Office news

Behind the scenes with Arcadia Spectacular

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Arc Fri ShotAway-01
Credit: ShotAway

Remember the 50-tonne fire-breathing Arcadia Spider that came to Bristol’s very own Queen Square back in September?

Well, following the success of our work during the city’s year as European Green Capital, the Arcadia team turned to us once again to extend their reputation outside of traditional music media and into the mainstream. And we got to do it at possibly THE best festival in the world….Glastonbury!

With just three weeks to deliver the campaign, we brought Arcadia’s story to life using a blend of social, traditional and online tactics. And with mainstream audiences set firmly in our sights, we needed to think outside the box to make sure coverage didn’t just centre on the DJs. So we secured pre- and post-festival opportunities that told the story of the Spider’s evolution, previewed Arcadia’s own Metamorphosis show and took journalists on a behind-the-scenes tour of the 90% recycled breath-taking behemoth. A big task when you’re battling with 40 other highly visual stages at the festival, and Brexit!

But our strategy worked, with The Independent coining Arcadia as ‘…the frantically beating heart of Michael Eavis’s annual shebang, where ravers go to storm the dancefloor as DJs spin sets amid dramatic pyrotechnics, awe-inspiring circus acts, cutting-edge technology and all-consuming sensory mayhem.’

In total, we generated 35 pieces of coverage outside of their music heartland, including the Independent, Guardian, Telegraph, BBC Radio 2’s breakfast show with Chris Evans and The One Show. The team also secured photographers from 14 news wires including Reuters, PA, Associated Press, Getty and Rex Features which generated picture coverage as far away as Malaysia and Indonesia.

You’ll be pleased to know the on-the-ground team – consisting of Lucy Doyle and Megan Dacey – survived the mud and are now enjoying being back on hard ground for the foreseeable!

The Spider will now embark on a mammoth international tour which will see it wow unsuspecting crowds in South Korea, Taiwan and Perth in Australia before the year is out. Watch this space for more exciting updates.

Until next year, Glastonbury!

Lucy and Meg



Your chance to join our team

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Do you have experience as a PR account executive within an agency environment, along with a strong understanding of traditional and digital public relations? Would you relish the opportunity to work across some of our biggest clients in the retail and fashion sectors, generating exposure at both national and regional levels? If the answer is yes, then you could be just what we are looking for.

copywrite-4smallWe’re looking for a motivated, pro-active and creative PR practitioner to join our friendly, committed and busy office. You will be working as part of a team in a fast-moving environment with lots of scope to make your mark.

A key requirement for this role is a graduate or equivalent qualification with at least one year’s experience at Account Executive level, along with strong organisational skills and good knowledge of social media. You will be a strong communicator and able to connect effortlessly with colleagues in our other UK offices and across the Grayling global network.

You will be responsible for delivering excellent day to day client work, providing a key support role within the team.

If this sounds like you, then we’d be delighted to hear from you. Drop us a line with your CV at

Learn the lesson of Google and Starbucks: tax is ethical practice

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The issue of tax avoidance is hardly a new one. For instance, you may not think the Welsh border-county of Powys was capable of sparking a national debate on the subject, yet in 2015 the small town of Crickhowell (population, 2,801) did.

The Powys tax rebellion attempted to take the town ‘offshore.’ A novel idea, it led to a BBC documentary, extensive national coverage, and even a petition demanding Steve Lewis, a town ringleader, be given a place on HMRC’s board.

With tax avoidance readily in the minds of the public, news that Google agreed to pay £130m in tax was supposed to put questions surrounding the companies’ UK profitability to bed. Instead, it has brought to the forefront of people’s minds the same concerns that the residents of Crickhowell raised: that one set of rules exists for multinational firms, while ‘the rest of us’ pay our share.

Objections were publically raised by the chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, the question was raised at PMQs on behalf of “Geoff”, and it was “not a glorious moment” for the government, according to the Business Secretary. For a few days last week, Google stood on the edge of the same cliff that Starbucks faced in 2012.

The reaction in 2012 was damaging to Starbucks, sure. Yet while 1,000 people from UK Uncut disrupted business across London, there were few store closures, no bricks thrown, and the company continues to operate and expand throughout the UK. The damage, however, has been both deeper and harder to quantify.

Reputation management increases in importance – yet tax gets ignored

The importance of corporate reputation shouldn’t need explaining. It should be no surprise that the 2015 AON Global Risk Management Survey, with over 1,400 respondents including CEOs, CFOs and senior risk managers, ranked damage to brand reputation as the top concern.

This finding is corroborated by consumers, who rank corporate “goodness” as the second most important factor after quality for driving repeat purchases, according to the Brand Goodness Report.

Behind every company lies a product that needs purpose; a justification for people to buy, use, promote and engage with a service or idea. Ethics, or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), covers everything from gender equality to charitable donations and, you guessed it, paying tax.

Given the importance of reputation management, and the necessity to combine tax payments with ethical practice, it should be a surprise that Starbucks returns to the news, though this time over The Netherlands fighting the EU over a tax order. For Google, the prospect of an inquiry by The House of Commons Treasure Committee should also be reason to worry.

Damage to reputation is just as potent a risk factor as a sexual harassment case or supply chain failure, so why should tax be ignored? When even Manchester United footballers get coverage for avoiding road tax, the message to corporations could not be clearer:

Companies like Google should feel obliged to cough up. Not just because it is morally right, but because it will not damage business as much as negative front page coverage.

Blog author: @GraylingUK