Category: Around the office

Out and about with Active: Helping the Halow Project

With such beautiful weather and a fantastic racing opportunity to battle on track with the former F1 World Champion, Damon Hill a few bumps and bruises were of little concern.


Competing in kart No1, Team Active (comprising of Kieron Murphy our Head of Press & Out Of Home, Romain Greze from Limited Space, and Rob Doel from Exterion Media) finished in a respectable midfield position.


Active is over the moon to support the Halow Project. The Halow Project is dedicated to creating opportunities and supporting young people aged 16-35 with a learning disability to live independent, meaningful, fulfilled lives and become more involved in their local community.

Find out more about what they do here:


Primesight’s Agency Race Day

When Primesight invited Kieron Murphy and Dan Benjamins down to Brands Hatch for their annual Agency Race day, we thought our two strapping young men would have the competition in the bag!

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Tyre spins galore and rallying up and down the tracks – drifts, turns the lot!

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With the Agencies bringing their game faces and everyone in it to win it, our Head of Publishing and Out Home Kieron Murphy was bringing his A-game to the scoreboards.

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Unfortunately Dan Benjamins received a barrage of internal email abuse once the scoreboards were posted on twitter. With his ego slightly bruised, he admitted to us that whilst it sounded fun, it turned out to be much harder than it looked.

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Well done to all the winners, and many thanks to @Primesight for the invite!

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MovActive does Movember’13

MOVACTIVE raised a brilliant £395 trying to grow enormous tashes to raise awareness, change the face of mens health and help fund research to prevent and cure prostate cancer.

Our Mo-growers were hard to miss walking around the city and did a great job. Thanks to the team for all your effort, and thanks to all for your kind donations.

Who was your favorite Mo Bro?


If you would still like to donate to MovActive, please donate here:

Red Nose Day at Active International

This week our office Manager Heather Shutt has written a guest blog on our Comic Relief activities and fundraising escapades in the office….

Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £800 million to help change the lives of millions in over 70 countries.

From those suffering from abuse here in the UK to people living in urban slums in Africa – Comic Relief supports many issues, and what better way to raise money than by comical entertainment! So what did we do to get in on this?
Always fans of championing a good cause, two years ago Active International employees decided to get involved and raise some cash. Coming to work in our pyjamas for the day, there were strange looks on station platforms and on Oxford Street at lunch – but it was worth it, we raised over £1,600!


This year, we rolled up our sleeves and got involved again. However rather than fashioning our best Disney and woolly Primark pyjamas, we put our creative skills to the test in the kitchen!


We all dug deep in our pockets and donated to participate in an afternoon of decorating cakes and gingerbread men – it was taken very seriously and became much more competitive than we anticipated. With our Marketing Manager, Lua, attempting to thwart potential gingerbread man copycats and our Business Services Director, Steve, hiding his creations in the kitchen – we realised we’d unleashed some real rivalry.

But it was all in good humour, and one of our clients had the honour of picking the winners. Well done to Emma for her winning decorative cupcake design, and Stacey for her winning bikini gingerbread beach bombshell!


You’d be surprised to see the level of excitement created by just a few tubes of coloured icing, sprinkles and sweets – but the aftermath has found the rest of the team gracefully accepting defeat with the donations still rolling in.


Active just loves doing something funny for money! Watch this space for next time!

X Factor Childline Ball – the Auction aftermath.

Active International is proud to be a supporter of the NSPCC and the X Factor ChildLine Ball.

Our CEO Dean Wilson attends annually as a guest of Phillipa Brown, CEO of Omnicom UK – also a big supporter of the NSPCC. This year, the ball rose over £500,000 – enabling volunteers to answer over 150,000 calls from some of the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people.

The annual auction, always a highlight of the evening – has led to a number of interesting icons popping up in the Active offices, as well as the holiday we donated raising over £6,000 for charity.

This year’s artistic addition for £3600 was the Copper Box – the BT Artbox created to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and London 2012. As beautifully modelled by Dean Wilson below, a few of us are still questioning whether it will fit in the lift, and how we can successfully get it up to the 19th floor of Centerpoint tower.

This joins the 2010 Big Brother gold angel winged chair with an acrylic seat for £5000. Whilst I have tried convincing Dean it would look much better in his office behind the desk, he assures me his own office chair is much more comfortable – even if it doesn’t make an entertaining photo opportunity.

The Wednesday Wrap – things we’ve seen… things we love

This week in the Wednesday Wrap, Twitter explains its new products, Don Draper gets milk and the Metro prepares for underground domination.  These are the stories we’ve been talking about lately, tell us yours @ActiveIntlUK

New Twitter Ads For Small Businesses Explained

Twitter has released a really simple video explaining its two products for small businesses: promoted accounts and promoted tweets.  In Californian drawl, the narrator explains that no new content is required and the promotions are automatically targeted based on interests and engagement.

Not just for Twitter neophytes, this video is music to the ears of all those with a bit too much confusion in their lives. Recommend.

Putting the ad back in Mad Men

Last week saw the launch of the fifth series of Mad Men on Sky Atlantic, and brands like American Airlines and the Milk Marketing Forum dug out their 1960s ads and joined in the Madison Avenue fanfare.

Absolutely genius!

Metro fights for tube attention monopoly

Metro, the free newspaper launched its first consumer marketing campaign to raise awareness of the tablet edition of its newspaper.

This comes in the wake of the announcement that TFL and Virgin Media will offer WiFi to passengers at all underground stations, potentially stealing Metro’s monopoly on commuters’ attention underground.

Metro reported last month that almost one third of its UK website traffic came from mobile devices and the iPad app racked up more than 360,000 downloads between October 2011 and February this year.

The Wednesday Wrap – things we’ve seen… things we love

This week in the Wednesday Wrap, Social Media Today pay their respects to Pay-per-click, Citymaps replace street names with brand logos and the latest Fipp report finds innovation still bubbling in magazine publishing.  These are our favourite stories from last seven days, tell us yours @ActiveIntlUK

Street names lose out to logos

New York start-up, Citymaps this week unveiled their latest offering: New York, San Fran and Austin mapped by brand logos, rather than street names.

We’re awaiting the London version with baited breath, not least to see how they cope with Active’s neighbouring brand metropolises, Oxford Street and Covent Garden.

Cynics will say this is a cold-hearted representation of the 21st century tyranny of the brand, but we love it anyway.

Magazines innovate

With the ABC reports harvest little optimism, the Fipp report came to the rescue on Monday revealing magazine publishers’ unyielding innovation in the face of declining circulation figures.

From augmented reality via new technology such as Blippar, to good old scratch and sniff covers courtesy of Esquire, the run to the newsagents has never been more inspiring.  But it’s the ‘handbag mag’ from Hungarian Lack, which gets the vote amongst the ladies of the office.

The Death of PPC Advertising

Since its inception, pay-per-click advertising has effectively cemented itself as a stalwart of online marketing.  But research has revealed that just 18 per cent of SMEs using Google Adwords actually recoup their investment: could the PPC party be over?

Social Media Today certainly seem to think so, citing it as a short-term fix and brand-unaware.  What do you think?

Me, @ Active with . . . me, Kate Kinnish!

So you’ve had a little insight into the worlds of some of my colleagues over the past few weeks, and it’s been suggested that it’s my time to shine! I’m Kate, Director of Travel and Marketing at Active.  If you think you’ve spotted Zoe Ball in a chunky knit around the office, that’ll probably be me.

Say hi @KateKinnish

The best thing about my job is
The people I work with and the places I have been so lucky to visit.  Iceland, Rio, South Africa, Zambia, US, Lapland to name a few!

The key thing I have learnt recently is

What do you have too much of?
Chunky knits

What do you have too little of?

What’s the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased?
An Oast House, a real one!!

What’s your favourite advert of all time?
Compare the Market (I have a secret love for Meercats)

Favourite place in the world?
Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Funniest office moment at Active?
Every day in this place is funny

Favourite thing to do in London?
Borough Market

Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
A cross between Zoe Ball and Chesney Hawkes

What piece of technology can’t you live without?
My iPad

What might people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m really called Elizabeth


What’s your biscuit?

We’ve been a bit obsessed with infographics over the past few months – some useful, some silly and some inbetween. This one, I think I might categorise as the latter. Biscuits are something I take very seriously!

What do you think?

While the office favourite is Fox’s Chunky (sadly not represented above), I still love a good ol’ Digestive.  They’re good for dunking, and always remind me of Peter Kay when he called Rich Tea biscuits ‘one-dips’. You know, the type of biscuit that has little hope of sustaining structure in a steaming cup of tea. They  crumble away almost instantly, sinking slowly down into the bottom of your mug.

And no one likes a soggy biscuit.



Big news! Active International UK has a new MD

By: Dean Wilson

We have a new member of our team here at Active. Mark Chippendale, the former Commercial Director of CBS Outdoor, is the brand new UK Managing Director of Active International.

We’re very excited for him to get started next week, and I know he is too. (If not just because our view on the 19th floor of Centrepoint has to be better than CBS’s!)

On the slightly more practical side, Mark will be responsible for continuing the development and management of our business. The corporate trade market is growing and it became clear to me that we needed additional leadership to continue to drive our business forward. Mark, with his fantastic record across TV, digital, press and outdoor, is the perfect fit.

We’ll save him the embarrassment of having to do a ‘Me, @ Active’ post in his first week, but he better watch out for the next!

If you want to learn more about Mark and his background, check out his news announcement on Media Week.


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