LOOT: Scruffy product = scruffy ad.

Capture or create a brand’s personality?

When you’re producing a new campaign they’re your options.
Although it’s not always possible, I prefer using what’s there, either physically or perception to fabricating something.
Your work has more chance of resonating with the public if it feels to authentic, to feel authentic to them it needs to tally with their views of the brand.
E.g. If your bank, for so long the sensible, staid pressence in your life starts talking like a street punk, peppering their conversations with ‘dude’ and ‘bro’, you may get suspicions.
It’s like seeing cords and cardigan wearing uncle suddenly dressed black leather trousers and mirror shades. You have to believe there’s a problem.
Bottling the essence of a company means putting your own pre-conceptions and prejudices aside.
It’s not about turning dull into cool, it’s finding truth and reframing it.

Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson were good at this.
When I was there we won The Sun, not known for its style and sophistication or as a magnet for creative awards
At the time, ‘good’ creative work was and looked intelligent and sophisticated.
They didn’t try to make The Sun cool, like they had with Nike.
Or quirky, like they had with Wrangler.
Or stylish, like they had with The National Railway Museum.They made the sun feel sensationalist, trashy and argumentative, like The Sun.
They captured what they were rather than creating a ficticious personality.
They celebrated the truth.

I did the same when we pitched for Loot at Campbell Doyle Dye.
Initially, we fell in love with the idea of producing contradictory ads next to each other.
The same object, only in one it’s seen through the eyes of the seller, in the other through the eyes of the buyer.
E.g.; Small ad on the left hand page; Picture of an old chair next to the line “it’s junk, sell it in Loot’, small ad on the right hand page; “Antiques. Buy them in Loot.’Or like this on posters:The clients loved it.
But good old Captain Integrity, Sean Doyle, found a similar ad in an old copy of the One Show.
So we withdrew it.
We told them it’d ‘been done’ they couldn’t have it.
We’d go again.
It’s a fine line between integrity and stupidity.
(Not sure exactly which side of it we were on in that instance.)
We went again.

New thought: Anti-new.
Why not celebrate the second-hand, the used, the stuff with previous owners?It was different and VERY them.
So how do we turn that into a style that best represents Loot?
Loot had terrible printing, dodgy star bursts everywhere and exclamation marks on every square inch, everything was shouty.
Cool, that’s our ingredients then.
Dave Wakefield found this old cut of a font we scanned.
Graphique type sheet-01Then we used graduated course screens, drop shadows, clashing colours and all the things that we would usually avoid.
(We were generally too cool for school.)We recovered from not letting the client, Stephen Miron, have the work he’d wanted from the previous meeting.
But we didn’t recover from the fact that I was the only person from CDD in the pitch.
(It fell on the same day as our agency’s first briefing by our biggest, in fact only account, Mercedes-Benz, it felt wrong to reschedule them in favour of a pitch.)
I guess we didn’t look terribly committed to the Loot cause.
A shame, I haven’t had the opportunity to use such scruffy printing since.


3 responses to LOOT: Scruffy product = scruffy ad.

  1. mdesq says:

    ….Dave, you should post some of the Sun and News of the World ads that you refer to. I think they still look good (in a bloody sort of way) nearly 20 years later.

  2. mdesq says:

    ….don’t worry Dave I’ll point a young person at my laminates (if I can find them).

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