If you work in an advertising, marketing or design agency, creativity is part of the job. But what if you’re a membership organisation tasked with needing to ‘be creative’?
Sometimes when you’re developing a creative for a campaign, the stars align in terms of subject matter, objectives and, in the case of one of our latest projects at least, the time of year.
All communications professionals can all agree on one thing – a marketing campaign needs to provoke an emotional response.
Shitposting masterclass or just a plain shitshow? That’s the question that everyone is asking after the design horror show in the government Covid-19 public health campaign. And it’s not only communications professionals.
Very occasionally we see an advert or campaign that stops us in our tracks: something that resonates, speaks our language, and makes us sit up and listen.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t happen as often as it should – especially when the aim is behaviour change.
Maybe that’s because there’s so much noise out there: we have become partially deaf and blind to the millions of messages we see every day.
Perhaps, many are bland, exactly the same as what’s gone before. Or, perhaps, they are not actually speaking our language at all.
Hats off then to City of York Council, which has knocked the ball out of the park with its anti-litter campaign.
Bold, brave and brilliant, it talks directly to the litter louts, uses a language they recognise, and ultimately shames them into changing their behaviour.
Hitting the right buttons
This campaign does everything a good campaign should. It:
- Identifies its audience ✅
- Understands how they think ✅
- Speaks their language ✅
- Uses clear messaging ✅
- Tells people what to do ✅
- Results in a change of behaviour ✅
Most people want to do the right thing and want to be seen as a good person. We want to fit in.
Nobody wants to be classed as the village idiot, or a ‘tosser’, as in this case. It’s just not cool.
And nobody wants to be the butt of the joke. And with this campaign, litter louts are certainly that.
It will have a far greater impact than simply asking people to put their litter in the bin.
Dare to be different
Direct, head-turning campaigns, such as this, are more common in Australia and New Zealand, especially around road safety and public health. But in the UK, we have been too risk averse to adopt them, perhaps fearing a public outcry from a minority.
It’s refreshing to see a local authority – normally the epitome of straight and proper – talk in our language, confront the offenders, and use humour to get their message across.
Big round of applause to the City of York Council teams that created this campaign, and then gave it the go ahead. 👏🏼
We hope to see more of it!
As DTW marks its 30th year in business there’s a significantly bigger birthday going on over our garden wall. Our neighbour Gisborough Priory is celebrating 900 years.
Gisborough Priory is an English Heritage site which is run by a dedicated group of volunteers who catalogue, restore and host events on this historic site. To launch its 900th year, DTW joined forces to help produce a timeline, which is displayed in the visitor centre, detailing the many events the priory has endured through its turbulent lifetime.
We were happy to give our services free of charge as it’s important to look out for your elderly neighbours.
If you want to know more check out the work of the Gisborough Priory Project– they do a great job.
PS – the spelling pedants amongst you (we know who you are and we salute you – you are amongst friends here!) might think we have a challenge spelling our home town.
But don’t worry, it’s OK.
Guisborough is the correct spelling for the place and for our address, but very confusingly Gisborough is the correct spelling for the Priory (and the nearby Gisborough Hall Hotel).
Don’t you love the English language!
Thanks for reading
We’ve made a little Christmas animation just for you – you just know you need to brighten up your day by watching it.
We have really enjoyed working with you in 2018 and look forward to catching up with you again in 2019.
Thank you for helping us do what we love – it is through our work with amazing clients and partners like you that DTW has been able to win seven industry Gold awards this year – we couldn’t have done it without you so it’s a huge thank you from us.
Have a fantastic Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!
Think you can’t fit a 10 kilometre infrastructure project in your Christmas stocking? Think again!!
For anyone who loves amazing infrastructure and engineering combined with beautifully well written and designed books the new The Mersey Gateway Project – A bridge to prosperity is a must.
Featuring some amazing not seen before images of the iconic new bridge over the River Mersey in Halton, it tells the story of the three-and-a-half year construction and the 20-year battle to get funding and planning permission.
We may be slightly biased as Paula and Sarah in our design team have done all the designs and artwork and we’ve had a hand in copy editing but we think this is an amazing book about a wonderful project.
Full marks to Laura and Michelle at the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board and Halton Borough Council for getting the story out of their heads and on paper.
The Mersey Gateway Project – A bridge to prosperity is available now for just £9.99 and you can pre-order your copy on Waterstones website.
I have a busy job. A very busy job. As one of the owners of DTW I split my time between working in the business and on the business – which can mean doing regular night shifts for the latter.
I also have two young boys who I try to pick up from school now and again – and I do mean now and again! Plus their swimming lessons, gymnastics classes, friends’ parties… you know how it is – just a regular working mum really.
“So how can you afford to take two days out for a marketing conference?” you might ask. The answer – how can I afford not to?
Having spent the last two days at the B2C Marketing and Advertising Expo, B2B Marketing and Advertising Expo and the Marketing Technology Expo 2018 at ExCeL London, I’ve come away believing more than ever that the talent in our industry is immense. The digital world we live in creates opportunities beyond belief and the young people of today are growing up already creating the next big thing.
Conferences like these make me proud to be a marketer. Proud to work with clients whose work genuinely makes a difference and proud to work on campaigns that mean I get up each morning with a smile on my face, ready to face the next big challenge.
“So, what have you learnt from Marketing Expo 2018?” you might ask. I’ll tell you what I’ve learnt. I’ve learnt that we’re doing it right. When we meet talented people, companies whose work genuinely excites us, we see that as an opportunity and not a threat.
We collaborate with them to create amazing campaigns that continue to make us proud, continue to excite us and continue to provide great results for the people who really matter – our clients.
So, next time you have the opportunity to meet some of the best in your industry; to learn from people smarter than you; don’t say you can’t afford the time – you can’t afford not to!
DTW already works with great partners including Digital Allies, Interel, Public Knowledge, Gooey Creative and Arcus. They’re clever people who share our values and bring a fresh perspective to what we do.
Thanks for reading
Animation is an important and increasingly affordable option for communicators and influencers. At its heart, good PR and communications is about engaging people with simple narratives or, if you prefer, telling great stories and keeping it simple. Plus, what’s not to like about cartoons.
Good animations can engage with your target audience, drive behaviour change, challenge preconceptions and educate and inform. In our always switched-on and highly visual world, animation can be thumb-stopping, attention-grabbing and shareable. It also offers several advantages over traditional video.
It can give context to difficult, abstract concepts
It allows you to explain difficult or abstract concepts in a way that no video or press release can, no matter how complex or sensitive the subject matter. Animation can show anything – from the atomic structure of hydrogen to the scale of the universe – in an engaging and memorable way.
It can be more flexible and creative than video
There are many situations that are too difficult, expensive, dangerous, or just downright impossible to capture with video. That’s where animation can be invaluable, allowing you to stretch time-scales or show large projects with ease. You can make it snow in the middle of summer, don’t have to worry about actors’ schedules, and don’t have to cram everything into the tiny allowance of daylight we get in winter.
The characters are totally under your control
What happens if that person in the background of your lovely new video didn’t sign a release form or the star interviewee is later found to have embezzled the company’s profits and run off to Guatemala? Unlike human ‘stars’, animated characters can be moulded to suit the message/audience, don’t demand a fee for any re-shoots and can be called back at any time for updates and amends. They also rarely embezzle or bring the company into disrepute at a later date…
So, if that sounds good but you’re worried because you’ve never commissioned an animation before? Don’t be. Here’s six starter tips to set you on your way.
1. Get your ‘why’ right
The fundamentals of good animation are the same as with any piece of comms work – focus on your objectives, understand your audience and get your head round your key messages.
As usual, you can save a lot of time, money and heartache further down the line by getting the brief right at the start and making sure the creative team understand your why.
2. Make sure you share your message in a style and tone tailored to your audience
From clean, flat graphics to sketchy, hand-drawn styles, there’s an animation style to suit every audience and budget. Don’t worry about knowing the technical terms – choose something that works for you and, if you’re not sure how to describe your preferred style, use a mood board or examples so your animator knows what you want. Describing visual animation effects linguistically is a challenge – you’ll probably end up using terms like ‘whoosh’ and waving your arms around a lot. This is perfectly normal and only embarrassing if you knock your animator’s coffee over.
3. Re-use your assets to develop your brand identity
The assets (characters, slogans, concepts and style) you create for your animation can be used across different media, allowing you to get more bang for your buck whilst maintaining a consistent and coherent visual identity.
4. Think about future-proofing
Animated content can be updated and amended comparatively easily (especially compared to video), but if you can save yourself some hassle at the start, then build this in. In an ever-changing world, content needs to be kept up-to-date. It’s worth bearing in mind that if you have a voice-over, changes to this will need to be factored in and this may have a knock-on effect with timing in your animation. If a voice-over is a must, make sure your script is final or record several variants at the same time.
5. Understand the process
You don’t just ‘create an animation’. You need buy-in and approvals for a visual style, a storyboard, and a script before you start bringing it to life. Changes are much easier (and cheaper) to do at the early, story-boarding stage before the actual animating is done.
6. Testing testing 1,2,3
If you’re engaging with a sensitive audience group or about a difficult topic, get feedback and input from audience representatives before you go public. A minor change in how something or someone is represented can make a big difference.
This little sample might give you an idea for some styles and approaches that work for you – have fun!