Adventures in Communications: Barley Highlights 2017

As we near the end of 2017, here’s a look back at our top ten favourite things from the year – from coffee cups and drinking fountains to healthy relationships for young people and Veterans’ mental health.

1 Square Mile Challenge

We started the year supporting the launch of the Square Mile Challenge with the environmental charity Hubbub, Simply Cups, City of London Corporation, Network Rail and well-known coffee stores including Starbucks, Pret a Manger, Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero, Marks and Spencer and McDonalds. The media coverage we secured helped ensure the challenge met its target of recycling 500,000 paper cups in April and over 3 million more since then.

2 Love, Lust and Loneliness

For FASTN we designed and commissioned research into 16-19 year old men and relationships and from this we helped them produce the Love, Lust and Loneliness report.  Securing DJ Munya Chawawa as a brand ambassador and creating a series of claymation films, we generated quality coverage to reach the target audience with messaging around healthy relationships, including a 17 minute guest slot on Radio One’s Surgery and the banner article on UNILAD’s website for 10 days.

3 #MatchFitWoman

In the run up to this Summer’s Women’s EURO tournament we were invited by the World Heart Federation, UEFA and Healthy Stadia to develop a campaign to raise awareness of the risks of cardiovascular disease and encourage more women across Europe to take part in regular physical activity.  We created the #MatchFitWoman campaign and video, and we worked with influencers including footballers, sports journalists and presenters to achieve extensive reach on social media for the campaign messages.

4 Veterans and PTSD

For Armed Forces Day we worked with UNILAD to create original videos with some of the residents of Stoll.  Three Veterans told their stories of the impact of PTSD on their lives and helped raise the profile of Stoll and the wonderful work they do to provide housing and support for vulnerable Veterans.

5 Community Fridge Network

2017 has been a year of genuine traction in the fight to tackle food waste, with many of Britain’s supermarkets stepping up to play their part.  In July we worked with Sainsbury’s, Bosch and Hubbub to launch the world’s first Community Fridge Network. A community fridge sits in the heart of the community and receives fresh food from individuals and businesses that would otherwise go to waste, making this available to anyone to take on an honesty basis. We spread the word through national and local media, with great pick up on regional radio. By the end of the year there were 22 fridges up and running, 21 more in progress and hundreds of organisations interested in setting up more.

6 The Chocolate Bar of the Future

Over the Summer we worked with Mondelez International, the home of Cadbury, and the IET to launch a competition for children to engineer the chocolate bar of the future.  The competition was part of the IET’s Engineer a Better World campaign which aims to highlight to parents and their children the huge variety of exciting, creative and stimulating careers in modern engineering. The lucky winner enjoyed a once in a lifetime trip to the Bournville factory to see her design made into reality.

7 Borough Fountains

Ocean plastic has been a hot topic this year and we were delighted to work with Borough Market to spread the word about their plans to stop the sale of single use bottles at the Market, as they unveiled their drinking water fountains this August.  We worked with a designer to create a visual identity for the project which played out through branded water bottles, posters and floor vinyls on site and social media posts.

The story was covered by five national newspapers and a wide range of London media and the move by Borough Market to phase out single use plastics has been cited by Mintel as one to follow for a piece on four key European trends for 2018.  London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s recent announcement and a report from the Environmental Audit Committee recommending that free drinking water is made available in all public places has seen further references to the Borough Market initiative in the Evening Standard, Guardian, Sky News and Channel 4 News.

8 Plastic Fishing

Sticking with plastic, September saw the launch of the Poly-Mer – the world’s first boat made almost entirely from recycled plastic – to raise awareness of the issues of litter in Britain’s waterways and their contribution to ocean pollution. The boat is used for ‘plastic fishing’ trips to remove litter from London’s Docklands and the plastic recovered will be used to make more boats to create a litter-busting fleet.

Plastic Fishing is one of a number of recycling and litter initiatives we’ve worked on with Hubbub over the year, including #FFSLDN to tackle litter in the Thames, Bring Back Heavy Metal with Ecosurety to encourage battery recycling and the Streets Ahead campaign with Brighton and Hove City Council to reduce litter on the streets and beaches.

9 Getting active in Wales

Throughout the year we’ve worked with Sport Wales and Welsh Government to launch a transformational programme in North Wales to get more people physically active for life. We’ve developed a website and we’re running a series of engagement events to pull together community and voluntary organisations, local government, the health and education sectors, and sport and leisure organisations to lead and support the change.
We have now been asked to lead a programme to develop a new vision for sport in Wales

10 It’s beginning to look (and taste) a lot like Christmas!

We rounded off the year with a bunch of Christmas stories.  For Hubbub the news that 1 in 4 Christmas jumpers from last year were thrown in the bin or unlikely to be worn again grabbed plenty of headlines – over 400 of them across national and regional media! This was the fourth of a series of seasonal campaigns this year to tackle clothing waste, following the Gift A Bundle campaign with Mothercare to encourage the regifting of used baby clothing, Sew Spooky to share simple ways to make your own Halloween costumes and Bright Friday to encourage clothes swaps as we revealed 1 in 6 young people won’t wear an outfit again once it’s been seen on social media.

For Borough Market we encouraged visitors to the Market’s Christmas events, including their Evening of Cheese, featuring a wonderful gin soaked blue from Drunk Cheese. We also launched their sustainably produced #LoveBorough chocolate and coffee porter to raise funds for the trader relief fund to support those traders who remain financially affected by this year’s atrocities at London Bridge. We rounded off the year reflecting on the astonishing resilience and spirit of the community around Borough Market in the wake of the attack as BBC London aired the evening news from the Market, finishing up with a moving rendition of Silent Night from Borough Market Choir.

Awards, awards, awards!

We’re proud that this work has been recognised at six major industry awards over the past year. We were thrilled to win PR Agency of the Year at the Business Green Leaders Awards and to be a finalist as PR Team of the Year at the Charity Times Awards.  Meanwhile we were finalist for New Consultancy of the Year at the PRCA Dare Awards, PR Week Awards and PRCA National Awards. Coming up in 2018, Barley has been shortlisted as Consultancy of the Year at the edie Sustainability Leaders Awards.

All of this is thanks to a truly awesome team of super smart, talented comms experts.  This year we’ve been delighted to welcome a number of new Associates into team Barley including David Black, Phoebe Campbell, Zoe Dubber, Catherine Jordan Jones, Caroline Narboni, Helen Roache and Rhiannon Scott.  Meanwhile the clan of Barley juniors grew with gorgeous babies for our Associates Sarah Skinner and Hannah Wynne.

We’ll end by wishing all of our team, clients, suppliers and all of you a fabulous 2018.