Stark Crazy! Embracing the WTF moments

posted on 1st Jun 2018 by Lorna Ryan McKeon

 

A late comer to Offset, I popped along for the first time this year, not knowing what to expect. For me it was a casually confident guy called Richard Brim from Adam&Eve/DDB that stole the show – him and our very own Aoife Dooley! 

A total natural, he was born to talk with an attitude that was infectious. In a world that can be full of ‘look at me’s’, whether it’s the selfie epidemic or brands and designers ‘trying to be cool’ – this guy’s honesty was refreshing. In his own modest manner he shared with us the essence of this London-based design studio’s growing success. And one very valuable message:

Embrace the “WTF moments”… yes… What The Fuck moments. 

We’re constantly bombarded with visuals shouting at us – louder, harder, bolder, stronger. So what’s the best way for designers to create something different that cuts through? His answer – always be open – what might seem like the most outlandish of ideas can bring the most amazing results.

His agency has had great success with this approach. Who would have thought of associating Meerkats and insurance? Or putting a bunch of wild animals on a trampoline for the John Lewis Christmas advert? Yes, they’re responsible for many amazing WTF moments! 

I’m sharing one gem they worked on with Skittles back in 2016. At Offset the brightly coloured candy was lit up on the big screen, mouthwatering for very different reasons – pure creative genius. In a sweet (ahem) campaign to celebrate Pride, Adam&Eve/DDB worked with Wrigley’s to do the unthinkable.

When we think Skittles, we think ‘rainbow’. It’s at the heart of the Skittles brand. It’s really the brand’s most recognisable asset – on the packaging, the slogan “Taste the Rainbow”, throughout its award-winning global campaigns and even in the colours of the sweets themselves. So when a voice suggests to “give it up’ one can only imagine the reaction! But that’s just what happened. Someone in Adam&Eve/DDB had a brainwave and a WTF moment was born. 

As we all know a rainbow also happens to be the symbol of all that LGBT Pride stands for. For this reason, the decision was made to show support and “give up the rainbow”. Because after all, during Pride only one rainbow matters. A simple, crazy but fabulously clever idea – my favourite kind!

And so after a little convincing (and a very trusting client!) it happened. On June 25th 2016 – the day of London Pride, all packaging and media were stripped of colour. 

The day began with an open letter from Skittles to Pride declaring intent to get completely starkers in support. The advertising copy cleverly went on explaining how they didn’t want to steal Pride’s ‘rainbow thunder’.

A black and white float joined the parade, handing out limited edition rainbow-less packets of Skittles along the way. 

 

Every single digital billboard through the heart of London showcased the striptease from rainbow to monochrome. The Skittles website and social channels all gave up the precious rainbow for the duration of Pride. 

What a smashing idea with implementation to match. A mixture of ad hoc illustrations and typography, and carefully considered messaging made the campaign such a success. Done with such humour, it fizzes with personality – very much in keeping with the brand’s left of field outlook. 

On social it went down a storm. The #onerainbow hashtag earned 31 million impressions and was picked up by major publications such as The Mirror, LAD Bible, GQ and Pride itself. It was seen and talked about in over 80 countries and 339 cities. This resulted in a 470% increase in buzz pre to post Pride (Source: You Gov). Skittles also won best newcomer award at the London Pride Parade. There was so much demand for more rainbow-less packs that in 2017, the brand created a limited edition version with British retailer Tesco. 

You can’t but admire their bravery. I’m a great believer in less is more and this epitomises it. Stripped of its bells and whistles it appeared even more beautiful laid bare before us.

Lorna Ryan McKeon, Senior Brand Designer

Lorna brings a flair for intellectual instinctual design with her! A remarkable sense of colour and intuitive eye for balance and space make her a natural designer, and her exquisite concepts serve to bolster and enrich the brands she works with. Many of our clients at Neworld, including Adare Manor, Clontarf Castle and Castleknock Hotel, have benefited from her attention and genuine love of what she does.