Archive for the ‘Thought Leadership’ Category

A month of Mischief, December 2023

Posted on: December 20th, 2023 by Nick Barron

This month, we’ve got a bumper edition on the cards, as with 2024 almost in sight, it’s time to reflect on what’s been an incredibly busy yet rewarding year.

Here at Mischief, 2023 has seen…

A year of hard, unforgettable and fun work is coming to an end, but there has been no rest for the wicked at Mischief HQ as we carry on into December, launching some fantastic new campaigns and brilliant activations. So check out our usual spotlight on Mischief’s goings-on this month, as well as a round-up of this year’s highlights below.

This Month at Mischief

Three Get Poetic with Carol Ann Duffy

To launch Three’s ‘WeSeeYou’ network – a platform which celebrates women in sport, we commissioned poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy to pen an original poem as an ode to the women who are helping to level the playing field in sport.

Pitching the poem to media alongside hero visuals of Duffy at Stamford Bridge – the home of Chelsea FC where Three are the official mobile network partner – the moving ode to female footballing heroes was celebrated by the likes of The Guardian and BBC, including a front page print feature in the former.Read more here.

Nigella says ‘Ditch the Christmas Cake!’

With a fresh Ocado-exclusive recipe on the table for Christmas – a Winter Wonderland Cake – we worked alongside Nigella herself to craft the ultimate divisive festive narrative. With consumer research revealing the majority of us would much prefer to tuck into chocolate cake than Christmas cake this festive season, all it needed now was for Nigella to announce that Christmas cake’s time had come… and that she did.

We spread the word that Nigella was calling for us all to move on from festive traditions we didn’t enjoy, and following an exclusive interview in The Times, saw a flurry of wide-ranging coverage land across both national and consumer titles from The Guardian and Independent to Virgin Radio and Ladbible!

Read more here.

Slugging in a Winter Wonderland with OGX

It was all about winter hair care with OGX this month as we launched a social-first campaign to help their audience take their winter hair routine to the next level, with simple remedies such as masking, slugging and the all important ‘everything shower’. Alongside OGX brand ambassador and celebrity hair stylist Michael Douglas, we worked with Vogue Williams and Giovanna Fletcher to shine a light on the best ways to hydrate hair in winter using OGX products. We also engaged a handful of lifestyle influencers to produce original content encouraging their followers to try the full OGX experience.

With over 1 million views and 100,000 engagements, the content really resonated with OGX’s target audience – even leading to one of the hero products selling out in under two weeks.

Read more here.

A Year In Highlights

But it’s not only December that’s been full of exciting campaign launches at Mischief, so we’ve pulled together a round-up of our top five 2023 campaigns. In no particular order…

Avanti – Pulling in The Right Direction

Dominating in this year’s automotive and transport PR awards categories, our campaign with Avanti launched way back in January, as part of a recruitment drive to onboard more female train drivers.

We told the story of Karen Harrison, one of the UK’s first ever female train drivers, and created a giant mural in Euston station. Originally planned to be temporary, word of the campaign spread so far that it was decided the mural would remain a permanent fixture in Euston, and female applicants to the role increased fourfold.

Team GB – Mini Mascots

A fantastic new client for 2023, Team GB’s Mini Mascots campaign got everyone excited for Paris 2024. Our competition to become the next official young Team GB mascot was a huge success, with over 20,000 entrants thanks to nominations from encouraging adults, playing a vital role in building Team GB’s database. Watch this space to see the results announced next year, as Olympic fever gears up a notch.

Ocado X Beano Food Waste Cookbook

A standout success this year was the collaboration between Ocado and iconic children’s comic – Beano. We wanted to shine a light on how Ocado customers could make their food go further whilst tackling waste, and what better way than to join forces with the now-reformed founders of food fights. Our original cookbook featured five playful recipes for families to enjoy together, and led to huge success across both earned media and Ocado and Beano’s owned channels generating £££ in sales.

LEGO Play Unstoppable

There’s never a dull moment in the world of LEGO, and one of our favourite launches this year was that of ‘Unstoppable FC’. With a focus on inspiring young girls and helping them to develop their confidence, we worked with Women’s Super League football clubs and footballing icons to host ‘Unstoppable FC’ training sessions. With over 200 attendees and over 100 pieces of coverage, this is a campaign we’re proud to shout about.

Just Eat – The Queen’s Header

And LEGO wasn’t our only campaign this year that tapped into women’s football. Our final highlight couldn’t ignore that the Women’s World Cup was hot on the agenda this summer, but frustratingly, being hosted in Australia posed a big issue for Brits – during the morning games, pubs were closed!

To combat this, we opened ‘The Queen’s Header’ – an East London pub exclusively showing women’s football, and serving breakfast to the flurry of fans keen not to miss out on the electric World Cup atmosphere – even at 8am! Tickets to the breakfast viewings completely sold out and all proceeds from ticket sales, as well as a further £50,000 investment from Just Eat were donated to its Feed the Game fund, which aims to inspire women and girls to get into football.


Whittling it down to just a handful of highlights has been a tough job after a fantastic year at Mischief, so we can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store.

All that’s left is to wish you a very happy Christmas and see you in the New Year!

Follow Mischief on LinkedIn, Instagram and X

The rise of the ‘Super Distruster’ is a major challenge for communicators

Posted on: September 18th, 2023 by Alexandra Stamp

The rise of the ‘Super Distruster’ is a major challenge for communicators

Nearly one-third (29%) of UK adults are “Super Distrusters”, who believe the country is going in the wrong direction, our institutions have been corrupted, and that this is the fault of self-serving, hostile and incompetent elites, according to Wave 6 of MHP’s Polarisation Tracker – Super Distrusters vs The Elite.

This is the key finding of cluster analysis performed by Cambridge University’s Political Psychology Lab, using data from the September 2023 wave of MHP’s long-running Polarisation Tracker.

Super Distrusters’ hostility towards the system presents a big challenge for big business and government, which are regarded as the most elite and untrustworthy institutions.

Download the MHP Polarisation Tracker Wave 6 here:

Super Distrusters also pose a problem for wider policy goals, including delivering Net Zero, safeguarding public health and reducing online harms, which will all require the public to adopt and adapt to new ways of doing things. Super Distrusters are less likely to co-operate and more likely to disbelieve the case for change or the people making it.

Research findings headline news in The Sunday Times

A diverse population of 16 million people, ‘Super Distrusters’ defy all traditional political and democratic categorisation: Some worry about the enemies of growth, Marxist institutional capture, thought police, cultural erasure and ‘the new elite’. Others worry about a rapacious capitalist class, a reactionary plot against social progress, racist and misogynist police, conservative gatekeepers and ‘the old elite’.

While Super Distrusters’ specific concerns and targets vary, their analysis leads them to the same place, distrustful of traditional authority, expertise and increasingly hostile to innovation and technology, which they see as having the potential to give more power to authoritarian elites. Protests against ULEZ cameras, 15 Minute Cities and digital cash are all manifestations of these fears.

Stagnant growth, global lockdowns, vaccine mandates, rising living costs, and increased censorship have all helped to fuel public scepticism, while the Networked Age has brought with it unprecedented levels of transparency. Often, people in power have been found wanting and new ways of doing things have not delivered the progress promised.

And Super Distruster concerns reflect a wider social unease. Even among more trusting audience groups, we found that the more closely associated something or someone is with the elite, the less likely they are to be considered trustworthy.

To engage with Super Distrusters effectively, communicators must change their approach, in three important ways.

Firstly, communicators can no-longer ignore Super Distrusters.

As Coutts, the West Yorkshire Police and the National Trust have recently discovered, Super Distrusters are increasingly motivated and organised, supported by counter-elites, and listened to by politicians. Communicators need to address their strongest arguments and engage legitimate critics beyond the media bubble in order to build trust.

Secondly, tech utopianism is over.

From AI to the metaverse, communicators should encourage more open debate about risks and safeguards, rather than casting critics as luddites. Technology storytelling needs to emphasise individual empowerment rather than systemic efficiency.

And finally, institutions must become more comfortable holding each other to account.

In the era of stakeholder capitalism, collaboration replaces competition among government, business, media, and civil society. However, to those sceptical of elites, this cooperation can resemble collusion, making brand purpose campaigns seem like social engineering. Super Distrusters see a monolithic managerial class and believe the media and NGOs prioritize holding the public accountable over the powerful. Even if people disagree with M&S on the fate of Oxford Street or BMW on the EU’s electric vehicle strategy, they welcome these arguments being aired in the open.

Brands that are more transparent about their motives, and challenge government on behalf of the consumer will reap dividends.

Coming soon – We will be launching companion guides to the consequences found in the MHP Polarisation Tracker for three key areas: Net Zero, Finance and Science and Technology.

Launching the new Media Network Podcast

Posted on: February 20th, 2023 by Alexandra Stamp

We are excited to announce the launch of the Media Network Podcast.

Each episode, we’ll talk with high profile journalists and editors from across the media landscape, diving into the key topics and themes from across the newsrooms of the UK.

In our first episode, we are joined by Becky Barrow, News Editor at The Sunday Times, and Anthony France, Senior News Correspondent at The Evening Standard.

You can watch the full video below, or listen along on Spotify:




Women’s Health: making choice in sexual and reproductive health a reality

Posted on: March 7th, 2022 by Tomas White



For the 2 billion women of reproductive age around the world, the impacts of their sexual and reproductive health, such as periods, fertility and menopause, are all part of everyday life. All women have a right to good health care, that takes into account the different stages of women’s lives, from adolescence to old age, yet for decades, this area of health has been underfunded and under-prioritised. This has led to disparities in outcomes for women and has substantial negative impacts on the economy and broader society. It also means that globally, sexual and reproductive health conditions remain one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity for women and girls.

Recent developments in technology, policy and society are shifting the innovation landscape when it comes to women’s health, but do entrenched misconceptions or cultural taboos around sexual and reproductive health impede true freedom of choice? Are women being given all the tools to really able to have autonomy over their own bodies, and who is in control when it comes to accessibility of medicines and services?

Our core aim at MHP Mischief Health is simple. We want to make people give a damn about health.

Driving change in women’s health is something we feel hugely passionate about – as individuals, and as a healthcare communications practice. As healthcare communicators, we have a critical role to play to support the use of our collective voices to challenge preconceived notions and educate society, to demand more for women and girls in their sexual and reproductive health years

That is why we have invested in a series of activities around International Women’s Day aimed at shining a light on both the important progress made in recent years but also the challenges that still exist in this important area of healthcare. As part of this, we have published our report ‘Women’s Health: Making Choice in Sexual and Reproductive Health a Reality’.

In it, we explore the reality of a woman’s ability to choose preventative and therapeutic treatment and their ability to access innovations aimed at improving their sexual and reproductive wellbeing, as well as essential medicines and services. We also look at the role of communication and campaigning in supporting more open conversations, ‘normalisation’ of language around sexual and reproductive health, and the impact this has on driving progress in this space.

In the long-term, we can only imagine what changes greater access and education, advanced technologies and a stronger dialogue can lead to for humankind. It is certain that it will impact our ability to create communities where everyone is heard and empowered to live life fully, without feeling restricted by the reproductive functions of their bodies. We will all play a part in getting to this point as a holistic, supportive and caring environment is the only way to build communities and countries that treat women fairly and respect their health needs.


Join us on 17th March, as we host a panel discussion ‘A Period of Change: The Evolving Needs Of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health.’ The session will bring together influencers, campaigners, and industry perspectives from organisations all working to drive change in this important area – and we have some fabulous speakers lined up.

  • Rachel Moss – Life Editor, HuffPost UK
  • Jayasree K. Iyer – CEO, Access to Medicines Foundation
  • Dr Annabel Sowemimo – Community Sexual and Reproductive Health Doctor; and Founder Decolonising Contraception
  • Mika Simmons – Co-Founder, Ginsburg Women’s Health Board; Founder, Lady Garden Foundation; & Host, Happy Vagina Podcast

To join the event please register here.