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Probably the Best Vegan Creative Agency in London…

We’ll gloss over the fact that we’re probably the only Vegan creative agency in London: today we’re in a reflective kind of mood.

Let’s go back, way back…

Three things you probably didn’t know about UP

  1. We’re 100% vegan run, and we have been this way since 1984 (when soya milk came in powder form – bleugh!)
  2. We cut our teeth working for corporates, such as Barclaycard, Royal Mail, Compaq, TSB and Thomas Cook. Ultimately we decided to stop doing that and brought this expertise to the charitable and beyond profit world.
  3. As well as our campaign creation know-how, we also have a fully equipped film production studio in Central London. It’s a great space to test out and realise our creative ideas.

We have created brands, campaigns and campaign videos for a massive range of charities, including: Save The Children, Christian Aid, The Vegan Society, World Animal Protection, RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Compassion in World Farming, The Vegetarian Society, The Humane Society, Four Paws and Cruelty Free International.

We really have put the right into right-on.

Three projects; Three decades

So, as we’ve been crafting creative campaigns for the Animal Welfare sector since the 1990s, let’s take a snapshot from each decade.

1990s – Stop Animal Testing

First stop the 1990s, when grunge and faux fur was all the rage and Cruelty Free International (then BUAV) wanted to refresh their image to appeal to a younger audience and raise more funds through their merchandise range.

Using the simple slogan “Stop Animal Testing” we created three defiant animal characters to head up the brand.

We then designed and produced an extensive range of merchandise included clothing, mugs, badges, key fobs and pens.

While it’s hard to pin any one outcome on a long term advocacy campaign, we like to think the banning of cosmetics testing in Europe was one of the most significant wins for BUAV.

It’s hard to imagine now how the idea of animals having ‘rights’ was such an underground concept.

Along with generating much needed income to help achieve a change in this attitude, we also like to think the campaign helped raise the bar a little on the expectations people had for an animal rights campaign, which were often crude and aggressive.

2000s – Handle With Care

The noughties kicked in and it was time for us to shape an important global campaign working towards an end to the long distant transport of live animals.

Working with Derek Humphries, we launched the WSPA-led (now WAP) Handle with Care campaign in 2008 by commissioning a double decker bus with each window showing animals crammed inside.  It was then driven across London, landing up in Trafalgar Square.

Inside the bus were undercover videos of animal enduring horrific journeys, the sounds of the distressed animals could be heard from outside. It was a powerful approach, putting people in place of the animals, asking them to feel the experience and make a connection.

The campaign highlighted four of the worst routes: sheep from Australia and New Zealand to the Middle East, cattle from Brazil to Lebanon, horses from Spain to Italy and Pigs from Canada to Hawaii.

The stunt made the front cover of the Independent

The campaign also achieved several notable successes leading to real change, including:  

Removing the Misleading “Island Produced Pork” Label

As a result of the campaign’s legal petition to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, the misleading “Island Produced Pork” label was removed from Hawaii retailers’ products. The label misleadingly implied that live animals transported from Canada and mainland U.S. to be slaughtered in Hawaii were born and raised on the islands.

Stopping sheep exports from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia

The coalition swiftly mobilised national and international support for animals when news broke of a possible resumption in sheep exports from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia. The result: resumption is now off the table, saving at least 50,000 sheep a year from a horrific three-week long journey.

2017 – StopTheMachine

Fast forward to our current decade, and alongside DTV we took on the StopTheMachine global campaign for Compassion in World Farming, highlighting the link between factory farming and wildlife loss.

We created the name and a strong identity and iconic graphics showing elephants, jaguars and penguins being sucked out of their natural environment into the ‘machine’.

To launch the campaign, we designed and built a bespoke exhibition stand – a vast red box which opens to reveal the horror inside.

The stand also incorporates a strong photo op – a life-size leaping paper jaguar – which was hugely successful at the Natural History Museum launch.

The exhibition continues to tour, taking its bold message across the UK and Europe throughout 2018-19.

And here we are, with Gillian Egan, at the launch.

Read more about StopTheMachine

Keep it UP

Of course there’s still plenty to campaign for, so keep the UP team on speed dial for compelling CampaignsCampaign Brands and Campaign Videos.  It really can change everything.

Call Kate on 0207 251 6787
or email [email protected]

Shock tactics

This Halloween, sit back, (try to) relax, and watch our 3 minute spooky short. Shot entirely at UP Studios, just for fun.

At UP, we work with charities from the very big to the very small. But for every project, our approach is the same: be bold, be memorable.

And in the case of video, we use the latest production methods – computer generated imagery, visual effects, live action and animation integration – to intrigue, entertain, excite… and sometimes to shock.

And if you like this, you might also like our animated cautionary tale, Beware Strangers Bearing Gifts…

Need a campaign, fundraising, awareness-raising, or even hair-raising, video?
Call Kate on 020 7251 6787

The Best TED Talks to inspire charities and non-profits

We love these TED Talks thought-provoking and innovative messages, and hope you find yourself thoroughly energised after watching them. If not, maybe it’s time for another coffee.

The why and how of effective altruism
– Peter Singer, philosopher and ethicist

What’s the most effective way to give? Peter talks through some surprising thought experiments to help you balance emotion and practicality – and make the biggest impact no matter what you can afford to share.

Peter argues that as well as feeling empathy…

“it’s important to use your head, to make sure that what you do is effective and well directed.”


How to start a movement
– Derek Sivers, entrepreneur

A really snappy and fun take on how a movement really gets started using some pretty hilarious footage. But the message is clear:

“If you really care about starting a movement, have the courage to follow and show others how to follow.”


How to get your ideas to spread
– Seth Godin, marketer and author

In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the run of the mill stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, it’s the ‘out there’ ideas that are most successful.

“The thing that’s going to decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed, what gets purchased, what gets built, is… Is it remarkable?”


How shocking events can spark positive change
– Naomi Klein, journalist and activist

Naomi Klein asks why is it that some large scale crises jolt us awake like a collective alarm bell and inspire us to change and evolve, while others might jolt us a bit but then it’s back to sleep.

“The shocking events that fill us with dread today can transform us, and they can transform the world for the better … But first we need to picture the world that we’re fighting for.”


Why we need to imagine different futures
– Anab Jain, futurist and designer

Anab Jain brings the future to life, creating experiences where people can touch, see and feel the potential of the world we’re creating.

Do we really want a world where intelligent machines patrol our streets, what would it actually feel like?

“These things are here and we often don’t understand how they work and what the consequences could be. We see this all around us, this difficulty in even imagining how the consequences of our actions today will affect our future.”

Jain’s projects show why it’s important to fight for the world we want.


Why it’s worth listening to people you disagree with
– Zachary R Wood, Crusader for Dialogue

Wood learnt from his mother that there’s always something to learn from the perspectives of others, whether you agree with them or not.

“Tuning out opposing viewpoints doesn’t make them go away … to achieve progress in the face of adversity, we need a genuine commitment to gaining a deeper understanding of humanity.”


The business benefits of doing good
– Wendy Woods, social impact strategist

Woods shares a fresh way to assess the impact all parts of business can have on all parts of society, and then adjust them to not only do less harm but actually improve things.

Learn more about how executives can move beyond corporate social responsibility to “total societal impact” – for the benefit of both a company’s bottom line and society at large.

“The only way we’re going to make substantial progress on the challenging problems of our time is for business to drive the solutions.”

7 Ways To Energise Your Copywriting

When it comes to writing for charities and non-profits, you need to get your message across loud and clear. But with so many causes jostling for people’s attention, how do you cut through the noise and become the issue that everyone wants to get behind?

1. Be relatable

Strike a chord. Know who you’re writing for and really connect with them. Invest time in target audience research and find out who you’re talking to and what motivates them.

What’s in it for them? They need to feel good about getting on side with this cause. Ask them questions, be real, use personal experiences and an authentic voice – being forced and fake is an instant turn-off.

Give people a sense of belonging. They want to feel part of something that inspires them if you’re going to mobilise them to get involved with your cause or support your organisation.

2. Make people feel something

You want them to feel good about getting behind your cause, so get them hooked in with a powerful opener. You might want them to laugh, you might want them to cry… but above all you want them to feel something!

•   Be heart wrenching and passionate
•   Tap into nostalgia or personal experience
•   Use fun and entertaining language
•   Be compelling

3. But you shouldn’t tell them what they should feel

Don’t be preachy or patronising, be respectful, don’t make false promises or assume what they know or feel. Be persuasive, but not pushy.

Not “You should…” but more “Here’s how you could…”
Avoid things like “You’re bound to agree with me…” and instead try “If you’re anything like me…”
And replace commands like “Stop doing X…” by planting an idea like “Imagine what life would be like if you were free from X…”

Let people decide for themselves – empower them with the facts.

4. Honesty is key

Keep the tone straight-up and direct, matter of fact – be clear – it’s not always about how clever you can be with words. Getting the right message across is absolutely key here, not your mad skills with a thesaurus.

Build trust with your audience. What evidence do you have? You need to build credibility for the issue by using:

•   personal stories
•   statistics
•   reports

5. Get straight to the point

Your writing needs to be punchy and cut through the noise. Keep it short, snappy and energetic. This is not the time for small-talk.

Re-read what you’ve written, edit out any waffle, then come back later to hone it down again. This way you’ll get really badass at streamlining your sentences.

Avoid large unwieldy blocks of texts, and break things up using sub heads, bullet points and pull quotes.

6. UP beat…

If your writing is sunny, creative and positive, then that will shine out of your work.

Positivity is infectious and energising copy provides hope and motivation. If you’ve made people feel something, they’ll want to do something about it. Don’t leave them hanging!

And importantly, leave them with super clear ways of taking action and sharing that message with their friends.

7. Be bold

Be bold and confident in your messaging and you’ll earn a reputation for integrity.

Here’s an example. We worked with education consultancy Barton Carlyle to develop and create their distinctive brand, with a strong message that education transforms individuals and communities. From this simple premise, we created a corporate video that brings Barton Carlyle closer to its main audiences.

How? We used a combination of pithy facts and simple but powerful messages that truly inspires. Give it a watch at the top of this post and let us know what you think…

Our Vegan Video Goes Viral!

“Ever heard a passionate, well-constructed, intelligent argument, but then disagreed with it anyway? That’s exactly my dilemma after watching this powerful ad. I’m on the fence, which is super uncomfortable. Most of America has yet to be convinced. Where are you?”

This is how international journalist, Femi Oke introduced our “Do you want to make history?” animated campaign video for The Vegan Society on Upworthy. Within 24 hours, the video went viral with over 32,000 views which has since rocketed up to 137k views.

We think it’s down to the video’s compelling message of empowerment. So many people tend to think “What difference can one person possibly make in the grand scheme of things”, and our film directly challenges that without sending you on a massive guilt trip.

The story is clear, you can make a difference.

Veganism is on the rise

The UP team have been living the vegan life for many years, so we’re super happy about the current rise in veganism.

According to a survey commissioned by The Vegan Society more than half of UK adults (56 per cent) are now adopting vegan buying behaviours and look in any supermarket to see Britain is more vegan-friendly than ever before.

The research, released on World Vegan Day also showed half of those surveyed said they know someone who is vegan and over a fifth said they would consider becoming a vegan themselves. The revolution is well on its way.

Help us spread the message, share the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ehL18rqlM