Friday Five: Unique hotel designs


It’s one thing travelling and seeing incredible sights, but why not explore the world while sleeping in the most unique hotels? Here are a few of our suggestions:

1. Kenyan Manor Hotel

What better way to visit Kenya than to sleep in a hotel where you breakfast with your family and a very tall animal friend? Dining with giraffes is a key selling point of the Kenyan Manor Hotel.

2. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Sleep under the Northern Lights and live a luxurious life in Lapland; a perfect choice for the winter months. 

3. A vintage 1965 Boeing 727

Not many people can say they have slept in a fully refurbished grounded aeroplane in Costa Verde – a colourful option if you’re exploring the Americas.

4. No Man’s Fort

A fan of solitude? The No Man’s Fort hotel is off the Isle of Wight, so it certainly offers an interesting choice close to home. And yes, it really is a fort.

5. Magic Mountain Lodge

Become enchanted with a hotel in the heart of Patagonia. The Magic Mountain Lodge, known as the ‘Hobbit hotel’, comes complete with an incredible waterfall.

Tell us what unique hotels you would like to experience or have visited; got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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Friday Five: vintage print ads


Advertising has been a part of our daily lives for longer than you might think – here’s our pick of some of the most iconic vintage print advertising: 

1. Coca Cola (1960s)

‘Things go better with Coke’ is one of the brand’s most recognisable campaigns, as epitomised with this punny female-targeted ad.

2. Volkswagen Lemon (1960s)

Even praised by Mad Men’s Don Draper, the Volkswagen ‘Lemon’ and ‘think small’ ads are timeless classics, still noted today for their surreal simplicity 

3. Chanel (1921)

The original hand-drawn ad for Mademoiselle Chanel’s first (and most popular) fragrance, Chanel No5, which brought class and sophistication to the brand.

4. Covent Garden by Tube (1987)

Elizabeth Baranov’s Art Deco-inspired TfL poster is just one of a long line of colourful, impactful public information posters (Tom Eckersley’s collection contains some great examples). 

5. Cadbury

This may not be one of the first Cadbury ads that springs to mind but this (very) vintage ad is certainly…interesting.

Tell us which vintage ads you love; got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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Friday Five: Stirling Prize winners


The Stirling Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in architecture, recognising some of the best building projects in Britain since 1996. These are our favourite winners:

1. Stuttgart Music School (1997)
The second winner of the Stirling Prize was co-designed by Sir James Stirling himself, completing the Stuttgart ‘Cultural Mile’ with a stunning circular tower and an Art-Deco inspired look.

2. Gateshead Millennium Bridge (2002)
Described by RIBA as ‘one of the most successful millennium projects’, Wilkinson Eyre’s footbridge is now an icon of the North East.

3. The Gherkin (2004)
Foster + Partners’ St Mary Axe became instantly recognisable as ‘The Gherkin’ and remains a prominent feature on the City skyline.

4. Astley Castle (2013)
The gorgeous 12th Century Astley Castle was augmented by Witherford Watson Mann Architects, sympathetically enhancing the original building with modern textures.

5. Burntwood School (2015)
Our final pick is the most recent winner: Burntwood School by AHMM, which boasts some incredible three-dimensional façades.

Let us know your favourite Stirling Prize winner; got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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Friday Five: Retro TV ads


The first Friday Five of the New Year and we’re looking back to some of the best TV ads of all time. From polystyrene robots to drumming gorillas, British viewers have been treated to some iconic campaigns since ‘the box’ became a household staple in the 1950s.

1. Smash (1974)

The cheeky Smash aliens brought instant mashed potato into Britain’s consciousness, and although they are very low-tech, they stand up pretty well after forty years.

2. OXO (1983-1999)

The OXO family, led by Lynda Bellingham, kept us entertained for an incredible sixteen years, connecting with ordinary families around the country.

3. Cadbury Dairy Milk – Gorilla (2007)

Incredibly, this ad is now nine years old. One of Dairy Milk’s most iconic ads, a gorilla took on the drum solo of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ and quickly went down in advertising history.

4. Hovis (1973)

Every few years, Hovis revisits this timeless concept, reigniting our nostalgia all over again.

5. Apple Mac (1984)

This Ridley Scott-directed spot was aired at the Super Bowl in America, but as a game-changing ad which revealed the true possibilities of advertising, it was aired on news channels around the world.

This is just our pick of vintage ads – let us know your favourites. Got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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Friday Five: Best Christmas ads of all time


Friday Five: Best Christmas ads of all time As everyone gets into the festive spirit, Christmas is the perfect time for brands to create memorable ads.

Here are our all-time favourite Christmas ads – and it’s a nostalgia fest:

1. Coca-Cola: Holidays are coming (1995) – As it’s the ad’s 20th anniversary, it’s only right to showcase the spot that lets everyone around the world know that Christmas is coming.

2. Yellow Pages: Mistletoe (1992) – This sentimental classic is famous for its adorable child characters, capturing the innocence of the festive season.

3. John Lewis: Snowpeople in love (2012) – Since 2007, John Lewis has taken the UK by storm with its annual Christmas ads. This heart-warming journey of a snowman in love saw John Lewis reap record profits.

4. Sainsbury’s: Christmas is for sharing (2014) – An emotional (and controversial) ad which became a talking point last Christmas.

5. Toys R Us – Magical place (1989) – With a classic jingle, this old-school ad is still very much in the hearts of Eighties and Nineties kids everywhere.

Tell us which Christmas ad is your all-time favourite – or what else should appear on our list?

Got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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Friday Five: Things to do in London this Christmas


To kick off the first week of December, our Friday Five is dedicated to some of the best Christmas events in London:

1. Barbican Christmas Market
Today is the day: Barbican Christmas Market is open and raring to go. Visit the festivities for some culture and vintage shopping – with, of course, some mulled wine and mince pies.

2. Christmas in Belgravia
This weekend sees Christmas reach the streets of Belgravia. From the farmers market and boutique stalls to live entertainment and music, this event is not one to miss.

3. A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol will be showcased at the Rose Theatre Kingston until 3rd January, breathing life into the familiar tale.

4. Skate at Somerset House
Why not skate under the stars this winter? Somerset House courtyard boasts an incredible 900 square metre outdoor ice skating rink, with added extras such as Fortnum’s Lodge and The Christmas Arcade.

5. Winter Wonderland
A modern Christmas staple, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is perfect for family and friends, and always gets everyone in the festive spirit.

Attending another great event this winter? Let us know, or take a look at our advent calendar for more inspiration.

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Friday Five: Innovative Billboards


Friday Five is back again and this week, we’ve chosen our favourite fun billboards from around the world:

1. Mr Kipling
Why use paper when you can use cake? Mr Kipling created a billboard made entirely of edible treats – definitely the most delicious ad on our list.

2. British Airways
Piccadilly Circus is known for its bright lights and billboards – this Cannes Lion winner was an interactive real-time ad that pointed out BA planes as they flew overhead.

3. Glad Cling Wrap
680 orange slices were placed on an outdoor billboard with just a select few wrapped in cling film. Embodying the tag line ‘Fresher Longer’, the wrapped oranges stayed fresh, while the others rotted away.

4. BBC World
A more thoughtful ad, which saw BBC World use clever perspective and angles to let viewers ‘see both sides of the story’.

5. Adidas
And finally, goalkeeper Petr Cech ‘supported’ Vienna’s Prater Ferris Wheel on a very ambitious billboard.

Let us know what you think of our list and tell us if you’d nominate any other creative billboards.

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