July 1, 2016

Unity Culture Club: On Your Radar – 01.07.16

This week, everyone is still talking about Brexit. And rightly so – it is serious and affects us all, with still so much uncertainty and so much still to be resolved.

But rather than feeling defeated by what’s happened, we’re taking the bull by the horns and celebrating those who overcome unforeseen adversity or difficulties. We’re taking our cues from the challengers; the Davids who are not afraid to take on their Goliaths and find a way to make it work (or even make something new).

Which is something quite current right now with the young protesting outside Westminster under the banner of ‘Not In My Name’, who are unwilling to accept something that both failed to represent or include them.

So whether it be the current debate or just the back and forth of a game of tennis, we hope there’s something in this week’s OYR for you to get passionate about.

1. MARCUS WILLIS

This was the week that everything changed for Marcus Willis, a junior tennis champ from Slough who lost track somewhere along the way (apparently pints, not points were his priority) and ended up ranked seven-hundred-and-seventy-second in the world, coaching private tennis lessons and had never qualified for Wimbledon as an adult.

Until this week – when he faced none other than undisputed Swiss tennis champ Roger Federer. What changed for him, and turned his county level fame towards centre court? Rather than taking his ranked place and settle, it was to quite simply, not give up. His girlfriend was apparently the one who told him to try one more time for a Wimbledon place, which is fitting for a fairytale story (and his army of fans chanting Will-bomb probably helped), but ultimately it was his own determination that got him onto the Wimbledon grass.

Despite the fact that he (obviously) lost against Federer, he put on a great performance and moved his ranking up by hundreds of places – showing that even when faced by a Roger Federer-shaped wall of adversity, people can overcome.

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2. DIVERSIFYING ADVERTISING

What happens when you’ve overcome one major challenge, but more is yet to come?

This week, our attention was captured by one plucky student trying to secure funding for further education. After achieving the impressive feat being part of the 1% to win a place at the School of Communication Arts, the most awarded advertising/portfolio school in the world, Naomi Taylor now faces the daunting task of paying for it with little to no traditional financial support. While unable to apply for student grants, she is now knocking on agencies’ doors for sponsorship and refusing to let her opportunity slip away.

She’s looking to bring more diversity to AdLand from her background, with her past experiences having a positive and powerful influence in creating meaningful work – something we admire.

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3. VOLTE FACE

Standing out in the art world is difficult, particularly when attempting to capture a subject that has already been addressed many times before.

However, one photographer has defied this beautifully; setting himself the challenge of providing a different perspective on some of the most well-known monuments around the world. By turning his back on commonly-photographed sites like the Taj Mahal, White House, and Weeping Wall, Oliver Curtis offers viewers an alternative look facing the ‘wrong way’ that is often unseen.

His unwillingness to be daunted by the vast range of existing shots has led to a body of work that is brilliant in its diversity. To see some of it for yourself, head to the Royal Geographical Society in September for his upcoming exhibition.

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4. SOLIDARITY PIN

One of the least palatable side effects of the Brexit result has been the notable rise in open racism and hate crimes.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has revealed a 57% rise in reports to an online hate crime reporting site between Thursday and Sunday compared to a month ago, while social media is awash with users posting cases of post-referendum racism – the majority of which seems to be aimed at immigrants or those who are seen to be immigrants.

A small way the nation is attempting to deal with this issue is the safety pin campaign, born from the idea of showing support for the international community in public – similar to the ‘I’ll ride with you’ campaign against Islamophobia in Australia after the 2014 Sydney café shootings. While a small (and literal) symbol, it is a lovely way of grouping together in a time of adversity and overcoming hate, with wearers openly indicating their willingness to stand up and help out.

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5. WIMBLE-BUM

Not much showcases pure British willpower more than braving The Queue at Wimbledon. The sheer resilience of fans who queue over-night – some even for days – to get a glimpse of Court 1 is something to applaud.

Which is why we’re tooting our own horn a little here and sharing some of our latest work with you: Wimble-Bum. We realised that a Great British problem lay unfixed at The Championships: the pain and discomfort tennis fans feel when waiting for tickets. So, as part of our #directfix campaign, for the Direct Line insurance brand, our team of expert fixers took on The Queue on the first day of Wimbledon.

We arrived armed with specially designed Wimble-Bum padded shorts, as modelled by James Ward, to help make queuing more bearable. The resultant media story saw over 200 pieces of coverage, with almost 300 consumers getting a helping hand.

Here’s to celebrating those determined fans. 

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