of judges at Cannes, and the video shown on YouTube is nearing almost 2 million views. Check it out.




The appointment of Karin Onsager-Birch as Executive Creative Director

Award-Winning Creative Director joins from Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.

3rd May 2012 – Blue Hive has appointed Karin Onsager-Birch as Executive Creative Director. Karin joins from Goodby, Silverstein and Partners (GS&P) in San Francisco where she was Creative Director. Karin will work into Toby Barlow, Chief Creative Officer at Global Team Ford, and report to Tony Grigg, CEO of Blue Hive. She will relocate to London to begin her new role in Mid-May.

During her decade long tenure at GS&P, Karin created and managed award-winning campaigns for brands including Adobe, Chevrolet, HP, Hyundai, and Nike. Her work has received honours from Cannes Lions, The One Show, The Clios, The New York Art Directors Show, Effies and The Library of Congress.

Tony Grigg, CEO, Blue Hive commented: “Karin is a world class creative leader and her track record speaks for itself. She is passionate about cars but has excellent non-automotive experience too, and her rich multi-cultural heritage gives her an edge that will be an invaluable asset to Ford.”

Speaking about her new role, Karin commented: “I love cars, they are the fastest and most powerful piece of jewellery you’ll ever own, the ultimate accessory. Joining Blue Hive and Ford is an amazing opportunity. There are crazy smart people on the team and a dynamic and infectious energy among its players. Ford’s technologically innovative products are exciting stories yearning to be told. I can’t wait to get started.”

Jeff Goodby of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners commented: “Karin set standards here in sassiness and visual integrity that will long outlast her. Blue Hive is very lucky to have her.”

Karin graduated with a Distinction from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She speaks fluent English, Spanish, French, Norwegian and Danish.




Who’s made our gift list this year…?

Merry Christmas from Blue Hive

Last year, we gave you Merry Doodle. But with the economic climate being what it is and charity donations down significantly as a result, it seems appropriate to try and redress the balance. So instead of spending money creating a card this year, we’re keeping it simple, and donating that cash to four charities close to our hearts:

Alzheimer’s Society provides over 2,000 services across the country to people affected by dementia, including support and befriending services to help partners and families cope with the demands of caring.

CRY works with the Department of Health and others to develop high quality cardiac services for young people and families.

Helen Rollason Cancer Support Centres provide emotional support and complementary therapies for people affected by cancer. The charity has also enabled more than 2000 patients to participate in pioneering clinical drug trials.

Mudchute City Farm is a unique living resource providing free access to a range of farm animals for children of all ages in one of London’s most deprived areas.

As well as our donation to these charities, our Blue Hive Giving initiative ran throughout the year, with Cakes for Quakes for the New Zealand earthquake, clothes sales (of clothes used as props on shoots) to support the Japanese earthquake, participation in the Many Ogilvy Hands project as well as a sterling moustache-growing effort from the Blue Hive Bristles for Movember.

Finally, on behalf of every one at Blue Hive: seasons greetings!




It’s our birthday!

Have you heard? It’s our birthday! We turned one year young in May. To celebrate we set off by the coach load to spend a day (and night) beside the seaside in sunny Brighton.

Glad rags on and party bags in hand we prepared to strut our stuff at the lavish Proud Brighton Ballroom. Wining, dining, and dancing until dawn we celebrated being one year older and wiser with style (and a little help from our Proud hosts).

After a well deserved Friday-morning fry-up we made the most of Brighton’s sights. Exploring the Lanes, playing the arcades on the pier, and feasting on seaside fish and chips.

It was a great way mark our first year as a collective, and an even better way to kick off the second. So here’s to many more seaside celebrations to come.






May’s new joiners

May’s been a busy month and we’ve had a lot of new joiners. So a big Blue Hive “hello and welcome” to: Thomas Ceccaldi, Jonny Bottomley, Hannah Fuller, Rebecca Parsons, Rebecca Hanson, Marialuisa Taverna, Mark Palmieri, Deaglan MacFarland, Lydia Griffin, Claire Milton, Jenny Thwaites, and Angela Challands.




Building work

After weeks of building and numerous launch events the Blue Hive offices are up and running. It truly is a hive of activity!

View the full set (and more) on the Blue Hive Flickr.




Office build time lapse

A three week time lapse of the Blue Hive offices being built.

8000 odd photos (40GB) and hundreds of builder hours condensed into 90 seconds with a head pounding Drum and Bass track on top.






The model builders are back

The model builders (literally) are back for more. They’re putting in the furniture now, it’s not long until they’ll be installing the actual people.






The demolition has started

The demolition has started to make way for the new Blue Hive offices. Walls are coming down, ceilings are being torn out and floors are being swept. There is also an enormous amount of tea being drunk!