Craft beer is booming (and the branding’s pretty great, too)

March 26th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) recently gave a little nod to the bottled deliciousness that is craft beer.

They’ve acknowledged it’s an increasingly popular chap and added it to the ‘nation’s basket’, which is the collection of goodies (over 700 of them) that the ONS uses to calculate inflation.

If you’re the kind of person who immediately turns off when you hear stuff like ‘Office of National Statistics’ or ‘the economy!’ or ‘maths’, then we’ll sum it up for you: it just means enough craft beer’s being bought for the boffins in charge to take notice.

At Together we love a nice craft beer or a pint of local real ale, so its popularity is no surprise to us. We figured we’d take this opportunity to give our own nod to some of our current favourite craft beer brands – we’re pretty big on the drinks and FMCG scene, after all.

1) Brew Dog

brewdog_beer_lineup

Plucky UK duo James Watt and Martin Dickie built their brand on being ballsy and making awesome beer that they’d want to drink. Those core values have stuck around and are visible throughout their branding, from their eye-catching, no-nonsense designs and refreshingly honest tone of voice to their unapologetic approach to the press.

Their closing line on their beers page really says it all: ‘Experimentation is our Art. Revolution our weapon. Walk tall, kick ass and learn to speak craft beer.’ Preach.

2) Rogue

Rogue-Voodoo-Doughnut-Bacon-Maple-Ale

Rogue‘s been around since 1987, but their revolution propaganda-inspired branding is still a strong contender against comparative beer whippersnappers. Obviously their products taste great (that Mocha Porter, mmm) but equally we can’t get enough of their bold product design and proposition.

Their brand is chock full of character, rebellion and revolution against the status quo – just take a look at ‘The Rogue Way‘ – and they make some completely mad flavours. Including donut. Seriously.

3) Flying Dog

flyingdog

Ah, yes. Flying Dog – with ales that taste like our dreams, and bottle labels that look like our most feverish nightmares.

The eerie, illustrative style – by British cartoonist Ralph Steadman – is edgy, unusual and very slightly disturbing. When you add that to the pretty mad story of Flying Dog’s conception at the end of a super-dangerous mountain trek and the yarns about the founder’s friendship with Hunter S. Thompson, you’ve got an instantly-recognisable brand with a lot of personality.

 

Our new client: The Fertility Partnership

March 24th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

At Together we often use our creativity to sell, to boost awareness or to give brands a new lease of life. It’s not quite so often we get to use those same skills to comfort, reassure and inspire hope. With Fertility Partnership, though, we did.

 

Fertillty Partnership logo_strapline

 

Fertility Partnership is UK’s largest fertility group and the parent company of a group of 11 fertility clinics – ten in the UK and one in Poland. Having gone through a period of rapid acquisition over the last couple of years the Partnership wanted a much stronger identity, one that’d make partner clinics recognisable as Fertility Partnership members.

Fertility treatment is an extremely sensitive process and patients going through – or considering – treatment can feel a little vulnerable. For that reason we wanted to get as much input from both clinic staff and patients as possible, running brand workshops and focus groups to gather feedback on our ideas and see what worked for our client and their customers.

With those insights we created a new look, positioning, proposition, and a set of brand guidelines that could be rolled out across their clinics.

We’ve also worked with Nurture Fertility, a Nottingham fertility clinic and member of the Fertility Partnership, to incorporate the new brand guidelines in their advertising campaign.

We’re extremely pleased with how the work turned out, and happy in the knowledge that our work could help hopeful parents on their journey towards starting a family.

Using the eclipse to get people talking (just like we are now)

March 20th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

During Friday morning’s total solar eclipse everyone was on social media sharing their delight, disappointment or general apathy.

And, if a brand had a product that was round, crescent-shaped or semi-circular, you can rest assured they were hopping on Helios’ sun chariot and riding it for all it was worth.

FMCG brands were especially active, and these are a few reactive posts we picked out. Though Oreo led the way with a full campaign based around the event, Guinness’s genius imagery has to be our favourite.

 

Our new client: Licor 43

March 18th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

Together’s been appointed to develop the global digital strategy for Licor 43, the world’s fastest growing premium spirit brand.




14228934271_home-fles

Licor 43’s stunning new packaging, part of the brand’s continuing development.

Licor 43, which takes its name from its 43 natural ingredients, has been around since the early 1900s and is owned to this day by the Zamora family. Legend has it that the Licor 43 recipe is based on ‘Mirabilis’, a unique liqueur discovered by the Romans in Cartagena over 2000 years ago.

Since then the recipe was passed between locals before being discovered by the Zamoras – but it still remains a coveted secret. Only three members of the Zamora family know which 43 ingredients make the golden liqueur (and we don’t think they’re very likely to tell).

True to the Licor 43 brand we ourselves are staying mysterious. You’ll find us tight-lipped about what exactly we’re getting up to, but it’ll involve the website, social and eCRM. Other than that, all we’ll say is that we’re very excited to be working with the team at Licor 43.

Watch this space for more updates. For now, take a look at the video of their new pack below.

 

Women’s Aid raises awareness with interactive advertising

March 10th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

We posted recently about the effectiveness of interactive billboards, and this latest concept by Women’s Aid is one of the most powerful examples we’ve seen.

Screen shot 2015-03-06 at 15.21.56

Launched in time for International Women’s Day, the billboard shows that the best way to begin helping those who might be suffering from domestic abuse is to start paying attention.

It features the badly bruised face of a woman with the caption ‘Look at me’. As passers-by look up at the woman’s face, facial recognition technology captures their glance and the bruises slowly begin to heal in response. As more people notice the board, the bruises continue to heal.

Interactive technology is ideal for this kind of campaign; by implicating the audience in the way the advert actually works, they’re instantly drawn into the subject for which it’s raising awareness. It forces the public to consider the consequences of their actions, as the effects of their behaviour are played out as part of the ad.

In this case, each individual is encouraged to think about the impact they personally could have on someone who needs support, and further, to what extent they could be guilty of ignoring or avoiding the subject of an all too common problem.

It’s brilliant – and inspiring – to see organisations using International Women’s Day as an opportunity to truly raise awareness of such important issues. For us, advertising isn’t always about selling – sometimes, it’s just about making people think.

Womens Aid

To help support and encourage all of the great work that Women’s Aid do, simply visit www.womensaid.org.uk.

Our new client: Benefit Drinks

March 9th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

Our work with FMCG makes up one of the four key business areas at Together, so after our success with brands like Cracker Drinks, Licor 43 and Pernod Ricard, we jumped at the chance to work with Benefit Drinks.

Since we first got together with Benefit we’ve supported them with their brand development, positioning, proposition and packaging design. Now their first batch has hopped off the production line we’re delighted to be able to shout our involvement from the rooftops and share our beautiful designs.DSC_3015

You’d be forgiven for not having heard of Benefit Drinks as they’re a brand new, entrepreneurial startup. The team blends 100% pure squeezed fruit juices in three delicious flavours: Prune & Apple, Carrot & Orange and Beetroot & Apple, all of which are brimming with vitamins and minerals.

In fact, just one 250ml glass of Carrot & Orange packs a serious nutritional punch – 326% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, to be exact. Never has our usual morning glass of OJ seemed so inferior.

DSC_2997

Going forward we’ll be developing the brand’s digital strategy, including their website and social media. If you’d like to follow them just keep an eye on our channels for details.

All of this sounding pretty delicious? Well, Benefit Drinks are now available in 250 Waitrose stores.

Pop into your local Waitrose, check out our handiwork and give it a try – be sure to let us know what you think!

Together on the move!

March 6th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

Ah, 2015 has been a busy old year so far for us here at Together.

We’ve welcomed some lovely new staff (say hello to Dave, Sean and Sophie, if you haven’t already) and we’ve been cracking on with lots of exciting new business. If all that wasn’t enough, we’ve only gone and found ourselves a new home, too!

While we’ve loved every moment of our 13 years at Brightmoor Street we felt it was time for a change and a new home for our growing team. So, after a hectic few months arranging carpets, building work and the (mandatory) new Pantone mugs, on Monday 2nd March we moved into a brand new studio on Bridlesmith Gate in Nottingham.

Bridlesmith Gate is also one of the most coveted commercial areas in Nottingham, so it’s no surprise that we’ve gained some rather stylish new neighbours.

Just across the street are Hugo Boss, Nottingham’s own Paul Smith and Kurt Geiger, while we’ve heard shops like Diesel and Ted Baker are also kicking about nearby. No excuse for scruffy workwear now, eh?

We’ll be posting again next week to tell you all about our new office’s exciting features, but for now take a look at our moving video. Interesting fact: it isn’t sped up. We really do move that quickly.

IMG_1432

IMG_1431

IMG_1440

Get responsible: how brands benefit from being the good guys

February 18th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

I read on The Drum a little while ago that both McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are looking at how ‘combining commercial and social purpose’ could help them encourage customers to buy into their brands long-term.

While obviously big corporations tackling societal issues is, in its essence, a good thing, the worry is that it might turn off customers. Building parks for disadvantaged families and donating money to charity is great and all, so long as it’s genuine; if consumers can hear gleeful hands rubbing together at the prospect of a public image (or worse, profit) boost, it can actually end up having a negative impact on the brand.

That said, there are ways to do it well. So, which consumer brands are doing a good job of combining social and commercial purposes?

TOMS One for One

TOMS: One for One does serious good - without being at the front of the brand's image

TOMS: One for One does serious good – without being at the front of the brand’s image

What sets TOMS apart? Their ‘One for One’ cause isn’t used as a PR or promotions tool – it’s an integral part of their business model.

People wear TOMS because, I don’t know, they’re fashion conscious, or just really love any excuse not to wear socks during the day. Whatever. But for every product TOMS sell they donate shoes, glasses, and water to people in need.

TOMS’ devotion to benefitting a social cause isn’t directly used to boost custom – but customers know that for every pair of shoes they buy, they really are doing good. What can be more genuine than that?

Innocent Drinks

BigKnit-5-Celebrity-hatsX623x305

This appeals to many of my interests. Especially my interest in knitting.

Innocent’s promotion of social causes is so good that consumers actually think they’re even more charitable than they are; they’re often mistaken for a social enterprise, despite the fact that they only donate 10% – rather than 50%+ – of their profits to charitable causes (though let me add, that’s still awesome).

That misconception demonstrates just how inextricable their social purpose has become from their commercial. Add to that their brilliant Age UK campaign, where 25p from every behatted drink drink sold is donated to Age UK, and you can see why they’re the nation’s juicy sweethearts.

Lush

Charity Pot Lids C_0

I always buy the Charity Pots. How can I say no when they ask at the till?

Lush already has a huge number of selling points. Their products are vegetarian and made from natural, ethical ingredients. Their packaging is recyclable; in fact, they even offer incentives for you to bring your tubs back into store to be re-used.

They also sell the Charity Pot, a regularly changing product that last year raised £898,000 for small charities, campaigns and organisations. Alongside that are their various campaigns against animal testing, which you can find out more about here.

Lush, like Innocent, is able to boost its already positive image effectively because the nature of its products fit with its causes; both the brands serve natural, ‘healthy’ products, which seems to make their do-good nature appear more genuine.


 

These are just a few businesses that incorporate social causes into the brand strategy. There are lots of big companies, however, that do it too – often devoting whole areas of their sites to how they’re helping their community (take a look at our friends Boots, for example).

At Together, we know there’s always more good we can do. We’re always actively looking for ways we can support the local community and budding creative talent, because how can you claim to love your home if, when you’re in a position to do so, you aren’t willing to give it a helping hand?

 

Perfect Pinterest Pancakes – how food brands are utilising seasonal events.

February 17th, 2015 / Stephanie Goodman

It’s no secret that Pinterest is the perfect place to find pretty pictures (or pins) on baking, photography, weddings and crafts – or maybe that’s just my boards?

Source: www.adweek.com

Source: www.adweek.com

However, with their strongly female-dominated audience (over 70% of Pinterest users are women) and the most popular pin topic being ‘Food and Drink’, it’s no wonder that brands are jumping onto Pinterest to engage with female consumers and encourage them to buy their products for the eagerly anticipated Pancake Day.

Brands utilising Pinterest for Pancake Day

From food writers to FMCG brands, take a look at the scrumptious boards from foodie influencers on Pinterest.

BBC Food:

Follow BBC Good Food’s board Pancake Day on Pinterest.

Jamie Oliver:

Follow Jamie Oliver’s board Pancake Day on Pinterest.

All Recipes:
Follow Allrecipes.co.uk’s Pancake Day Ideas board on Pinterest.

Asda:

Follow Asda’s board Asda | Pancake Day on Pinterest.

Tesco Food:

Follow Tesco Food’s board Pancake Day Recipes on Pinterest.

Aldi Supermarkets:

Follow Aldi UK’s board Pancake Day on Pinterest.

So who will be the winner of the Pancake Day Pinterest boards? Only time will tell. But, these brands are a great example of best social media practice. They have identified a platform that doesn’t have as many followers as Facebook or Twitter, but is relevant to to their target audience.

AllRecipes.com is a great example of this – they installed a ‘Pin It’ button into the adjacent  photos and videos on their websites, so that community members could easily share recipes. As a result of this, over 50,000 recipes were pinned, 139 million Pinterest impressions were created and clicks on content increased more than 900%.

Since then, they have been reaping the benefits of brand awareness and engaged audiences.

Less billbored, more brillboard

February 11th, 2015 / Sophie Allen

The great outdoors. That’s just for posters, billboards and, well, trees and stuff – right?

A-ho no. Wrong. Well, sort of. Clear Channel UK – one of the biggest of cheeses in the outdoor advertising department – recently announced that its increasingly using tech to make its outdoor advertising spaces more interactive. This comes after more and more brands have turned to innovative digital billboards to create active and engaging content.

Yep, turns out that flipping a traditional medium on its head and totally superseding the expectations of passers-by is a pretty great way of grabbing attention.

So, forget those static, peeling billboards of the past and take a look at a few of our favourite tech/outdoor mashups.

 

Virgin Trains’ chatty billboard

In 2009 this genius idea by Elvis took over the screen outside Liverpool Station – the largest digital screen in Europe – to promote Virgin’s new, super-quick service to London.

To update the screen Elvis popped a copywriter in a cafe opposite, who used a custom web application to write live comments addressing the public and point at them with a giant cursor. Clever and hilarious.

 

Apotek’s/Garbergs’ motion sensor

Last year the Swedish advertising agency Garbergs used an existing idea by Apotek to convey a devastating message.

Garbergs’ ad, on behalf of The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation, was much the same as Apotek’s in look, colour and tech – but with a shocking twist and a huge impact. We won’t spoil it for you; give the video a watch and see what happens.

 

British Airways’ ‘Magic of Flying’ campaign

Using a very complicated, ingenious and, ultimately, award-winning process, in 2013 British Airways launched a series of pretty magical billboards that, with the help of some adorable children, pointed out planes (as well as accurate flight information) as they flew past.

The effect was really impressive. The campaign encouraged passers-by to look up, reminded them of the ‘magic of flying’ and engaged with our natural tendency to wonder about what’s flying past.

 

These ads really give us a taste for trying new things and innovating with our work. Even if a digital billboard isn’t something we would necessarily do, the concept itself pushes agencies to go against the grain and invent new ideas.

We’re hoping to see more and more cool stuff like this as brands continue to jump on the digital billboard bandwagon. Seen something even better? Let us know in the comments below!