News & views

How to revive the Wimpy brand on the busy UK high street

How to revive the Wimpy brand on the busy UK high street

With the news that Wimpy is planning a comeback, expanding beyond today’s 80 UK restaurants, Campaign asks where it can sit. Bestride the golden arches of McDonald’s, in the wood-panelled surrounds of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, or somewhere else entirely? Recently, the Daily Star reported that burger chain Wimpy was making a “shock comeback to our […]

How mindset mapping explains customer inertia in the energy market

How mindset mapping explains customer inertia in the energy market

Consumers know they’re being overcharged by energy suppliers, but the evidence proves that price isn’t a big enough motivator to switch, writes Soul’s planning director We shouldn’t be surprised with the government intervention in the energy market, introducing an energy price cap for standard variable tariffs. The root cause lies with customer inertia and wrong-headed […]

Don’t Bury Bhopal: a community seeks justice

Don’t Bury Bhopal: a community seeks justice

It’s one of the most horrific, haunting photographs of all time, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. It’s the image of a partially buried, tiny child, her ashen face surrounded by stony soil as her dead eyes stare skywards and her father’s hand takes one last, tender touch. It was taken by […]

Bhopal disaster victims may never get compensation following Dow-DuPont merger, fears UN official

Bhopal disaster victims may never get compensation following Dow-DuPont merger, fears UN official

Baskut Tuncak is ‘deeply concerned’ about the merger between the two companies, which could obstruct justice for victims of the world’s deadliest industrial disaster The UN’s special rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes has said that he is “deeply concerned” the merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont may erase any remaining possibility of the victims of the Bhopal disaster […]

Is ignorance really bliss for creative leaders?

Is ignorance really bliss for creative leaders?

When we launched Soul almost five years ago I soon realised that running your own, independent agency is a very different ballgame to working for others. It was very new to me to have full visibility of the business: how much you’re making; how much you owe; how much you have – or don’t have […]

Soul’s Ben Rachel: advertising should prize the ‘fifth P’ – predictability – above disruption

Soul’s Ben Rachel: advertising should prize the ‘fifth P’ – predictability – above disruption

Disruption has become one of the primary watchwords in modern marketing speak. There’s so much emphasis on the new and the shiny, on the world evolving at a massive rate propelled by technology. No wonder, then, that conventional wisdom has it that the brands and products that disrupt the status quo must be the ones that succeed.

Soul has been appointed by the ferry travel company Wightlink

Soul has been appointed by the ferry travel company Wightlink

Soul has been appointed by the ferry travel company Wightlink, one of the UK’s largest domestic ferry operators, to establish the firm as the preferred choice for trips between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. The agency was hired by Wightlink after a pitch and has been briefed with creating a new programme of […]

How our office disco loo boosted business performance

How our office disco loo boosted business performance

I’m a big believer that a workplace should both reflect and inspire the spirit of a business because it has such a fundamental impact on teams of people, quality of work and, ultimately, success and profitability.

Soul is an advertising agency based in London with a playful spirit and with people at its heart.

Tom Cheesewright on what the future holds for the marketing industry

Tom Cheesewright on what the future holds for the marketing industry

Standing in other people’s shoes is crucial to effective communications, yet technology and AI are changing our world at a continually accelerating pace. And so, at an event in central London recently, creative direct marketing agency Soul asked applied futurist and author Tom Cheesewright what he thinks the world will look like in five, ten […]

Affordable Performance Boosters

Affordable Performance Boosters

“Music is part of our DNA here,” says Mike Cullis, CEO at London-based direct marketing agency Soul. “Our boardroom tables were already decorated with classic album covers, so it made sense to acquire a retro record player. We scoured eBay and struck gold with a 1970s Ferguson Radiogram.” Every Friday, Cullis explains, a different member of the team hits the decks. “No musical choice is deemed wrong,” he says, “and we look forward to the diverse tastes and genres.” Importantly, each track provides new topics of conversation that can spark new avenues of creative thought.

RAR Direct Marketing Agency 2017

RAR Direct Marketing Agency 2017

We are thrilled to have been awarded RAR Direct Marketing Agency 2017. This award matters a lot to us, as it is awarded as a result of client ratings. We are absolutely delighted that our clients hold our Direct Marketing offering in such high regard, and know that we couldn’t have done it without the […]

The Power of Personalisation

The Power of Personalisation

Mike Cullis, our CEO, has been quoted in The Times, talking about the power of personalisation and how technology can help. ‘Learning on the hoof is a must. This will make artificial intelligence (AI), with its learning capacity, important and brand consultancy Soul is looking at embedding AI into the customer experience of a loyalty […]

Sproutastic News

Sproutastic News

Sproutboard BS – 1.1 was awarded GOLD in the Digital – People’s Choice award at the Creativepool Annual 2017. Up against some massive brand names and even bigger budgets, we’re over the moon to see the humble brussels sprout come out on top. We couldn’t have done it without your support, so thank you to […]

Soul wins advertising for Bhopal Medical Appeal

Soul wins advertising for Bhopal Medical Appeal

The Bhopal Medical Appeal, an NGO working to better the lives of thousands of people still living in the shadow of the world’s worst industrial accident, the Bhopal disaster, has chosen to partner with Soul on its advertising. The Bhopal Medical Appeal (BMA) works on behalf of victims of the accident that took place in […]

Inside the agency bathrooms of the EU

Inside the agency bathrooms of the EU

Great ideas creep up on you when you least expect them. And advertising agencies have always taken great pains to create an environment that can foster “aha” moments for their creatives. For many, this extends to the bathroom too. While we’ve toured various ad agency offices, there’s often been one room missing: the bathroom. Turns […]

How Do We Trump Trump On Sustainability?

How Do We Trump Trump On Sustainability?

One of the key words on the global agenda for 2017 (and necessarily beyond) is sustainability. After all, 2016 has just been declared the hottest year on record and human activity is to blame.

But with Donald Trump now being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, hopes of progress towards a more sustainable planet look increasingly fragile – in a bigly way, as he might say.

Why transforming failing car websites will provide an unlikely boost to agencies

Why transforming failing car websites will provide an unlikely boost to agencies

Car company websites need transforming and a sales downturn will provide the jump-start the sector needs, writes Ben Rachel. On the face of it, this is boom time for car brands in the UK. The latest figures, from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, show new car sales hitting a record high of 2.7 million in […]

Soul office given a musical artistic makeover by Leopard’s Lunch

Soul office given a musical artistic makeover by Leopard’s Lunch

Soul has commissioned London artist Kate Philipson, aka Leopard’s Lunch, to create a series of striking murals to decorate the agency’s office interior. The artwork entitled ‘Bubbling with Creativity, Oozing with Soul’, has a bold, pop art style that brings much needed colour and life to the Soul office. The brief was to liven up the […]

Have a Merry Sproutmas with the World’s First Sprout-Powered Musical Instrument

Have a Merry Sproutmas with the World’s First Sprout-Powered Musical Instrument

They’ve always polarised opinion at Christmas – but now everyone can celebrate the humble Brussels sprout with the world’s first online sprout-powered musical instrument. The Sproutboard BS -1.1 is a fun, free online game where you can rattle out some Yuletide songs to feast your ears on and delight family and friends this festive season. […]

Waypoint Predictor: what does 2017 hold for online PR, media, CRO, integrated communications, DM and mobile?

Waypoint Predictor: what does 2017 hold for online PR, media, CRO, integrated communications, DM and mobile?

Earlier this week The Drum Network and Waypoint Partners launched the Waypoint Predictor in which a number of agency leaders from a range of agency and business types outlined what they thought was going to be happening in their sector in 2017. In part two it is the turn of agency owners from the worlds […]

Why Amazon Go Will Make London Feel More Like New York Than Sunderland

Why Amazon Go Will Make London Feel More Like New York Than Sunderland

There is a brutal simplicity to how Amazon does things. The complexity behind Amazon Go is immense, but the simplicity of the experience is beguiling. Just watching the explanatory video makes you want to do it. Much like an extremely cocky shoplifter, you just walk in grab what you want and, well, go.

Marketers Face The Intimacy Paradox

Marketers Face The Intimacy Paradox

Mike Cullis, CEO at Soul, says the possibilities of new technology can often take over and the human element is forgotten, when, in fact, “having an understanding of an empathy with the person involved, or ‘user,’ is what makes the technology actually work successfully.”

Christmas crackers: the ads and creative that wowed the marketing experts

Christmas crackers: the ads and creative that wowed the marketing experts

The Christmas period is a time of massive importance for brands and retailers, and one of extreme competition highlighted by the deluge of advertising and other communications that hit consumers. Tesco’s marketing director last week compared this to a “wind tunnel” that has compelled the supermarket to think differently in terms of its own approach. […]

It’s time to turbo-charge the customer car-buying journey

It’s time to turbo-charge the customer car-buying journey

Automotive companies spend millions marketing their shiny new cars but they could do with revamping the customer journey too, argues Mike Cullis from Soul. Automotive is an extremely sophisticated sector, featuring complex structures and obsessively designed products that command an enviable retail purchase price, averaging £22,000 in 2015. Yet, too often, the customer experience provided […]

Are the Black Friday sales worth it and are the deals real or a con?

Are the Black Friday sales worth it and are the deals real or a con?

Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas season when thrifty shoppers will spend billions of pounds in an attempt to snatch up the best of the cut-price products on offer. The 2015 event saw Britons collectively spend £2bn in shops and online in the 24-hour period, and £3.3bn over the entire four-day weekend. By 9.10pm, Black […]

Stop the navel gazing and just get on with the work

Stop the navel gazing and just get on with the work

The decision by the US Direct Marketing Association to dump the word ‘direct’ from its moniker and replace it with ‘data’ has prompted yet more soul searching over this side of the pond. Our very own DMA is also believed to be wringing its hands about what to do with its own name – ‘direct’ […]

Panorama shows profit is still trumping principle in the world of fast fashion

Panorama shows profit is still trumping principle in the world of fast fashion

The drive for cheaper clothes has inevitable results in places where people are desperate – but an ethical approach is possible, writes the chief executive… In the same week that Syrian children were transported from the Calais Jungle to start a new life in Britain, a Panorama investigation uncovered other refugees who had not been […]

How advertisers can ease big data anxiety

How advertisers can ease big data anxiety

Who’d have thought it? Data gets people more agitated than a Donald Trump supporter at a Hillary Clinton rally. New research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing suggests that people are “bewildered and fearful” of companies sharing their personal information. Major incidents such as the hacking of data from 500 million Yahoo! accounts do little […]

Burberry’s ‘see-now, buy-now’ move highlights need for luxury brands to embrace 1-2-1 marketing

Burberry’s ‘see-now, buy-now’ move highlights need for luxury brands to embrace 1-2-1 marketing

Today’s luxury consumers come in many different shapes and forms, making a one-size-fits-all mode of marketing no longer good enough, says Mike Cullis, CEO of creative direct marketing agency Soul. Much has been made of Burberry’s decision, starting at London Fashion Week, to make its catwalk collections immediately available in store and online. And rightly […]

The Drum, New Hires, Soul has hired Pete Williams and Chris Day as creative leads

The Drum, New Hires, Soul has hired Pete Williams and Chris Day as creative leads

Soul welcomes two new appointments this week with Pete Williams and Chris Day joining the agency as creative leads. The duo have been working as a creative team for 14 years with brands such as P&O Ferries, Churchill and Vauxhall. Founding partner of Soul, Shaun Moran, said: “Chris and Pete mark an important stage in […]

Mike Cullis in The Drum

Mike Cullis in The Drum

“Context is all important. Ultimately it allows you to learn what the right content in the right place and at the right time is. Over time that allows us to improve and develop the best content in the best possible places and for the best types of people.”

Avios appoints Soul as below-the-line agency partner

Avios appoints Soul as below-the-line agency partner

Avios, the travel rewards business, has appointed Soul as a below-the-line agency partner and sole CRM agency after a competitive pitch process involving eight other agencies. Dina Yacob, Head of CRM at Avios said, “We are very excited to partner with Soul as we strive to create the best possible experience for our customers. Our […]

We’ve moved to a bigger and better, shiny new home

We’ve moved to a bigger and better, shiny new home

If you’re visiting us for a meeting, to catch up or just to hang out, you’ll now find us at the gloriously named (and beautifully appointed) Zeppelin Building. We can’t wait to welcome you and give you the grand tour soon. We’re still right by Farringdon tube and you’ll find us here: Soul Zeppelin Building […]

Young and independent: can newer ‘direct’ agencies be successful on their own?

Young and independent: can newer ‘direct’ agencies be successful on their own?

Mike Cullis, the managing director of Soul, looks at whether young, independent direct agencies face the same difficulties as above-the-line shops.   Unlike a fair proportion of the agency world, we didn’t head to Cannes last month. Maybe next year. Still, it would be interesting to know how many independent agencies of our age, size […]

Context is King

Context is King

Content requires context to achieve the greatest impact.  Understanding both consumer and environment is essential in matching content with the correct context. Faced with so much choice, the decision about which brand to buy is beset with potential for anxiety, guilt and regret – not words we like to associate with our happy world of […]

Homeless app to help save lives

Homeless app to help save lives

Behind the Idea: Pioneering people and ideas in the creative industries Creative agency Soul solves the dilemma of ‘to give or not to give’. Director Shaun Moran explains how: So, what’s the big idea? It’s an app that we’ve created for London homeless charity, The Connection, which is going to change the way we give to […]

Soul launches ‘Donate Locate’ app for The Connection

Soul launches ‘Donate Locate’ app for The Connection

Creative direct marketing agency Soul has developed the concept for a new app on behalf of The Connection at St Martin’s that is set to change the way we help the homeless. Homelessness charities often tell the public not to give to homeless people on the street because the money is often spent on alcohol […]

The Connection launches innovative app to streamline donations for the homeless

The Connection launches innovative app to streamline donations for the homeless

Homelessness charity The Connection at St Martin’s is launching a new innovative app ‘Donate Locate’ that is set to change the way we help the homeless. The app allows users to donate a small amount – £1, £3 or £5 – to the charity when you see a homeless person, whilst at the same time recording their […]

Homeless charity The Connection at St Martin’s launches ‘Donate Locate’ smartphone app

Homeless charity The Connection at St Martin’s launches ‘Donate Locate’ smartphone app

The Connection at St Martin’s has worked with creative direct marketing agency Soul to develop a new app concept that could change the way the public donate to the homeless. The Donate Locate App allows users to donate a small amount to the charity when they see a homeless person, recording their location via the […]

Advertising’s innovators embrace digital shakeup

Advertising’s innovators embrace digital shakeup

Technology has opened new doors to creatives and fostered a wave of innovations – but is it about to recast how the industry itself functions? When it comes to creating the perfect storm for creative output, it’s all about having the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Agencies have long needed […]

Soul nominated for Best Breakthrough Agency of the Year in MAA Best Awards

Soul nominated for Best Breakthrough Agency of the Year in MAA Best Awards

Cheil has work shortlisted for categories including Best Integrated, Best Campaign Doing Differently and Best Advertising. There are 34 categories in the 25th anniversary of the awards. Iris Worldwide follows Cheil with nine nominations overall, Arc has been shortlisted seven times, and Elvis and Haygarth Group have six nominations. Cheil is also in the running for […]

Shaun Moran of Soul: the best ads of 2014

Shaun Moran of Soul: the best ads of 2014

Shaun Moran is a founding partner and creative director of London direct marketing agency Soul. He began his career at Wunderman where he was promoted to head of copy at the tender age of 28. Since then he has worked at a range of agencies including Partners Andrew Aldridge, growing it from a six-man start up […]

Soul adds spice to Relish campaign

Soul adds spice to Relish campaign

Broadband newcomer Relish, which offers fast speeds in central London without the need for a landline or the costs of installation, is launching a highly targeted acquisition campaign through Soul. The direct mail campaign for the service, which uses a simple 4G hub that plugs straight into the mains socket, uses micro-targeting at street and […]

Can We Fill the Talent Gap?

Can We Fill the Talent Gap?

The UK creative industry is a powerhouse; one of the country’s most dynamic and thriving commercial sectors. The truth is, it’s not doing as well as it could be, in part due to a growing talent gap.

Ever considered launching your own agency?

Ever considered launching your own agency?

(Top: Richard Morris, Helen Calcraft, Jason Foo, Middle: Jim Paterson, Nick Fox, Mike Cullis, Bottom: Neil Hughston, Neil Simpson, Matty Tong) Following hundreds of conversations over the past decade with industry folk about their career aspirations, one theme seems to come up time and again – ‘one day, I would love to run my own ad agency’. Aside […]

Soul creates hard-hitting anti-begging campaign for The Connection

Soul creates hard-hitting anti-begging campaign for The Connection

Creative direct marketing agency Soul has launched a hard-hitting campaign on behalf of homeless charity, The Connection at St. Martin-in-the-Fields to highlight some of the issues associated with giving money to homeless people on the street. The campaign, which launches in August, uses a range of stark monochromatic images; one is of weathered hands reaching […]

Charity tells people not to ‘contribute to death’ by giving homeless money

Charity tells people not to ‘contribute to death’ by giving homeless money

The Connection: hard-hitting ads to convince people not to hand homeless people money A stark black-and-white shot of a beggar’s out-turned hands is accompanied with the words “Please don’t contribute to a person’ death”, in a hard-hitting campaign for charity The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields. The campaign is pleading with Londoners not to give homeless people […]

Tour de France: How have Yorkshire brands used The Grand Départ?

Tour de France: How have Yorkshire brands used The Grand Départ?

It’s not often that Yorkshire, England, is in the spotlight on the world stage, but this weekend it certainly was. The Tour de France kicked off and Yorkshire businesses and infrastructure experienced millions of people turning out to see the Départ. I thought I’d do a little round up of the official supporters of the […]

Yellow fever strikes

Yellow fever strikes

Yorkshire Building Society: hopefully the client didn’t feel fleeced. In case you missed it, the Tour de France has just passed through England, giving agencies a tenuous excuse to, erm, flex their creative muscles. Soul dyed the coats of 150 sheep yellow for Yorkshire Building Society – a stunt worthy of a Cannes Grand Prix […]

Soul creates Unewesual campaign for Yorkshire Building Society’s support of the Tour De France 2014 Grand Départ

Soul creates Unewesual campaign for Yorkshire Building Society’s support of the Tour De France 2014 Grand Départ

Creative direct marketing agency Soul has brought to life an ambient campaign for Yorkshire Building Socieity (YBS), in support of the Society’s sponsorship of the Tour de France Grand Départ 150 sheep in Yorkshire have had their wool dyed yellow in honour of the Tour de France leader’s famous yellow jersey. Soul has teamed up with a local farm […]

Yorkshire Building Society rolls out Tour de France campaign

Yorkshire Building Society rolls out Tour de France campaign

The YBS poster campaign, created by Soul, launches on 30 June ahead of the start of the Tour de France. The first stages take place in Yorkshire on 5 and 6 July, before the tour heads to Cambridge, London and then mainland Europe. YBS is the official broadcast sponsor of the first three stages of […]

Yorkshire Building Society crowns the region the ‘most beautiful race track in the world’ in Tour de France sponsorship campaign

Yorkshire Building Society crowns the region the ‘most beautiful race track in the world’ in Tour de France sponsorship campaign

Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) has worked with creative direct marketing agency Soul to craft a new campaign announcing its sponsorship of the Tour de France Grand Depart as part of the building society’s 150th anniversary. Spanning TV indents, press ads, branch collateral, 48 and six sheet posters as well as in-branch posters, the creative focuses […]

Direct marketing trio launch Soul

Direct marketing trio launch Soul

The former Lida creative director Shaun Moran, the ex-Elvis managing partner Mike Cullis and the former CMW planning director Ben Rachel are teaming up to launch a direct marketing agency called Soul.

Putting Soul back into the business

Putting Soul back into the business

They used to say that when budgets are tight, clients instinctively turn to direct marketing. If that is still the case – and no-one is arguing against it yet – then the past few years should have seen a stampede of new agencies, eager to exploit the economic downturn.

Direct marketing should be louder and prouder

Direct marketing should be louder and prouder

There is hope on the horizon. Recent start-up Soul, for instance, is proud to call itself a direct agency and revels in its ability to understand customers and, wait for it, actually sell them things. It would be great to see more established agencies adopting this sort of stance and displaying greater pride in what they exist to do.