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Thursday Thinky: Brits, Voting & Sex Ed

Half of today’s content is coming from across the pond and it is well deserved. As brands are still trying to figure out how to deal with the coronavirus, British shops have been using the right amount of humor to get their message across without seeming insensitive. Hun and Earl of East, in particular, came up with two campaigns that we particularly enjoyed.

If this week’s Thinky has a British undertone, we came back to the US with a YouTube Channel tackling the sometimes awkward discussion you need to have with your kids to explain to them what sex is. We also talk about voting, Mother’s Day, and a new Spotify feature.



Creative & Brand

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): There’s nothing like some self-effacing humor to get folks through challenging times. RX Bars started this latest wave of the “blatant honesty” trend a year or so ago with their No BS campaign. But this recent work from HUN, a new canned wine brand in the U.K., takes it in a different (and well-timed) direction.

Rather than pretending everything is normal in the world right now, all of their creative acknowledges the fact that advertising during a pandemic–specifically, advertising OUTSIDE during a pandemic–is very much a wonky move. And yet, it’s also brilliant. And purposeful. The campaign concept was created after lockdown had already begun, so rather than fighting the obvious challenges, the brand and its agency, TBWALondon, leaned into it. It’s funny, it’s attention-grabbing, and as a bonus, it also allowed the brand to take advantage of discounted OOH rates. Pretty smart stuff.

Layers – OOH creativity for first responders (Layers)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Two creatives in England, Will Alexander and Tom Robinson, teamed up to develop Layers, an online resource for out-of-home comps and mockups to help “creatives visualize and communicate their concepts with photographic realism.” Their library features crisp and thoughtful designs with minimal licensing fees, but where the delight comes in is in their newest collection, which solely features comps of outdoor billboards, bus shelters, posters, etc. donated by British artists to benefit the NHS (National Health Service).

All proceeds from the sales of this collection go directly to NHS Covid relief efforts, getting both the makers and the users involved in charitable support. I wish we’d seen something like this from Getty or Shutterstock, but as is often the case, some of the simplest and most beautiful ideas start from something small.

YardLeave Mom the f*ck alone (

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): This Mother’s Day was pretty much unlike any other one we’ve ever experienced. No brunches, no hugs, and from what we’ve heard, some extra-cautious kids were even wary of sending flowers to their moms, because it would mean another human interaction with the delivery person. But damnit if moms don’t deserve our love and attention more than ever this year, after everything we’ve had to juggle these last few months.

The brilliant folks at independent agency Yard NYC recognized that, but also recognized that since we’ve been quarantined with our kids/spouses/pets/whatevers for so long, the last thing we probably want right now is MORE together time. What do we want instead? To be left the <bleeep> alone. With that sentiment in mind, Yard created a campaign and product line to tell folks just that. It’s simple, it’s bold, it’s incredibly beautifully designed, and it acknowledges our reality right now. But even better: ALL of the proceeds go to Every Mother Counts. If you know a mom who needs one of these (the writer of this snippet included), everything is still available for presale, ready to ship at the beginning of June.

AmazeSex ed YouTube series Amaze reminds parents that little kids have big questions (Campaign Live)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): “Before the days of social distancing and homeschooling caused by COVID-19, many parents relied on teachers to explain the birds and the bees to their kids. But now, as screen time continues to increase while children are stuck indoors, more parents are realizing they have to teach sex ed themselves.”

As the parent of a curious 9-year-old, I’ve found myself in exactly this situation over the past few weeks, triggered by my daughter stumbling onto some more “teenage appropriate” content on YouTube while searching for references for schoolwork. What’s a parent to do? Sex-ed YouTube series Amaze is here to remind us all that while the conversations may be awkward, they’re necessary. And, they’re also here to provide resources and encouragement for making “the talk” less scary (for the parents, of course). Tapping into a real-yet-underserved social need that’s been caused by the pandemic, even though it’s not directly related, is a very smart approach, and one that could prove beneficial for a lot of nonprofits and brands in the coming weeks and months.


Earl of East – These Lockdown Candles Were Made to Smell Like the Places We Miss Most (Muse by Clio)

From Melvin (Account Director): We’re headed back to the U.K. to get back to normal… sort of. Lifestyle brand Earl of East had an interesting idea. Since we can’t go to the places we were used to go to and love, why not bring them home to you. The brand created three special scent candles so you can reminisce about The Local (as in the local dive bar), The Cinema and The Festival.

The latter is “a resonant bouquet of cut grass and sun-warmed cider, laced with a ribbon of sweet cannabis smoke.” Each candle comes with a witty description, a beautiful illustration, and sales will support the hospitality industry. If the stunt picked up a lot of coverage online, Earl of East and their creative shop, Uncommon, also went the OOH way with posters plastered around London, an intriguing decision given the current state of affairs.



Spotify – Spotify’s New Global Map Tags People Who Are Playing the Same Song at the Same Time (Muse by Clio)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Streaming music, podcasts, voice assistants…they’ve all spiked in usage (and content creation) since lockdown started a few months ago, largely because they offer a different kind of sensory escape than plopping down in front of a screen for hours can provide. Spotify has always been at the forefront of trends in this space, and of course, now is no exception.

Using the same data points from their platforms that inspired their award-winning Year in Review campaigns, they discovered that “every second on Spotify, more than 30,000 people around the world are pressing play on the same song. That insight has led to a new campaign called “Listening Together,” which includes an interactive map of the globe that shows examples of two users around the world listening to the same song at the exact same time.” While we’re all still hunkered down at home, craving connection, using this kind of data to connect two completely unconnected people is such a wonderful reminder of our shared humanity.



Heifer International – Who wears it best? (

From Nicola Leckie (Account Director): [VOTE] Just for fun. That was the subject line in an email I received from Heifer this week. The fun play on voting while elections are a trending topic is eye catching and a clever way to increase open rates. And, while people are home, why not send them an engaging quiz? It’s a who wears it best animal edition. The short email leads to a fun quiz with three “who wore it best” comparisons (including a chicken named Cody) and then the final landing page drives home the mission that animals change lives and that’s always in style. Very nicely done: engaging, educational and impactful.


Thanks for reading today’s Thinky. See you next week!

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