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Grey London celebrate the Great British Boozer for Greene King IPA

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I've always loved the atmosphere of the good old fashioned British pub. It might have something to do with the fact my father worked for a brewery throughout my formative year, and it's almost certainly been exacerbated by my general indifference towards modern pop music and overpriced cocktails (which make most bars and nightclubs no-go zones for me). Whatever the case though, there's no place I feel more comfortable on a night out than in a local boozer with a selection of decent ales on tap and a genuine history behind it. I'm evidently not the only young Brit to feel this way either, as Grey London has leveraged our love of the Great British boozer in a rousing new campaign for Greene King IPA, one of the country's leading cask ale brands. The rather aptly named “To the Pub” (an epic rallying cry if ever I heard one) is a heart-warming campaign based around a series of films featuring 50 pubs and 50 stories as seen through the eyes of those who know them best; the landlords and their beloved regulars.

To The Pub - Support Your Local

Whilst trendy wine bars and nightclubs are very much an invention of the 20th century, pubs have held a special place in the nation's collective psyche for generations, and it's this history that Grey have tapped into for the campaign. From the first “Tabernae” originally introduced by the Romans 2000 years ago, to the taverns and inns of the 19th and 19th centuries and the public houses of today, pubs have always been seen as distinct institutions with their own characteristics, patrons and place in society. Indeed, the pub has always been seen as more than just a place to drown your sorrows. It's a cornerstone of the community, a bastion of British culture, and all things to all people. Basically, a good pub should be like a church, only without the pesky religious angle.

“To The Pub” is a heart-warming campaign based around a series of films featuring 50 pubs and 50 stories as seen through the eyes of those who know them best

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With recent stats showing that more people are drinking at home than in pubs for the first time on record, Grey London has devised a campaign that celebrates not just these beloved venues but also the reason they play such a significant role in Britain’s culture and in the lives of people that frequent them. To capture this spirit authentically, the agency worked with BAFTA award-winning documentary maker, Paddy Wivell (best-known for Channel 4’s “The Tribe”) and production company Just So, to give the power back to the publicans and allow them to tell their stories themselves.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem

Working closely with Greene King IPA and a team of experienced researchers, Grey whittled down over 3000 pubs to 50 and handed out cameras to every publican, giving them the chance to become filmmakers and show off their watering holes to the world. Each pub became an unscripted, organic story in itself, with an eclectic cast of characters, stories, traditions and goings-on, painting a charming portrait of British pubs and British people. The diverse range of pubs that feature in the series include former Hell’s Angels haunt “The Hawley Arms,” the famed Camden venue best-known for being one-time local to the likes of Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty and Kate Moss; and Nottingham’s “Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem,” purported to be Britain’s oldest pub, dating back to 1189 AD, and the pub where I happened to discover my love of incredibly strong stout (that was a messy weekend).

Working closely with Greene King IPA and a team of experienced researchers, Grey London whittled down over 3000 pubs to 50 and handed out cameras to every publican

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Nils Leonard, chairman & chief creative officer at Grey London, said: “Pubs aren’t bricks and mortar, or beer and wine. Pubs are people. We wanted to create some work that showcased the beautiful rarity of our nation’s boozers, and at its best reminded us all why pubs have been at the centre of British culture for as long as they've existed.” Chris Houlton, managing director at Greene King, added: “Our ‘To the Pub’ campaign highlights the important social role that pubs play in communities across Britain. By capturing just some of the real, intimate and funny moments that happen in pubs every day, filmed by the people who helped to make those moments happen, our campaign invests in bringing the pub and the value it has within the community to the attention of a national audience. It has been a monumental team effort to create this campaign and we could not be happier with the results.”

The Hawley Arms

The series of 50 videos will be hosted on a dedicated microsite, and will also appear on TV, social media and online over the next month, and hopes to not only promote brand awareness for Greene King, but act as something of a PSA for the traditional British Pub. A cause very close to my heart.

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Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from Kidderminster in the UK. He's also a burgeoning curmudgeon who should probably have been born in the 1940's.

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