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Fortune favours the bold: LONDON Advertising's campaign with Helen Mirren & Liam Neeson

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

While the global lockdown and economic slump have seen many cuts to advertising and marketing budgets, LONDON Advertising, a global ad agency headquartered in Britain's capital has taken a different approach. Just a day after the UK lockdown was eased, they launched a major campaign, featuring 10 TV ads starring none other than Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson. The most unusual part? It's not for a client, but for ... themselves.

This kind of bold move is unique in the current landscape of economic uncertainty, which has caused ITV's advertising revenue to plummet by 42% in April, and similar trends in the US, where FOX's revenue has halved. On the B2C side, Coca-Cola has joined the roster of brands who ceased UK marketing spend, following the cancellation of the Premier League, Euro 2020, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, of which it was a main sponsor.

While this trend may make LONDON Advertising's strategy seem misguided in the current environment, studies have demonstrated a number of advantages to advertising during a crisis, including winning more new business opportunities, growing market share, and increasing brand familiarity. Exemplified by TikTok's overnight success among a mainstream audience, the coronavirus lockdown revealed people's hunger for new content, with global media consumption skyrocketing, and British internet users spending around 4 hours browsing the internet per day.

With a much larger number of people staying home and searching for new sources of entertainment, it is unsurprising that a global survey of over 35,000 consumers found that only 8% thought that brands should cease their advertising. Rather, more importance was place on tone and messaging, with 74% thinking that brands should not exploit the situation and 75% saying that brands should inform the public of what they are doing.

It is precisely this quality that makes LONDON Advertising's campaign stand out - no flashy images, no tone deaf statements, just the iconic voices of Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson relaying a simple message.

When asked about the rationale behind the campaign, Alan Jarvie, Founder & Creative Director of LONDON Advertising commented:

"Audiences are currently higher than normal and media is cheaper, as many companies have cancelled their campaigns. So, we’re doing what we would advise our clients to do: advertise now. Our campaign demonstrates the three criteria we believe work must satisfy to be effective: Is it simple? Does it stand out? Can you remember who it’s for? A lot of advertising fails to do one, two, or all three of these things."

Having already been featured in a range of publications, it seems that the campaign has done just that, proving that investing in a good marketing campaign can be a springboard into a communications one. Want to know the full results of the campaign? Have a watch of the video below.

For more information on LONDON Advertising's services, visit:

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