Our story began with a vision. One that brought together a team of creative Aardvarks. Aardvarks who went on to set up their own Circus. No. Honestly.
Let’s set the scene: it was a bright Spring morning in 2010 when Jay (Scott-Nicholls, our Founder) touched down at Heathrow. After seven years abroad leading editorial and photographic teams for National Geographic Magazine, he was returning to the UK to pursue a vision. To create the UK’s leading agency in immersive and interactive experiences.
He got to work and soon Aardvark360 was born.
In the years that followed, Aardvark360 quickly grew to be a team of 10 like-minded creatives. We became one of Google’s top UK contributors, with over 3,000 tours published attracting more than 400 million views. As our organisation’s popularity multiplied and client requests grew, we noticed two common problems in the marketplace. Firstly, clients often needed functions that weren’t available on Google’s StreetView 360 tour platform. Secondly, a lot of photographers were offering poor quality 360 imagery, which clients were settling for but didn’t know what to do with. The team decided to address these fundamental challenges by:
- Providing custom built 360 tours using the latest technology, reaching beyond current Google StreetView capabilities.
- Offering higher quality content to organisations across the UK, sharpening brand identity and increasing popularity of content.
The investment focused on delivering state-of-the-art 360 photography, 360 video, drone filming and Virtual Reality. It proved successful.
Before long Aardvark360 was invited to shoot a spectrum of innovative projects: the first ever virtual tour of the Houses of Parliament, the first 360 video shoots for the Royal British Legion and PwC. We built a first-of-it’s-kind virtual open day experience for Royal Holloway University, including 360 photography, 360 video, drone filming and web development of a dedicated microsite. Relationships were established with national brands such as Iceland and Whitbread, and our team created the UK’s first live-action virtual tour, combining the best of virtual tours with 360 video for household name, Primark.
By 2019 we had a loyal and happy client base. And with it, a strong reputation in providing high quality custom built 360 tours. So, naturally, we thought we should shake things up a little.
The next step was about strengthening our brand to reflect our expertise. Not just in creating spectacular 360 visuals, but in telling immersive stories and being approachable specialists We’d already developed our own ‘Carousel’ methodology for designing and delivering virtual experiences, so we felt ‘Circus’ said it best.
A New Identity – Welcome to the Circus!
As dawn broke on 1st January 2020, our new website, colour scheme and brand identity was launched: and with it a new chapter of the story was being written.
In a matter of months we embellished our track-record in capturing the real world with 3D modelling and CG animation, and soon added web development as an additional service. No longer bound by software packages we could capture or create any environment, with any functionality, and deliver it as an immersive experience on any device.
Our transition turned out to be perfectly timed for an explosion in demand for virtual services. Covid-19 further accelerated trends among businesses to explore virtual alternatives to real-world interactions. Red Bull, Spotify, even the United Nations – in our first project with a non-commercial objective through creating an interactive exhibition about victims of terror – today these are just some of our clients, allowing us to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation in the virtual world.
As the year progressed we were shortlisted for Best Digital Exhibition and Best Digital Product Launch categories and announced merit winners of the Care Sector Supplier awards. Our award-winning team became highly recognised for innovations in virtual sales tools, virtual training materials and virtual demonstrations, and identified as innovators in live action virtual tours, combining the dynamism of 360 video with the interactivity of a virtual tour. We were also noted as the only UK agency to offer all the major types of virtual tour (Google, Matterport, Custom), as well as 360 video, 3D animation and VR. This position allowed us to offer solution-agnostic and unbiased advice to clients which continues to be well-received today.
It’s been 10 years since Jay landed in London and it’s fair to say our vision has grown, becoming stronger than ever. Never have immersive and interactive experiences been so important to business survival, and our work been so exciting and creative.
Demand for virtual services will continue. This will be matched by increasingly sophisticated technology. Circus will continue to grow, carefully selecting and nurturing our team of experts. Our ambition is to keep pushing boundaries on existing technology, take on more ambitious projects and experiment with techniques to create experiences that feel real and drive action. We’ll also continue to challenge issues that hold the virtual sector back – whether that’s battling with virtual-jargon or the huge price disparity within the sector. We are determined to cut through the noise and offer impartial advice, experienced guidance and a range of solutions. Always with an eye on our clients’ commercial (and non-commercial) objectives.
The Circus team continue to be approachable experts with core values in quality, expertise and transparency and as they look to the future, it’s an exciting one!
You see…Aardvarks, Circus…