Blog : Stripe

Magfest 2015 – Create Inspire Evolve

Magfest 2015 – Create Inspire Evolve

On Friday 18th September we headed to Edinburgh’s Surgeon’s Hall for the fourth PPA Scotland Magfest. A day of presentations, discussions and celebrations of all things magazine. In 2015, this means not just chatting print, but addressing the various communications channels and challenges that modern publishing is presented with.


Magfest 2015 kicked off with Cannes Lions CEO Phil Thomas tackling the topic of creativity head on. ‘Any brand can be creative’ he said, and the award winners at Cannes Lions illustrate this as well as anything else. Just consider the now infamous Volvo trucks spot featuring Jean Claude Van Damme – the biggest winner the festival has seen yet, despite the distinctly ‘unsexy’ product. Creativity matters not just because it can be a force for change and for good, but because it directly drives higher ROI for businesses. This is important for brands to get their heads around, and for the agencies that work with them to reiterate. Not their capacity to be creative – all know this, though not all apply it – but the evidence that great creative work itself delivers higher share value and drives long term business impact. Bravery pays off.

This sentiment was echoed by several other speakers. For BBC Worldwide, creativity is part of how they do business, not something they apply from time to time. Marcus Arthur explained that the BBC Worldwide team know that if they’re creative and build the reputation of the BBC then financial success will take care of itself. This focus on being creative and getting the best ideas to come to fruition delivers better results than focussing on the finances as the sole end in themselves.

Driving Online revenue Panel Discussion at Magfest 2015

Throughout the day the spectre of ‘disruption’ was present: disruption of the publishing industry, of TV, culture, advertising models, customer loyalty and news discovery. For the BBC, as for many of the other businesses in attendance, creativity has been what has allowed them to overcome some of the challenges that disruption has created and led to new and exciting outcomes they perhaps had not anticipated.


Disruption need not be seen as a negative force, but an opportunity that should inspire change. For example, the last few years have seen ever more conversations about the ‘death’ of newspapers and the decline of print, but to paraphrase Francesco Franchi of IL magazine, “it’s not that newspapers are dying, it’s that one way of making newspapers is coming to an end”. This is by no means unique to the newspaper business, and how individual companies react and adapt is helping to inspire others and shape the long term future of a swathe of industries.


To mitigate some of the risk that goes hand in hand with treading new ground, more and more publishers and brands are looking at how they can intelligently apply data. Our own Darcie Tanner spoke about how organisations of any size can make sense of ‘big data’ and draw useful insights from the mass of information out there and data got called out as a priority consideration in a number of talks throughout the day.

Darcie Tanner, Stripe Communications at Magfest 2015

Kerin O’Connor revealed some of the ways they’ve used data at The Week to inform their evolved print and digital model and consistently grown both strands by ensuring they really understand their audience. With staggering renewal figures and a progressive test and learn approach to new activity, they’re continuing to see returns and have sidestepped the issues that have affected many peer publications.

Kerin O'Connor, The Week at Magfest 2015

Understanding your audience was also at the core of Mimi Turner‘s session, where she discussed how The LAD Bible has come to know more about the tricky to reach 18-24 males group in the UK than perhaps any other organisation. With a reflective, community led proposition they are committed to going where their audience directs them and making it easy for them to find what they want. She advocated a shift for publishers from being ‘doers’ (which is a role now belonging to the audience) to being listeners. This is a tricky notion for some brands and publishing businesses to apply, having kept customers and audiences at a distance from the inner workings of their business , but if they’re to succeed in a modern, integrated communications landscape then it’s something that can’t be ignored.

What was clear from all of the speakers and the discussions amongst attendees was that the sector isn’t sitting still and there’s a lot of positivity about what the future might hold. With so much changing and so much interesting work happening to meet the challenges this brings, it’s an exciting time to be involved in publishing.

The journey of a rugby shirt fit for a giant

The journey of a rugby shirt fit for a giant

Similar to my first two months working with Stripe, the journey of the Strathmore rugby shirt has been fast-paced, dynamic and exciting.

It’s safe to say that everyone in the office was thinking two things throughout this project: 1) when will we stop hearing about this shirt? And 2) has Ben relocated to Murrayfield Stadium? The Strathmore team spent weeks planning and navigating through the various complications of this task. But the feeling of accomplishment when it all came together was exhilarating. As a recent graduate, getting so much hands on experience into something of this scale was really motivating as I take my first steps into the world of PR Comms.

As a sports fanatic, I was thrilled when I was added to the Strathmore team. Strathmore, as part of their Do More sponsorship of sport, are the official water supplier for Scottish rugby, swimming and gymnastics. And with so many big events this year like the Gymnastics World Championships and the Rugby World Cup, I can’t wait to get a taste of the action.

The idea of the shirt was born in one of our ‘Stripey Thinking’ sessions in early August where the best creative ideas are born at Stripe HQ. To wish the team good luck ahead of their Rugby World Cup journey we decided to create a massive rugby shirt which fans could sign before the Scotland v Italy summer test match. The journey began when we had to find a supplier who could create our 8m x 5.5m shirt fit for a giant. Following a week or so of planning, designing and discussion, we were finally given the green light to crack on with production and planning the in ground activity. This involved ordering staging, a marquee, branded signage and astro-turf.

The shirt was delivered to Murrayfield the day before our photo call with Scotland internationals Blair Cowan, Fraser Brown and David Denton. This was one of numerous times during this project I was lucky enough to stand inside an empty Murrayfield stadium. The buzz the players must get when the stadium is full must be out of this world! The photo call was a success and the weather was perfect. We got some great shots and video footage of the players.

It was quite surreal getting to interview David Denton and Fraser Brown in the stands, asking them about their active lifestyles and preparations ahead of their upcoming matches. I think this is why I enjoy PR, because it has a good balance between media relations, event management and journalism – plus the perks of running around Scotland’s national rugby stadium.

Match-day came around quickly and following the set-up of our fan zone, we started welcoming in the fans to sign our shirt. Over 750 signatures and 25 Sharpie pens later, the mission was complete. A big pat on the back for Team Strathmore and everyone else involved, which was made even better by Scotland triumphing against Italy 48-7 in a record-breaking win – boom!

I think the biggest learning experience since arriving at Stripe has been realising all the different components that go into making a project firstly happen, and secondly, a success. With strong teamwork and a genuine passion for the brand we managed to put the pieces of the jig-saw together and I can’t wait to Do More with this account going forward.

Say hello to a new look Stripe

Say hello to a new look Stripe

When you first start up a business, it’s amazing how much time you spend agonising over the name, creating the perfect identity and defining your brand. And whilst your external image is hugely important, you very quickly realise that it’s the people you employ and the work you do that defines you. Because brands are lived from the inside out, not the outside in.

In the nine years since we started up Stripe a huge amount has changed, not just for us as a business but to the market in which we’re operating. We’ve not only survived, but thrived during a recession, we’ve experienced phenomenal growth, won countless awards and have supported our people to grow and develop.

It’s not always been easy, but despite all the change we’ve always had a very strong sense of what it means to be Stripey both for our people and for our clients. This has been our constant and I believe it’s what’s kept us on track.

As we look towards the future, Stripe is undeniably evolving. With the worlds of traditional PR and digital blurring, we’ve made a huge investment upskilling the entire agency to become digitally equipped – providing clients with one team to deliver compelling content and engagement across their PR and digital channels. We are no longer a team of PR professionals, we are a team of digitally savvy communicators.

So now feels like the perfect time to unveil a new Stripe brand. It’s been shaped by our values, our culture and heroes what we believe sets us apart – our people. And whilst on the outside the way we look is very different, the essence of what it means to be Stripey remains the same.

As we look towards the future there’s no doubt that there’s even more change to come but we’re absolutely ready for it.

Stripe shortlisted for PRCA’s Medium Consultancy of the Year

Stripe shortlisted for PRCA’s Medium Consultancy of the Year

Great news for the Stripe team today! We’ve been shortlisted for this year’s PRCA Awards for Medium Consultancy of the Year. We’re the only Scottish agency on the shortlist and thrilled to be up there with the very best in UK PR and communications. There’s some tough competition so it’s going to be a very hotly contested category.

The full category shortlist can be viewed here. Roll on 12 November and fingers crossed!

Stripe launches IRN-BRU’s latest ‘gets you through’ ad

Stripe launches IRN-BRU’s latest ‘gets you through’ ad

IRN-BRU’s latest instalment in its ‘Gets You Through’ series of ads has been unveiled with ‘New Fella’ going live on

Stripe was on hand to launch the new ad which, like other ads in the ‘Gets You Through’ series, celebrates Scots’ ability to handle tough situations with the determination and humour the nation’s known for.

‘Gets You Through’ returns for a second year following the success of the first series of ads which generated a total of more than 2.5 million YouTube hits and saw ‘Fanny’ trending globally. Stripe’s sister agencies, The Leith Agency, created the ads and Blonde, launched it online.

‘New Fella’ airs on TV from Monday 18th March, and there’s more to come from ‘IRN-BRU Gets You Through’ – so watch this space!

Stripe joins with HALO Trust for Anniversary Appeal

Stripe joins with HALO Trust for Anniversary Appeal

The HALO Trust has appointed Stripe to handle an international PR programme supporting its 25th Anniversary Appeal.

The pioneering charity is committed to humanitarian mine clearance around the world, clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance from war-torn countries so that some of the world’s most vulnerable people can plant their crops, rebuild their homes and raise their families in safety.

Stripe’s remit will cover international media relations for the HALO Trust, driving increased awareness of the charity’s commitment to getting mines out of the ground, for good, in addition to supporting a series of events in the UK and US.

Prince Harry has today (Thursday 7th March) become patron of the 25th Anniversary Appeal. The late Princess Diana visited minefields being cleared by HALO in Angola just before her death in 1997, drawing the world’s attention to the horrific legacy of landmines.

Since 1988 The HALO Trust has found and destroyed more than 1.4 million landmines and more than 11 million items of large calibre ordnance (including 195,000 cluster bombs), cleared 9800 minefields and made safe more than 433,000 acres of land.

Guy Willoughby, HALO’s CEO, said “Many people don’t realise that wars might be over, but people are still being killed and maimed by landmines every day – there were more than 4000 victims of landmines in 2011. Working with Stripe, we have a very focused programme for our 25th anniversary year which will help us to raise awareness of this important issue so that we can raise funds to recruit and train more deminers to get more landmines out of the ground more quickly.”

“Working with the HALO Trust is a real defining moment for our ‘Making a Difference’ division” said Vicki Steel, Joint Managing Director at Stripe, who will lead the account. “The progress and impact the team have made in their 25 years is just phenomenal, but we know there’s still a huge job to be done. We’re honoured to be working with them, and supporting their Anniversary Appeal.”

Stripe kicks off ground breaking road safety campaign

Stripe kicks off ground breaking road safety campaign

Country roads account for around 70% of all road fatalities in Scotland and three out of four of those deaths are men. Coulthard is lending his support to the campaign to get across the message that even the best drivers on the world adjust their speed on country roads.

The campaign is being rolled out across TV, radio, online and cinema during March to make motorists aware that they don’t have to be going over the speed limit to be driving too fast.

It is thought this ground-breaking approach is the first time a former Formula 1 driver has fronted such an advert.

To view the advert click here.

IRN-BRU Weighs in with Special Glasgow 2014 Can

IRN-BRU Weighs in with Special Glasgow 2014 Can

Stripe helped IRN-BRU launch a new limited edition can design to mark its sponsorship of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games along with Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist Peter Kirkbride.

Weightlifter Peter from Kilmarnock, who won silver at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 teamed up with Scotland’s other national drink to bring the special edition design to life near the Clyde Auditorium – which will play host to the Glasgow 2014 weightlifting competition next year.

Now available in shops across Scotland, it’s the first in a series of three standout designs being created in the run up to Glasgow 2014, the largest multi-sport event Scotland has ever seen. The design features on IRN-BRU Regular and Sugar Free 330ml cans, and draws on original Barr’s advertising from 1901, when moustachioed Highland strongman, Adam Brown, featured on the label of ‘IRON BREW’ as it was then known.

Search for Scotland’s Greenest Community

Search for Scotland’s Greenest Community

Community groups across Scotland are being invited to show off their green credentials and enter a new national Greener Together Community Award scheme.

The Awards, to mark the Year of Natural Scotland in 2013, will celebrate and reward communities for their environmental action, as part of the Scottish Government’s national campaign, ‘Greener Together’, which is encouraging everyone across the country to play their part in making Scotland a cleaner, greener place to live.

Nominations for the Greener Together Community Awards can be submitted online on from 14 February 2013, as part of the first phase of the initiative. A panel of judges, including representatives from the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Vegware will decide on the winning five projects, selecting them according to set criteria and how well they bring greener living ‘to life’.

Winners will be presented with a Greener Together Community Award plaque in recognition of their achievement.

To be eligible for a Greener Together Award, the community project or initiative must be a live project or initiative in Scotland that is directly related to either • greener home energy • greener travel • local in-season food • reducing or avoiding food waste • reducing consumption or increasing recycling • show the positive effects of the project on the community and local environment

There will be a second phase of nominations for the Greener Together Awards later this year.

For further details visit here.

ScottishPower Announces Largest Ever Investment in Youth Cycling

ScottishPower Announces Largest Ever Investment in Youth Cycling

ScottishPower has announced a six-figure investment in the future of Scottish Cycling which will also see the iconic Scottish brand become an Official Partner of Scottish Cycling.

The sponsorship, launched by Stripe at an event in Strathclyde Country Park, is the largest of its kind ever committed to Scottish Cycling and complements ScottishPower’s commitment to supporting home-grown talent and improving the quality of outdoor facilities available throughout the country.

The announcement was made by Keith Anderson, Chief Corporate Officer at ScottishPower and Craig Burn, Chief Executive of Scottish Cycling who were joined by professional cyclist Rab Wardell and Delhi 2010 road race competitor Eileen Roe – both of whom are aiming to be selected for Team Scotland ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

One of the benefits of the new investment is the opportunity for Scottish Cycling to nurture the potential Olympic and Commonwealth medallists of the future by establishing the ScottishPower National Youth Racing Series and employ a dedicated development officer to run the programme. This will provide some of Scotland’s most talented young riders, aged 8 – 16 years, with access to multi-discipline regional level racing throughout Scotland.