Archive for July, 2010

Welcome to London. Sorry, Barclays London.

by Vicky Bullen

When I first heard of the new ‘cycle super highways’ that run into central London from the suburbs, my first reaction was to compare and contrast the achievements of our newt loving former mayor Ken Livingstone with those of the incumbent Boris Johnson.

In the red corner we have Ken. A bit foul-mouthed, a bit bossy. But he introduced the first major stand against the hegemony of the automobile by any major city in the world: The Congestion Charge. It needed sharp political instincts to bulldoze it through, a commitment of hundreds of millions of pounds in new technology and the willingness to upset large swathes of the electorate.

There was another world first in the Oyster card, a ground-breaking automated transport ticket with the potential to become an electronic currency holder. (more…)

Olympic heroes

by Helen Hartley

Its officially 2 years to go until the London Olympics. The Panini Sticker Company is launching an Olympic and Paralympic collection, for the first time. Engaging kids in the old school hobby of swapping stickers and building a sticker album. Hopefully, we can have the success from my childhood when legends like Daley Thompson, Fatima Whitbread and Sebastian Coe achieved greatness.

Shine Finalists 2010

by Madeleine Lees

A big thank you to everyone who entered the Shine Awards 2010. Once again, the standard has been very high. We had a lot of fun looking through the many entries submitted and now have a short list of finalists.

Very well done to those who’ve made it this far (you know who you are). We look forward to meeting you and seeing some more of your inspiring work.

Coley Porter Bell creates premium fmcg brand for Inish Turk Beg

by Alex Benady

Coley Porter Bell has helped location-based business Inish Turk Beg enter the fmcg brand arena by developing a range of premium, artisan-made fish and meat products.

The agency has created the brand and produced packaging designs for smoked tuna, mackerel and salmon as well as back and streaky bacon. As part of a ‘top-down’ distribution strategy they’ll be sold initially only in the most exclusive outlets such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. The new products will be rolled out to other outlets during 2010.

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BBH and Levi’s split marks the decline of advertising

by Alex Benady

Last week ad agency BBH announced that it had resigned the Levis account it has held since 1982. You could tell it was a significant moment because it was so widely reported, not least in the FT which described the split as ‘End of an era in Levi’s advertising’. For nearly three decades BBH’s work for Levi’s has been without rival, equal or parallel. Other campaigns have lasted longer. Think Andrex puppies, think Tony the Tiger.

Other campaigns have perhaps sparkled nearly as brightly for a moment or two -think of all those great ads for Tango and its different flavours, or Fallon’s work for Sony and Cadbury’s.

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Branding lessons from the Champs Elysee

by Habib Patel

Last week when the French were knocked out of the world cup, there was murmuring amongst French intellectuals that the players, many of whom have worked in England, had caught the Anglo-Saxon bug of the cult of the individual. That explained why they were apparently unable to play as a team.

Another area where Anglo-Saxons excel is brands and branding. The French are also-rans in this discipline. Or so I thought until I visited Paris a couple of weeks ago.

So there we were, strolling down the Champs Elysee, en famille, when my eye was caught by some elegant blue neon lettering. ‘200 Ans et plus’ it read. Intrigued I investigated the shop which turned out to be Peugeot’s flagship showroom and brand show case.

Then on the next window I saw this.

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Emotional product placement beats warning symbols

by Tom Pinnock
Spot the product placement

Spot the product placement

I don’t know about you but I’ve always felt that there is something sneaky about product placement. Ads declare themselves. They say ‘I am trying to sell you something’ and the viewer is able decode, delete and generally deal with the message in whatever way they see fit.

The problem with product placement however is that it doesn’t declare itself. It pretends to be something else. It says “I’m an innocent prop in this film/tv programme/news broadcast and I have no commercial agenda. Dramatic resonance is all I seek.” Which of course is just not true.

TV is a passive medium. I for one watch to disengage with the world and engage with what is being screened. I really don’t want to have to watch television with my bullshit detectors on full-power the whole time, trying to decode the commercial agenda of every artefact that appears on screen.

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The agony of name birth

by Alex Ririe

In the Times supplement today, Heston Blumenthal talks about naming his new restaurant.  He says it’s as fraught as naming your first child.  He has a point – with his profile, anyone with even a passing interest will be sure to have an opinion on the name. Good or bad.

Imagine being in that position. It must be agonising to know if you’ve got it right. Will people like it? What does it say about your business? What does it say about you?

Recently, quite a few of my friends have become parents for the first time. Many have kept their shortlist of names a closely guarded secret until the birth is announced.  On the whole I think this is probably a wise move.  I have heard numerous stories of parents revealing their preferred baby names, only to have them critiqued and sometimes even shot down on the basis of someone’s prior experience of the name – the school bully, the scaredy cat at school etc etc!

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This blog is about all the things that inspire us as we make brands beautiful: insights and ideas, points of view, fabulous work, nascent trends - all the things that excite us and help us to see new possibilities for the brands we work on. So please enjoy, add your comments, forward the link, and come back and see us. We’ll be posting regularly.