Ballsy Brands Quarterly: Brand Spam and Ballsy Storytelling

Jon Burkhart’s first ever Ballsy Brands Quarterly kicked off in true Burkhart style with plenty of ball throwing and a great deal of laughter at a brilliant venue WeWork, Devonshire Square.

On to the event…

BBQ, Brand Spam and Ballsy Storytelling

Jon kicked off the show by explaining the idea and passion behind the event — helping brands to stop making fools of themselves. They mostly do this by creating content that’s all about their own agenda and not based on what customers want. This leads to some truly shocking bits of content – especially the ones created to “newsjack”(as Jon calls it) current events.

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In Round One —The Brand Balls-Off, Jon set the stage, by showing what true BALLSY branded content is as well as a few of the shocking types of social content, i.e. the brand “balls-ups”. Unlike the ballsy stories his crew of speakers would be bringing, this type of ‘brand spam” doesn’t come from a place of passion.

brand spam 2

This is what Linleigh Masters from top social media blog WeRSM said about Round One,

“Jon went balls to the wall (literally) at his Ballsy advertising & networking event! It’s an industry must filled with inspiring industry speakers, yummy BBQ and advertising oopsies! I loved it!”



Round One ended the moment the delicious pulled pork sliders arrived and then before we knew it, it was on to round two of Ballsy BQ.

For Round Two, the whole point of the night was for the speakers to talk about their moments of true ballsyness. These could be successes or failures (balls-ups as Jon calls them), but for this highly interactive (and a bit playful) event, the stories must come from the speakers’ childhood. They were also asked to tie it all back into how these experiences have helped shape their careers.

Louisa Heinrich of Superhuman Ltd started off with an interesting story around her childhood in Berlin and how hungry she was to know about people that she made up stories. Louisa talked passionately about the art of storytelling and how important it is to creating truly BALLSY content. Louisa reminded us, ”We put people into boxes & make stories for the boxes & not the people.”

“Personal stories are always inspiring, and it was wonderful to see colleagues I respect and admire be so open about how a their inner children help make them great at what they do. I was proud to share a stage with Simon, Adah, Tom et al, and look forward to more great stories!” – Louisa Heinrich


Next up was Adah Parris who inspired us all by her beliefs in accepting randomness and serendipity as the new norm and how she turned her passion around this and created a brand name for herself. One Inspired quote from Ada: “Not holding on to preconceptions is so important in order to be ballsy”.

Jon Morter then spoke about his work with Rik Mayall and the campaign that was truly ballsy. He also said an inspiring quote from Rik Mayall that he lives by “Believe you are the best in the room and even if you aren’t, just believe you are.” Morter also arranged for a properly ballsy stunt to happen during his talk. A woman was supposed to arrive during his talk for a first Tinder date, but she was running late and had to cancel much to her dismay. Jon Burkhart heard the message she left Morter so it was totally legit.

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Kulsoom Kausher of Wandering Bear spoke about how fearless she was as a child and how this translated into her nickname being ‘Danger Mouse’ or ‘Choee’ which means mouse in her native language Urdu. She talked about the importance of being fearless and the importance of finding time to nurture relationships particularly within your professional career.

“The best Friday nights are spent trying to dodge 500 ginger balls from slapping your face.” – Kulsoom Kausher

Tom Ollerton from We are Social put on an engaging presentation and taught us all the art of improvisation by giving us quick interactive games to do with the person next to each of us. This led to some great ice breaker moments and a lot of laughs! For Jon, this was one of the most engaging talks as it got the crowd actively involved in a fun way that DIDN’T involve trying to hurt him (although he deserves it probably) and God-forbid, any of his esteemed speakers.

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As everyone quickly ran of time and each talk got that much quicker, Dan Kirby talked about how being playful is all about being different. Dan runs a fun, interactive event called The Tech-Off (which you should all attend), and he spoke about his experiences gathering people in playful interactive settings.

“It was riotous and anarchic, with great insights, booze and BBQ. Get inspired here.” – Dan Kirby

Simon White of Formation London discussed how he built stuff using unstructured play as a child and used this to create his company. He’s always tinkering with new methods to get audiences attention. One really interesting project he spoke about helps you be more playful and curious when you travel. He’s collaborated with John Wilshire and created a new Traveller edition of Wilshire’s Artefact Cards (pictured on the screen behind Simon below).

When you’re travelling, you get out the deck of cards and answer some of the 26 questions that help you enjoy the journey a bit more.

“A crazy, roller coaster ride through Jon’s brain and his BALLSY work examples, and fascinating stories of playful work techniques and personal insights from my fellow five speakers.” – Simon White

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Finally, it was then up to the audience to choose a champion out of the speakers as to whose talk was the ballsiest! All speakers were brilliant. They all got a trophy. They were all very interesting and very BALLSY, but there had to be a crowd-favourite who would be crowned winner. Or in this case, two winners as it was a draw between Kulsoom and Adah who had to leave right before the trophy presentation.

Thank you to everyone who turned out on a busy Friday night. Jon learned loads from the “guinea pigs”(insert pork pun here) who braved the ball-throwing mayhem that was Ballsy Brands Quarterly #1. Jon went away with loads of positive feedback as well as many different ways he could make the next one a “slicker operation.”It was a great first event and everyone in attendance spoke about how interesting the BALLSY content and speakers were. At Source LF, we champion people like Jon who try new things and we look forward to supporting him at BBQ #2 in early 2016.