MERRY DOWN. Year 1.

“We have a bit of an image problem with Merrydown, its main constituency appears to be students and street tramps” Chris Carr, Merrydown Chairman.
These were the only ads of theirs we’d seen, they were written by Chris Wilkins.
wm_nightclub.lg-1    wm_opera.lg
wm_bank.lg     wm_cricket.lg

6 sheets and fly posters were booked, so posh, long copy ads like those were out.
The creative department came up with various routes, some good, some less so.
E.g.
Screen Shot 2013-12-02 at 20.20.35
The thing that worried me was who’d read an ad on a fly poster?
You wouldn’t even notice it, regular ads have too many elements: end lines, headlines, logos, visuals.
I felt we needed something simpler, more like graffiti than advertising.
Like the Milton Glaser ‘I love New York’ logo/poster thing.
i_heart_ny_logo

I’d doodled something shortly after meeting the client, it wasn’t really an ad or idea, I’d simply split the brand name in two.
“Happy and sad in the same name, how weird?”
I quite liked it, but dismissed it as it didn’t seem to have any meaning.
BUT… it was really simple,  like that Milton Glaser poster,  and branded.
I tried to think about how to  to give it more meaning.
I remembered those Victorian of faces that worked both ways up.
Two faces poster    Woman's head

Maybe if one way up had a full glass of Merrydown and was smiling; Merry, and the other way up was sad; Down, because the glass of cider was empty.
I mocked them up.
Picking very contrasting images, colours and fonts to suggest a variety of styles:
merrydown2merrydown

Merrydown were in such dire straits, so the ads weren’t over scrutinised. It was more of a “Yeah…why not?”.
Right! Illustrators…erm?
photo
There are thousands of great illustrators out there, I was finding it difficult to narrow it down to five.
Sod it, instead of getting five illustrators for a £1000 a pop, why not get ten for £500 each? It’s a good brief and I could give them complete freedom to compensate for the little fee, what the hell, they can only say no.

Michael Johnson, the cool, bespectacled designer stopped by to update me on the progress of our agency book he was designing.
I talked to him about the Merrydown idea, trying to pick his brains on illustrators he’d worked with.
Two days later, instead of sending recommendations for illustrators, he sent over ideas:
229_merryjul2002
I bought this one. (I say bought, we didn’t pay him a penny.)
229_merrydown_up_400  229_merrydown_down_400

Next, Martin Haake faxes over a long stream of ideas, all good.
In retrospect, I was a bit too sensible, I loved the cowboy/Indian and cop/robber ideas, but worried their occupations may get in the way of the idea.
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 11 %22Down%22-01 Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 11, %22Merry%22-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 10 %22Merry%22.jpg-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 10 %22Merry%22-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 9 %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 9, %22Down%22-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 8 %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 8 %22Down%22-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 7 %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 7 %22Down%22-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 6 %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 6 %22Down%22-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 5 %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 5 %22Down%22.jpg-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 1 %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 1 %22Down%22.jpg-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 4 %22Merry%22.jpg-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 4 %22Down%22.jpg-01
Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 2 %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Martin Haake Rough 2 %22Down%22-01
Merrydown,Martin Haake Final, %22Merry%22png-01      Merrydown,Martin Haake Final, %22Down%22-01

I picked someone straight out of college; Helen Wakefield.
She had a very idiosyncratic way of thinking and drawing, and produced these.
Merrydown, Helen Wakefield,  Rough 3,-01Merrydown, Helen Wakefield,  Rough, %22Merry%22-01-01
Merrydown, Helen Wakefield,  Rough 2,-01Merrydown, Helen Wakefield, Early Rough,-01 Merrydown, Helen Wakefield Final, %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Helen Wakefield Final, %22Down%22-01

Olaf Hayek sent in his scribbles.
I couldn’t imagine these  finished:
Merrydown, Olaf Hayek Rough 2, %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Olaf Hayek Rough 2, %22Down%22-01
Merrydown, Olaf Hayek Rough 1, %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Olaf Hayek Rough 1, %22Down%22-01

But I could picture this one working…
Merrydown, Olaf Hayek Rough 3, %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Olaf Hayek Rough 3, %22Down%22-01
Merrydown, Olaf Hajek Final, %22Merry%22-01         Merrydown, Olaf Hajek Final, Down%22-01

Jeff Fisher, always a classy act, sent in this in.
It didn’t look great, but he always does great stuff, so I thought it’ll probably turn out well.
Merrydown, Jeff Fisher Rough %22Merry%22-01 Merrydown, Jeff Fisher Rough, %22Down%22-01
I was right, it did:
Merrydown, Jeff Fisher Final, %22Merry%22-01        Merrydown, Jeff Fisher Final, %22Down%22-01

One of the cleverest illustrators in the world did this one, Brian Cronin.
Merrydown, Brian Cronin Final, Merry%22-01    Merrydown, Brian Cronin Final, Down%22-01

Even a fat wallet illustrator like Gary Baseman agreed to do it for our micro fee.
Top illustrator, top bloke.
Baseman

Merrydown, Gary Baseman Rough 1, %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Gary Baseman Rough 1, %22Down%22-01 Merrydown, Gary Baseman Rough 4, %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Gary Baseman Rough 4, %22Down%22-01Merrydown, Gary Baseman Rough 3, %22Down%22-01Merrydown, Gary Baseman Rough 3, %22Merry%22-01

They all looked great, but this one made me smile widest…
Merrydown, Gary Baseman Rough 2, %22Down%22.jpg-01Merrydown, Gary Baseman Rough 2, %22Merry%22-01

Merrydown, Gary Baseman Final, %22Merry%22 -01Merrydown, Gary Baseman Final, %22Down%22-01

Without thinking it through, I asked my mate and in-house photographer at CDD, Giles Revell, if he could shoot one.
What a ridiculous request, how was that going to work then?
But, Giles being Giles, he said “Yeah…I’ll give it a go.”
Merrydown, Giles Revell Rough 1-01Merrydown, Giles Revell, Rough 1 %22DOWN%22-01

Merrydown, Giles Revell, Rough 2, %22Merry%22-01Merrydown, Giles Revell, Rough 2, %22DOWN%22-01
Merrydown, Giles Revell Final, %22Merry%22-01
Merrydown, Giles Revell Final, %22Down%22-01

Mick Marston, still a college tutor at the time, did this one, which has a younger, funkier vibe:
Merrydown, Mick Marston Final, %22Merry%22-01 Merrydown, Mick Marston Final, %22Down%22-01
Because it was so simple and graphic, we used it on the new packaging we did for Merrydown.
Merrydown -Bottle, Mick Marston

I’d always loved Sara Fanelli’s work, a stylish mixture of collage and inks.
Merrydown, Sara Fanelli, Rough. %22Down%22-01Merrydown, Sara Fanelli, Rough-01
Merrydown, Sara Fanelli Ink Rough, %22Merry%22-01    Merrydown, Sara Fanelli Ink Rough, %22Down%22-01-01
‘Onion Boy’ was different…
Merrydown, Sara Fanelli Ink Rough 3, %22Merry%22-01-01      Merrydown, Sara Fanelli Ink Rough 3, %22Down%22-01-01
…but got pipped by the less oniony ‘Little Hat’…Merrydown, Sara Fanelli Ink Rough 2, %22Merry%22-01-01    Merrydown, Sara Fanelli Ink Rough 2, %22Down%22-01-01Merrydown, Sara Fanelli Final, %22Merry%22-01     Merrydown, Sara Fanelli Final, %22Down%22-01

I thought the illustrations would do well at the awards, but the idea wouldn’t.
What was the idea anyway, a sort of Happy/Sad branding thingy?
I got it completely wrong , the illustrations won nothing, the ads won Best Poster campaign and Best Press campaign pencils at D&AD.

3 thoughts on “MERRY DOWN. Year 1.

  1. Pingback: Silly, meaningless Merrydown cider ads | We Are Molly

    • Hey John – Bad. I don’t understand why media and creative aren’t closer together?
      How can someone think “I’ve got a hunch ads about this size will work, no idea what’s in them yet, but it’s a good shape for achieving our goal”

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