Letting go in lockdown

When lockdown happened, I imagined that everything was going to hell in a handcart and I’d cling on to things I knew and trusted. A metaphorical reaching out for the banister rail.

In fact, I’ve done the opposite. BBC Radio has been the first casualty. I never want to hear a politician ever again, so bang, out goes the Today programme. You and Yours and Woman’s Hour make me glum, so no thanks. I have discovered Scala Radio as I wake with the sunrise and it’s as though I’m in the park. Lockdown bliss.

Roaming the supermarket aisles, as I have always done since I started out as a designer, is now strictly verboten. Packaging design was, and remains, my first love and the supermarket has been both my art gallery and social anthropology laboratory. Watching people scan the shelves and pick up something we’ve been involved in has always had a frisson about it. How did we capture their attention and what tipped them over the line into putting the product into their basket? Online grocery shopping offers none of this. It is like the difference between Spotify and vinyl. Super convenient, but utterly soulless. Nothing beats picking up a product, turning it over in the hand, feeling its weight and, of course, looking at the label. Call me sad, but it is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Back to my first supermarket love

An unexpected change is the enforced switch of supermarkets. After years of loyal shopping, Waitrose doesn’t seem to want me and Ocado is too unpredictable, so I’m back where I started. Sainsbury’s is ‘my supermarket’ again. They were dead easy to sign up with and their delivery people are delightful, but what has happened to the brand that Peter Dixon and, on occasions, Williams Murray Hamm laboured so hard to make classy, intelligent and joyful? As one unloads the bags, where’s the story? I just can’t make out what the brand stands for. What is all this ‘by Sainsbury’s’ branding and what in heaven’s name is ‘Stamford Street Food Company’? Has anyone walked down Stamford Street lately? Let’s just say it’s not Tenterden High Street. If ever there were a right time to reshape Sainsbury’s, to make us fall back in love with it, it is now.

I didn’t expect to drop the BBC and I thought that Waitrose and I were pals for life. We will see if those relationships are revived if lockdown ever ends. One other quite unexpected change of behaviour is the joy to be found in anticipation. I am not gifted with patience. It is not a virtue and generally gets in the way of doing stuff, but my lockdown has seen a subtle change in this.

I am to be found, for the odd hour or two, wielding power tools and timber as I attempt to rebuild some rotten decking. With the closure of DIY stores, I have to rely on various businesses all around the country to deliver the multitude of fixings that Builder Bodge needs.

The excitement of home deliveries

‘My 6-inch Hex bolts have arrived!’ won last week’s loudest whoop. The big tease was that they couldn’t be touched until the next day in case there was Covid all over them. They took on the same lure as the Hornby Trains Royal Mail Van I lusted over in a Boxing Day shop window in 1960. Learning to wait has been rather wonderful.

There are, of course, vital items that one misses in lockdown. Marmite went AWOL from Sainsbury’s online. If you were desperate it could be found on eBay for £6.99 for a jar, plus £4 postage. Apparently, they’ve sold 48 of them so far. It makes one think about brand value. What brands would you pay extortionate prices for if they went missing? A quick scan of eBay shows a can of Ambrosia custard selling for £7 (inc postage) and a 1.5kg pack of Allinson’s Strong White Bread flour for £12 (admittedly the postage is a whopping £8). But then eBay is a mad place. Who in their right minds would buy Andrex ‘Natural Pebble’ lavatory rolls? A snip at £33.78 for 45 rolls by the way – it seems they are in ‘New Condition’ which is, no pun intended, a relief.

Author: Richard Williams

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000. Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2020 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

A rug tells the story from hardship to harmony

We are thrilled to announce that Williams Murray Hamm received the Grand Prix at The Drum Design Awards 2020.

The recognition was for our collaboration with the Orchestra St John (OSJ) in Oxford. The orchestra is a charity who passionately believes that music has the power to transform lives. They raised funds to bring Afghanistan’s First All-Female Orchestra to Oxford to support their music education.

To thank all their supporters, the OSJ asked WMH to create a commemorative poster. We designed a traditional handwoven rug incorporating the apparatus of war depicting the Orchestra’s incredible journey. We commissioned its production with a women’s charity from Kabul and photographed it to create a poster. The posters were sent in a rubble sack which traditionally Afghan rugs get dispatched in.

Together with the Grand Prix this poster received another four Golds in the following categories; Physical Product Design, Poster Design, Illustration and Design for Good.

The Drum Awards Jury’s thoughts:

“The judges felt it impossible to ignore this entry and during the judging sessions found that it covered many categories. We found ourselves on occasion split, then almost-simultaneously unanimously in favour of it. Any Grand Prix award needs to inspire conversation, debate and passion and considering the isolated conditions enforced on us all we found no shortage of exchange. In many ways this piece of work brought us closer together.

“The entry represents many things – a struggle, a journey, resilience, liberation, a story that needed to be told. This story perhaps was the thing that engaged us the most. It inspired rage, disgust and sadness but also a wonderful feeling of optimism and possibility brought through imagination and honest craft. If ever there was a symbol of overcoming adversity and delivering a message of hope, then this is it.“

 

 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000. Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2020 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Untangling the tracks

WMH creates campaign for “Untangling The Tracks” exhibition at London Transport Museum.

How can you keep millions of passengers moving while undertaking a huge project to transform an ageing railway and its stations – and make sure they’re kept up to date?

The UK’s railway network is the oldest in the world and today railways are more congested than ever. Passenger journeys in London and the south east have more than doubled in the last two decades leading to a capacity crunch. The Government-sponsored £7bn Thameslink Programme was an ambitious 10-year programme of extensive infrastructure enhancements and the delivery of 115 new trains that have (and continue to) bring faster, more frequent, more reliable, better connected journeys for passengers.

As the majority of the work has now been completed, Thameslink had the incredible opportunity to showcase the  Thameslink Program in an exhibition at the London Transport Museum. The exhibition is entitled ‘Untangling the tracks’ where visitors can learn about the upgrades through the ages and how Thameslink have done things differently in their decade long program.

The campaign follows various projects WMH has worked on with Network Rail and Thameslink that inform travellers on these engineering upgrades and the benefits they bring. Yet this campaign needed to not only reach travellers, it needs to grab the attention of kids, parents and teachers, making them feel as though they can’t miss out on this fun (and educational!) exhibition. The idea – Wow, What A Fact! – is therefore centred around the amazing facts and figures of the complex underground works, the rebuilt stations and new trains. The media includes out-of-home, digital and direct-to-passenger communication. WMH collaborated with its trusted production partner, Magnet Harlequin, on the implementation.

The run of the exhibition has been extended, so you can still visit the exhibition this Spring time at London Transport Museum.

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000. Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2020 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

A new look for FAB Awards

Proud to announce that Williams Murray Hamm is behind the new identity for the international FAB Awards programme, which recognises the best in creative work for food, beverage and restaurant brands in over 60 countries.

FAB awarded WMH the brief without a pitch and asked the agency to create a new identity that would reflect the unique status of the awards and make it feel fresh having had the same look since the 1990s. The identity needed to work across other FAB properties, including FAB News, which is being supported with a Google partnership and the FAB Forum.

WMH hit upon FAB’s zest for what it does, always delivered in its simple, unpretentious way. The new look captures the creative and joyous world of food and beverage.

The logo uses a bold sans serif brand name with a bite mark out of the A and a straw in the B. WMH decided to keep the red and white palette but adjusted it to a new, deeper red.

FAB unveiled the initial part of new branding with the first call for entries for the 22nd annual awards in 2020. The complete brand identity will be presented over the coming months, including an entirely redesigned awards trophy to be unveiled at the ceremony in May next year.

Garrick Hamm, creative director at WMH, said: “The old logo served FAB well, but after 20-plus years it was definitely time for a new look. Working with FAB we quickly saw that they needed an identity with a bold personality that was… just as fab as they are.

Neeraj Nayar, Chairman of the FAB Awards, said: “We are absolutely delighted by WMH’s genius. The simplicity and boldness of the new mark had us hooked the minute we saw it. Sitting perfectly across FAB News, Forum and Awards this is truly excellent and hopefully reflects the creative excellence acknowledged here at FAB. We LOVE it and hope you do too.

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000. Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2019 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

 

A gem of a brand reinvention

WMH creates new brand identity and campaign for Hirsh London

Hirsh London, the Mayfair luxury jewellery house, has launched a new brand identity ahead of its 40th anniversary in 2020, created by Williams Murray Hamm.

Founded in 1980 by Anthony and Diane Hirsh, today the business is run by their son Jason Hirsh and his wife Sophia, who have grown the brand into a thriving company that is anchored in the heritage of London jewellery houses, combined with wit, technical innovation and contemporary appeal.

WMH was appointed to create a strong, bold and clearly defined brand identity and campaign to capture the attitude and quintessential Britishness of the business through completely new creative work across print, environment, and digital platforms

Hirsh London is one of the capital’s most respected jewellery boutiques. Its speciality lies in its large variety of rare, unusual, natural coloured gemstones which Jason and Sophia Hirsh go to extraordinary lengths to source. Each of their one-of-a-kind pieces are designed around a central gem and entirely handmade in the brand’s London atelier.

Hirsh London has been championing natural coloured gemstones for forty years and is now at the forefront of a movement towards bolder, more colourful designs, particularly in the engagement ring market. This, alongside their personalised service and exquisitely handcrafted bespoke designs, has established them as the leading authority on rare and unusual jewellery.

WMH was introduced to Hirsh by a former client and won the project through a chemistry meeting and subsequent competitive proposal. Its creative input stretches across advertising in European and Chinese markets, and a new brand identity across packaging, website and collateral.

Garrick Hamm, WMH’s Creative Director, says “Hirsh London designs and produces the most exquisite and joyous jewellery using natural coloured stones. They are immensely creative and have a wonderful Britishness to them. Our new brand campaign captures their spirit at the same time as giving them visibility and cut-through in a sea of mainstream, luxury jewellery sameness.”

“We were impressed with the creative direction that WMH took. They understood the very personal nature of our business, the care we put into selecting each of our gemstones, and our commitment to excellence in craftsmanship. We also liked their ethos of working with one company in each industry, rather than specialising in one sector. This has enabled them to come up with a fresh approach in fine jewellery marketing, which we are confident will carry our business forward as it continues to grow into one of London’s most respected jewellery houses,” said Sophia Hirsh, Managing Director, Hirsh London.

For more detailed case study, please see here.

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2019 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

 

 

Making chocolate even more irresistible

With Easter here, we can finally welcome the spring season. A perfect time to share with you some WMH news that involves chocolate.

Fortnum & Mason is Britain’s most famous luxury department store. As part of the significant rebrand a few years ago, WMH created the original designs for Fortnum’s enormous ‘Chocolossus’ biscuits. A seriously indulgent biscuit that’s double-coated in chocolate. These became famous for being a favourite of President Obama. So successful had they become, that two new variants were planned and we returned to create the packaging for them.

WMH’s work focused on a strong idea that customers might ponder as they enjoyed the product at home – that idea was about the biscuits’ irresistibility.

The new variants ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding’ and ‘Morello Cherry’ were, unsurprisingly, renamed by WMH as ‘Toffolossus’ and ‘Cherrilossus’. The packaging is adorned with images of sugar cane and cherry trees respectively. A bird steals cherries from a tree while an elephant, known for its love of sugar cane, drips golden toffee from its tusk.

Toffolossus and Cherrilossus are available to purchase at Fortnum & Mason’s flagship store in Piccadilly, as well as additional stores in St Pancras railway station, Heathrow Airport and Dubai. They’re also available online and at various stockists worldwide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2018 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Vote 100 Creatives

To mark the celebration of the ‘UK Women’s Vote Centenary’ and International Women’s Day, WMH commissioned a set of portraits of 100 female creatives.

Women who, as trailblazers themselves, will all have benefited from and flourished thanks to the suffrage movement. The portraits have been created in close collaboration with illustrator Hiffy Ulrich.

We felt it was important to recognise women who are known for making a meaningful difference in the creative world. They have been chosen from a wide range of creative disciplines, such as illustration, design, architecture, photography and film. We have included some well-known visual artists, as well as some unsung creative heroes, or women who are still early in their career.

This project is a collaboration between WMH and Hiffy Ulrich. A designer and illustrator, whose witty and playful work communicates feminist ideas and thoughts.

Over 100 days, we have and will be posting the 100 portraits on the various WMH social media channels, and a specially created Instagram “Vote 100 Creatives” account.

http://instagram.com/vote100creatives

In addition, WMH’s studio has a street level window, which is updated every month. In the window, we showcase a host of different projects, from photographers we admire, to collaborations with the local primary school. For this initiative we have installed 20 of Hiffy’s portraits, in combination with her own hand lettering work. The “Vote 100 Creatives” installation will remain at WMH’s studio window until the end of March.

You can check out more of Hiffy’s work at: www.hiffyulrich.com

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For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2018 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

The power of creativity in delivering change

On 21 February, Wybe Magermans will be speaking at an evening by the Change Management Institute.

There are countless theoretical models about how an organisation can transform successfully. Yet for all the good these models do to structure change, the crux of successful transformation is centred around how people feel and behave differently. A rational approach alone isn’t sufficient.

Make sure to join Wybe, as he will be sharing key insights on how creativity helped Lamb Weston reshape from a company processing potatoes, to a $3,2bn multinational brand. One that is on now firmly on its way becoming the world’s No.1.

Wybe will be joined on stage by Leon Labovitch. An experienced business change and transformation consultant who has worked at the likes of KMPG, Shell and Sema Group, before setting up his own consultancy.

Register for tickets here!

The event is in partnership with King’s College London. The venue will be the remarkable Bush House in Aldwych, Central London. This iconic building has seen some huge changes since its opening in 1925. The Grade II listed building was originally an American-owned trade centre before becoming the headquarters of BBC World Service. Bush House’s latest purpose is that of higher education. King’s College moved in 2016, this time transforming the building into a centre of knowledge, learning and creativity.

An award-winning start of 2018

Williams Murray Hamm wins Best Of Show at Mobius Awards.

The new year kicks off in a celebratory fashion, with trophies for our work on Aberlour and RCS at this year’s Mobius Awards. Aberlour is awarded First Place statuette and Best of Show in the Brand Identity category. Whilst our work for RCS Advertising takes Second place ‘Certificate for Outstanding Creativity’ in the same category.

For Aberlour single malt whisky, WMH created a new brand world. Despite growing to the 6th position in the global market, Aberlour was relatively unknown. Equally, they hadn’t changed their communication much since their inception in 1879.

WMH looked at Aberlour’s long legacy, only to discover the founding family’s motto, ‘Let The Deed Show’, meaning ‘actions speak louder than words’. It’s the people, process and place surrounding Aberlour that create a whisky with such distinct character. WMH unearthed these deeds and, working closely with Scottish artist Liz Myhill, brought them to life. We used traditional lino cutting and printing techniques, to create original illustrations gleaned from books of storytelling in the 1900.

RCS came to WMH earlier in 2017. A 20-year-old Japanese advertising agency had metamorphosed into a brilliant new offering. They needed a new positioning and identity to reflect this. RCS helps clients identify, understand and optimise cultural differences. WMH called this ‘cross-cultural marketing’. The identity was built around a globe because RCS deals in global differences. It’s a cultural maze out there, so the ‘globe’ was fine-tuned to reflect this and a magenta ‘dot’ was created at the very core, to represent RCS – a point of consistency in unfamiliar territory.

“When I first met with WMH, I knew they ‘got’ who we were. They were able to interpret who we are, what we do and what makes us special in a way that went well beyond my imagination.”

Ron C Sternberg, Founder, RCS Advertising
For press enquires please contact:
Telephone: +44 (0)  20 3217 0000
Email: info@wmhagency.com

WMH Creative Origins: Richard Williams at Sainsbury’s

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This week’s #ThrowbackThursday is a nod to the creative foundations of WMH – quite literally. It comes courtesy of our esteemed co-founder, Richard Williams, who created these pet food packaging labels when he began his design career working for Peter Dixon’s famous in-house design team at Sainsbury’s.

“The cats were portraits of the first cats my wife and I had. A nod to dear friend, the late Nick Wurr (co-founder of The Partners) who inspired the silhouettes and yellow eyes and to the great Peter Dixon. A fine man.”

WMH-THROWBACK-THURSDAY-RW-SAINSBURYS-combined-FIRST-JOB-WEBSITE-130717WEBImages: ‘Own Label: Sainsbury’s Design Studio 1962-1977’ © Fuel Publishing, all rights reserved.

It’s not lost on anyone how WMH once again worked with Sainsbury’s (some years later) designing their Basics and SO Organics ranges – the latter is still in store today.

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You can find further examples of Richard’s early work in ‘Own Label: Sainsbury’s Design Studio 1962-1977 (ISBN: 0956356281, Fuel Publishing).

 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

 

New Blood Judging 2017

This May, WMH’s Design Director Mark Nichols visited D&AD’s new swanky offices as part of the D&AD New Blood jury. He was a judge on the Arjowiggins Creative Papers brief which set out to unite print and pixels, asking how print and digital platforms might form a new, symbiotic, relationship.

The task was to create a campaign, product or service for Sony Music, Facebook or Instagram that reminds digital customers of the power of paper.

Mark was joined on the multidisciplinary jury by Jack Renwick, acting D&AD President, Rob Newlan, Facebook Creative Shop’s EMEA Director and Sean Perkins, Director at North Design, along with a wide range of other creatives from advertising, design and paper artistry.

The work well received, but did it break the mould?
The provisional online round of judging saw 265 entries from across the globe, some underwhelming and well wide of the mark, some entertaining, but off brief, some ‘good’ and a handful that stood out as being truly great.

On the day, the Arjowiggins jury awarded two wood pencils, three graphite pencils and one yellow pencil.

WINNER of the Yellow Pencil: Colorgram is a concept for Arjowiggins Creative Papers that engages Instagram users in real life. It identifies shapes and colours in Instagram posts and transforms them into minimalistic die cut art. Congratulations to Jack Welles and Danae Gosset, from the School of Visual Arts, NYC.

Click here to see all of the 2017 D&AD New Blood Winners.

So what tips does Mark have for creating a winner?

“To start with, it’s imperative to interrogate the brief fully. Not only must your work answer the brief but it must stand out, stretch the brief and turn it upside down and look at it from a new, and relevant, perspective.

It’s unlikely your first answer will be the winning answer (no matter how good you think it is). Chances are, if it comes easily, many other people will have thought of the same solution. Trust me, we saw a lot of the same ideas regurgitated and skinned slightly differently. You have to persist until you’ve created something you’ve never seen before.

Having a proper grasp of the latest technologies, creative platforms, relevant social issues and a thorough and un-biased understanding of the target audience, will also help elevate your entry.

Once all of the above is in place you’re in with a chance. Now, to test if your idea will translate, can you easily and confidently describe it in no more than two short sentences? If it takes an essay and tons of boards to explain your ground breaking creation, the chances are you’ve overcomplicated it and got lost in your own genius.

Of course the one thing all the winners had in common was a great and original idea at the heart of the work.

To get to the higher pencil levels the work had to be well executed and commercially achievable – it’s a lot easier to have a great idea without thinking of its practicalities.

To win you need to have the jury arguing over who’s going to employ you first and be nervous that they’re going to be left behind by the next generation of creative mega minds! Easy right? No. Design is and will remain a challenging discipline, but with the right amount of blood, sweat and ideas your work just may get rewarded with the coveted D&AD pencil”.

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Point of Light shortlisted for Design Week Award 2017

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We are excited to be shortlisted for a Design Week Award in the Poster Design category for our B2B work with Point of Light.WMH-DESIGN-WEEK-AWARDS-POINT-OF-LIGHT-POSTER-SERIES-WEBThe series of posters form part of the overall Point of Light brand identity.  The brand mission to “tell extraordinary stories with light” is brought to life using evocative and mysterious monochrome illustrations in the purest 2D presentation of light and shadows.

Click here to see the full case study.

 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.

Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

 

In Praise of Forgotten Brands

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Come on, you know you love them…

In late April, Selfridges will be hosting a Heinz Beans pop-up bar to celebrate 50 years of the ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ ad campaign. Dishes will include beans with crispy bacon, beans with smoked ham hock and beans with scrambled egg, all at £3 each.

Is this the ultimate irony? A humble ad campaign for an everyday staple turned into a celebrity? Or, like the Cereal Killer Café, is this another illustration of just how out of touch London is with the rest of the country?

Baked beans are one of those dirty secrets amongst the chattering classes. Nobody really admits to eating them, but Waitrose does a roaring trade in them. What other grubby brands should we be celebrating?

Birds Eye Iglo missed a trick last year in reintroducing Findus Crispy Pancakes. How could they be so sotto voce about this tea time masterpiece? Admittedly, the product is now slightly less Chernobyl, but it’s an absolute shoo-in for bogus posh nosh. Who’s for a smoked chorizo variant for serving on a bed of quinoa salad? Lamentably, they didn’t even do in-store tastings as part of their relaunch strategy.

Spam is 80 years old this year. Armies marched on Spam in WW2 and there’s even a Spam Museum, but now, thanks to Monty Python, we just take the mickey out of it. Maybe, Hawaiians have the right idea. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) they are prone to eat it as sushi. This may well be the next hipster trend.

Walkers need to get their skates on, it’s 40 years since Monster Munch launched and there’s much to celebrate. They’ve restored them to their original, inconvenient size and three of the four original monsters have been retained. There’s no need for a pop-up bar, they just need to do ads that have our favourite dishes where spuds are replaced by Monster Munch. Chicken Kiev, baked beans and pickled onion Monster Munch – could anything be better?

Not only did Alfred Bird created ‘instant custard’ 180 years ago this year, but 50 years ago his eponymous company completely disrupted the dessert shelves with ‘Angel Delight’. This simple kid’s dessert has been in decline for some time, but owners Premier Foods announced this month that they are relaunching it in a pot for ‘on the go snacking’. Sadly, they’ve failed to tell anyone. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of their marketing and PR teams to get a celebrity chef to do something elaborate to get it into the newspapers. Where is Heston’s snail topped Butterscotch Angel Delight when you need it?

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WMH has a track record of getting loved and forgotten brands back into consumers’ heads. Our work on Hovis (those beans again) turned the brand around, as did our self centred Jaffa Cakes cartons. There are tons of these hidden gems just ripe for relaunch. Anyone for Homepride sauce poured over a Fray Bentos pie and Bovril gravy, or should that read ‘jus’?

Author: Richard Williams

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Chasing Quick Money is Bad for Us All

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Why shareholders should protect businesses like Unilever from accountants.

Unilever and P&G’s operating margins are seen, by some, as not being world leading. In Unilever’s case, Kraft Heinz thinks it’s time to apply some of Mr Buffett’s patent remedy – taking out jobs, slashing salaries, closing factories, cutting R&D and, of course, taking a knife to marketing spend.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking efficiencies – every company does that, indeed most are permanently engaged in a maelstrom of restructuring and McKinsey executive invasions, but, who will be interested in the consumers of brands that are being Buffetted as the knives are wielded?

Who will be doing the research into making their products better? How will those food and product developers care about the brand they’re working on when the accountants, who run the business, have just made them reapply for their job with the added ingredient of a sizeable pay cut?

Manufacturers have a responsibility to the general public, beyond lowering prices. It’s about what we consume actually being good for us and being made in a sustainable way and it’s about innovation – creating products that we will need in the future, as our lives change.

Does anyone seriously think that will happen under accountants masquerading as food companies?

There are reasons why Unilever is a great company, just as there are with Nestle and P&G (all of whom WMH has worked with in the distant past). They hire the best, most intelligent people and treat them with respect – the sort of behaviour that gets the best out of them.

Above all, these companies pour billions into research to make their products better for their customers. Nestle, in particular, is a world leader in health, wellness and, of course, nutrition, but that costs money. Money that accountants, like Warren Buffett’s partners 3G, would prefer to slash.

In this world of Trumptastic Fake News, the real news is that Kraft Heinz and their ilk should be sent packing by shareholders of businesses that set out to care for the well-being of their customers and who actually improve peoples’ lives.

Sadly Kraft Heinz’s foray into Unilever’s territory has forced Paul Polman to seek further efficiencies if he is to fend off further unwanted attacks. Wouldn’t it be great if Unilever’s shareholders decided, en masse, to allow the company to continue to invest in the things that matter, rather than chase a quick return?

Author: Richard Williams

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Garrick Hamm judges the Creativepool Awards 2017

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This February, Garrick Hamm formed part of the judging panel for the Creativepool Awards 2017 in the Graphic Design category.

Garrick joined a panel of 165 leading industry judges, from 22 countries, across 33 categories, with representatives from Bloomberg, Bupa, Deluxe, Facebook, FCB, Getty, Guinness World Records, IKEA, Ogilvy, Phaidon, Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi.

About the Creativepool Awards

Creativepool is the largest creative industry network, connecting global creatives to generate business through discovery and inspiration. It endeavours to set higher benchmarks for creativity and to inspire learning, interaction and debate.

Looking back on what has been a particularly strong, though demanding, year for creative work, the theme for this year’s awards was ‘Creativity will save us’.  Winners are selected in a fairer competition that awards companies and individuals separately. It is this diversity and the democratisation of the returning People’s Choice winners, that will once again set the Annual apart from other creative awards.

As one of the most widely distributed creative award publications, Creativepool prints 15,000 perfectly bound copies of the Annual which are received by industry leaders at some of the most significant creative events of the year, including the Cannes Lions Festival, Clerkenwell Design Week and the London Design Festival.

WMH-GARRICK-HAMM-PROFILE-WEBUpon completion of his judging duties, Garrick said: “This year’s entries demonstrated a renewed optimism and appreciation of craft, with clients opting for the bigger, braver solutions.  People are seeing the benefit of creativity and how it can play an important role in being the key differentiator.  Against the current backdrop of uncertainty, it is good to see clients embracing fresh, bold and brave design.”

 

 

Alexandra-Schott-Managing-Editor-Creativepool-WMHCreativepool’s Managing Editor, Alexandra Schott, said: “Given how uncertain our future now seems to be, both politically and technologically, it is a powerful time to be a part of the creative industry. The bravery and innovation we have seen this year has been eye-opening and empowering for the team, who have assembled an incredible judging panel. We can’t wait to see who our community name as their People’s Choice. We hope the bonds formed through the Annual act as a catalyst for the year ahead. Creativity will save us.”

 

To download your copy of the Creativepool Annual for 2017 click here.

The Annual winners will be announced on 29th March 2017 at Protein Studios in Shoreditch. To get your tickets click here.

 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Castrol Bio-Synthetic wins at TDC 2017

We are pleased to announce that Castrol Bio- Synthetic, our entry in the TDC Communication Design Competition has won a ‘Certificate of Typographic Excellence’

The work was selected from from over eighteen hundred entries from fifty countries.

A high performing job all round.

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For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

The March of the Robots

Just how far will they move into marketing?

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Amazon Go’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology spells the end of supermarket checkout staff.[1] We’ve seen this coming for some time. Now, middle and higher income jobs are endangered, according to this weekend’s Sunday Times (still delivered in paper form by a human delivery person).[2]

At high risk from ‘robots’, amongst others, are insurance underwriters, accountants and auditors and at medium risk are judges and economists. Even dental hygienists are under threat.

When chess computers have to play each other because mere humans can no longer beat them, then, perhaps, there is some truth in robots replacing many jobs. Happily, for occupational therapists, surgeons and psychologists the report suggests they will see out their days unchallenged.

Marketing people do not appear to be threatened, because they have to make decisions that can’t be automated, but they are reliant on some services that could change dramatically over the next few years.

There’s little to suggest that procurement cannot be handled completely by robotics. Many RFIs are already handled online, what’s to stop all legal aspects of appointment being handled in the same way? Indeed, what’s to stop the auctioning of projects to a wide range of businesses that have already passed through online assessment? It will be just another step in the direction of dehumanising client/consultant relationships that were once based around trust and the simple shake of a hand.

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Consumer research could spread its wings into far greater automation. Imagine a research programme that learns, just as chess computers do, more about consumers every time they interact. Being online, it has the ability to speak to a vast number of people, to understand the particular nuances of how they see things courtesy of their social status and where they live. Automation will be able to tell us far more about people than we could ever glean. Computers don’t get tired and they keep on learning.

For designers who ‘maintain’ brands, as many of the bigger agencies do, automation could be a massive threat.  If you seamlessly join research and design robotics, automating ‘brand tweaking,’ you’ve suddenly wiped half the agencies in the world. Refining logos, ‘premiumising’ and adding ‘wine values’ are grunt work for which many businesses charge a fortune.

One of the benefits of this roboticised future will be that we get to see the real value of ideas. They are the bedrock of great advertising and design and have been undervalued for far too long, sacrificed on the altar of pragmatics and brand conservatism.

 

Author: Richard Williams

Reference sources:
[1] Amazon Go
[2] Sunday Times: Robots march on ‘safe’ jobs of middle class

Image sources:
– Brain image via simplified-analytics.blogspot.com
– Robotic image via reso-nance.org

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

D&AD New Blood

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This January, WMH senior designer Mark Nichols returned to Norwich University of the Arts as a visiting lecturer. He was teaching on the 2017 D&AD New Blood briefs, one of which he will be judging at this year’s New Blood Awards in April. Mark advised on work across seven different briefs over the two days, as well as finding time to give portfolio reviews on other work created by Norwich’s top students.

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“It’s always a pleasure to return to such a great creative institution and not just for the student nostalgia…this year’s New Blood briefs are as exciting and challenging as ever. The brief I will be judging brings into question how print and paper can be used effectively to promote digital platforms. Such involved, topical, subject matter should be the catalyst for some truly pioneering work. It will highlight how design can help the analogue and digital worlds coexist or, better still, form a new symbiotic relationship”

You can view this year’s D&AD New Blood briefs here https://www.dandad.org/en/d-ad-new-blood-awards/

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Mark turned student once again, when he was lucky enough to catch David Pearson’s lunchtime lecture highlighting the joys of book jacket design. It further evidenced the recurring theme that print is not dead and, used innovatively, won’t die anytime soon.

 

Author: Mark Nichols – Designer at Williams Murray Hamm

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2017 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Baked Beans = Trump

WMH foresaw the “Trump Factor” in 2002, but we didn’t recognise it for what it was.

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Our radical, baked bean smothered, Hovis rebrand, failed dismally in research. No consumers polled would admit to feeding their family baked beans, in spite of it being one of the country’s favourite grocery products.

The research firm suggested that the design be dropped for something with more wheat on it, or perhaps a picture of a loaf. Brave management ignored this wisdom and ‘Big Food Hovis’ went on to become the fastest growing grocery brand in the country. Saving the brand and saving scores of jobs.

Unwittingly we had encountered an early case of ‘Shy respondents’.

When the Conservatives won the last election, against all odds, pollsters put it down to ‘Shy Tories’, people who wouldn’t admit to voting for Mr Cameron. The Donald’s extraordinary win is put down to the same phenomenon – a fear of admitting who you’re voting for because you’re rather, or very, ashamed.

We are in the ‘post truth’ era, where nobody trusts experts and everyone follows their emotions – think Brexit.

So what’s new? Advertising and branding has always done this. When two products are similar, we in marketing use emotion to carve out our space. Facts, in the world of pasta sauce, luxury perfumes, tinned custard and frozen ready meals don’t count for much, but the emotional pull of a great brand can be irresistible.

The conundrum lies in that no manufacturer worth their salt would ever go to market without asking consumers what they think.

‘Consumers lie’ the late Richard Murray used to cry ‘If research is infallible, why do so many products fail?”

Of the experts we no longer trust, pollsters have tumbled to the same depth as politicians, financial forecasters, priests and latterly, football coaches. For years, research has kicked the hell out of great ideas in advertising and design. We all know it, as do our clients.

Dan Izbicki, Unilever’s creative excellence director recently said that the company’s products are not high interest categories for consumers.

We need great creativity and great work to cut through that. Far too often we get scared and go back to the easier thing to do because it’s not going to be terribly damaging – but we can do something bigger and better and braver.

He is absolutely right. The problem is that research will most likely kill the brave ideas that he wants. ‘Shy’ consumers and conservative marketers looking for the next career move, will conspire to normalise everything.

It’s time for those who seek the public’s opinion to get better at what they do. They need to create measures that really work, that allow us a true picture of what’s going on. Hopefully, it’ll also allow companies the ability to break through into better, braver, more effective marketing too. It’s long overdue.

 

Author: Richard Williams

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2016 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Castrol Bio-Synthetic

WMH has launched a new ‘bio’ variant of the Castrol EDGE and Castrol MAGNATEC brands that includes 25% of oil derived from plant sources.


Whilst this is not the first launch of a bio-derived oil, it is the first by a global major company. Castrol’s clever engineering and cutting edge technology have made it possible to take plant oil (and its natural lubricating qualities) in combination with traditional fossil-based oils to create a bio-lubricant that protects as well as standard Castrol EDGE or MAGNATEC.

“Pioneering with plants” – we brought together this natural tension creating a world and visual language unique to Castrol Bio-Synthetic oils. The new design stretches across film, packaging and web banners.

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For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2016 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

In Fondest Memory of Geoff Appleton: 1950 – 2016

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A celebration of an infectious spirit and an incredible talent.

Today, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we bid a final farewell to our beloved friend and illustrator extraordinaire, Geoff Appleton, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. During a year that has seen the loss of many great talents, we will remember and celebrate Geoff’s memory as one of the greatest.

Williams Murray Hamm co-founder, Richard Williams, remembers Geoff’s infectious spirit:

“I’ve been at Williams Murray Hamm for 20 years and I can honestly say that I’ve not seen a freelancer more loved by our people and our clients than Geoff.

 They broke the mould when they made him. He was the last of a breed of artists who could earn a good living by drawing on paper and never doing stuff he didn’t want to do.

 We’ll miss his jolly banter and his great work and, in particular, I’ll miss talking to him about the finer points of Bob Dylan…” 

Our thoughts are with Geoff’s family and to commemorate his legacy WMH has made a donation to his nominated charity, Children and the Arts.

Children & the Arts is an independent educational charity that engages with disadvantaged children nationwide who do not have access to high-quality arts activity because of either social or economic barriers… [read more]

If you wish to make a donation in memory of Geoff, please visit www.childrenandarts.org.uk.

 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2016 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

Lamb Weston Innovation Centre

WILLIAMS MURRAY HAMM DESIGNS STATE OF THE ART INNOVATION CENTRE FOR LAMB WESTON.

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Following the creation of a new brand purpose and visual identity for Lamb Weston’s global business, WMH was asked to design the interior of an innovation centre where possibilities become reality. 

Lamb Weston, a ConAgra Foods brand, has more than 60 years’ experience as one of the world’s leading suppliers of frozen potato products to restaurants and consumers. An industry pioneer, the company planned a new, state of the art, innovation centre with co-creation spaces, fully functioning kitchens, pilot line, interactive areas and a resource for employees; in short a place where possibilities could become reality.

Having already started the building phase for the project, Lamb Weston approached long time collaborating agency WMH in March 2016 to create the overall theme and interiors. The Centre opened to employees on 24 June and to Lamb Weston customers soon after.

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WMH had previously helped Lamb Weston relaunch its new global positioning and identity: to be the most inventive potato company in the world. The Innovation Centre would express this purpose and help find new, more inventive ways of collaboration between customers and Lamb Weston staff.

Intended as a flagship Lamb Weston US building, the Innovation Centre needed to be a place that captured the imagination and be worthy of the claim ‘if you dream it, you can make it here’.

Deborah L. Dihel, Ph.D. Senior Director Research and Innovation at Lamb Weston said:

“Our new Innovation Centre is absolutely incredible. WMH was the perfect partner to help us communicate Lamb Weston’s brand promise throughout the building in a distinctive and memorable way. The design elements set the stage as soon as our visitors see us from the street, and their experiences are enhanced further as they enter and work in the space. WMH’s design communicates our history of successful innovation, yet at the same time, inspires all who enter to be futuristic, be inventive and make their potato dreams a reality.”

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Using the playful design it had created for the brand identity, WMH produced a fully sensory experience for the many spaces in the Centre.  Bright and light, visitors encounter witty and striking wall graphics at every turn. Interactive areas have been created to bring to life the history of the business, its vision and values and to relate employee stories.  Breakout rooms inspire new and innovative ways of working together.

On the experience, Garrick Hamm, Creative Director of Williams Murray Hamm said:

“We love working with Lamb Weston.  Once again, WMH has been there to help them bring their Innovation Centre to life.  Their strength of purpose, reflected in the Innovation Centre design, really encourages their employees and customers to be as inventive and imaginative as they like – the possibilities are endless”.

The Innovation Centre launched on 24 June.

 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2016 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

LOVE / HATE: Backing Britain?

A guest blog by innovation and marketing expert, Giles Atwell

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Brexit means Brexit, but what does it mean for British food?

Buy British! 

“[Eating is not just an agricultural act] It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too… To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction.”
Michael PollanThe Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Since the Brexit vote of 23 June, the press has served us a diet of cascading bond yields, frozen property funds and sliding sterling: a daunting menu, beyond the comprehension of most consumers. But in these times of change, I wanted to reflect on a more palatable subject. One that is a little closer to home for us all – food.

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Opportunities in adversity!

Seventy-five years ago Britain faced another crisis, finding itself isolated as an island nation while battle raged across Europe. Prior to the Second World War, the country imported two thirds of its food by sea, approximately 55 million tons a year. But by 1940 the threat posed by German U-Boats, which succeeded in sinking 728,000 tons of produce that year, had reduced imports of food to just 12 million tons. Britain was forced to retool its whole food supply and re-educate its population.

Though Brexit doesn’t pose such a dire and direct threat, Britain still imports over half its food and so remains vulnerable to the vagaries of international trade. Given the Brexit news, this situation is unlikely to improve. A recent study by the National Farmers Union predicted that by the mid-2040s, the country would only be able to produce enough food to feed 53% of its population.[1]

 

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© copyright Crown, all rights reserved.

The famous patriotic posters of WW2 told Britain to ‘Dig for Victory!’, ‘Don’t Waste Food’ and ‘Doctor Carrot’ will guard your health.[2] As we consider our next steps in the Brexit flux, maybe there are lessons for action here on how we source and consume our food. Lessons that could help not only improve our own health but also that of the British food industry as a whole.

I’m not advocating the kind of control Lord Woolton, Minister of Food during WW2, had. He had free reign to create and issue ration books whilst managing the UK’s food supply; “making him the envy of nutritionists, dieticians, and indeed anyone interested in the health of the nation, before or since.”[3]  But, we could use these economically challenged times of change to improve in three areas:

1) Reducing food waste

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© copyright The Grocer, all rights reserved

The economy is already softening and there is a very real chance we will go into recession. There is a horrible disconnect between the estimated 3 million people in the UK thought to be living with malnutrition or at risk because they do not eat enough, and the 1.9 million tons of food waste the UK is estimated to have created in 2014-15 alone.[4]

In this respect, the Grocer’s “Waste not want not” campaign to reduce food waste is laudable, as are Asda’s £3.50 wonky veg boxes, Waitrose’s policy to ensure none of its food goes to landfill, and the cooperation of many supermarkets with food banks.[5] 

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© copyright Asda, all rights reserved

Manufacturers too have a responsibility to sensibly apply ‘best before’ dates and consumers need to make better judgements on both the quantity purchased vs eaten, as well as when a food in the fridge is genuinely ‘past it’.

A concerted effort by all parties could drastically reduce the nation’s food and financial waste, but it will take both coordination and education.

2) Buying British

The weakened pound and a general desire for all of us to support the country in our new ‘solo’ quest represents a golden opportunity to celebrate British-grown food and boost our nation’s self-sufficiency whilst reducing our food-miles.

This need not be akin to the somewhat masochistic support my father gave in the 1970s to our failing motor industry by buying a succession of Triumphs & Rovers that simply fell-apart. We have our own delicious cheeses, seasonal fruit, meat, and vegetables together with an explosion of alternative British food & drink brands (think Dorset Cereals, Charlie Bigham’s pies and Fever Tree drinks) that deserve to be more locally and widely consumed as well as exported to our neighbours, near and far.

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© Photograph copyright Kippa Matthews / York Maze, all rights reserved

Food that is produced in Britain should shout it loud(er) and producers should strive to collaborate to create more of the ‘Protected Designation of Origin’ – PDO or ‘Protected Geographical Indication’ – PGI that the EU had previously helped us to sustain. 

Clearly buying British will not only keep the money in Britain but may even help insulate British consumers from potential future trade tariffs and a continued weak pound.

3) Improving Food Education

A 2015 study by the ONS (Office for National Statistics), showed that of the £530 the average UK household spends each week, 20% goes on food & drink (including eating out, alcohol and tobacco). While much of the other 80% of the spend (from gas bills to holidays) has a physical impact on us (breathed in as fumes from transport or felt as fibres on the skin), the food budget physically enters our bodies.

In the age of convenience and fast-food, I think we have a lot to learn from our continental neighbours. The perennially slender French take meals very seriously, spending more time eating than their fellow Europeans; two hours, 22 minutes per day in 2010, 13 minutes longer than in 1986. French meals are also treated as a shared experience, with 80% eaten with others.[6]

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© copyright Jamie Oliver Enterprise Ltd, all rights reserved.

In contrast, the NHS spends £6 billion a year on diet-related diseases. Britain is “…sleepwalking into a major health crisis because of poor diets among young children” according to a coalition of restaurateurs, food manufacturers and medical experts.[7] The change needs to start with children, as food habits are formed in childhood and a child’s weight and diet has a big impact on their adult health outcomes. This is a cause already gaining momentum thanks to celebrities like Jamie Oliver and his ‘Food Revolution’, but it needs concerted backing and funding to roll it out across the country and to save future generations from a lifetime of poor eating habits and diet-related disease.

Conclusion

Times are very different to the crisis felt during WW2 when only about 2% of households owned a fridge and the country was under a real siege. However, the next few weeks, months and years could see us under a ‘virtual’ siege of pressure to sign the infamous Article 50 and formally sever links with the EU. I personally struggle to see a lot of positive from these turbulent and uncertain times ahead, but if we become prouder to buy and responsibly consume quality British food, well, maybe there’s a little silver lining after all.

Editors Notes

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Guest Blogger: Giles Atwell

Giles Atwell started his career as a graduate trainee with Unilever in 1996 and moved to Cadbury in 2002. He has led commercial, innovation and marketing teams in Australia, Brazil, Singapore and the UK.  His most recent successes include Cadbury/Milka Bitesize rollout, two years of double-digit growth in Brazil and Halls Candy global turnaround.

Having lived on 4 continents over the past decade, Giles’ children were becoming a little too well travelled. And so at the end of 2015, he and his family decided to return to the UK and their home in Oxford. He left Mondelez in June and is looking forward to the next UK-based challenge.

When not working, Giles is a keen tennis player, amateur photographer, whisky and wine enthusiast.

WMH-RICHARD-WILLIAMS-PROFILE-WEBEditor: Richard Williams

With today’s business pressures, we’re so busy dealing with what’s in front of us, that we rarely get a chance to talk about wider matters. This is particularly true of our clients and friends of WMH. They’re a fascinating lot, but we only dig deeper with them when we are socialising or having one of our sporadic events. A lunch with Giles Atwell, during which he spoke about food with such conviction, led to a request for him to write our first guest blog. We’re hoping it will become a regular event on our site. Giles was the kind of client we warm to. During his time on Cadbury’s at Mondelez, he was brave to appoint us to a significant innovation project and we loved working with him and have always stayed in touch. He knows the food industry inside out and we’re flattered he’s written for us.

 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.
Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2016 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

References

1. “UK will need to import over half of its food within a generation, farmers warn” – the Guardian (24th Feb 2015)
2. “Dig! Dig! Dig! for Victory” – http://www.homesweethomefront.co.uk (23rd July 2011)
3. Source: “Eggs or Anarchy: The remarkable story of the man tasked with the impossible: to feed a nation at war” by William Sitwell – http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/
4. “Malnutrition: it’s time the UK public recognised it as a problem we face” – the Guardian (17th March 2014)
5. “Waste Not Want Not: major new Grocer campaign to fight food waste” –  The Grocer (20th May 2016)
6. “France remains faithful to food as meals continue to be a collective affair” – the Guardian (4th April 2014)
7. “Failure to teach children about food ‘threatens major health crisis'” – The Telegraph (6th February 2013)

Graduate opportunity within client services and strategy…

Are you a curious, resourceful and ingenious graduate with plenty of common sense and initiative?

Williams Murray Hamm are offering a six month graduate opportunity within our client services and strategy department.

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Join the Rebel Alliance

We are looking for a graduate to help us in our client services and strategy team for a 6 month contract with the possibility to extend. The right candidate will share our passion for creativity, our wish to give clients a view they can’t get from anywhere else and a solution that does extraordinary things for their brand.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking more for a mindset, for someone who is curious, resourceful and ingenious with plenty of common sense and wants to get on with it.

How do you apply?

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, send us your CV and tell us in a picture (email friendly) and/or in less than 150 words, why we should consider you for the position to email address recruitment@wmhagency.com.

Deadline for submissions: 31st August 2016

LOVE / HATE: Karaoke’s Not Serious Marketing

How it’s put a spanner in the works for Chris Evans.

Top Gear has been “Bjorn Again” but it’s just not Buddy Holly.  Richard Williams explores relaunched brands who have attempted to rediscover their illustrious past.

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Call me an old fashioned blokey chap. I loved Top Gear with Clarkson, Hammond and May. I hated a lot of the actual driving stuff, but I really loved the banter. Here were three top motoring journalists who felt entirely comfortable with each other. Anyone can do stupid things like catapult cars or set fire to caravans, but it’s the way they played it. It was the in-jokes they let us in on that were so funny. They were our chums and we sat on the edge of our seats waiting for what we knew would be the next excruciating utterance.

There’s a parallel to life in our studio. We all know each other so well. A raised eyebrow, an admonishing cough, a riff about Reggie Perrin and we’re off. Irreplaceable. It’s hard to join WMH simply because it takes years to learn the stories.

Watching the new Top Gear is like watching Bjorn Again, the US version of ‘The Office’ or seeing ‘Buddy’. There’s something seriously wrong. It’s not Abba or Ricky Gervais and it’s certainly not Buddy Holly (he’s been dead for 57 years) it’s Karaoke.

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© copyright 2016 Bjorn Again (cited via http://www.littlestepsasia.com)

The same is often true of businesses and brands when they try and relaunch to rediscover their illustrious past.

Phileas Fogg was a clever, entrepreneur-led snack brand that introduced the UK to posh crisps. So successful was it that United Biscuits bought it and wrecked it in very short order.

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© copyright 2016 Phileas Fogg / KP Snacks

As Kettle, Tyrrell’s and a plethora of smaller brands surrounded it, it tried again and again to relaunch (we even had a go at it) but it had lost its sparkle, its point of difference, its raison d’etre. Now, it’s been relaunched yet again. The products are actually very good, but it’s a pale imitation of its former self with unfunny TV ads and dreadful packaging. It’s a poor pastiche of the past.

For many years, Trustees Saving Bank, latterly the TSB, was a common sight on our high street. It was the bank that “Likes To Say Yes”. It disappeared, having become part of Lloyd’s Banking Group, went into oblivion and was resuscitated in 2013 and subsequently sold to a Spanish business.

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© copyright 2016 TSB / Banco Sabadell

What’s it there for? We’d all survived quite happily without it. Apparently the Spanish think the name has ‘traction’. I think it looks like ‘The Bank Nobody Goes Into’.

Returning to the car theme, I’ll finish with an example of a car that should have been dead and buried years ago. As a kid, I loved the Chevrolet Impala. How could you not be drawn to its spaceship styling? Its rear wings reached into the middle of its vast boot and radiated out in a whoosh of glory. This was not a normal car – it moved when it was standing still. I wore the wheels out of my Dinky version.

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Image source citation pending

Have you seen 2016’s Impala? Don’t bother. It looks like the illegitimate spawn of a Vauxhall and a Mazda – only worse.

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© copyright 2016 Chevrolet

Don’t misunderstand me, there are huge numbers of brands that relaunch very successfully because they understand what makes them different and get how we can continue to be in love with them, but New Top Gear isn’t anywhere near.

Top Gear, at its best, was about unlikely friendships born through a common love of cars. As a car nut or football fan, you can understand that uniting bond, despite the obvious differences between the people. Chris Evans and TFI Friday, at its best, was like that too – Chris and his workmates, feeding off the energy of a Friday night; beer, banter, music, idiotic drunken tomfoolery…. Perhaps he needs to get some of his real mates back and forget the international starring line-up.

 

Author: Richard Williams.

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com  or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.

Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2016 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

LOVE / HATE: Amazon Fresh and the ‘First Moment of Truth’

‘Is it curtains for design agency claptrap?’ 

Following the recent UK launch of Amazon Fresh, Richard Williams and Garrick Hamm explore the Love and Hate of the brand packaging ‘First Moment of Truth’ in the digital age on online grocery shopping.

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Hate: Packaging

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Many years ago, Procter and Gamble came up with the idea of ‘The First Moment of Truth’.

This was all about how packaging works in the supermarket and how first impressions really count. I can’t remember what the second and third moments of truth were, something about bar codes probably.

I wonder what P&G thinks about the FMOT of their brands as they appear in online shopping. Does it bring on an FMOH (First Moment of Horror)? Here’s the truth. Brands look dreadful on Ocado and as we’re about to be invaded by Amazon Fresh they need to do something now.

Since it’s only partially available in the UK, I had to pretend to live in the Empire State Building (ZIP code 10118) to be able to access it. What is glaringly obvious is that, if Amazon Fresh really takes off, (the British Retail Consortium predicts that 900,000 jobs will be lost by 2025 as the industry moves online) the claptrap and mumbo jumbo that packaging design agencies have peddled for years, in an effort to cover up their lack of creativity, will have no further use.

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There is no ‘shelf blocking’ since there aren’t any shelves to block and you can’t see any ‘category cues’ or ‘appetite appeal’ because the pack shots are so tiny, the copy is illegible and everything is low res. The game’s up. Brands have to find a new way to work for online shopping and it’s a wonderful, thrilling opportunity.

 

Love: Smiles 

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Hopefully Amazon Fresh really will lead to a completely different way of presenting brands on screen.  They’re going to have to look at simple visual mnemonics. It could even lead to a new golden era where intelligent, meaningful logos represent a brand instead of dull old packaging.

Actually, this is really just a gratuitous excuse to talk about the recently updated ‘A Smile in the Mind’. Along with Alan Fletcher’s ‘The Art of Looking Sideways’ it is one of the must-have books on engaging, intelligent design. I’ve always loved those clever little logos that give a business personality.

The original Spratt’s pet food logo is clunky and artless, but incredibly endearing. Dog happiness is built right into it. I also came across this little beauty for Knapp Shoes (obviously) by Chermayeff & Geismar Inc. in New York. It’s a lovely witty mark. Simple and clever. How could you resist? Similarly, Norbert Dutton’s 1959 logo for electronics business, Plessey, is something we’d be proud to have done today.

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(left) Spratts – Logo designed by Max Field-Bush (UK). Copyright (second extension) 2016, Julien Clairet of DATA ACCESS Paris. / (middle) Knapp Shoes – Logo designed by Charmayeff & Geismar Inc. / (right) The Plessey Company Ltd – Logo designed by Norbert Dutton’s 1959

 

With wit like this, think what you could do for a brand like Bird’s Eye or Flash. We won’t see the end of supermarket packaging by any means and I fear that we won’t lose steamy shots of soup and stringy cheese slices on pizza packs, but perhaps Amazon Fresh, unwittingly, will lead to a design revolution where we go back to intelligent, beautifully thought through brand identities.

I can’t wait.

 

Authors: Richard Williams & Garrick Hamm. 

For any press enquiries email press@wmhagency.com or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.

Unless otherwise cited, © copyright 2016 Williams Murray Hamm, all rights reserved.

WMH wins Silver at FAB Awards for Penny Market ‘Orto Mio’ redesign

Williams Murray Hamm’s brave, bold and engaging design for Penny Market’s ‘Orto Mio’ antipasti range was awarded a Silver at last night’s International Food & Beverage Awards.

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Now in their 18th year, the FAB Awards are focused entirely on work done for Food and Beverage brands. They recognise the critical contribution that outstanding creative work makes in building brands, identifying and rewarding leading practitioners from over 60 countries.

Rewe owned, Penny operates 3,550 stores in Europe. Having won a written competitive pitch against two other agencies, WMH was appointed to rejuvenate the 45+ antipasti range to reflect a more unconventional and approachable image for Orto Mio.

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WMH’s new design embodies the relaxed, sociable style of eating antipasti. It suggests that the food can barely be restrained by its packaging and is bursting to get out with colour and flavour

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The illustrations work in unison with lively, colourful hand drawn typefaces. Each product carries a witty copyline, such as ‘oh la la olives’, ‘we are the champignons’ and ‘you make me blush’, continuing the promise of an enjoyable eating experience.

On winning the award Garrick Hamm, Creative Director at WMH said:

“We are overjoyed that our work on ‘Orto Mio’ has been recognised by the FAB Awards.  Hopefully, the witty design raised as much of a smile on the judges’ faces, as the award has on ours!”

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WMH hosts ‘Everything We Touch’ with Paula Zuccotti.

Ethnographer and author describes her work at a private breakfast briefing

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On Wednesday 24th May, Williams Murray Hamm hosted a breakfast briefing with Paula Zuccotti, an industrial designer, trends forecaster and ethnographer.

Her latest book project, “Everything We Touch” has received rapturous applause from around the globe, leading to radio appearances and full-page spreads in, amongst others, The Guardian, The Sun and the Sunday Telegraph.

 What if everything you touched in one day were brought together in one place? What story would they tell? 

Paula travelled around the world asking people to document every object they touched in 24 hours. She then gathered those objects together and photographed them in a single shot.

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From a toddler in Tokyo to a cowboy in Arizona, from a cleaner in London to a cloister nun in Madrid, Every Thing We Touch is their story told through the objects they own, consume, need, choose, treasure and can’t let go.

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To hear the inside story of peoples’ lives through the things they use everyday, check out the trailer below:

For more information you can purchase the book directly from Penguin and you can check her out on tumblr.

 

Please note that the copyright of all imagery within this article belongs to Paula Zuccotti, all rights reserved 2016.

WMH wins coveted D&AD Yellow Pencil!

WILLIAMS MURRAY HAMM WINS D&AD YELLOW PENCIL FOR UK EROTICA BRAND, COCO DE MER

Williams-murray-hamm-coco-der-mer_D_AD_Pencil-yellow-2016Tonight, WMH was awarded a coveted D&AD Yellow Pencil for its packaging design work for Coco de Mer.

D&AD (Design and Art Direction) is a world renowned British educational charity that promotes excellence in design and advertising. The annual awards as regarded as one of the major events in the creative world and a ‘Yellow Pencil’ is the equivalent of a gold award.

On winning the award, Garrick Hamm, Creative Director of Williams Murray Hamm said:

“I dedicate this pencil to Dick Murray. Once asked, if his house was burning down what would he grab, he said ‘just his yellow pencil. ‘Jelly Man’ would have been out tonight for sure. Also, a huge thank you to Coco De Mer for being such a wonderful client”.

This award continues WMH’s extraordinary year. Having won Gold in the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards in January for its work on soft drink JuiceBurst, WMH’s Coco de Mer design has won a Mobius award, ‘Best in Book’ in Creative Review and a Drum Design award.   

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Luxurious, enticing and empowering, Coco de Mer is where you “explore the exhilarating limits of your erotic imagination”. Online and in their London boutique, they collect and curate only the finest erotica to “inspire exploration, excitement and enjoyment”.

WMH’s new identity for Coco de Mer involved a gently recrafted logo and a changed, more exotic colour scheme of gold and deep red derived from the successful and eclectic store interior.

The most talked about aspect of the redesign was the creation of packaging for a new ‘signature’ range of luxury toys and lubricants inspired by history’s Grandes Dames of seduction.

WMH-COCO-DE-MER-RANGE-INNER-WEBThese feature erotic images of nude women, botanical prints and portraits of three historical figures whose sex lives were notorious: Catherine Howard, former Queen of England and wife of Henry VIII, who was beheaded for adultery; Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, whose affairs were portrayed in 2008’s film ‘The Duchess’; and Nell Gwynne, the long-term mistress of King Charles II.

Inspired by the legendary peephole in the original Covent Garden store’s changing room, a small hole in an outer sleeve offers a teasing glimpse of the seductress behind, who looks back knowingly at the viewer.

Lucy Litwack, Managing Director at Coco de Mer said:

“It was an enjoyable and captivating journey to develop our new Pleasure Collection packaging with Williams Murray Hamm and we are delighted that the work has been recognised with so many awards. It was a great opportunity to collaborate with an agency which truly understood our values and developed designs that embraced our vision. Well deserved congratulations to the remarkable team who worked with us on this project.”    

The product range is available online and in Coco de Mer’s Covent Garden flagship store.

For any press enquiries, please email press@wmhagency.com or call +44 (0) 20 3217 0000.