From London to Rio

August 22, 2012

As with time, space and teenagers, design must move on. We’ve had London with all its date focused vibrancy now it’s countdown to Rio and a focus on people, their nature, their feelings and dreams.

Wolff Olins now hand the torch over to Tátil, here’s their take on the solution:

After consolidation of our findings, we selected a simple yet powerful idea as our inspiration: what distinguishes our city and makes the Olympic Games a truly grand event are the people, their nature, their feelings and dreams.

That’s why we created a truly human brand.

We were born from a mixture of ethnicities. We warmly embrace all ethnicities, faiths and generations. We share our sky, our ocean and our happiness with the world. This human warmth, which is part of the Carioca nature and the Olympic spirit, is shaped by the exuberant nature of a city that inspires us to live passionately and carefree, and loves to share and engage with others.

The natural beauty of our landscape is embodied by the brand and its color palette. Yellow symbolizes the sun and our warm, vivacious and happy nature. Blue expresses the fluidity of the water that surrounds us, and our easygoing way of life. Green represents our forests and hope, a positive vision that inspires us to go even further.

Together, different countries, athletes and peoples embrace in an individual and collective motion that reveals one of our city’s landmarks — a vibrant Sugarloaf, pulsating with joy, union, celebration and friendship.

This landmark comes to life and gains a three-dimensional perspective, with volume and cut-outs. Contours create the topography of the city in our imagination.  A brand-sculpture, infinite, that gains textures and shapes, transforming into an object; a playful brand that can be experienced.

The expressive graphic wordmark with interconnected fluid letters reinforces the desire for unity and the warm human essence of the brand, reflecting the friendly and hospitable nature of the Carioca. The exclusive graphic design offers a unique combination of excellence and spontaneity, inspiration and attention to detail.

Inspired by Rio’s nature, the athletes and its people, the Brand of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games evokes unity, inspires the will and desire to work together, to share our knowledge and talents, to join forces and ambitions for a sustainable way of life that will transform the present and our future.

It’s a brand that embodies unity, transformation, passion and energy. It’s a large collective network in motion, an invitation and inspiration to Rio and the world.

I just want an honest cup of coffee

April 26, 2012

Saffron have posted an interesting view point on Starbucks ongoing efforts to connect with their coffee loving audience. It made me think…

As well as being an interesting observation, the post also adds to the growing body of evidence that the coffee corporate is willing to try anything to positively position themselves in the minds of their customer, despite the tide of negative publicity they receive from certain quarters.

As with any business there’s an imperative need to keep existing customers happy. In this respect the global corporate is no different from Cathy’s Coffee House (some local high street). The issue becomes, just how do you keep the love going?

Where Cathy can honestly say she passionately cares about her customers and the coffee they drink, can this really be true about the global corporate?

Cathy’s coffee house is her life, and coffee beans are her passion. She first brewed up her first pot of 100% organic java 10 years ago and served it, with a smile and a knowledgable chat, to John – who owns a design studio a mile away from the coffee house and simply lives for quality coffee.

Ask John what he loves about Cathy’s Coffee House and he’ll reply Cathy and her passion for coffee. Cathy believes that it’s her mission in life to educate and excite her customers in the diversity and wonders of the java, so along with every cup of perfectly prepared latte you get and piece of coffee lovers knowledge free of charge. And although it would be far easier and quicker for John to stop off at one of the big chains that have swamped the area recently, he always makes the trip to Cathy’s for his quality coffee kick.

Cathy knows John, she knows about the pitch he’s just won and the holiday he’s planning to take the family on (the same place they went to a couple of years ago she remembers), she knows the date of his birthday and always gives him a free cup to celebrate. Cathy also knows Jane – mum to Jessie, David – retired accountant, Sarah – the florist, Mike – the builder…. Cathy really does know all her loyal customers.

It’s a great story and one that so many brands are looking to emulate in today’s highly personalised world. But can brands really tell the same story? And would it be believable if they did?

In Saffron post they highlight – At my local Starbucks, there’s a giant banner delivering their (Starbucks) new manifesto “Our promise to you – every cup, every day”. It goes something like this:

We promise that only perfect espresso shots will go into your drink. (What’s the alternative?)
We promise perfection through innovation. (What?)
We promise never to settle for good enough. (It’s a cup of coffee!)
We promise that your espresso will not only taste great, but will do good too. (Really?)
We promise to make your coffee just the way you like it. (Thank you.)


All this goes to show that you can brand yourself up like this, and promote yourself like that, you can even un-brand yourself if that’s what you believe in. But one thing remains true – you have to live up to the words say, be honest by your actions and have a brand proposition that’s truly believable.

New Zealand – Stunning

July 1, 2011


The people responsible for promoting New Zealand to the rest of the world have, I’ve always thought, managed to perfectly capture and communicate their audiences positive perceptions of the destination, and present those emotions back in a way that always adds to the allure.

Whether it’s their ‘100% Pure’ slogan – which perfectly captures the obvious natural beauty available as well as the inhabitants passion for the place (all the kiwi’s I’ve met have always been totally on brand!), the amazing photographic opportunities that are obviously on offer, or that place-in-the-collective-mind of freshness, freedom and fun, that they have so wonderfully managed to create, brand New Zealand is simply stunning.

Their new digital offering for the UK market – brilliantly reenforces all those positive feeling of the country, and helps to build ever stronger branding beliefs.

The site makes use of HTML5 to create an engaging user experience that’s fresh, original and totally immersive. Scrolling down the page takes the user on a semi animated trip through the lovely landscape. Clickable locations and interactive maps give you ample opportunity to while away some time simple exploring, dreaming or planning the perfect trip.

Overall it’s a stunning site from, what seems to be, a stunning place. Now that’s good branding.

Toying with brand analytics

May 17, 2011


To coincide with the release of Millward Brown’s annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study, JWT London have created an online tool for tracking brand data.

Brand Toys is a creative and playful tool for interrogating the serious subject of business sentiment and brand buzz.

Every ‘toy’ is created using the same design rules, so that you can make powerful comparisons between brands just by looking at them. You can see how the same brands may differ across various countries around the world, or you can see how a brand differs from its competitors.

The tool analysis key brand attributes including: familiarity; potential; trustworthiness; charisma; sentiment and chatter to name but a few, to visually structure its results in an interesting, if rather ‘quick reference’ way.

For me, Brand Toys beats all those endless lists by displaying its highly analytical data in a way that kinda means something to even the most un-brand savvy viewer.

Sanofi create an identity of hope

May 14, 2011
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One of my old clients – Sanofi – has just launched a new identity based around the concept of hope.

It has to be said, ‘hope’ is quite a grand aspiration to be building your visual identity around, but being one of the largest global pharmaceutical companies, the concept isn’t without an element of brand truth.

Summing up their essence, Sanofi cite their new icon “represents the hope that [the organisation] brings to the 7 billion people around the world and its focus on the patient.”

The identity itself moves away from the overtly people focus of the past an onto something much more ethereal and ideological. The four colours of the identity (white, blue, green, ochre) represent life: air – water – earth – fire.

A strategy for hope

As Sanofi’s strategy is built on three key principles (Innovation, Adaptability, Growth) the icon is made of three shapes that make a whole: a planet with the bird of hope in the centre… (more…)

That calls for a Carlsberg

April 7, 2011


For the launch of the new Carlsberg campaign – That Calls for a Carlsberg – Skive have created a set of online destinations that reflect and promote the brands new positioning.

Among the innovative elements of the digital content is a Facebook application allowing users to send messages from the moon to their mates, using text-to-voice and face mapping. And a Carlsberg YouTube brand channel takeover, extending the TVC’s ‘landmark moments in history’ theme and giving them a surprising twist.

The campaign is Carlsberg’s first global digital effort, and features integrated rich media online ads, as well as television, print and point-of-sales activity, created by Fold7.

Alongside the great digital work, the Carlsberg brand identity has been refreshed, making this campaign a milestone in the ongoing Carlsberg story. Now that does call for a refreshing cold beer.

A winning brand? Marussia Virgin Racing

March 29, 2011


If you were watching the start of the 2011 Formula 1 championship at the weekend, you will have witnessed, albeit briefly, a new brand in action.

On Sunday Poke‘s new brand for Marussia Virgin Racing got off the grid and made it all the way to the checkered flag, but alas they were not the first to achieve this! Still you’ve gotta start somewhere…

Now I don’t know Poke for their branding work, so have only mentioned the website before. So I thought it would be interesting to take a quick closer look.

Poke say the brief was to: Create and launch the Marussia Virgin Racing brand; a Formula 1 racing team heading in to their second season and hungry to be noticed.

And Poke’s answer: A strong, simple brand identity and a brave look and feel that differentiated MVR from the pack before they even hit the tarmac. The solution included a visual toolkit, production design for the pit garage, driver suits, trucks, motorhome, website, business cards – everything but the car. Check out the creative results here.

But does the brand work?

Having had a little experience with F1 teams, creating work for British American Racing (B.A.R.) and Force India Formula One Team, as well as the wider motorsport sector with Prodrive, SWRT and Aston Martin Racing, I’d have to say ‘Yes’.

I think the key point Poke make within their achievement statement is the need for ‘Differentiation’. Throughout my involvement with motorsport a key theme has been the need to stand out and present a face different to those of the competition. But that’s quite a hard thing to do within a sport drenched in glitz and glamor. Not everyone is brave enough to do so.

From what I’ve seen, Poke have achieved this differentiation by stripping back some of the clutter, building on a strong somewhat simplistic structure, and by creating a set of iconographic ‘hero’ shots. Certainly the use of strong imagery is key to communicating the passions within the sport – as we created for B.A.R. Poke have opted for a very striking, very retro style, conveying a sense history and heritage (perhaps yet to be earned!), but powerful all the same.

Overall, it’s strong, simple and emotive. Communicating a passion right at the heart of the identity. And a winner amongst the marketing tends – now lets see if they can replicate that on the track!

Digitally enhanced adidas Originals

December 2, 2010
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When you buy your new adidas Originals, you know you’re buying more that just a comfortable set of trainers. You’re buying the brand – its cultural traits and the associations that builds within your own mind. You’re buying the lifestyle and the relationships that builds within the minds of all those who see those three stripes. And you’re buying a connection to all those other three stripe followers who are united by the idea of originality.

But more that that, you’re buying a 3D animated interactive world.

You’re buying the adidas Originals neighborhood. The experience is delivered through an augmented reality code designed directly onto the Originals trainer. The digital experience, created by Sid Lee, extends the physical with pop-up animation and interactive game play.

The neighborhood is an interesting idea, and has been crafted really well. It’s another great example of how Sid Lee is extending the adidas Originals brand in ways that really connects with it’s audience.

I’ve had my Originals at least for the last 8 months, and have played the game a good couple of times. It may be a little novel for some, but when I’m tying the laces on by three stripes, I do sometimes look over to my old Nike’s and think you’re so late 90’s!

A framework for storytelling

November 28, 2010
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It’s always great to find frameworks. Frameworks for design grids have, for sometime now, revolutionised the way we design websites. Frameworks for code have done the same for the architecture.

Now people are looking to find the same for that essential element in any project – its strategy. “Great…”, I hear you chant, “…a framework for strategy – that’s just brilliant, I wont have to think anymore, easy!!”

Hmm, I see a problem. Thinking. I can show you hundreds of frameworks for brand and marketing strategies – just hit Amazon! I’ve read a lot of them and no have made me think ‘this is easy’. I guess you just can’t mechanise ideas.

Still, it is always good to seek them out. And this one from Storyworldwide is well worth a watch, and as close as I’ve seen.

OakleyView for iPhone and iPad

October 16, 2010

Clever marketeers are always looking for opportunities to market their brands. Brilliant ones see those ‘golden’ opportunities in global events.

A Good News Story

Having just sat glued to my TV set watching, with a shared delight, the recently recovery of the trapped Chilean miners, I thought to myself, this really is a good news story.

These events really don’t come around too often. It’s a sad fact that normally when this type of event is reported (to a global audience), it’s to report that ‘x’ amount of people died in a horrible accident. We get a quick glimpse of the grieving families, and carry on with our lives – it’s just the way we’ve been conditioned.

So, it was really great to watch a good news story. And I really do think that as a race we all shared, at least, a little smile at this event. Sometimes human graft is rewarded with a positive outcome.

But how did you turn a good news story into a good brand opportunity?… With a smart idea… (more…)

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by____ Gavin Johnson