City of London launches campaign to put a smile on workers' faces

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The Square Smile has launched in partnership with AF OLIVER, aiming to revitalise the City’s streets and businesses affected by the impact of COVID-19

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A lot has been written about the mass migration away from the UK’s capital. To entice people back, the City of London Corporation has launched a lively campaign to get the streets, hospitality, retail and leisure businesses buzzing with people ~ and smiles ~ once more.

The campaign is putting the #SquareSmile back on faces in the Square Mile, that’s for sure. Using the famous track by Spike Jones, with a score that calls-out to “pack up your troubles and smile, smile, smile”, while showing real workers enjoying the City’s incredible offering.

Launched in collaboration with AF OLIVER ~ the property and place marketing arm of OLIVER, the world’s only company to exclusively design, build and run in-house agencies and marketing ecosystems for brands ~ the campaign harnesses the simple power of the smile to remind people of the pleasure of being together again.

Pete Hardy, Creative Director at AF OLIVER said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to work with the City of London Corporation on such a ground breaking campaign. The research by Opinium was a key driver for the creative. It gave us a clear brief to remind workers of the joy of human connection and it influenced everything - the creative thinking, concepts, photography, artwork, right down to the choice of music. The campaign aims to re-establish the fondness and pride of place people feel when working and socialising in such an iconic setting. We want it to influence attitudes and support behavioural change, all with a healthy dash of observational wit and some heart-felt sentiments.”

William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: “The Square Mile is open for business and we urge people to return so that they can enjoy everything they missed during the pandemic. The City has something for everyone to enjoy: from quirky independent cafes to internationally renowned cultural institutions, world-class modern architecture to historic heritage sites. There has never been a better time to return and be part of this reinvigoration.”

Policy Chair of the City of London Corporation Catherine McGuinness added:

“This campaign will build on the growing momentum behind the return to the Square Mile, with our streets starting to buzz and offices coming back to life. It will highlight and remind workers of the wonderful, quirky and interesting things there are in the City beyond just work. This is vital to support the SMEs and wider ecosystem that help to make the Square Mile such a unique place to work and visit.”

Square Smile hopes to bring a much-needed energy-injection back to the thousands of retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in London, as well as encourage an increase in footfall, patronage and spend across the Square Mile, re-invigorating businesses that suffered during the pandemic.

The idea for Square Smile came from City of London Corporation-commissioned research (conducted by Opinium). The research found that while the majority of workers are happy that employers are increasingly offering flexibility, they have missed having human connection that comes with socialising in the City.

The creative includes an extensive look at real-life London staff, business owners and workers. It will run as an Adsmart commercial, across OOH, social, display and video on demand, and is supported by PR and influencer marketing. All featuring the campaign icon - the word SMILE, with a cleverly placed Q turning it into Square Smile also gives the campaign longevity.

Square Smile runs from 25th October 2021 to 31st January 2022..
See the campaign video here: