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The Wrap: Gary Jenkins, Co-Founder and Director, No Brainer


Each Friday in The Wrap, one of the North’s leading media and creative figures will be giving us their take on the news covered by Prolific North over the last seven days.

This week it’s the turn of Gary Jenkins, Co-Founder and Director of No Brainer.

Life is never dull at the BBC, is it? It seems like every day there’s something to keep the BBC press office occupied and this week must have been, without doubt, one of their busiest.

Firstly, in the wake of Weinstein, there’s the news about 25 sexual harassment claims. It’s all part of a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment, so let’s all hope this affair is handled in the best way to ensure the right outcomes for anyone who may be impacted.

There’s also been a wealth of incredibly positive news coming out for the BBC this week too, with BBC Radio Merseyside being granted the Freedom of the City of Liverpool, the city’s highest civic honour. In its 50 years, Radio Merseyside has been an incredible supporter for the city region, but importantly, has always retained its autonomy and ability to hold bodies to account in a way that only the best media organisations do. Having worked closely with many of the team over the years, I can say – hand on heart – they deserve it.

I, like many other Prolific North readers no doubt, have been a major supporter of local radio during my near 20 years in news and PR. And key to that is retaining a strong and prosperous local BBC radio network.

So, it was obviously great to see the Prolific North email pop into my inbox yesterday with news that BBC Director General Tony Hall has announced plans to scrap the impending cuts to BBC local radio. He says that “local radio is in the DNA of our local communities”. And he isn’t wrong. So maybe that begs the question: why consider it in the first place? 

Let’s hope it’s not a stay of execution, but the end of the discussion so we can all get back to making local radio the best it can be, and ensure it continues to be a critical part of both our lives and, for many of us, our day jobs.

Anyway, enough about the Beeb, let’s get into carrots, Zoolander and a bit of good old early Christmas spirit.

I’ll start by saying McCann UK and the team at Aldi have absolutely nailed it again with the new Kevin the Carrot campaign this Christmas. 

It’s always an amazing battle between the retail giants when it comes to capturing the public consciousness over the festive period, and we’ve had many a heated debate in the No Brainer office about our favourites of the year. I love a funny one, most of the team like the ones that pull at the heart strings.

But, Aldi has drawn first blood and won me over, so if you haven’t seen the new ad, which aired for the first time this week, take a look. I did chuckle at the bit when Kevin “pea’d himself”. Sad, I know.

Having never been a dog kind of guy, I usually switch off with any Christmas pet type adverts like the one being launched by Matalan, announced this week. But, having bowed to relentless pressure from my three children we pick up our new puppy – and my first ever dog – Teddy this week. So maybe I’ll warm to them more this year!

Speaking of pets, it looks like Sofology have been scouring the catwalks of Hollywood for the star of their latest £20 million ad campaign . Zoolander star Owen Wilson is the star of the ad which was filmed inside a Malibu mansion….and I’m sitting here wishing I was the Marketing Director at Sofology or one of the crew from Alpha Century for just a few minutes.

And, finally, talking of brands spending big to bring out the celebrity “big guns”, I had to look twice at the story this week that Jesus was due to star in Manchester City’s new Christmas campaign. 

It turned out to be the guy who has single-handedly saved me from being bottom of my Dream Team league this year, striker Gabriel Jesus, so all is well with the world.

With more Christmas campaigns just around the corner, it could be the best year yet to celebrate our region’s amazing wealth of creative and marketing talent.

Here’s hoping.

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