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From cleaning crime scenes to Euro 24 for Scottish creative studio

As Scotland prepare to take on Germany in the opening match of Euro 24, the team behind Studio Something have revealed their “10 year journey to overnight success.”

The Scottish creative agency will be at the Euros filming a nightly show with Martin Compston and Gordon Smart for BBC Scotland.

It’s a far cry from where founders Ian Greenhill and Jordan Laird began their journey.

“I took a job cleaning crime scenes when I was 17 and did that for about four years,” explained Greenhill.

“Back then, I had no idea creativity was a career. 

“After that, I worked in a shop with a guy called Graeme who told me about an internship with an agency. I was writing a blog at the time, but I had no idea what advertising was. I applied for it and got it. If he hadn’t mentioned that to me, maybe I’d be doing something completely different.”

That internship was with Leith and it was being judged by Laird. His route to media came when a boss advised him to “pursue his creativity” when he’d been caught skiving.

“I’d written a story about the video game Championship Manager when I was supposed to be working. Someone accidentally printed it out and my boss found it, and after establishing I was behind it, just said ‘I really don’t think you should be working here,” he stated.

“You don’t need to be in poverty to have poverty of aspiration. A lot of people tell you a certain career is not for you, but there’s not a lot of people telling you to try. To try, you need that safety net and most people can’t afford the time and space to have a go at a creative career. The creative industry is under threat with limits to the funding, access, and training. How people get ahead is far too often who they know. 

“The US has historically been more of a meritocracy – hopefully with the rise of the creator economy, where anyone with an iPhone can create, the playing field continues to become more even for young people.” 

Greenhill added:

“We certainly haven’t followed the most conventional route into the industry, but I think that has kept us grounded in what really matters to people.

“We both found our way into advertising because that was the only creative job we could find that paid money. All we’ve really wanted is to make work that people – real people – will actually like, that becomes part of culture, and that we can be proud of.

“When we create work, we try to aim for making things that people like our mums, folk at the football with their pals, or in WhatsApp groups will care about, it’s not about creativity for other people in the industry.”

The studio is behind cult football show, A View from The Terrace. They’ve also worked on the BBC’s FIFA World Cup 2022 title credits, with the NBA and The Power of Okay mental health campaign for See Me.

“When we made the BBC World Cup titles, the Daily Mail hated us, and The Guardian said we were off our head on drugs, but it was seen by millions and most of them loved it,” Greenmail continued.

“The important thing was that people were talking about it. It’s fine to be divisive if it means you’re relevant. It means you’ve made an impact.” 

They now have a team of 20 based in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, with a client list including Coca Cola, Ooni and Tennent’s Lager. Plus TV credits such as Josh Quigley documentary Cycling Saved My Life and films for BBC One’s Football Focus.

As well as Late Night at The Euros with Smart and Compston, the studio is producing a 5-part series for Tennent’s – ‘Get To Germany’ – inspired by a certain BBC series… 

“We believe brands can be broadcasters by creating entertainment-first content to showcase their brand personality. We wanted to create something with a bit more to it than a traditional ‘ad’ and do something that really showcases the dedication of Scottish fans,” said Greenhill.
The duo are now planning to expand the business into the US and mainland Europe. 

Late Night at The Euros with Compston and Smart airs on BBC Scotland at 10.30pm throughout Euro 2024.

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