Inspired idea or David Brent-style last chance saloon bid for publicity?

I’m still not entirely sure if I’m bowled over by the sheer imagination and cheek of it or whether I’m still reeling from what could be seen as a shameless plug for publicity before the debt collectors finally move in.

But either way you have to take your hat off (literally) to the creative design and marketing agency onebestway up in Newcastle who recently bared all for one day. Calling it ‘Naked Friday’, the initiative was dreamt up as part of a bid to turn around the fortunes of the agency which was forced into making a number of redundancies earlier this year. Indeed, the company encouraged staff to come into work completely naked in order to ‘strip away inhibitions and talk to each other more openly and honestly’. The MD himself called it ‘either brave or mad’. In fact it’s probably both. Especially when people were only encouraged to go through with it if ‘it felt right’.

“What’s important to note is this is a business strategy – it’s not about nudity but being comfortable with each other and bonding in order to take a company forward”. Mike Owen, Managing Director, onebestway.

But it is refreshing all the same to see someone at least attempting something genuinely creative and different in, after all, what is meant to be a creative industry, even if it is on behalf of themselves rather than in response to a particular client brief or challenge. Whether it’s a unique piece of IP or a new corporate identity, and whether we’re PRs, designers, below-the-line strategists or copywriters; we surely all have to ensure we practise what we preach?

The fortunes of onebestway and ‘Naked Friday’ in particular have now been made into a documentary which aired on Virgin1.  And if anything the whole initiative certainly seems to mark a change from the thinking which pervades much of our industry where the belief that recycling the same old ideas time and time again (because we know they work) often prevails. And actually why shouldn’t our days be brightened by something light and fun like this? Especially when our news pages are filled with so much cynicism and moral panic day after day and when, according to onebestway at least, the company’s fortunes have ‘massively improved’ as a direct result.

Good luck to them I say. Just don’t expect me to volunteer anytime soon.


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