Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Halifax go tip top with Top Cat

80s cartoon favourite Top Cat has made a return to TV starring in an ad campaign for Halifax.

TC, as his close friends got to call him, right-hand man Benny the Ball and police adversary Officer Dibble return in the bank's new TV campaign, launched during Channel 4’s Gogglebox last week.

In a nod to the roots of Top Cat, who lived with a gang of cats in an alleyway in Manhattan, Halifax has also commissioned a mural to be painted on a wall in London’s suburb of Clerkenwell.

According to Catherine Kehoe, managing director of group brands and marketing at Halifax “No other bank could run this new campaign. It reflects perfectly our personality and is a real celebration of how our friendly and down-to-earth colleagues support everyone.”

And in case you're wondering how they made the ad...

Friday, 22 April 2016

we rebrand East Kent buses, and they've gone electric!

The East Kent Road Car Company celebrates its centenary this year, an occasion to recall the heritage of one of the leading operators of south-east England.

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It has been a Stagecoach subsidiary since July 1993, trading as Stagecoach South East, serving substantial parts of adjoining East Sussex as well as Kent and applying several route brands to the group’s standard colours. For six years before then, it was owned by a management team who bought it out of the state-owned National Bus Company and gave it a contemporary dark red and cream livery that offered a nod to its past.

NBC’s corporate identity had seen East Kent paint its buses in poppy red and white from 1972, but it is best remembered for the maroon and cream colours it wore before then, a legacy of over 50 years in BET and Tilling & BAT ownership. It also was unusual for a large operator in not displaying fleetnumbers until well into the NBC era.

For our latest ‘what if?’ design, we imagine how East Kent buses might have been updated had it remained an independent business.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

interactive bus stop makes waiting for a bus useful

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TV’s Dr. Hilary Jones is spearheading a new digital campaign to get the nation fit and a bus stop in Swindon has launched the idea.

The concept is that while people are waiting to board their bus, they will be greeted by Dr. Jones in an interactive digital video, the first of its kind to provide tailored health messages.

Dr. Jones asks travelers to call him on a free phone number while they wait and he then proceeds to give out information to help them improve their health.

Following the call, Dr. Jones then sends the caller a text with a link to take the free One You online health quiz, How Are You?

The Swindon stop is one of nine state-of-the-art interactive bus stops which are now live across England as part of Public Health England’s One You campaign.

We could see this approach working well for bus companies too. Why not display and interactive video of your tickets, destinations or offers? Could it then text you a link to download the company's app?

Time waiting for a bus is surely time that we could use to better inform customers or upsell in an interactive way?

Monday, 18 April 2016

how clothing brand howies created their bespoke font

It's not every day you get the chance to enhance a brand with the creation of your very own font.

But that's exactly what clothing banding howies did with help from their long-standing creative partner Carter Wong Design.

This great little video shows the journey from pen and paper through to computer screen - via the odd bit of Welsh oak. Introducing Castan...

Monday, 11 April 2016

introducing The Black Farmer and his new sausage ad

It's not every day you see an advert for sausages with as much 'oooomph' as this.

And that's exactly the point - making sure your brand has got something that everyone else in your category doesn't have. Something, that when you've got 10 brands of sausage on the supermarket shelf, gives you that simple point of difference.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Black Farmer in his full 30 second/2 minute advertising glory.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

is branding consistency more important that branding quality?

First in Manchester launched their new Vantage service at the start of this month, and there were a fair few on Twitter who were quick to express an opinion on the branding.

Companies were keen to distance themselves from its design, while one individual told me it "looks bland, boring and like a typical bus to any unsuspecting passenger" and "there is just absolutely nothing about it exudes sophistication or makes you want to get on the bus!"

Harsh words maybe, but those with an interest are always keen to have an opinion on something so subjective as design. For the record, some in mhd liked the simplicity of the livery; others sided with the bland comment above. No doubt if the designers had come up with something intricate and busy, opinion would have been just as split too.

But what about those without an interest in what the externals look like? Those passengers who are probably more interested in where a bus goes and how often it does so, rather than what it looks like.

In reality, only a minority of customers will be interested in the pure aesthetics of a rebranding exercise - the little touches of colour, text alignment with the body panels, font choice etc.

The majority might not be, but that doesn't mean they can't be influenced by the consistency of what they are seeing.

The part that design plays in making their experience a positive one - their journey of interacting with the brand through the look, feel, tone, language, positioning & execution.

From the moment a customer sees an ad/tweet/poster through to the time spent browsing the website. Being able to find the information they require on fares, frequencies, and routes. Seeing a branded timetable on arrival at the stop, which is complimented by a matching bus flag. Then a fully liveried bus (ideally without external advertising) arriving, driven by a well-dressed, well-mannered driver. A friendly greeting on the cab door awaits, as does a series of cove panels (again, ideally without external advertising) reiterating why you have made the right choice today in travelling by this particular bus.

Each service doesn't have to have groundbreaking creative but should have consistent, well thought out branding that aids the customer's journey and creates a perception of said company.

Sometimes it seems that's too much to ask.

Monday, 4 April 2016

our April Fool for First in Bristol got people talking...

If you didn't see it on the day, we put together a fun little 'triple-deck' visual for First on April Fool's Day.

We were asked to come up with something at very short notice, but we love a creative challenge at mhd! So we quickly found an image of their existing bus and livery, and then added an extra deck.

Simple, and effective.

To date, it has over 3,000 likes, 1,300 comments, and 4,600 shares!