ACM NEWSLETTER 65: 2022 Greatest Hits
If our last 12 months was a Best Of album...
Last year was a whopper for ACM. New clients, huge campaigns, shoots in far-flung locations where the internet is still powered by donkeys in mills, and events that are getting talked about even now, are just a few of the highlights we remembered when we tried to summarise 2022 as a team.
If the last 12 months were a six-song NOW compilation of total hits, this is what the tracklist would look like…
1. WE CREATED HUGE CAMPAIGNS FOR ADIDAS
They said: Showcase the action and inclusivity of Latin American cycling for a fully integrated global adidas campaign; create a social and PR launch that highlights the accessibility issues the adidas Swimming X SOUL CAP partnership addresses.
So we: Underlined “genuine storytelling” in our notebooks a hundred times. It’s at the heart of everything we do at ACM, so we know the way to find real and original talent - not the kind with greasy agents and bad headshots - is to speak to the people who know where to find it. We filled the inboxes and voicemails of our network to help us uncover the perfect production partners and rising talent in the Mexican cycling community before flying out to film for adidas’ Push For Change campaign, and a spectrum of locations and swimmers to authentically prove SOUL CAP’s place as a game changer in the pool.
We learned: That no matter how niche the subculture, there’s always a story to dig up that’ll resonate with a global audience.
We loved: The high fives and high praise our work got from Dezeen, Adweek, marketing pals, and the press.
2. WE THREW A SELLOUT FILM NIGHT WITH ARC’TERYX
They said: Create an event that lights a rocket under the stale ‘film night’ ticklist; give women in adventure, like Ines Papert, the platform they deserve.
So we: Decided our brainstorming session peaked when a reference to classic 80s game shows bubbled to the surface. Our work culture gives the wildest of ideas the space to run, which is why the stage at our Women In Adventure film night at Kendal Mountain Festival was home to a two-metre prize-giving Wheel Of Fortune to keep our huge crowd extra engaged through breaks in the epic film roster. With the sort of timeframe to lose sleep over, did we question whether we could pull it off? Sure. Did we manage to get it done and create the most talked-about event of the festival? You bet we did.
We learned: The only bad idea is ignoring the crazy ones; a two-metre Wheel Of Fortune will not travel easily in rural England.
We loved: The total chaos of our post-event afterparty, where BBC Radio 6 DJ Nemone had an entire room raving right though to Lord knows what time.
3. WE GAVE INFLUENCERS THE REAL HIGHLANDS EXPERIENCE FOR BELSTAFF
They said: Select an intrepid set of London fashion influencers for a hands-on, screens-off field test of the new Belstaff AW22 range; make sure the elements give ‘em hell.
So we: Gave our friends at Orienteer Mapazine a shout. The print mag slash creative agency is as diehard about outdoor gear and adventure as we are. Their crossover into the catwalk side of fashion was exactly what we wanted when looking for a network of up-for-a-soaking influencers to cherry pick from. We briefed in and oversaw a creative that included wild swimming, off-road driving, hiking and more, and used the wilds of Glen Dye in Aberdeenshire as its backdrop and proving ground. Despite the battering our kit received from solid rain, we produced a set of social content that perfectly straddled a hard-to-reach aesthetic between wild escapism and modern city zeitgeist.
We learned: Pine needle tea should be in teabag form; give your photography kit twice as long as you think to dry out.
We loved: Seeing the likes roll in on Belstaff’s IG feed; watching influencer Rory make it across a flooded river without needing a lifeguard.
4: WE WENT ALL IN FOR FIVE TEN
They said: Search for and explore a possible link between the hyper niche mountain biking and BMX cultures; advise on how it affects brand perception and could assist in infiltrating a new market space.
So we: Invested in a lot of Post-it notes. As much as we love a cutting-edge tech programme for our collaborative work as a remote agency, sometimes just putting pen to paper makes sense. Physically stepping back from a project for a wider picture, and grouping on-the-table nuggets of intel into themes is precisely what our 30+ hours of opinions and interviews required. Key authorities, amateur riders, and covershot pros - sourced through our unrivalled action sports network - sent us in some unexpected and unexplored directions, and assisted us in landing on overlooked yet crucial links that can now cornerstone the brand’s future strategies.
We learned: The most important questions you can ask during a global research and data project are the ones you haven’t got written down - be bold and follow new paths of reactive questioning; BMX riders still like nu-metal.
We loved: Seeing and feeling how blown away our client was with our findings and presentation.
5: WE ESTABLISHED YETI AS THE MUST-HAVE OUTDOOR BRAND THIS SIDE OF THE POND
They said: Match the unrivalled perception of YETI in the US as an essential part of any adventure and mirror it in the UK; sustain growth but maintain credibility.
So we: Have made YETI the unofficial sponsor of all remote ACM team meetings. We’re such huge fans of the brand that not a single video call goes by without at least three of us slurping our caffeine from one of their vessels. It’s a sentiment that’s now far-reaching through the UK too. With our support, the indestructible flasks, coolers, and lifestyle accessories have flown their US nest to nab full pages and column inches in titles here, such as The Times and Vogue, helping them reach new audiences and demographics and maximise awareness beyond our beloved adventure cultures. And doing it without sacrificing their core values and beliefs? That’s ACM at our best.
We learned: Increasing awareness effectively isn’t about chasing the numbers. It requires a grassroots approach that adds value to communities, rather than extracting it.
We loved: Learning that YETI’s faith in the ACM team has led us to new brand responsibilities across more European territories.
6. WE WELCOMED SOME NEW NAMES TO THE ACM FAMILY
As well as building these massive projects and strategies that we’re beyond proud of, we also spent a fair bit of time laying foundations for a stoked-filled future that has us all raring to run into the new year. On top of heritage icons Belstaff, we’ve added Scandi travel bag supremos Db and sustainably-focused adventure pioneers Much Better Adventures to the client list, both of which we’ve already begun brainstorming some ideas for that we can’t wait to see run out into the world.
Oh, and we grew our team in other ways, too. We made some major new staff signings from around the world; angling copywriter Chris welcomed baby ripper Seb to his family; bouldering master and Digital Exec Charlotte added Frank the bilingual Romanian rescue dog to her crew; skate sensei Account Director Lyndsay created must-watch adventure film A Land For Everyone; and kilometre-crushing Account Manager Stu brought home some new gold and added it to an already creaking trophy shelf.
So, 2023, let’s see what you’ve got.
Great read and great to see things going so well! Hope to catch up 2023!
Great year for ACM, bravo 🤙🏼