Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Easy Hotel – Redefining Hotel Expectations

Ben Fowkes - March 6th, 2014

I’m lucky enough to spend a lot of time staying in the finest (read: worst) hotels that London has to offer, particularly around Victoria, where our government clients are based. As such I think I’ve probably stayed in every ‘quirky’ room available, ranging from ones where you can easily touch all four walls at once, to basements with mysterious and unidentified sounds of running water. Recently, I couldn’t help but notice that an Easy Hotel had sprung up in my favourite strip of ‘unconventional’ hotels and I knew I’d have to book a room – what were ‘Easy’ going to bring to the hotel table? Well, to cut a long story short, it was a bloody revelation, changing my view about what a good hotel should be, from the process of booking through to checking out. Without further ado then, here’s some thoughts about the Easy Hotel experience:

Booking. As soon as you start the booking process, you know you’re in for a different experience. Ordinarily, you might be asked whether you want breakfast included, or maybe wifi, but not so with Easy. Instead it immediately asks whether you really need that window? They’ll happily sell you a single or double room without windows, and frankly, once you realise you can save a tenner by disposing of natural light, you wonder what you’ve been paying for all these years. I treated myself to a window, next time I won’t bother. Well played Easy Hotel.

Furniture. Easy Hotel is not just a place to stay, it’s also a way to imagine what prison is like. Do you really need furniture, they ask? It turns out, you don’t. With the use of only two hooks I managed to hang all of my clothes for the next day, with merely the smallest of crumples. And it’s not just the lack of cupboards that changed me, Easy helped me to realise that I don’t need a bedside table, a chair, a desk or any frivolous non-nailed down item.

easyhotelhooks 300x225 Easy Hotel   Redefining Hotel Expectations

No furniture? No problem – use the generous amounts of hooks available.


Do you really need a lamp, or alternative lights? I always thought you did, turns out I was wrong again. Actually a single, glaring hospital style light works just as well and helped me to imagine I was in the Heartbeat spinoff ‘The Royal’ which I certainly wasn’t expecting. I now question the former decadence of my life.


I’d always assumed that a room for sleeping in needed to be a restful colour – magnolia, an organic green, maybe a soft blue, but no, it turns out that bright orange walls are extremely conducive to sleep. I couldn’t help but lie awake and think about all my future Easy Jet based holidays. I should point out however that by 3 a.m, not even the thoughts of holidays or indeed the bright orange walls, could keep me awake anymore. I am now, of course,  redecorating my entire house in line with ‘Easy Orange’ policy. As an aside to this point, the Easy Hotel urls plastered on both walls were really handy.

easy hotel walls 300x225 Easy Hotel   Redefining Hotel Expectations

The restful orange walls and handy branding

So, what did we learn? Hotels are ordinarily a pompous, overblown and frankly expensive waste of time as they currently exist. Do we really need furniture, windows, good lighting or tasteful decor? I would argue that are all redundant because these days we instead have Easy Hotel.

Making things better from a hospital bed

Chris Quigley - December 2nd, 2009
0 Making things better from a hospital bed

Pain can be a beautiful thing. And in my case quite an inspiring thing too. For the last 5 days I’ve been stuck in hospital with severe back pains – which have meant I’ve been totally bed bound, and completely dependent on the nurses at Kings College Hospital London (who have – by the way – been really great!)

Anyway, lying in bed – in pain – inspired me yesterday morning: could I be of any use to hospital lying here? The hospital staff are being great – but could I add anything – could I help improve how the hospital is run?

And the answer is of course YES. As a patient I – and the hundreds of other patients – are in the best place to help the hospital improve, as we’re the ones at the coal-face, experiencing the end products that the hospital delivers – whether that’s a quick fix in A&E, or a longer stay in one of the wards.

The only issue is how you collate and make sense of this collective experience. And the answer to that is the internet – create a crowd-sourcing website with a focus on collating “ideas of how to improve the hospital” and let patients share ideas, and self-organise the value of those ideas via rating and commenting systems. Given I’m the co-founder of an e-democracy company – Delib – that specialises in citizen empowerment – this was the easy bit!

So lying in my hospital bed – I asked Andy, Jess and Dave in Bristol to quickly put together a patient crowd-sourcing site using our one of our apps – and 2 hours later we launched “Help us Improve Kings”.

Check the site here (and add ideas if you have any!)

With the prototype site up and live, I’m now in the process of getting patients to take part and share their experiences and ideas – a bit of a tricky feat given I can’t walk, but they’re coming in slowly as I lynch people walking past my room! I’m also in the process of talking to the Patient Involvement team @ Kings – as obviously to make this work, we really need them on board to actually turn the ideas generated into concrete actions.

So there you go – an example of bottom-up patient power – empowered by the wonders of broadband and a wonderful set of e-democracy tools. Social media empowerment at its finest!

And most importantly this is a lesson to all those brands / businesses / government departments out there who are trying to work out how to make their business work better – the answer: empower your customers and employees and they will in turn help power your business!

Santa ClaUSB is coming.

- November 9th, 2009

Last year saw us secret-santaing mugs to each other and let’s face it, it has made the office a better place. Rory’s eternal struggle to pick between Jimmy Saville or Obama, Ian’s rude mug and Ally’s christmas-music spectacular have brightened many a beverage in their short time in the office.

This year we’re turning to something altogether a bit simpler to organise by no less impressive. If you’ve ever coveted Tim’s USB-powered mug warmer or smirked at Michaela’s 4-port flower shaped USB hub then you’ll enjoy taking part in this year’s (kind of) secret santa.

We’re doing it lucky dip style this year, just before we head out for the Christmas Dinner. If you’d like to take part then all you need to do is buy a USB device for about a fiver, wrap it and drop it into the lucky dip box/bin that Jake and Katrina are making. If you put one in, then you’ll be able to take one out on the 22nd December. Easy-peasy.

I know what I’d like to get….

usb humpingdogs action Santa ClaUSB is coming.

(People) Shipping News

Andy Parkhouse - September 8th, 2009

Newly Arrived

Dave: epic wielder of the internet crayons. This job is now filled. Hi Dave. Welcome.

Robin: care and feeding of the css and javascript. This job is now filled. Hi Robin. Welcome.

Recently Departed

Mathilde: development intern. Thanks Mathilde, good luck.

Leaving Soon

Becca: Bristol’s all-star media intern and writer of case studies and other useful things. Becca will be teaching English in Paris. Thanks Becca.

Lauren: London’s all-star media intern and researcher of local government and other useful things. Lauren has landed a great job at a political research agency. Thanks Lauren.

Matt Wilkes: Plone wrangler and current longest serving employee, Bristol’s principal consumer of sausage. First job was sticking stickers, Matt will be freelance, so also leaving but not leaving. Thanks Matt.

Rose: debonaire tester of internets. Leaving, but not leaving, Rose will be working remotely for us in Brighton, testing shiny new Viral Ad Network features two days a week. Thanks Rose.

Arriving soon

Yo av: development intern, Yo av has been exploring the Ukraine and will soon be back for round two of summer work (except it’s now autumn). Hi Yo av.

Stan: our new debonaire tester of internets. Arriving September 25th. Hi Stan.


- August 13th, 2009

I don’t reccomend trying this for real, but for the purposes of this Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase call-for-entries, it’s rather jovial:

0 Atten tion!

Rubber Republic talking at Rushes Soho Shorts festival

- July 28th, 2009

Our Matt Golding is talking at two events at Rushes Soho Shorts festival tomorrow.

One is the Encounters Contentertainment talk (Soho Film Lab, 13:00) which is a private event invite only for ad industry creative directors chaired by Colin Marrs, editor of digital at Campaign (see above flyer).

The other is a public event on the future of short film at Apple Store Regent Street from 5pm – 7pm.


12am – meet at the Soho Film Lab, 8-14 Meard Street, London W1F 0EQ
1pm – start
3pm – finish

APPLE iStore ‘The Future of Film’ (Matt speaking, Irfon chairing)
4.30 – meet up at the Apple iStore, 235 Regent Street, London W1B 2ET
5.00 – start
7.00 – finish
It’s outlined on the Apple website –

See the map on page 71 of the Soho Shorts brochure –

Hiring Hiring Hiring

Andy Parkhouse - July 20th, 2009

We have no fewer than *three* shiny new jobs to fill (and a few more besides):

Rubber Republic Account Director

Financial Controller

Programming and development that doesn’t suck

Check em out, tell your friends!

aMap lift off…

Matt Golding - February 13th, 2009

Our aMap launch party last night buzzed along nicely, in the friendly surroundings of Piada, the fantastic italian cafe under our Frith Street office. Thanks to all of you diverse media, film and political types who turned out to see our feisty new baby spread its wings. If you haven’t seen the project yet visit aMap here, where you can buy our selection of pre-made aMaps, or construct your own online to argue with your friends…

3276378862 0cb85fd9b81 aMap lift off...

3275558115 5b50557a00 aMap lift off...

3276378602 60c33c0851 aMap lift off...


Chris Quigley - February 2nd, 2009

The Team Rubber London base was one of the only signs of life in Soho today. Snow had drenched London in a beautiful blanket of powder about 8 inches deep. Getting back into town last night, the taxi I took from Paddington did a 560 spin on Wigmore Street. Half of Oxford Street shut at 4pm and the Supermarkets and cafe’s have pretty empty shelves as none of their deliveries arrived. However, our trusty milkman arrived at our door on time, and the kids upstairs had built this fantastic fag smoking snowman outside our door. And everyone you see on the street has a massive childish grin on their face! (N.B. this was written by Matt not Chris Q – Matt’s a divo and lost his password for the blog so I’m his blog writing assistant extrordinaire . . .)

picture 16 Snohopicture 17 Snoho

Five Bristol reasons

Andy Parkhouse - December 10th, 2008

Recently we were asked for five reasons we’re passionate about Bristol. We said:

  1. Standing in the centre, surrounded by everything a big city can offer, and being able to see green fields.
  2. The wealth of interesting, scenic and/or cool places to live, work, shop, eat, meet, drink, party, stroll, pause…
  3. Everything is close, the city is diverse, and the areas are distinctive. You can meet friends quickly anywhere in the city.
  4. Dense clusters of creative businesses and people who care about being good on a global scale.
  5. The creative culture is built around openness, collaboration, sharing and unpretentious networking.

(London is great too).