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The Barnacle

The Power of Unbearable Friendliness


Spring is in the air at 2 Fish Company, bringing a slew of changes. We’ve harnessed the energy of the season to reorganize our office in preparation for the addition of new team members. We’ve welcomed incredible new clients and embarked upon exciting new projects with many of our “regulars.” However, all these changes frankly pale in comparison to the most titillating news of all—that the much-anticipated film Paddington 3 is officially entering the production stage and gifting us with something truly amazing to look forward to.

For any of our dear readers who have been living under a giant, uncultured rock, the STUDIOCANAL adaptation of Paddington took the big screen by storm in 2014 then followed it up in 2017 with what is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all-time: Paddington 2. In the spirit of the upcoming conclusion to the trilogy, I took a deep dive into why these films came out of left field to become so beloved by fans across the world—and found that Paddington and 2 Fish Company share many of the same unbearably friendly brand values that allow us to achieve an elevated level of success (despite our small stature).

The Adventure is About to Begin

The cultural landscape in 2014 was not particularly saturated with Paddington Bear. While he has been around since 1958, and many children were at least passably familiar with the red-hatted teddy from various shows and movies over the decades, there weren’t exactly droves of fans clamoring for a live-action CGI Paddington film.

To generate excitement, the studio worked with various firms to develop some uniquely creative campaigns—including interactive social media content, marmalade partnerships, and even a trail of Paddington statues sprinkled throughout London where intrepid families and individuals could follow a map to each landmark location (and receive Paddington-approved food recommendations along the way.)

Here at 2 Fish Co., we’re no strangers to user-friendly work designed to interact with. From touchscreen exhibits for Yanfeng to selfie stations for EventSnap to our own newly redesigned website, we like working on projects that empower the end user to engage with the final product enjoyably and effectively. Striking the right balance of accessibility (make it easy and painless!) and respecting the user (don’t be annoying and overexplain!) is crucial when designing an experience. To achieve this, we must 1) consider the end-user and their needs, 2) test everything, and 3) be unafraid to incorporate feedback. This means—you guessed it—asking a LOT of questions! While we consider ourselves experts in our fields, we know that we don’t know everything—and by asking the right questions, we can engage both your team and your end users in meaningful ways to ensure the final project will be as relevant and valuable as it can be.

Please Look After This Bear

Paddington is the story of a young bear who travels to London to seek out a British geographer (who taught Paddington’s aunt and uncle how to speak, hence the accent). While in the city, Paddington meets a lovely family (the Browns) but ultimately tries to find his geographer by himself. One thing leads to another, and he finds himself tranquilized and about to be stuffed by the geographer’s daughter, a rogue taxidermist. Luckily, the Browns come to the rescue, and by working together, they help Paddington find what he is looking for.

Cut to 2 Fish Co., where we replace tranquilized talking bears with clients who are under water (and rogue taxidermists with deadlines and internal expectations). Our team plays the role of the Brown family—quirky and maybe a little too pre-disposed to try talking to animals, but always there when our clients need our help to get out of (or into) any manner of tricky situations.

Get Ready for a Little Trouble

No one knows the potential for adventure and trouble to go hand-in-hand quite like Paddington. Well, except maybe us. The reality of our work is that we often embark with our clients into uncharted territory—whether exploring new tools, trying experimental techniques, creating new brands, or developing previously-untested solutions. Sometimes this means that results are unpredictable, leading to results that are less than ideal. When this occurs, we take ownership of our role in those results and do whatever we must to make it right! We’re always prepared to implement alternative solutions, especially when blazing new trails with you. As Paddington says, “A wise bear always keeps a marmalade sandwich in his hat in case of emergency.”

A Little Bear Will Make a Big Splash

Speaking of our team, there’s something else 2 Fish Co. has in common with Paddington: we’re both surprisingly small. While having a tight-knit group has many advantages, potential clients are often surprised at our (lack of) size relative to our work, especially compared with other marketing agencies. A wise young cub once said, “I’ll never be like other people, but that’s all right because I’m a bear.” We feel the same way! We know our strengths and maximize them in partnership with our clients to achieve miraculous results.

As for Paddington, the little bear did indeed make a big splash, garnering such reviews as “absolutely, positively delightful” and “as witty and clever as it is charming.” (Coincidentally, these are also sentences that my coworkers use to describe me). The award-winning film pulled in 282.8 million dollars at the box office (produced with a budget of $65 million) and maintains a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not too shabby!

Mischief. Mystery. Marmalade.

So, where do you go after creating what is nearly a perfect film? You make another one, and this time, you make it BETTER. At 2 Fish Co., it doesn’t matter if a project is a smash hit or a bit of a flop (it happens every once in a great while)—we review each one after it’s over and figure out what insight can be gleaned from it and how we can take what we’ve learned and improve our processes, techniques, and, ultimately, our results. In the case of our friendly neighborhood British bear, that meant building on the surprise success of the first film and creating a second installment that built upon the foundations of what made the original great while enhancing the characters and story to the tune of one of the highest-rated films of all-time (according to Rotten Tomatoes and, more importantly, me).

The bottom line is that there’s always room for improvement! Our team is full of individuals driven by an innate sense of curiosity, which leads us to continuously seek out the potential of our tools and resources to achieve your goals.

In Conclusion…

Hopefully, by now, we’ve convinced you that, by leaning into curiosity, being friendly, and knowing your strengths, even the smallest bear (or fish) can make a very big splash. You can learn more about some of our splashes here! (And if the whole friendliness thing doesn’t work for some reason, we recommend a good hard stare).