Normally this would be where we’d hit you with logos. But we don’t think that really tells you much about what we do. So instead, we thought we’d share some of the things we’ve been up to recently, and why we are proud of them.
Borkowski.do was set up because we believe there is a different, and better, way of doing things. All of our projects are testament to the power of the story: each of them is built on a deep, genuine understanding of what it is that makes our clients tick. We don’t just work with one type of client, in one industry- instead we choose our clients because we get what it is that drives them to do what they do, and we believe in the story they have to tell.
These are a few of our favourite projects of the last year.
The Royal Mint knew that their approach to communications needed changing- but they didn’t know how. We wanted to challenge the perception of The Mint as a stuffy, government organisation through an entirely new way of managing public perceptions.
We spent an extended period with The Mint, learning about its 1000+ year history, meeting the wonderful characters at its heart, and understanding how they operate. On the basis of all this information, we created a comprehensive audit, offering them a totally new perspective on what makes them a fascinating, relevant organisation- and why the media should care. Our work fundamentally changed the way the Royal Mint generates stories about its work, equipping them with a slew of brilliant story ideas and ensuring that every time an article appears, it genuinely communicates the importance of the Mint to British culture.
Our consultancy has been called upon by the Criminal Bar Association, a much misunderstood body, as they face severe cuts to their funding. Our knowledge of the broader landscape within which the CBA operates enabled us to take their message outside of the legal ghetto, communicating why the proposed changes to legal aid threaten everyone, and tooling messages according to the political bias of various audiences. We secured, within a few days of beginning our work, face-to-face meetings with the editors of leading national newspapers including the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror and news programmes including Newsnight, resulting in high profile press coverage fully articulating the CBA’s argument- importantly, outside of the legal pages.
Greenpeace wanted help with their campaign to stop the exploitation of the Arctic from “big oil”. It was the first time they had employed an external consultant of this kind, and with the Rio Earth Summit looming, we had only 48 hours to make a difference. Through our black book of contacts we brought together renowned creative Trevor Beattie and iM London producer Julia Reed, who collaborated with us and Greenpeace on the creation of a film, released to coincide with Rio and supported by a viral campaign, spearheaded by celebrity tweeters engaged by Borkowski. The result was a media launch unlike anything Greenpeace had experienced before, with 10,000 sign ups in the first hour alone, coverage across virtually all daily national broadsheets and tabloids as well as communications trade press and press across the globe. Charity is another field where our work is recognised and celebrated- Andy Hackman, Head of Brand at Amnesty International, said of us: ‘We trust and respect the agency’.
Sometimes, only a stunt in glorious fashion will do the trick. Lower Mill Estate offers home buyers the opportunity to purchase a bespoke home, built according to their specifications. With Christmas on the horizon, Borkowski spotted the perfect opportunity to communicate the willingness of Lower Mill Estate to go the extra mile. 6 year old Leo Park was concerned that Santa Claus wouldn’t fit down the chimney of his new family home on the estate. That’s when Borkowski and Lower Mill Estate drafted in the architects, who planned, and built, the perfect Santa Claus friendly chimney. The chimney was tested out by Santa who declared it to be a ‘perfect fit’- resulting in acres of press coverage, and one very happy little boy. Who says Borkowski can’t make wishes come true?
When Adelaide, South Australia launched a controversial ad campaign with slogan such as ‘Stuff London Traffic’ and ‘Bugger it, I’m off to Adelaide’, Borkowski used tactical publicity to spark debate about the adverts, securing extensive coverage and overcoming the challenges of working with a rigid federal government. We have been commissioned to oversee the process of further developing their communications strategy, building challenging and disruptive ways of generating recognition, particularly through social media. Our work has resulted in an 80% increase in potential targets for skilled workers to move to Adelaide. Bill Muirhead, Agent General of South Australia and founding director of M&C Saatchi was moved to say of Mark: ‘You’re the man. My hero.’
Sundrop Farms told Borkowski about their work as the first company in the world to grow fruit from seawater- an economic, environmentally friendly means of creating fuel and food in response to climate change. The thinking underpinning their work is hugely important; unfortunately it wasn’t easy to understand. So Borkowski brought in a crack team of creatives to make a film explaining the work of Sundrop Farms in a simple, entertaining video. The video served to illustrate Sundrop Farms’ message for lobbying and in order to generate further investment.
Dr. Thom is a leading online pharmacist, the digital offering of Lloyd’s Pharmacy. Borkowski worked on an audit to find its compelling stories and make the brand a disruptive, challenging alternative in the marketplace, developing a plan to make it famous, building a self-sustaining customer base that will continue to grow exponentially throughout the years to come. They adopted our ideas, positioning them as campaigners for the baby boomer generation, and our plans will come to fruition in a television format in 2013.
Other brands have turned to us for thought leadership based on our ideas. For Unilever, Mark hosted workshops and lectures with the representatives of entire global brand about the power of the story, and challenging the tyranny of the press junket. He was the key note speaker at Imagine London, Microsoft’s advertising executive thought leadership conference, speaking about the challenges of dealing with the Now Economy. He also hosted a creative thinking workshop for delegates from United International Pictures.
For Diageo, Mark is offering insight and consultancy about the Drink Responsibly campaign, and in particular how it can be most effectively communicated through social media networks.
Borkowski works closely with Universal Music Group International on a global level, developing and honing strategy on long-term projects, recently offering tactical support and lobbying around the EMI merger. Borkowski has been particularly focussed on solidifying Universal’s commitment to moving classical music forward through a range of schemes including Sinfini and The Yellow Lounge, which now has a reach of 8 million worldwide. We offer personal advice to Max Hole, Chief Operating Officer of Universal.
Borkowski manages celebrity reputations, and has a long term relationship with Noel Edmonds, most recently presiding over his return to glory at the helm of Deal or No Deal. When Edmonds was faced with an internet troll Borkowski advised him to reject the normal course of action and instead to track down his troll and meet him face-to-face. The case set a new precedent for how celebrities deal with online trolling. Noel is one of a number of high profile clients for whom we maintain counsel.
Borkowski’s black book was put to fine use once again when we introduced Skype to pantomime producers Qdos, brokering a sponsorship deal worth hundreds of thousands in a matter of days. This followed on from the huge success of our work with Qdos in 2009, when we introduced them to Churchill Insurance- arranging for the brand’s iconic nodding dog to appear in that year’s pantomimes, securing acres of coverage with journalists who would never normally given the insurance company a second glance.
The Happy Lands is a new feature film by Theatre Workshop Scotland, created through an unusual collaboration with non-professional actors and crew drawn from the Fife community, and based on their personal stories and histories. A high quality production of considerable artistic merit that sets a new standard for Scottish film making, the film suffered a perceived lack of commercial viability amongst distributors, due to the challenging subject matter. Borkowski’s strategy was to capitalise and amplify the significant interest in The Happy Lands from the unions and senior political figures, creating the narrative of a left wing, political film backed by enormous grassroots demand.
Keith Allen and Victor Lewis-Smith are people after our own hearts. Frustrated with the blanding out of British comedy, they joined forces to bring back Peter Cook’s iconic 1960s members’ club, The Establishment, with the blessing of his widow, Lin Cook- a new home for offensive, politically incisive, unbroadcastable comedy and cabaret. The extensive coverage generated by Borkowski around the launch moved beyond simply highlighting the event- it prompted debate around the state of British comedy today and why The Establishment has such an important role to play, as well as activating for the first time Peter Cook’s extensive archives.
When BBC wrote to the famously acerbic radio and television producer and critic Victor Lewis-Smith asking to be allowed to film the event, his blunt- and hilarious- response was ‘leaked’ to the press, generating a Twitter storm that only served to underline the relevance of the enterprise. The opening nights were attended by starry guest list from across the entertainment and media worlds, and extensive coverage followed.
The home of unbroadcastable comedy has now secured the sponsorship of a major TV channel- a particularly Borkowski-esque twist in the tale. Lewis-Smith- one of the most feared television critics of the last two decades, who said of The Office ‘I was pretty close to tears. Of despair.… dross’, had only this to say of the campaign: ‘Bravo the entire Borkowski team- perfect delivery.’
Borkowski.do also maintains an Arts and Ents Division. We think it is important we are embedded in this world- it keeps our thinking fresh and creative- and it means we have the collateral the influencers care about. Dee McCourt and her team have just orchestrated some of the biggest PR successes of the summer, including the launch of this year’s (decade’s?) most talked about musical, Viva Forever; highlights of the festival season The Great Escape, WOMAD and Cornbury; and the brilliant management by the team of LIFT and London 2012 guerrilla dance spectacular Surprises STREB- under strict embargo until the night before launch and resulting in extraordinary media reach, including 10 international broadcast outlets and three national front covers.