Capture a company’s personality or create one?
When you’re developing a new campaign you’ve got to do one or the other.
It’s not always possible, but I prefer trying to capture what’s there rather than fabricate something.
Your message has more chance of being believed if it ties in with your perceptions of a company.
Conversely, if say, a bank start telling you about interest rates in the manner of an eighteen year old street hustler, it raises suspicions.
It’s like seeing an old uncle you are used to seeing in cords and cardigans suddenly turn up in black leather trousers and mirror shades.
You can’t help think 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.
When I was at Simons Palmer the agency won The Sun.
Exhibits A & B:
Traditionally not a magnet for awards.
So I was curious to see how Chris and Mark would represent this sensationalist sensationalist, trashy product with ‘good’ creative work.
At the time ‘good’ creative work all seemed to be intelligent and sophisticated.
They didn’t turn it into something cool like they had with Nike…
or … hip like Wrangler…
…or stylish like The National Railway Museum…
They made it appear sensationalist, trashy and argumentative, like The Sun.
They celebrated the truth.
When we pitched for Loot at CDD, I did the same.
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.
Then 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 couldn’t recover from the fact that I was the only person from the agency 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 rearrange them in favour of a pitch.
But, we didn’t look terribly committed to the Loot cause.
A shame, I haven’t had the opportunity to bad printing since.