Why elves in Unlimited Group's reception are good for company culture. A blog post by Michael Richards.

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20 December 2018

Visitors to The Unlimited Group in Soho this December will have noticed something a little bit different in our reception area: a full-sized Santa’s grotto, complete with a snow machine, Christmas trees, a log fire and plenty of presents to go around. Oh, and some elves. Some of who may be a little hairier or taller than you’d expect. It’s best not to ask.

If that wasn’t enough, the nine windows at the front of the agency on Great Pulteney Street have also been transformed into a beautiful Winter Wonderland for passers-by to admire. The Oxford and Regent Street lightshows combined have nothing on us.

It doesn’t stop there. For Halloween, we transformed reception into a haunted hospital, complete with zombie nurses and patients and dingy screens. The makeover was so effective that some visitors are still waking up in a cold sweat. At Easter, live bunnies and charming Easter chicks and lambs greeted our guests. Other events have included a performance from the star of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Charlie Hides, to celebrate Pride, waffles for Valentine’s Day and strawberries and cream to get in the spirit for Wimbledon.

It’s lots of fun and we enjoy celebrating as much as the next company, but obviously there is a deeper and more fundamental reason for all these whistles and bells. And hordes of undead. And Santa’s six-foot tall little helpers.

There’s clearly a thrill to be had in seeing so many surprised and delighted faces in our front-of-house. But there’s a serious business point too. During the festive season, would you rather be kept amused, entertained and focused during these important calendar highpoints – or suddenly yanked out of all the jollity by walking into a bland reception area populated with impersonal staff, furniture and a concessional pot plant?

And the experience highlights our strengths. By reminding others of our creative know-how through our amazing reception tableaus and events, we also remind ourselves what we’re capable of, company-wise, from top-to-bottom and keep focused on the important things.

This emphasises that Unlimited is a leading, award-winning digital agency that helps clients stay ahead through data-led expertise. It demonstrates that we deliver maximum impact through our campaigns. For Now TV, for example, we created ‘The Walking Dead Riddim’– a grime remix of the show’s iconic theme tune in order to drive a younger, more mainstream audience towards The Walking Dead series eight on Now. It worked: the target audience is now 1,000 times more likely to watch the show.

We positioned Kinder Bueno as the ultimate “adulting” reward, reminding our target audience of 20-something women, via such challenges as an “Adulting Quiz”, that this wasn’t just a kids’ treat. On a more poignant note, we helped Lynx raise awareness of male suicide via collaboration with suicide prevention charity CALM. More than 10 million people saw the campaign, which led to the first-ever parliamentary debate on the issue.

Some of those elves in reception might look more suited to playing five-a-side of a weekend than keeping Santa in mulled wine but they’ve played an important role in reinforcing our company culture and reiterating what we deliver for clients. Merry Christmas!

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