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September 22, 2020

The Watford Ad grads combatting the hiring freeze – by setting up their own agency

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The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. With the world and news agenda fast-changing around us, now’s the time to get agile in how we think and work.

This newsletter brings you the best of the week in the ‘new normal’, straight from the desk of the Innovation team.

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As the old saying goes, “When opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” And it’s a maxim adopted with flair by recent Watford Ad School grads Alistair Milne and Paloma Gardiner, who’ve responded to the widespread hiring freeze across Ad Land…by setting up their very own agency – GUAP Creative Studios (standing for ‘Give us a Placement).

We catch up with Alistair and Paloma to find out the story behind the agency.

Hi, Alastair & Paloma! Congratulations on your shiny, freshly-minted company. Can you tell us a bit about why you set up GUAP Creative Studios? 

We met on Tony Cullingham’s Watford Ad course and conveniently graduated as soon as the world decided to start falling apart. There were no advertising agencies giving out placements for creatives (which we so desperately needed).

We got fed up of hearing the term ‘hiring freeze’ so decided to create our own opportunities by setting up GUAP Creative Studios.

How would you sum up GUAP Creative Studios in three words? 

Nimble, unprofitable and fun.

What makes it stand out from other agencies?

We fill every single role. No really. Every single one. We have also been taking on our lovely local businesses who can’t afford big advertising campaigns as our clients.

What would be your dream brand to work with?

The tanning salon down the road (Jackie’s sunbeds and spraytans), they’re got great energy and seem really experimental, plus we’d get free spray tans which will help us glow (especially useful for Alastair as he’s ginger).

What does ‘innovation’ mean to you?

It’s like putting a slice of ham under the cheese when you’re making cheese on toast. Simple yet mind-blowing.

GUAP Creative Studios has emerged in a Covid-19 world. What would you say is the opportunity amid so much change and turbulence?

Not a lot, which is why we created our own opportunity. Having said that, everything will be fine (which has been the mantra in our heads as we rock ourselves to sleep for the past five months).

What is the best idea you have ever had?

That cheese on toast thing we already said, it’s pretty good! But if not the cheese on toast thing, we’ve got loads of ideas in our portfolio.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The moon, the stars and toilet breaks.

What’s next for you and GUAP Creative Studios? 

Well, our first campaign for our local butcher is about to go live, check out our Twitter and Linkedin. Then, we’re hoping to get bought out by a bigger agency soon after that. Our snazzy company costs the same as a placement team and our glorious staff have to come with the merger (just us two).

And, finally – if each of you were a chocolate bar, which would you be?

Paloma: Whatever Nils Leonard at Uncommon’s favourite chocolate bar is.

Alastair: Dunno, whichever tastes the most of victory.

Visit the GUAP Creative Studios website here and read the interview in Campaign here.
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With Coronavirus restrictions in a state of flux, Facebook is on hand to help small businesses find new ways to reach customers online.

The platform has launched Facebook Business Suite, an all-in-one management tool for Facebook and Instagram, focusing on small businesses giving them the ability manage their presence on both accounts from a single platform.

This will enable a business to save time by managing both Facebook and Instagram in one place, receiving messages, notifications and alerts all at once. A business can also see Facebook and Instagram insights to learn what their customers are looking for.

You can learn more about Facebook Business Suite here

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This week’s tip comes from the Innovation team’s Senior Account Manager, Hazel Edwards.

As a fan of live stand-up comedy, it is one of things I’ve missed this year. While I’m not about to go to a crowded comedy event in a pub any time soon, there have been a number of virtual stand-up shows that have helped plug the gap.

The Covid Arms’ monthly virtual pub session has been one of these gems, and you can actually see a bit of a sneak preview of the show & some of the audience chaos here on BBC News that recently featured it.

Comedians to have braved the challenging new online format have included David O’Doherty, Judi Love and Harry Hill, and best of all, the event has done a tremendous job of raising money for the UK food bank charity, The Trussell Trust, who need the support more than ever.

For those looking for a laugh, the next event is on 17 October.

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