2017 was a bit pants overall, next year we all have to take it up a notch or two.

Let’s be honest, 2017 wasn’t that great.
The government’s plan for departing the EU began to unravel as it became clear it wasn’t even written down on the back of a fag packet.
A misogynistic psychopath took control of the highest office in the free world and while he hasn’t taken us to nuclear annihilation yet, his diplomatic skills to avoid it are somewhat questionable.
Then there’s been the whole Weinstein fallout which has at last shone a light on the disgraceful, seedy behaviour of powerful (mainly white) men in all industries including our own, however this has mainly been exposed (unfortunate term) in the US thus far but will I’m sure gather momentum in the new year.

All that and the Grim Reaper came calling for amongst others Keith Chegwin, Sean Hughes, John Noakes and Sir Roger Moore. So, come in 2017, quite frankly your time is thankfully up.

At the start of this year, I wrote about optimism and how we should all accelerate into the challenges that lay ahead. However, there’s no two ways about it, 2018 is looking decidedly unpleasant and I cannot in all honesty offer up the usual “everything’s great, you are the change you’re looking for” post you’ll find plastered all over LinkedIn. Sorry but balls to that.

Now I’ve got the doom and gloom out of my system… the past 12 months have been good for the Bears, honestly, they have.

We proudly won 18 industry awards at six ceremonies across Edinburgh, Birmingham and London for numerous clients in a multitude of categories from PR to advertising, design to digital. Creatively we produced some of our best work to date and financially we’re on target to deliver what we set out to.

We launched our new website (if this is your first visit, have a look round, we won’t bite) to really emphasise our positioning of ‘Sometimes it’s an ad’ and showcase how we think.

My personal top 10 creative highlights from the agency were:
  1. Look beyond London online films for National Express. Made for next to nothing and brought to life by the voice of Diane Morgan.
  2. See you first thing Britain campaign for Triton showers which ran not only on TV and social media but all across their business including signage and van livery. It’s now rolling out in Ireland with a new VO and endline.
  3. Tomato & St Basils Soup for the youth homeless charity. A clever little mailer that warmed the hearts of those who received it. Look out for this getting bigger in 2018.
  4. Ouch for National Express. A one word 48 sheet poster and a fun radio commercial.
  5. Gingerbread home for St Basils. A gift from the charity to its supporters at Christmas to say thank you.
  6. B-Hive website. We’ve supported this initiative of showcasing the regions best student talent to local agencies since its inception and we’re proud to have given the website a new buzz.
  7. Branding and website for Youth Voice. An arm of St. Basils, we started with a blank piece of paper and developed not only a great logo but all the collateral for them.
  8. Window on life for National Express. A series of three social films all shot in one day that tells the stories of why people are going where they’re going. We even had a client crying (in a good way) at the script read through.
  9. Thanx for National Express. A fun alternative way to deliver Christmas. A campaign running across so many channels and the competition engagement has been off the scale.
  10. Finally, our Mailbox pitch. We didn’t win it and I can’t show it but trust me, it was bloody good and should be running.
The top ten blog posts of the year were:
  1. 10 bollockings for the student me.
  2. Peace, love and ice cream.
  3. Snatching Victory from the jaws of defeat.
  4. Don’t shun the pun.
  5. Why you’re going to struggle to Excel as a creative.
  6. Ideas that stand on the shoulders of giants.
  7. For whom the PR bell tolls.
  8. Boom and there we have it.
  9. But Toby.
  10. A burning desire to get it right.

So, that was the year that was. We got through it and as ever, we face up to the challenges that lay ahead with optimism and fire in our bellies (as well as the remnants of a tin of Quality Street) and I leave you with this quote from an interview I listened to with Ben Priest of Adam&Eve DDB fame:

“We stopped trying to be different and decided to focus on just being good.”