Lodestar News

What the White House Can Teach Us About Online Video

25th March 2014

So besides being a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama can also add ‘master marketer’ to his CV, following his appearance on spoof US YouTube chat show spoof Between Two Ferns.

His appearance was a carefully calculated stunt to drive visitors to his Affordable Care medical website, and he succeeded to the tune of a 40% increase in traffic.

It’s a gutsy move, because throwing a video out into the online wilds can feel pretty risky. Besides the fact that the online audience isn’t captive in the same way as a TV audience, they also have the ability (and inclination) to clearly and publically tell you if you get it wrong.

With all this in mind, most corporate video-makers tend to play it safe, creating content that is meant to appeal to everyone in the world in the safest manner possible. The result of course, is gutless communication that doesn’t stand the slightest chance of provoking your audience into doing anything, not least because you were under the mistaken impression that the entire planet was your audience.

However, the US government is extremely online-savvy, and when they’re not secretly going through your email inbox, they’re thinking up ways of using social media to help them meet their own goals.

To this end, representatives from well-established YouTube comedy channel Funny or Die were invited to the White House to have a chat about how they could help drive awareness of Obama’s Affordable Care medical scheme. The result was the above video.

So why was it so successful?

It all comes down to the fact that the White House knew what demographic it was trying to reach. This meant they were able to both identify an effective platform to reach their audience on and create effective content that wasn’t hamstrung by trying to be universal. And although opening up the president of the United States to ridicule by a scruffy comedian, there is of course no real risk because everything will have been carefully vetted by the White House - it simple has the appearance of risk.

And that’s the beauty of online video over TV ads – you can tailor-make a video for one audience and seed it in the places where you know that audience hangs out online, but then do another video for another audience and seed that elsewhere. You’re not forced to broadcast your message through a generic channel in the hopes the right person just happens to be watching.

Uniform content for a uniform audience doesn't work any more - as Obama has proven, you need to know where your audience is, and how to speak to them (and only them) if you want to be listened to.

Rocking All Over the World

11th March 2014

From Liverpool to Vienna and Newcastle to Dallas we’ve been very busy this last month working with Philips on their Healthcare Innovation Summit and e-newsletter, Fiat on their Engage Lead Roadshow and Nissan on some videos showcasing their all-electric LEAF.

As we continue through the year, we’ve got lots of exciting developments lined up. We can’t tell you everything just yet, but keep an eye out for us…


27th January 2014

We’re all feeling quietly pleased with ourselves at moment, having come away from the IVCA LiveCom awards with two gold prizes!

The first was for our JEEP Grand Cherokee Launch Training event in the UK Seminars & Conferences category, and the second was for the Philips Museum in the Entertainment Experience category.

We’re all pleased as punch to have won against some very stiff competition, and would like to thank JEEP and Philips for their support, as well as all of the very talented people who worked with us on both projects. And the IVCA judges of course!


General Business...& the IVCA Awards

23rd January 2014

A belated happy New Year to all!

And why so belated? Because it’s been very, VERY busy, with major events for Philips and Fiat filling up the first three weeks of January for us, as well as preparation for Jardine Motors Group’s annual conference at the end of the month…nothing like hitting the ground running!

But all work and no play makes Lodestar a dull agency, so tomorrow you’ll find us at IVCA LiveCom Awards, where we’re nominated in the UK Seminars & Conferences and Entertainment Experience categories, for our JEEP Grand Cherokee Launch Training Event and the Philips Museum respectively.

Wish us luck!

JEEP Grand Cherokee Launch venue           Philips Museum

Christmas is Coming...

23rd December 2013

We hope that you're all settled down for a very merry Christmas!

Us, we're already preparing for a very busy New Year, with lots of exciting work coming up for the likes of Jardines, Philips, Nissan and more!

Movember Endeth

3rd December 2013

Movember may be over, but you can still donate to Team Lodestar!

You’ve got until the 9th of December to click here and donate. No matter how much, it all goes to support testicular and prostate cancer research and male mental health care.

And as a parting shot, check out the picture below of Managing Director Phil Watton, proudly displaying his rather fetching mo'. These things are always hard to classify, but we think this is a ‘Regent’, though it does have a touch of the ‘Painter’s Brush’ as well.

Phil Movember rotate

Phil was, clearly, by no means the winner of the Slow Mo Grow, which went to Assistant Digital Media Producer Daniel Buckley.

Jardine's Annual Conference? That'll be Us.

26th November 2013

We’re particularly excited to announce that this November we won a pitch to produce Jardine Motor Group’s annual conference in January!

Jardine’s are one of the largest automotive retailers in the UK, and the team is very busy planning to make this their best annual conference yet.

And it’s not just planning that’s been keeping us busy this month: We were very pleased to produce the Philips’ internal UK Brand Launch, taking in a live link-up with the celebrations at their base in Amsterdam and live text voting with the UK audience.

The video team has also been busy, visiting What Car? and disability charity Mobility to make two videos about the QASHAI for Nissan, and working on several videos for Philips Healthcare.

And besides all that work stuff of course, it’s Movember! Lodestar’s been supporting the Movember charity this month, with our most manly men (which is, of course, all of the men at Lodestar) growing moustaches to raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancer and male mental health. If you want to show your support, you can donate on the team’s Movember page.

Lodestar do Movember

20th November 2013

Lodestar's gentlemen are now all sporting moustaches of varying degrees of splendour in aid of men’s health charity Movember.

Lodestar do Movember 19/11


Pictured are: (clockwise from top left) Production Manager Jason Ward; Managing Director Phil Watton; Phil’s dog Barney; Assistant Producer Josh Willmott; Director Jason Worsley; and Assistant Digital Media Producer Daniel Buckley.

Besides promoting awareness of and encouraging conversation around prostate and testicular cancer and male mental health, Movember also supports organisations that perform research and provide care in these areas.

If you would like to support the team’s efforts, please donate on Lodestar’s Movember team page – donations of any value are welcome and will improve the lives of men and their friends and families around the world for years to come.

Autumn LEAFs

1st November 2013

Our video case studies for Nissan Fleet Sales continue!



This week saw us, amongst other things, standing in a field somewhere near Lock Leven, shooting Fife College's Nissan LEAF in the stunning Scottish countryside. Pictured are director Chris Mizen and sound recordist Robin Green getting very cold in said countryside.

The shoot was the latest in our series of videos looking at LEAFs in fleets up and down the country. Previously we've visited Oxford City Council, and Phoenix Taxis in Northumberland.

Lighting up Gent!

9th October 2013

Another week, another successful Philips event!

This time the team were in Gent, Belgium where we produced the Philips Innovation Experience BeLux.

The event, for three separate audiences, employees, media and stakeholders, was held at the Ghelamco Arena, the new 20,000 seat home to football team KAA Gent, with an impressive interior and exterior lighting technology supplied by Philips Lighting.

Philips BeLux wanted to bring the new brand values to life with a storytelling approach, emphasising the role Philips plays in supporting people at every stage of their lives. The event focused on three themed ‘experience areas’; Connected Living, Livable Cities and Transforming Healthcare, Together.

500,000 LEDs later....

Philips Gent

Welcome to Autumn

26th September 2013

With the leaves not even off the trees yet, Lodestar’s autumn is shaping up to be a busy one.

We’ve been continuing with lots of events, including Philips Capital Markets Day for investors and analysts (a major event in the Philips calendar) and the Sony Xperia Z1 launch party at Heron Tower in London.

The digital media team has also been busy, notably producing videos for recruitment agency Futurestep. The project saw the team spending two highly caffeinated mornings interviewing staff at Nespresso Boutique on Regent Street for their new recruitment website.

We’re also excited to announce that Nissan have commissioned a fourth LEAF electric car case study video for their fleet division, a continuing series of videos that demonstrate the benefits of the vehicle to companies.

Another Brilliant Year at IFA

10th September 2013

August was another crazy month here as production got into full swing for the Philips IFA press conference and keynote presentation in Berlin.

Both were a great success with a guest appearance from the world’s number one DJ Armin Van Buuren a highlight. The video team were then kept busy operating a film crew for the duration of the show gathering consumer insight for a standalone project.

Back in the UK we’ve been kept busy as well, filming customer case studies of Nissan’s all-electric LEAF. We’ve completed two so far, one with Oxford City Council and one with an innovative green cab company, Phoenix Taxis in Northumberland. Next stop the West Midlands, for a day with the police. We don’t think there’s any truth to the rumours that they’re using the nigh-silent LEAFs for dawn raids, but it will be interesting to find out…

Philips continues to keep us busy this Autumn with Philips Capital Markets Day in central London next week and Philips Innovation Experience at the beginning of October in Ghent, Belgium.

Summer Update

25th July 2013

It’s been a busy late spring / summer here at Lodestar (hence the delay in getting a new post up), with lots of big events taking up all of our time.

We’ve been occupied with, to name just a few projects, employee outdoor activity days, a Northern European tour (from Windsor to Norway) and numerous conferences for Centrica; launches for new Sony products and a Great Gatsby-themed awards evening for Sony and Phones4U; Nissan’s dealer conference in Bratislava; the press and hands-on dealer launch of JEEP’s new Grand Cherokee and Fiat’s 500L; and Royal Sun Alliance’s claims conference in London’s OXO Tower and a celebration to mark their move to a new London headquarters.    

The video team has been busy as well, not only with event-based work, but also with standalone projects, such as filming for Nissan at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

And the rest of the year shows no sign in slowing down!

The Lodestar-designed Philips Museum opens in Eindhoven!

17th April 2013

Lodestar was commissioned in late 2012 to work on the design and build of the new Philips Museum in Eindhoven, housed in the historic factory in the centre of the city where Philips first began producing light bulbs in 1891.

Working alongside Philips Design, Bruns and Die Nieuwe Collectie, Lodestar created a revised narrative flow for the Museum which provides a fascinating insight into Philips evolution from a small incandescent lamp manufacturer into a worldwide brand and tells an interactive story of innovation and its impact on people’s lives yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The Museum was officially opened on 05 April by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, an event which gained international press coverage including the UK’s Guardian newspaper.


Further information about the Philips Museum can be found at: www.philips-museum.com

Lodestar appointed to launch the new JEEP Grand Cherokee!

17th April 2013

JEEP has appointed Lodestar for the pivotal launch of its new Grand Cherokee to a multi-tiered UK audience, incorporating dealer training and press launches. The event, taking place this summer, aims to re-position the Grand Cherokee in the urban market, with particular emphasis on its refined road manners.

We will be creating a sense of intrigue, surprise and excitement throughout this event and each element from the venue to the ride & drive experience will convey this important urban message. But for the moment… everything is top secret!

Lodestar welcomes new Production Director to the team!

16th April 2013

Lodestar is delighted to welcome Jason Ward on board as Production Director.

Jason joins Lodestar with over 20 years in the live event, exhibition and conference industry, having worked for some of the industry’s major players in the UK, US and the Middle East. From building scenery, lighting and rigging for events and operational management, his passion has always been technical delivery for the industry.

Looking after Lodestar’s production, supplier management and operational strategy Jason promises to be a great addition to the team.

Lodestar sponsors 25th IVCA awards!

15th April 2013

Lodestar was proud to be a sponsor of the IVCA 2013 awards, the 25th celebration of communication creativity and effectiveness held at the Grosvenor House on the 22nd March.

Congratulations to all the winners – some fantastic work on show!

Lodestar hits the road with Fiat Group!

31st January 2013

Lodestar braved the elements last week to deliver a series of successful Fiat Group Regional Dealer Meetings across the snow swept country.

Held from 23-25 January in Newcastle, Birmingham and London, these meetings allowed the dealers to get up close with the team from Fiat Group and hear their strategy for the year ahead.


Philips Innovation Experience 2012

2nd January 2013

On 13-15 November 2012 Lodestar and Philips Benelux and Philips Design produced the Philips Innovation Experience – taking over 3000 media, key stakeholders, staff and prospective employees from the Benelux region on an inspiring journey through the latest Philips innovations.

Our brief was to work with Philips to create an event in which a complex series of innovations could be presented in a coherent, thematic way, emphasising the role Philips plays in improving peoples’ lives by delivering meaningful, innovative solutions to some of the global problems impacting our world.

Held in the Klokgebouw, a building that back in the 1930s began life as a Philips factory, the event focused on four themed ‘experience areas’. Each area - Liveable Cities, Innovating Healthcare, Personal Space and Sustainable Living - had a completely different look and feel, designed to create an immersive, engaging and inspiring experience. 

Lodestar and Philips light up Earls Court

21st December 2012

Lodestar were commissioned to design and build a stand to display the latest in Philips Lighting technologies at this annual award winning lighting exhibition at Earls Court on 6-7 November.

The brief required that Lodestar create an ‘open’ environment that was attractive and accessible to the visiting attendees, while at the same incorporating a sophisticated network to best display the features of the lamps.

Philips exhibited over fifty different lighting solutions within the stand, many operated via iPad/PDA and the very latest in dimming technology. The result; clearly one of the busiest stands in the show, Philips were able to illustrate the breadth and versatility of their lighting capability to over 5000 visitors and nurture exciting new contracts.

Lodestar (and Jamie Oliver) cook up a storm for Philips!

13th September 2012

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Philips and Lodestar beginning with the IFA press event in Berlin on 30 August, where Philips unveiled innovative consumer products in personal care, health and wellness, domestic appliances, coffee and lifestyle entertainment.

Partnering with Philips for the first time, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, with the help of CEO Pieter Nota, whipped up a mouth-watering ten minute curry in the new Philips HomeCooker, live onstage in front of 500 international journalists!

Philips Capital Markets Day 2012 followed on 11 September in London, with investors and financial analysts updated on the developments in the Lighting and Consumer Lifestyle sectors.

Check out the following links for further information:




Lodestar adds a little extra magic to the team!

20th July 2012

Lodestar is delighted to announce the acquisition of Bang Media, with Sean McGrath joining Lodestar as Executive Producer.

Sean brings with him both a wealth of experience and creativity as well as a number of new clients across a range of sectors.

Welcome to the team Sean!

Let the fun & games begin!

6th July 2012

After the huge success of last year’s CE Sundays, we have been asked once again to help Centrica Energy say thank you to their employees with a series of summer family fun days.

We got wind of a very special event taking place this summer in London(!) and with this in mind we’ve themed the CE Sundays around the celebrations, embracing all things sporting. Think football freestylers, comedy 118 runners and egg & spoon races… all topped off with ice cream, a barbeque and, of course, a little Lodestar magic!

Beginning this weekend, the event will be extended to four different locations for 2012, with the Lodestar team travelling as far as Aberdeen.

Typical of the traditional British summer, wellies and umbrellas will be more useful than sun cream but, whatever the weather; it promises to be four brilliant days come rain or shine!

Lodestar's rising star!

4th May 2012

Congratulations to Lodestar producer Laura Hallaways who has recently been voted onto C&IT Magazine’s A List 2012.

This list, unveiled at the Corinthia Hotel on 03 April, celebrates the top 35 agency professionals under 35.

Well done Laura!

Lodestar treks North Africa with the Afghanistan Trust & Nissan GB!

23rd April 2012

Four inspirational injured servicemen, supported by a group of Nissan GB employees, have set out on an expedition to tackle the North African desert in aid of the Afghanistan Trust… and Lodestar has gone too!

Mission Morocco, led by four soldiers from the Parachute Regiment, each one seriously injured whilst serving in Afghanistan, will see the group complete a series of gruelling challenges as they navigate across the desert in Nissan Navara 4x4s.

Lodestar will be producing an engaging daily blog-style documentary, capturing the excitement, action and emotion of the group during the 14 days of this unique and incredible journey.

We are very proud to be involved in this project in support of such a worthy cause and would like to wish the team all the best.

Follow Mission Morocco online at www.nissanmissionmorocco2012.co.uk.