Category Archives: branding

Project Embrace | #AFROVISIBILITY

Ad agency (and previous place of employment for yours truly when I had just started out) Quiet Storm were commissioned by branding agency Vine Creatives to create a series of posters for Project Embrace.

The campaign aims to shine the light on every day women of colour who are proud of their natural hair. #Afrovisibility is a reaction to the fact that Afro hair is rarely seen in any advertising, let alone on giant city-centre billboards, but these will feature in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton, Newcastle and Glasgow.

The outdoor campaign by Quiet Storm features beautifully shot, powerful imagery featuring black women, all cast through an open audition, which includes a teacher, a finance manager, a writer, a receptionist, a student and an HR partner. The tag line “Proud to be me” boldly overlays these real women who are celebrating their natural hair.
In the last few years I have taken an interest in educating myself about the pressures placed on black women to change their hair to more European styles, and this is very evident in film, TV, music and advertising. With more and more more women of colour bravely sharing their stories of traction alopecia (hair loss from sewn in weaves and braids) and their stories of hating their own hair, it is a wonderful for black women of all ages and backgrounds to see that they shouldn’t feel pressurised to spend money on expensive weaves or straighten their hair, and should embrace the ‘fro!

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TIME Magazine | The Drone Age

TIME’s latest issue is an exploration into the impact drones have had on our society and culture, with a unique cover to match. The cover shows the iconic TIME logo and red border recreated using 958 illuminated drones hovering in the sky, and it is the first ever TIME cover captured with a camera drone.

TIME partnered with Intel’s Drone Light Show team and Astraeus Aerial Cinema Systems to fly and capture the 958 drones in California, which where Intel has a campus:

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The cover is a still taken from the drone camera with the swarm at 100 meters (around 328 feet) tall. A similar stunt was created at the Olympic opening ceremony earlier this year. Incredible! I recommend watching the BTS video below:

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Squarespace: Make It | ManvsMachine

It’s very rate that I see a campaign that is visually and conceptually integrated seamlessly across all mediums of the campaign, but ManvsMachine has (once again) created something that has a strong and stunning visual identity.
Design and motion studio ManvsMachine are one of my favourite creative teams, and they were commissioned to work with Squarespace on the “Make It” campaign. They worked closely with the Squarespace team to create three commercials for their 2017 campaign: “each film is a tactile-take on the online experience —Blurring the lines between digital and physical, in a playful showcase of three iconic creatives & their worlds”.

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The short films feature fashion designer Sadie Williams, artist Daniel Arsham and chef, Danny Bowien. It’s rare that a TV ad produces such gorgeous stills that could be used across the rest of the campaign – it goes to show how great ManvsMachine’s creative process is.
This flows nicely into the campaign imagery for digital content featuring “still life” scenes, showcasing the brand’s platform within the context of its users. The brief focused on “Digital made Physical” and the visual narratives successfully convey the brand’s bespoke features.

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ManvsMachine’s iconic abstract and crafted style is so visually wonderful and is the perfect fit for a Squarespace campaign. The seamless aesthetic bridges the gap between reality and 3D (as their work always does) which was brought to life by using a wide range of software and hardware including Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, ZBrush, Redshift, Agisoft Photoscan, After Effects, Nuke… I recommend looking at their design process – these are a few snapshots:

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It is very, VERY rare I see a banner and think “wow, I really like that”, especially after having to design hundreds of drab banners myself, but even the design for the banner ads are amazing! I’ve never thought a banner is amazing!

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Having complete creative control, ManvsMachine were in charge of concept, design and direction, which was rolled across digital, social, TV spots and OOH. I can’t emphasise how refreshing it is to see such a visually beautiful campaign. This is how its done!!!

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Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice

“The matchup you never knew you needed to see”. PepsiCo has started the much anticipated influx of Super Bowl adverts by recruiting Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage alongside rappers Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes to appear in an advert for Doritos and Mtn Dew. The full 60-second spot from Goodby Silverstein & Partners is the first time any of its products have been advertised together.

The campaign concept is a lip-sync rap battle with Dinklage lip syncing to Busta’s’ “Look at Me Now” and Freeman lip syncing to Missy’s “Get Ur Freak On”. Doritos is pushing its new spicy Blaze flavor and Mountain Dew is advertising the new lemon-lime Dew Ice, so it’s fire vs. ice.

PepsiCo (North America) Chief Executive Al Carey said:

This is a great example of the power of PepsiCo’s food and beverage portfolio coming to life for consumers on one of the world’s largest stages. Doritos and Mtn Dew go perfectly together, and both brands have passionate fan bases. We think consumers will love Doritos Blaze and Mtn Dew Ice, as well as this engaging Super Bowl ad.

The campaign includes content for Snapchat lens on Super Bowl Sunday where fans can record themselves trying to lip-sync like Dinklage or Freeman. Additionally, the ads are accompanied by hilarious short clips below.

I love this concept! It’s so interesting to see two products in one advert. What a cast too.

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OkCupid: DTF

Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy (New York) were commissioned by dating service OkCupid to create a new campaign. Online dating has created a whole new set of vocabulary for millenials, like “ghosting” (ignoring someone), “nudes” (sending unsolicited naked photos), “catfish” (creating fake profiles) and “DTF” (“down to f*ck”). Using these common problems that online daters experience, the concept focuses on trying to rid the stigma of “hookup sites” and the dehumanisation of modern dating.

OkCupid’s CMO Melissa Hobley said:

In the current political and social climate, we felt a responsibility and saw an opportunity to play a part in changing the conversation about dating culture and empowering each individual to reclaim the meaning of DTF and make it theirs.

With this as the aim of the campaign, W+K used the phrase “DTF” and turned it into “down to <insert activity or interest here>”, such as “DTFight over the president”, “DTFinish my novel” and “DTFoot the bill”:

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OkCupid’s change in approach towards online dating aims to achieve substance and depth through the app’s new features, as it recently rolled out OkCupid Discovery, which lets users search by passions and interests. Interestingly, one of these is adding a “Trump filter”, which directly correlates with this campaign’s brand voice, particularly with the political references in some of the ads (above).

The photography for the campaign was shot by artists Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari, the creators of Toilet Paper magazine. Cattelan and Ferrari have a unique and recognisable aesthetic, always creating work that is brightly coloured and resembles old-school fashion advertisements. I absolutely love what they have created.
The playful nature of the art direction focuses on the fun and romantic sides of dating, rather than the historically misogynistic and disposable aspects that “DTF” dating apps (like Tinder and Grindr) have adopted. Each colourful ad is illustrated with an image against a flat, bright-hued background, making every image seem like a work of art.

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The ads will initially be rolled out in New York subways, and will eventually be displayed all over the USA. This is actually OkCupid’s first ever ad campaign which includes bus wraps, coffee sleeves, OOH posters and digital posts. The tagline “dating deserves better” is part of OkCupid’s efforts to market the service as one that can help you find a relationship, not just a hookup.

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HSBC: Global Citizen | Together We Thrive

Richard Ayoade and loads of dogs? Yes please! This new advert for HSBC by ad agency J Walter Thompson (London) is what we all need in the lead up to Brexit. The narrative explores the thoughts of many liberal, pro-EU folk by naming international everyday brands, services and products that Brits use, from Colombian coffee; to French bulldogs; to Swedish flat-pack furniture; to Indian takeaways. This is exactly what I’ve thought about after reading depressing tweets from key-board warriors defending blatantly discriminatory, anti-culture-blending “British principals”. Despite our country taking full advantage of global innovation, many Brits still express an archaic distain for “people coming into our country” (the worst phrase of all) whilst simultaneously utilising ubiquitous imported products… Ayoade wonderfully highlights this irony:

We live on a wonderful lump of land in the middle of the sea. But we are not an island. We are part of something far, far bigger.

“Together We Thrive” is the bank’s newest tagline since “The World’s Local Bank” from 2011. The 60-second TV ad is set to the soundtrack of Edward Elgar’s Nimrod, and is accompanied by print, outdoor and digital ads (which also features Ayoade, one of my favourite British comedians) to promote the bank’s sponsorship of British Cycling, its £10bn Small Business Fund and its support of The Prince’s Trust.

Adverts for banks in the UK have rarely been praised amongst creatives, because they tend to follow little to no creativity or uniqueness. I think the only time I’ve ever blogged about a UK bank is the NatWest rebrand, and that was about design, not a creative TV ad. I think this is because advertising for banks tends to focus on a service (which is understandable) rather than venturing into alternative ways to market themselves and stand out from the crowd. When banks try to create ads that speak to “the people”, they can came across as incredibly disingenuous and cringey, like NatWest’s ‘We are what we do’. With this in mind, some people may believe that HSBC and JWT have taken advantage of a currently strained political climate where a lot of brands are jumping on the “social-change” bandwagon. However, I think JWT have tackled problems with division and racism within the UK in a really clever way – by using humour and fact, mixed with core principles from HSBC’s brand background:

We have been connecting the world through trade for 152 years. Our new ad campaign reflects our proud international heritage and our commitment to helping people, businesses and communities in the UK to thrive.

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Chris Hughes for Mental Health Awareness: Top man | CALM

Yesterday, Love Island’s Chris Hughes released a bizarre video campaign for a collaboration with Topman called “L’eau de Chris”. The video posted on Instagram received a lot of criticism, labelling Chris a joke and a narcissist for selling the drink for £2. The post saw the 24-year-old star posing in his underwear with “Mineral water infused with a Chris Hughes tears”.

 

As an avid Love Island viewer (no shame here) I assumed that the ad was a parody and a p*ss-take – Chris is known for his dead-pan humour and providing many giggles to millions of viewers this summer. To my surprise the campaign was in fact real, but not for a self-absorbed product to build his brand. Chris has teamed up with mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to raise awareness about male mental health and the male suicide epidemic.

CALM launched the #Don’tBottleItUp campaign to urge men not to internalise their emotions after it was found in a poll for YouGov that 84% of UK men say they bottle up their emotions. Chris collaborated with world famous photographer RANKIN for this project.

L’eau de Chris? What’s really ludicrous is that suicide is still the single biggest killer of young men in the UK. We live in a culture that encourages men to “man up” and bottle things up. That’s why I’ve become an Ambassador for CALM and why together with TOPMAN we want to show men across the UK that it’s okay to open up instead of bottling it up.

Hughes is now proudly an ambassador for CALM, and broke down in tears at an event yesterday whilst explaining his own struggles with mental health. Whilst on Love Island, Chris was praised for being very open with his feelings, something which men and boys struggle with immensely. Whoever chose Chris as ambassador certainly hit the nail on the head when it comes to targeting young people, as his name is everywhere in the world of gossip and celebrity since stealing our hearts on ITV2.
The limited edition promotional run of L’Eau de Chris water bottles (yes they are real) created for Chris’s campaign launch will now be auctioned here, with all proceeds going to support the charity. Also, Topman will donate £2 from every pack of Topman boxers sold from 10th – 31st October to CALM, in support of the #DontBottleItUp campaign.

 

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Wang & Söderström |Sneakersnstuff x adidas Originals

Creative studio Wang & Söderström are Copenhagen based digital designers who explore the combination of physical elements, technology and material. Commissioned by Sneakerstuff x adidas, the duo created a campaign for the release of the ‘EQT Materials Pack’ focusing on the diversity of materials in the shoes by zooming in to the shoe on a “macro level”:

The campaign included the animation (above) and store implementations in Sneakersnstuff’s Paris and London stores. For the digital aspects, they used 3D software such as 3ds Max, Vray and Modo, and extracted aspects of the physical shoe materials to inspire the concept:

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The brief was quite open and we are happy that our aesthetic wasn’t compromised — we shared the same vision as the client from the beginning. The inspiration to the brief came from one our personal projects called Treasures a series that shows contrasted material collections in a still life staging. We wanted to present a visual language that mixes our own, the shoe’s and Sneakersnstuff’s universe.

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This aesthetic and colour palette is very similar to campaigns I’ve posted about before, such as the Nike and ManVsMachine campaign. I love this style – it’s a really popular design trend as more designers are exploring 3D design.

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Carlsberg: Black and Gold

Design agency Kontrapunkt’s (Denmark) have redesigned cans for Carlsberg’s Black Gold Pilsner. The design features a two-colour scheme with  a matt black top and ring pull. I love a bit of matte:

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Note how they’ve also added a hop leaf shape cut out on the ring pull. The devil is in the detail!

From the cool cat of beers to an overlooked lager in the Carlsberg range, Black Gold needed a facelift to revive its relevance. Paying homage to the historic Black Gold bottles, we designed a darker than dark can that reflects the bold and more full-bodied pilsner experience.

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Carlsberg is one of many brands who have decided to incorporate minimalist design into their branding by stripping back on detail and ornate features.

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