Ad for skate brand Palace

How Palace grew up with a grin on its face

The skateboarding brand has broadened its appeal, attracting everyone from the halfpipe to the runway to the football pitch, but it’s still held onto its playful spirit. We talk to MPC’s Richard Skinner about creating fun ads for the brand, even as the stakes get higher

“It can be one conversation or one line or a fag packet or a napkin or an email that just says: ‘Right, we’ve got this thing to do and we want a guy flipping a jet ski into a swimming pool’. Then you have to build everything from there.”

This is what Richard Skinner, head of creative development at production company MPC Creative, calls a “nice rhythm” in terms of working with Palace. Founded by Lev Tanju in 2009, the skateboard and clothing brand emerged from London skate collective Palace Wayward Boys Choir, which also included another key Palace figure, Stuart Hammond. The name came from the flat they used to squat in around the back of Waterloo station – a stone’s throw from the iconic Southbank skate spot – that they lovingly dubbed ‘The Palace’.

In the space of a few years, everything grew: the clothing range they offered, the attention from fashion circles, and the queue to get into their first brick and mortar store on Brewer Street in Soho, London. As Palace’s operations escalated, the team started working with MPC Creative on ads, particularly for high profile projects. They first worked together on a 2016 Palace x Reebok ad starring “skate rat” Jonah Hill – who wrote and directed his own skate-inspired coming of age movie Mid90s – which became an instant classic. Between Hill’s unimpressed monotone delivery and the amateurish VFX, it struck a refreshing note in a landscape of pretentious fashion brands.