What’s the big idea?

by Wayne Stuart

We are asked how we come up with the solution to client’s briefs, so I thought I’d do just that that using the Merseyrail M campaign.

Merseyrail invited us in to pitch for their NPS Awareness campaign; this is an opportunity for Merseyrail to inform their customers of the good works and improvements they have made on the network. The creative had to be able to carry multiple messages, be engaging and most off all memorable.

Our starting point was to find out just how much work Merseyrail had put into improving it’s service and it’s image, what came really clearly is how much they cared, for the well being of both their customers and their staff. We wanted to create a personality for them, but with so many people working there just who could we choose, we certainly didn’t want to copy Halifax by choosing a Howard (remember him?) character or photo fit profile of everyone, that would be just too weird. You may think our solution was just as far fetched but we thought M could embody the spirit and nature of the entire corporation, plus it was a great exercise in brand re-enforcement.

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A very early sketch of him was agreed in house and it was then I thought of the big hug advert, I just loved the idea of Merseyrail having a warming, comforting presence. That big hug campaign tried to communicate in pictures just how comforting having a warm mug of soup really is, well for me keeping people safe, secure, warm and well fed and watered and providing a good service is exactly the same.

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The next step was to decide on how he/she looked, would it be soft, squidgy, smooth or fluffy, you’d be surprised just how passionate people felt about the final look. We brought in one of the digital creative from Firesprite, a games developer in Liverpool, to help us finalise the look and feel.

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Just as I was feeling very happy with the final creative I saw this.

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Now let me tell you, I wasn’t involved in Disney’s creative approach to this new release and I certainly wasn’t spied upon by their creative director (although that would have been ace) no, this was just a coincidence and one we were quite happy with as we hoped people may see their creative and think of ours.

After a successful pitch we were given the good news and it was full swing into production. The real beauty of the campaign was how flexible it was without any disruption to Merseyrail or their staff. We even drafted in members of staff as models to save on costs and time and I’m sure you’ll agree they are quite a good-looking bunch.

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