Dave Bedwood was a co-founder of Lean Mean Fighting Machine the first and only UK agency to win Cannes’ Interactive Agency of the Year. They sold the agency to M&C Saatchi in 2013. His twenty year creative experience straddles the 'old world' (the craft of writing a decent ad) and the new (making ideas work through a myriad of technologies).
Ben Silcox has a background in building and running businesses from hotel chains, to health clubs (LA Fitness). He’s also worked in a big networked agency (Havas) where he was Chief Data Officer. Crucially he is capable of bringing the sometimes opaque world of data into a business context.
Bringing these two very different backgrounds together lays the foundations for Creative Probability.
James Faupel is our Head of Broadcast and Film. He has produced award winning advertising across nearly every channel and budget size. Career highlights include producing T-Mobile's BTAA TV Ad of the year 'Welcome Home' and viral sensation 'Royal Wedding'. Previous to joining Cauliflower James was Head of Broadcast at Karmarama.
Creative Probability is the idea that sits at the centre of our offering. It brings together two (usually disparate) fields: data & creativity into the heart of a client's business. Increasing the chance of creative ideas being at their most potent and effective.
Under the bonnet of Creative Probability is its ‘engine’. Built from a range of data sources, analytics, data science tools, and research methodology.
Clients already have access to a lot of data. But most is transactional: the purchases made, the price paid, the date, the channel, the calls to the contact centre, the emails opened, the website visits.
Recently clients have had access to data related to media channels (DMPs and DSPs), programmatic, ‘audiences’ and ‘mobile’.
There are two big problems clients face:
Our Creative Probability Engine is a unique data source of permissioned, business grade data. It will give us a window into the world of the customer by using a ‘panel’ (approx 1200 people, across ages, geographies, demographics and interests) who have given us permission to put a pixel on their mobile phones (technology developed for the Israeli military).
This pixel provides a rich data source that incorporates many aspects of their life. What TV programmes they watch, what TV ads they see, what mobile applications they use, what websites they visit, what shops they go into, even where they enjoy their coffee.
The latest analytics and data science techniques are used across this panel data and then combined with the open data we source from social networks, consumer reviews, forums, blogs, publishers and internet connected devices.
From this, using a further range of data science techniques we can create layers of insight including the emotions, language, interests, topics, theme’s & interactions of consumers.
This data is then fed into our analytics team, bringing ‘man & machine’ together. They do the really hard part, looking for patterns, gaps, signals and trends in order to synthesise and interpret creative opportunities and business actions.
All of this is finally brought into a simple visual interface that allows ourselves and our clients to understand communications opportunities through three complementary views of customers:
This forms the basis for finding business opportunities, efficiency and actions. This is the ground zero of Creative Probability which sets the process on tracks to find the most effective path for strategy, creative and media.
More than ever it is important that communications start with a cohesive approach to media and message, separating the creative ‘idea’ of advertising or marketing from the channel the message gets placed lowers our Creative Probability.
By starting with the highest quality view of real customers, we are able to use data to improve the ‘brand intelligence’ with which communications execution takes place.
A brand should own its own knowledge and context around it’s customer - and then use this knowledge to get the best out of the media channels it uses.
We provide the experience and means to create models and algorithms that help us use Google, Facebook and programmatic media on our terms - no longer having to go cap in hand to these media platforms to understand how to ‘reach’ people’.
The promise of delivering the right advertising to the right person at the right time is enticing to brands. Instant conversion or purchase can be driven from knowledge of people’s state of mind and relevance of the actual creative as an individual.
But it isn’t working for a number of reasons...
Clients and agencies still mimic the ways that they work with TV advertising, using a generalised segment approach with information obtained from companies like Acxiom or TGI and enhancing with location, weather and time to target move effectively. The success metrics still have not changed, with reach and impressions the primary target of campaigns.
Brands should bring content production and advertising closer together in order to understand the real attributes of the consumers they interact with rather than being reliant on others (who do not know their business) to define it for them.
Channels should be thought of as simply a distribution mechanism for all content editorial (including advertising). Brands should focus on an “inside out” approach, where the brands unique understanding of who, how and when they want to interact with consumers leads both the definition of what content to create and how that informs and powers their advertising.
Building and handing these models over to a client’s media agency brings added value to everyone concerned, as well as increasing Creative Probability.
Matching the effectiveness of brand and marketing with the efficient use of their budget is an ongoing challenge for clients.
They will either go to their media agency for analysis, or to their business for analysis and insight. The media agency will give a 'channel and metrics' view - efficiency. The business will give an 'interaction' view - website visits, footfall, products sold.
The space in the middle is a holistic view of people as both those that have become customers and those that haven’t, answering questions like ‘why did traffic increase?’’ or ‘why did conversion go up?’.
Moving beyond just answering ‘what happened’ and gaining sight of new opportunities is part of the service we offer.
Once business strategy is defined, a range of planning, decision making, execution, implementation, buying and measurement activities take place. Each of these have their own language, taxonomy, metrics and definitions of ‘customer’ and ‘consumer’.
Therefore stitching together the day to day communications activity (advertising, digital marketing, social community management, etc) with business outcomes is very difficult.
If it is achieved through techniques such as econometrics or media mixed modelling - it lags behind the real world to the extent that it is very difficult to get the jump on opportunities.
We will sell access to our Creative Probability Engine; so that senior clients have the decision support they need to make take the ‘next best action’.
A monthly subscription will be available which will give clients an online portal of opportunities, trends, signals and patterns with weighted recommendations for actions to be taken.
For a further increase in subscription we will add the client’s own data sources from their business to provide a bespoke perspective only available to them.
Over time we will create a revenue stream that is separate to our services and will have a margin and sustainability that provides a foundation for growth.
The portal will provide clients with a series of insights under three categories:
Emotionally led communications are the most effective in getting customers to choose a brand more often. Disproving decades of persistence in following ‘Information Processing’ based mental models has been the output of recent work from eminent professors like Robert Heath, Antonio Damasio, Byron Sharp and the Ehrenburg Bass Institute. To do this our methodology allows us to combine the latest marketing science research with our Creative Probability Engine (proprietary permissioned data source) and plug it directly into our creative process. We can do this at a scale, speed and depth that was not possible a few years ago. We start by using emotionally intelligent algorithms generated over decades of research at Queen’s University Belfast and University College London which we then synthesise with our proprietary approach to turning the 1s and 0s of data into human insights.
Layering diverse data sources such as consumer reviews, blog comments, published editorial, employee reviews, social network conversations, search activity, customer surveys allow us to then create a multi- dimensional and multi-emotional knowledge graph with which we can identify the expression of 24 different emotions (like ecstasy, rage, anger, surprise, annoyance and trust).
By not using traditional ‘keyword’ or ‘sentiment’ based analytics we are able to understand the emotional intent within people’s behaviour, matching an emotion to an action.
As we proceed through the process of increasing Creative Probability, in the early stages we are looking to understand patterns and signals that help us identify emotional ‘concepts’, their intensity and causes.
Our ability to be effective is being able to bridge the gap between traditional ask-answer research or simply listening. We apply a more subtle, deeper and more sophisticated approach which answers the more difficult questions like ‘why’ people do what they do, what are people exposed to and influenced by, what are the frustrations people experience, what are the evolving things within a category or cultural context.
An example of this was our ability to answer for Absolut Vodka what an ‘unexpected night out’ meant to people in 4 different markets (US, UK, Germany, and Brazil). Finding a ‘global insight’ around something as ambiguous as this with a corresponding series of ‘actions’ the Brand could communicate to led to increased effectiveness that surpassed previous performance.
Every creative agency worth its salt has focused on the effectiveness of its communications; we have simply updated the process and tools to incorporate the latest in scientific research in order to provide a foundation of business based customer insight in order to then unleash the creative power of ideas.
Being a start up means that for now, we have to mostly trade off work done in the past. Even before we planted our Cauliflower, we’ve always believed in the power of idea first, medium and channel second.
The work on the following pages spans everything from branded content, social media, posters, TV, to the latest technology and platforms.
For brevity we’ve kept everything top-line, but all have a fuller story should you wish to hear it.
Client: Emirates Airlines
Media: Press, website, online advertising, social media, in-flight entertainment system.
Brief: To advertise the new direct route from Dubai to Sao Paulo, which changed from 31hrs to 14hrs and 40 mins.
Sao Paulo always comes second to Rio, yet its culture is just as dense and interesting. We wanted to showcase this, whilst also dramatising the new flights duration.
So we found a native ‘Paulista’ and had him talk about Sao Paulo, non-stop for 14hr and 40mins. In one take. We called him Non Stop Fernando.
Of course, no one would watch the entire film, but the story got it into the papers. A website allowed people to jump around the content and explore all Fernando’s depth of knowledge on food, art, culture, music, and history.
The idea also found its way into online banners - the longest interactive banners ever created.
Client: Samsung mobile
Media: Website, online advertising, social.
Brief: To launch the new Beat DJ phone. Which came with B&O headphones to appeal to those who take their music very seriously.
Idea: The Last Call.
Listening to music, on a Beat DJ with B&O headphones means you never want to be interrupted by a call or text. To bring this to life we created a dance event at the O2.
A 24hr silent disco with 100 contestants from all over Europe. They were all listening to their Beat DJ, but if anyone received a call or text, they were eliminated. The last person dancing won £10000.
Before the event all the contestants took to social media to be ‘anti’ social - pleading with friends and family not to call them on the night.
The event was promoted with ad and social campaigns and streamed live for 24hrs allowing audience participation via social media.
Here is a short trailer of what happened (note - this was an awards entry video, not a piece of promoted content)
Client: Transport for London.
Media: 6 sheets, 12 sheet posters, TV, online content, social.
Brief: TFL has many messages, from safety, to river boats, to bikes, to future development work to Oyster cards. There are around 45 different briefs in the system at any one time. As Creative Director on the account, Dave was responsible for all of the creative output.
Idea: Transporting Londoners into the future.
The last idea Dave wrote for TFL was for their Future Development work. How the extension of tube lines over the next 10 years will effect the locals and local businesses. To do this we created 6 posters, each starring a real local, holding an ‘aged’ photo of themselves , whilst talking about how the future tube development helped them reach their goal.
Client: Unilever, Flora.
Brief: To use make Flora synonymous with baking.
People are using iPads, phones and laptops to follow youtube recipes. But with baking and sticky fingers the ability to pause and rewind videos because a touch tricky.
Working closely with Google we managed to make the first ever gestured controlled browser (Chrome). Watch any recipe through the Handy site (simple copy and past youtube URL) and then with a wave of the hand you can pause, rewind and bake way.
However we view it, TV is still king. It might not just be on a TV set anymore, maybe a laptop, a mobile, tablet, a VR headset. But it’s the principles of what makes a great TV ad that stays the same and transcends media.
Cauliflower has the ability to bring these skills into all over our output, from social, to full blown TV ads, or indeed programming and features.
Here is a reel of some previous work from our Head of Broadcast.
Client: Samsung mobile
Media: Experiential (photography exhibitions - London, Frankfurt) website, flickr, twitter, youtube, online advertising
Brief: To launch the Pixar phone which, unlike phones of the day, had an 8mb camera and a comparable start up time to a digital camera. You always have your phone on you, now you will never miss a shot. Which gave us the proposition of ‘spontaneity’.
Idea: The Photographic Adventures of Nick Turpin.
We got famous street photographer Nick Turpin to take a picture in his home town of East Dulwich, then post it online. The public could click any part of the photo they found interesting, when they did, everyone else’s clicks were revealed.
The object in the photo receiving the most clicks then became the subject for Nick’s next photo. This lasted for 30 days with Nick’s travels being dictated by the public.
This is a summary film (note for awards entry, not a promoted piece of content)
Client: Unilever - Signal
Media: TV, website, online advertising, social.
Brief: Launch Signal White NOW. A toothpaste that can give you instant white teeth.
Idea: NOW LABS.
A secret lab run by woman, for woman. Solving everyday female care problems in an instant. The site contained 50 ideas that were in ‘development’ from tights that also remove leg hair, to roots that instantly die themselves. But their first REAL product to launch was White NOW - instant white teeth.
Media: Chrome Browser plug-in
Brief: If Dove wasn’t a company that made personal care products, but still had Real beauty for real women as it’s purpose what would it be?
Women are confronted everyday with images that present an idealised and homogeneous media driven view of beauty. This leads to only 4% of women globally thinking they are beautiful and a crisis in teen girls with body confidence. We wanted to provide a service that would allow content like that to be blocked when a woman was surfing the web.
To bring this to life we created a new algorithm that would scan web pages for content that could be harmful in presenting beauty in a unrealistic sense. This algorithm powered a Chrome plug in that women could download.
When a woman entered a web page with this kind of celebrity or critical content, a message from Dove appeared offering a different kind of inspiring content. Over time the algorithm learned more and more about what women wanted and didn’t want. In research women stated that Emzara was making them think about what they were watching or looking at and questioned how it made them feel.
Client: Land Rover
Media: Facebook video, youtube, social, cinema.
Brief: To launch the new Land Rover Discovery Sport. Land Rover’s overall positioning is about getting outdoors, even in the winter. Summed up with #HIBERNOT. The brief focused on the cars family credentials, even though the same size as an AUDI Q3, its movable back seats allows flexibility.
Idea: THE HIBERNOT FAMILY
We found a real family of four and their dog, to go on a long winters drive. For a week. Visiting Dark Sky observatories, Slate mines, eating outdoors with Ray Mears, mountaineering with Kenton Kool and surviving the Menai Straights with Monty Hall.
Media: Google street view
Brief: Wow people with the sheer size of the new A380
Idea: A380 streetview.
How do you show how big a plane is? By making it the only plane that has its very own google street view. We worked with google to capture the plane and then allow people to look around just like walking down a street.
Client: Louise Saunders Estate Agents
Media: 48 sheet, 6 sheet posters, flyers.
Brief: Create a brand and tone of voice for Louise Saunders a local estate agents up agains the big boys.
Idea: Research showed a big gap for customers between the perception of service that traditional estate agents delivered versus online estate agents. Research also showed that in the act of transacting a house sale and purchase, people lost sight of why they were buying that house and what they were hoping would be better afterwards.
It was in this space that we could position Louise Saunders as adding service value beyond the transactional, as well as removing the competition from fees and functional benefits. This translating into advertising that centred on the emotional benefits and the LS welcoming approach.
It begins with data. Understanding our clients business, then their customers and their behaviours. This is then plugged directly into the creative process. Meaning that instead of trying to minimise an ideas risk (and usually in doing so its potency and ability to stand out) we liberate it. We call this increasing 'Creative Probability’.
All businesses and people within them work differently. And our relationship with our clients is key to increasing Creative Probability. Therefore our process below is quite broad and adapts depending on who we're working with.
‘No stone left unturned’ that wouldn’t be thorough enough for Mr Holmes. He’d want to know the type of rock and the process that generated the resulting stone. Using data analysis and insight tools ‘Holmes’ attempts to ‘know everything’. However, intuition and imagination are also explored and fed into the data. It’s this back and forth collaboration between the client, data, research, and creative that gives us several ‘hypotheses’ from which to test further and work into a brief.
Now we can liberate the creative process. It should be messy, chaotic, unhinged.
A great example is Studio 2 at Abbey Road. The Beatles and Pink Floyd recorded here. Imagine their process: writing, experimenting, false starts, failure, collaborating with technicians, producers, time to stew, time to wrestle concepts. This is what we want to emulate, without, of course, taking 6 months to find the right sound from a spoon.
When concepts emerge they’re discussed with candour. It’s a delicate process, one way we help client’s to navigate this is by using Edward De Bono’s Six thinking hats.
The best idea from Studio 2 needs to find its most effective expression.
Holmes will have already put media and channel recommendations into the brief. But Studio 2’s agnostic approach explores many ways of reaching the desired outcome.
Rattle (named after conductor Sir Simon Rattle) is where we look at all of these variables and orchestrate every single part of the concept into an integrated whole.
In Toy Story 2, Geri, ‘the cleaner’, comes in to restore Woody. “You can’t rush art” he says to his client, before embarking on a lip smacking display of pure craftsmanship.
Geri is the final step in increasing creative probability. We get the best directors, photographers, coders, VR specialists, to cajole our concept out of a powerpoint presentation and well argued strategy and into something that leaves an indelible mark on our audiences grey matter.
As a creative business partner we start with the best of traditional ‘lead creative agencies’; operating in the space between business strategy and brand communications. But rather than start with the ‘brand’ and work outwards, or with the ‘idea’ and work outwards - we start with the ‘customer’ and work outwards.
Not a new thing, but one that has lost it’s way in the increase and fragmentation of media channels. There are now literally hundreds of ways of describing the ‘audience’ that you can buy through digital media channels.
But there is only one customer, the one that stands in front of a shelf and chooses your product or another.
Starting here and getting the strategy right means we can begin with an idea that is agnostic of any place, channel or medium. From this idea we can bring to life communications and experiences across not just any channels, but the most effective ones.
Our organising principle of Creative Probability means our process is always tied to effectiveness, not just in the final output, but how that output is being achieved - putting the time in the right places.
Our combined industry experience means we provide the benefit of connecting the dots together in order to give the right strategic focus for clients, but with the technical depth of the specialist.
Whether it’s making a TV ad, building a website, growing true social engagement, driving mobile e- commerce, increasing leads with SEO or providing the ‘next best action’ for a contact centre - we have the track record of the most specialist of agencies without the ‘wood for the trees’ tactical excesses.
This ability to choose what ‘not to do’ is as necessary for effectiveness today as the knowledge of every new technology and consumer behaviour that comes along.
As a creative business partner we add value through 4 benefits:
The business of creativity is as important as ever and companies will be separated by the ‘have’s’ and ‘have nots’. We are the next revolution of ad agency, a creative business partner, merging people, applying creative thinking, and using data in a way that hasn’t been done before.
George was stuck. He had ‘Something in the way she moves attracts me like no…’ he needed four syllables. John had advice “Put in any four syllables and keep writing - attracts me like no ‘cau-li-flow-er’. Now, get on with it”.
Our ‘Cauliflower’ is data from a client’s business and its customers. Like Lennon we plant it in the centre of the creative process. Increasing the chances of finding that killer melody, and letting us get on with it. We call this: