World Gold Council: The Golden Thread

Advertising Agency
London, UK


The impact of gold on humanity’s past, present and future is a story that extends far beyond economics and embellishment.

As a store of value, gold is a historically proven asset with unique benefits of diversification and liquidity – as well as long-term returns.

More than 200,000 tonnes of gold have been mined throughout human history, with every nanoparticle capable of elevating our way of life. Its permeation into almost every facet of our civilisation is an untold story, and one that demonstrates gold’s investable worth far beyond bars, coins and digital ownership.


Craft and share unexpected and enlightening stories that trace gold’s impact.

In a five-part documentary series presented by Professor and Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry, The Golden Thread features 10 world-renowned experts across medicine, art, culture, space science and performance motorsport. The films explore how gold is the element that will help turn some of our most exciting visions for the future into reality.

Global stories.

Each episode focuses on two expert’s application and research of gold in their respective discipline. In the premiere episode, gold’s cosmic abilities are detailed by “Saturn’s Weatherman” along with the scientist creating oxygen on Mars. In the second episode, the veil is lifted on the omnipresence of gold across electronics and promising potential for renewable energy.

The third episode shows how gold expresses significance in art and culture and is unexpectedly significant to quantum computing. The fourth part dives into the nanoscale, unveiling the impact of gold nanoparticles in medicine and wearable technology.

The final episode reflects on how the precious metal has sparked major parts of our modern world, and is full of surprising abilities that will help shape our future. As these stories are told, a consistent message emerges and clean-tech entrepreneur Phil De Luna, a series contributor, puts it plainly:

Gold is one of the most historically important metals to humanity and it’s used everywhere.

Phil De Luna, Ph.D, Cleantech innovator and Chair, Carbon Management Canada

Virtual Remote.
The series was made possible by a co-ordinated production of 10 interviews across multiple countries. To connect each of the stories together and deliver the narrative arc of each episode, Dr Hannah Fry was filmed in a Virtual Production set. Using LED screens, Unreal Engine technology and motion-tracked cameras, the virtual environment was generated in real-time allowing for the documentary’s presenter to inhabit a truly unique space.

All episodes available now.

The Golden Thread episodes are released weekly on YouTube, as well as collectively in a single release on a dedicated website. Built as an online exhibition of gold, the interactive experience begins within a central lobby, a replication of the Virtual Production set from the documentary itself.

Follow the Golden Thread.

In addition to the five episodes, the website provides extended interviews, interactive 360° galleries and audio interviews as part of a suite of additional storytelling. Viewers are given the ability to go deeper on subjects that capture their imagination, with further insights from experts around the world.

We couldn’t be more proud of this series, which is one of the most ambitious bodies of content our organisation has ever created.

James Spake, Global Director of Digital Marketing, World Gold Council

Brand-first storytelling

With a target of raising the volume of gold around the world, The Golden Thread reveals unexpected stories of gold’s impact on our modern world. Far beyond an inert store of value, gold’s true value is revealed as a catalyst, initiator and accelerator of human advancement. The documentary series aims to elevate the relevance of gold in the minds of institutional investors and consumers alike.

The World Gold Council trusted our studio to deliver a brand-first in storytelling, and in doing so have created a fascinating insight into the versatility and potential of one of the most recognisable materials in the world.

​Paul Ostryzniuk, Group Creative Director, AKQA

The series accrued over 17.2 million views across YouTube alone, with more across social channels and the dedicated documentary website. Such was the success of the Golden Thread and its website, the traffic it drove to accounted for over 92% of all page views. The World Gold Council gained three YouTube subscribers every five seconds for the duration of the series, increasing followers by 10x.


AKQA is a design and innovation company that employs over 6,500 professionals across 20 countries. Named Digital Agency Global Network of the Year in Campaign’s 2023 Global Agency of the Year Awards, AKQA was also awarded the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Digital Craft in 2023, and the Grand Prix for Design in 2021. In 2023, AKQA was recognised as a winner in Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Awards. AKQA also won Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas in 2021, and 2022 and led Gartner’s research into global marketing agencies in 2021.