Our Work.

Helping new businesses get started.

Supporting SMEs is second nature to AXA.

They understand that starting a new business is daunting; in fact, around 80% of UK companies fail within their first year. Through their Start-Up Angels competition and mentoring programme, AXA have offered entrepreneurs the chance to make their dream a reality. With prizes ranging from a £10,000 digital ad campaign to £25,000 of funding and insurance, plus mentoring from SME leaders, winners have a unique opportunity to get their ideas off the ground.

AXA needed to outsmart copycat offerings from competitors. They were looking for a credible partner to make the 2022 campaign work harder than ever and reach this niche audience at scale.

A partnership was born that saw the launch of the most highly integrated campaign that the Evening Standard has ever embarked upon. A truly integrated, multi-platform campaign that exceeded all expectations.


Print, Digital, Podcast, Social, OOH, Live event


For this campaign collaboration was key.Our Studio27 team worked tirelessly from brief to delivery with a huge range of teams; from editorial and data teams, through to commercial content, web developers and even our CEO; we all worked together to produce audience touchpoints across each and every one of our platforms. This included finding new ways of working, and a new OOH partnership, that would seamlessly facilitate the execution of the 2022 campaign.

Unmissable formats:

We grabbed our audience’s attention with cover wraps, supported by home page and channel takeovers.

ES bespoke digital format ‘BrandStories’ reached millions through mobile and social, and in a media first was also broadcast on DOOH screens in a brand new partnership with JC Decaux, targeting SME hotspots nationwide.

Thought leading content:

AXA’s credibility was built through sponsored reads of our award-winning ‘How to be a CEO’ podcast, plus an editorial episode with AXA’s CEO.

Complementing this was a multi-platform editorial series in the Business sections, and a dedicated, integrated channel accessed through the main navigation bar on-site.

Feel-good factor:

Heart-warming winner reveal videos showcased the delight of our winners when they were surprised with the news that they had won. These were seeded across multiple social platforms.

ES added to the prize by offering runners up mentoring from our design, marketing and social experts, and a digital advertising campaign to help boost their business potential and reach.

Face to face contact:

A stand at the inaugural ES SME XPO offered AXA a face-to-face connection with a bulls-eye audience, followed with data targeting to prompt further entries.