What we learnt and inspired us at this years Thinkbox ‘Think big’ event

Megan Connell and Ellie Riley, AV Managers


A few weeks ago we attended the Thinkbox Big Think event at BAFTA. The event was host to some incredible thinkers, some of which come from outside of the TV world, from various backgrounds and disciplines, including…

Derry Girls creator and writer Lisa McGee

Editor of ITV News, Rachel Corp, and ITV’s News’ Nina Hossain

Founding Partner at Lucky Generals, Andy Nairn

Boyd Hilton, Entertainment Director at heat magazine and Contributing Editor of Empire Magazine

And the list doesn’t stop there… Ally Owen from Brixton Finishing School, Chaka Sobhani from Leo Burnett, Fiona Ball from Sky and Jake Dubbins from The Conscious Advertising Network, also discussed how agencies and brands can help change the industry for the better.

The event gave us A LOT to think about and the inspiration to think bigger and better. We’ve highlighted 3 talks that stood out to us below:


Andy Nairn

Andy Nairn, Founding Partner at Lucky Generals, tore up the rule book, with his talk on luck.

‘Luck is a four-letter-word in business circles. But the truth is that fortune plays a part in every success story – and every failure.’

In his book published in 2021, Go Luck Yourself, Andy, one of the world’s leading brand strategists explains how a little mermaid inspired a famous campaign for Amazon and how a stolen rabbit spurred on Walt Disney. He does this to showcase how you can stack the odds in your brand’s favor, unearth hidden treasures, spot opportunities in unexpected places and turn misfortune into an award-winning brand strategy. His book suggests that we can practice being lucky every day and utilise this for our clients.


Brixton Finishing School

Next up… Ally Owen gave a compelling presentation on Brixton Finishing School, who they are, their mission and how agencies and advertisers can support their incredible cause. The organisation works with talent from communities that are under-represented by industry employers, to create a ‘equitable superhighway’ into entry level roles across Marketing, Advertising and Communications industries.

With a focus on finding and developing untapped and under-represented talent, their free, award-winning programmes do not require work experience or qualifications and are accessible to anyone who has the talent and drive to succeed.

For both of us, the media industry was a hidden one, when looking for our first roles. It wasn’t a career we knew was an option and is often one where success comes from knowing people on the inside. This ultimately leads to a walled garden that lacks diversity. Ally and her team made it clear that this is NOT the best way to recruit or nurture talent. Different types of thinking mean new perspectives, fresh ideas, and better results. Brixton Finishing School are an inspiration to us all to do better and think outside the box in how we can make the industry more accessible for all.

At Republic of Media, although we know there is a lot more we can and SHOULD be doing, we are making small steps to ensure our recruitment process is more inclusive and accessible. Our ‘Graduate Roles’ have been renamed to ‘First Roles’ to ensure education is not a barrier to entry. We’ve also increased and diversified the list of domains where we advertise roles and reached out to Brixton Finishing School and an organization called Inside Success (dedicated to providing opportunities for 16-24 year old’s from all backgrounds) to ensure our jobs are easier to find for everyone.

If you think you can support Brixton Finishing School in any way, get in touch here! https://brixtonfinishingschool.org/support-and-partner


Conscious Advertising Network

Finally… Jake Dubbins, Managing Director at Media Bounty talked about the Conscious Advertising Network, a voluntary coalition of over 70 organisations with a ‘mission to stop advertising abuse, by highlighting the conscious choices advertisers and agencies can make to ensure good practice.’

A shocking stat that really stood out to us was that – ‘top brands are sending $2.6 billion to misinformation websites each year’ (Newsguard & Comscore, 2021). For example, eco-fronted brands appearing alongside articles mocking global warming… The fact that articles like this exist is shocking enough (especially as we write this following the hottest week of the year with Manchester reaching 36 degrees!)

The insight Jake provided made it crystal clear that the industry is not doing enough in this space. We need to choose to build an industry that de-funds misinformation like the above. We need to place a greater importance on education, ensuring key decision makers are making informed, conscious choices and working with media agencies in smarter ways that align with their brand values – which may mean less of a reliance on machines to place ads.

At Republic of Media, we are proud members of The Conscious Advertising Network. We adhere to 6 manifestos around ad fraud, diversity, informed consent, hate speech, children’s wellbeing & fake news.

In addition to this, ensuring we are a more sustainable organisation is one of our key strategic pillars. We have a goal to establish a leadership position within this space, and have begun to take steps to make positive changes to our organisation. We have recently become ISO14001 accredited, and are developing Carbon calculators that will quantify the carbon footprint of a live media campaign.

There is still a lot more we need to do in this space but it’s reassuring to see agencies and big brands starting to step up and take notice.

To learn more about the Conscious Advertising Network https://www.consciousadnetwork.org/


Thank-you to Thinkbox and all the speakers on the day. The event reminded us to Think Bigger and use this inspiration to futureproof the industry…  creating one that puts people at the center.