Welcome Gen and Ali

Gen and Ali are here! And they are already making a massive difference to our culture and how we get things done, and made. Hooray.

If you'd like the more 'official' details', here they are... 

Genevieve Sheppard (Gen) started her career in documentary and television production in Toronto and New York. Following this, she moved to London and into advertising, where she joined BBH and then W+K where she worked as a TV producer. Most recently she was Head of Production and Executive Producer at B-Reel Films. Genevieve will work across all the agency’s clients and new business, and will continue to progress the agency's support for 'Free the Bid’, the initiative advocating on behalf of women directors for equal opportunities to bid on commercial jobs in the global advertising industry.

Alexandra Kelly (Ali) started her career as an artist agent and producer at Serlin Associates representing fashion and beauty photographers, and then at Pocko representing illustrators and animators. She went on to work at Wieden + Kennedy as a Project Manager and Art Buyer, before joining the Government Digital Service (GDS) where she ran a creative team of filmmakers, writers and designers. The launch of GOV.UK has been widely credited with making government services simpler, clearer and faster. It also won a D&AD Black Pencil. Ali will be continuing to build the team and attract new talent to BETC, developing the agency’s culture and overseeing print and digital production across all clients.

Ali and Gen.jpg

Creating happiness in song form

In October 2017 the Happy Song was born. The first scientifically tested song to make babies happy. The campaign was a hit with parents the world over, culminating in 5.5 million YouTube views, at last count. Today, 10 months after launch, the Happy Song was the topic of Metro’s ‘Behind the Idea’ column. 

It’s a gloomy rainy day, but hopefully the happy song will be bringing some cheer to commuters, and their little ones!


A sneak peek in to one of our new campaigns

We recently shot a campaign for one of our lovely Danone clients. The stars of the show – babies! Over three days, many locations and even more coo’ing little people, we bring you a sneak peek behind the scenes as we prepare to launch the campaign next month. 

Day 1
Call Time – A very early 8AM
Wrap Time –  A very reasonable 7PM
Location – A beautiful house in the depths of East London (estimated value a whopping £2M)
Shooting – Here we filmed and photographed six adorable babies.
Most memorable moment – the cute babies! They behaved very well and we were delighted with the results.
What we learned - babies tend to feel more comfortable in a familiar setting, such as a house vs a studio which can be big and intimidating for them!

When creatives get hot they lean on each other and take their shoes off. Cool.

The location house we’ll never be able to afford. Sigh.

Fiver if you can spot the bee.

Day 2
Call Time – Another early start - 8AM
Wrap Time – we left the house location at 7PM and hopped straight on a train to Kent for the following day’s shoot.
Location – Haggerston Park,  Stepney City Farm & East London
Shooting – Some sunny park shots, the very first of its kind pram cam, our lovely product and the coolest grandad in the world. Then even more babies before heading into the wild at the city farm.
Most memorable moment – Going into the chicken’s den! We sent our brave cameraman, director and art director to get close-ups of the beaky folk whilst trying to avoid getting pecked!

Spring has sprung in Haggerston Park

Respect the product.

Never work with babies or animals. We worked with both.

Donkeys: useless at hide and seek.


Kindred spirits.

Ever wondered what became of the three little pigs?

Day 3
Call Time – Urgh 6AM
Wrap Time – Yay 6PM
Location – Margate
Shooting – We open on a beach… Viking Bay in Broadstairs to be precise. Cue seagull pandemonium, pram cam on the sand and sunburn all round…
Most memorable moment – shooting the seagulls! Turns out the winged wonders are happy to pose if you have a handful of chips for them to gobble down.

Early bird catches the beach sunrise.

We did like to be by the seaside.

Viking Bay, Broadstairs.

Viking Bay, Broadstairs.

Going the extra mile for the seagull shots.

Art Directors: Anything to show off a half tense.

By the time everyone else arrived we had 6,264 shots of the seagulls.

The sun shines out of this art director’s head. 

A fishy finish to proceedings.

Glasses in the air if you’ve got semi-serious sunstroke.

Authors: Karolina & James

Let's do a quick brainstorm

‘Let’s do a quick brainstorm’. Usually floated as the best course of action when something’s either not been cracked, or has been forgotten about. But in the spirit of trying a few new things we had an all agency brainstorm this week - none of the earlier scenarios was actually the case. For the record.

Now I know a brainstorm isn’t a new thing. And people have also been writing about new ways to do them for years. But here’s what felt new and good about it. At least to me.

  • We had a simple, likeable, brief and we weren't under any pressure. 
  • It was quick. We gave ourselves 30mins - in fact by the time things started we had 28.
  • There wasn’t a lot of discussion. People first came up with their own ideas and then got into small groups to pick a small selection of what they thought was best.
  • The decision makers were identified at the start and they had the final say. No discussion. (teams had about a minute each to present their selected ideas).
  • It wasn’t very hard.
  • It was enjoyable, because everyone did it. 
  • It yielded some results. After 28mins we had a bunch of not very good ideas and a few pretty good ones.

I know this is not a seismic event in the world of creative processes. The idea of mixing up collective brainstorming and individual thinking isn’t that revolutionary. It also won’t replace any other process we have. Or get in Campaign. Or on it’s own probably excite Clients.

But, it’s something we now know we can do. People liked it. And I think it paints a bigger picture of the fact we’re just happy to try some stuff. Oh, and as I said, we got a couple of ideas out of it.

Watching TV at work

Every Tuesday lunchtime we now watch a documentary at work. No one’s taking a register and you don’t have to come. The idea is simply to provide some inspiration, hopefully. To sit together. To not eat at your desk in front of Facebook. This week we watched the Christopher Niemann episode of ‘Abstract the art of design’. You’ve probably seen it on Netflix.

Whilst watching an hour of TV at work I’ve found out the following. I eat more healthily when I slow down a bit - a pear AND an apple, rather than a bag of crisps. Watching TV in the office, when still in work mode a bit, is actually really useful - I had an idea for an RFI, got some good bits of terminology for creds meetings, and have sorted my dad’s next birthday present. I also just really enjoyed it, which is no bad thing in itself.

Bringing nature closer to you

Summer is here and it’s time to face your neglected, overgrown, rusty-barbecue-strewn garden and bring it back to life. But it doesn’t have to be a complete nightmare. We’ve been working with KADO to make it super easy for anyone to enjoy thriving flowers for the whole of summer. 

Last year we designed and launched the brand exclusively for launch at Waitrose. This year KADO is available at Tesco, online and in Garden centres,  to spread the word we’re bringing inspiration to you. We created an Instagram lookbook shot by Kristin Vicari designed to hero the human connection with plants.


In a whirlwind two day shoot we shot 3000 images for a social calendar that illustrates the joy of blooming flowers in your garden.

 Closer to P.O.S.

From these shots we created proximity OOH to inspire consumers close to point of purchase.

How Diverse Are We?

Reporting on diversity is tricky for small organisations. Percentages can be misleading when a single hire or departure can shift the proportions in a category by 5 or 10 percent. And you need to be careful about what you’re publishing when percentages on charts might represent a single individual, you risk breaching confidences. Typically, as well, small organisations don’t have HR departments, there’s no one with specific training in what ‘diversity’ questions to ask and how to ask them.

Nevertheless we think it’s important to start monitoring our diversity and equally important for us to share what we can. That report is below. We’re afraid there aren’t any fancy bar charts, there’s not enough data to require them. There’s also a brief note on our method.

Doing this has made us wonder whether there’s a way we can join with other organisations to make this stuff easier for us all, perhaps we can share tools and techniques and create a useful set of comparison data. We’re going to look into that and write more soon.

 If you’re interested in joining in, please get in touch.

What have we learned from the data?

We need to be more diverse. We’re doing better than some in some areas; our creative department, for instance, is 40% women, but even that’s not the 50% it should be and that’s a highlight. We’re too male, too white, and too heterogeneous. We need to fix that. That will be part of our growth plan and we will report on our progress here.

Diversity at BETC London March 2017

(We’ve rounded all the figures so they may add up to more than 100%)

  • 60% of us are men, 40% are women. 
  • 33%of the senior management is female (ie there are two men and one woman)
  • More than half of us (57%) are between 25 and 34. 22% are 35-44, 13% are 16-24, 8% are 45-54.
  • We have no staff who would be defined as disabled according to the 2010 Equality Act and no one with a long-term health problem.
  • We are 57% white (of various British origins) and 26% white (from non-British origins). We’re 5% Black British, 5% Arab and 9% from mixed/multiple ethnic background.
  • 48% of us went to a state school, 26% attended school outside the UK, 26% went to a fee-paying school.
  • 78% of us went to university and 43% of us were part of the first generation in their family to do so.
  • 22% of us are primary or secondary carers for children. (So we’re pretty committed to be a family-friendly place to work)

Note on method

We did this by sending round a Google Forms questionnaire which you can see here.  

It’s based on this one (WARNING - Word doc) from the Solicitors Regulation Authority. They seem like the kind of organisation that would have thought this stuff through. If you’d like to use our questionnaire for your study please feel free. Get in touch and we’ll share it.

Proud to present our first Rimmel campaign

We recently made a new film for Rimmel, launching the new brand tagline ‘Live the London Look’ and a new brand attitude. Everybody I work with knows I love beauty, but when writing this post, I wanted to explore the reasons for this passion in a bit more detail. 

There are probably as many definitions of beauty as there are people on this planet:

Brands are starting to catch up with the notion that beauty can not be defined - and it means something different to everybody. We need to take this truth seriously and do our best to represent and speak to a wide audience. We are connecting with savvy young men and women, a lot of whom look up to the brand and are highly engaged in the conversation. They will call out brands who don’t listen or move with the times. This is exactly why casting was such an important part of our Rimmel Anthem film. We wanted to give our audience a voice and an opportunity to tell us what beauty and makeup means to them. By giving real girls and guys a voice we are speaking with them rather than at them.

It is never boring:

Thanks to YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest I don’t think anybody could ever run out of nail art ideas, tips on how to contour and to generally learn & experiment. This is exciting, both for consumers and advertisers particularly when working on a brand such as Rimmel which is not afraid to push boundaries and experiment. It's even more tempting to try the ‘no-makeup’ look or a new lipstick shade when there are so many affordable products out there. Today - everybody has a chance to play.

It's indulgent:

For me it is indulgent in ways which may not be obvious, the biggest indulgence being time. The time that I take for myself to put on that blush, to play with eye shadows, etc. It’s meditative in a way to slow down and take the time to touch my face, to concentrate, to not be distracted by technology and life.

I am also amazed at what a difference a red lip can make on most women and how an under eye concealer can hide so many secrets.

And because what we all really want to know is what our audience thinks, I asked some teens for their thoughts on our latest film. Here is what they had to say:

·      We like the modern aspect of it and how there are different ethnicities/different types of people included. We find it inspiring how there are a variety of looks not just models- it makes it original.

·      Like how it’s not being the image of ‘perfection’

·      The different paces alongside the urban ‘strong-beated’ music make it engaging.

·      The slower end re-iterates the moral – to be yourself, very well.

·      We did think that the room in which the nails were painted did not look too ‘aspirational’. 

There's a lot  more coming and we can't wait to share with you.

Watch this space and 'Live the London look' 😝

BETC recommends: Infinite Mix


Looking for distraction from the US election results this weekend? We recommend visiting Infinite Mix: Get lost through a series of incredible audio-visual installations on the cutting edge of video and contemporary art.

Taking place in the iconic brutalist building The Store, Vinyl Factory and the Hayward gallery present a selection of 10 contemporary artworks featuring hologram-like installations, multi-screen music videos, cinema-style 3D projections and a bullet-riddled tour of Kendrick Lamar’s home town. Conceptually and emotionally immersive, all genres are blurred, and it’s about time they were. 

“What you see is as important as what you hear”

Devoted to video and music, Infinite Mix represents an inventive approach to layering images and sounds. Most of the artists involved have themselves composed, produced or remixed the soundtracks that relate to the visual elements of their work.

From opera to funk, post-punk, dub, dancehall and hip-hop, Infinite Mix is an experimental trip into diverse weird yet wonderful universes, both thought-provoking and deeply entertaining.

The first room opens the show on Stan Douglas’ Luanda-Kinshasa, a work that finds a 1970s fictional jazz-funk band in the midst of a recording session. Set in a replica of the legendary Columbia 30th Street Studio, the six hours long experience brings up this infinite perspective on which the entire show is based.


Down in the basement, Cyprien Gaillard’s complex and visually-lush film Nightlife, is projected in 3D. The dancing plant-life and trees in his film lurch out at you, waving around to the dub-reggae rhythm of the 1970’s Blackman’s World chorus.

The weirdest piece is without doubt the brilliant and surreal pop-tastic Jeremy Deller and Cecilia Bengolea’s film following the Japanese dancer Bom Bom, who specialises in an impressive mix of gymnastics and twerking. With dream sequences featuring deliberately cheap effects, this is an unforgettable experience.

If it is difficult to say, the most compelling work is probably the very ambitious two-screen video m.A.A.d. by Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph. Mixing beautifully shot, documentary style filmmaking, the artist immerses the viewer into the often-chronicled violent streets of Compton in LA, with surreal scenes moving on Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d city soundtrack.


Dystopia, raw realities or just artistic fantasies: all the installations challenge the boundaries between the real and the staged, the sublime and the everyday, the colours and the sounds.

A deep physical, emotional and cerebral viewer experience - not far from the office - that you cannot miss!

Infinite mix also features work by Martin Creed, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Cameron Jamie, Elizabeth Price and Ugo Rondinone that rethink conventions of documentary film.

Lena Novello