There used to be - and still is - a trend in Poland of neglecting the looks and presentation of products and services. Weird logos, bad packaging, amateur design, you name it. It is improving over time, but up to 2005 most managers were convinced that design is not an issue and as little as possible money should be spent on it. Which in fact cost them lots of money ...
To quote David Ogilvy "An ugly ad suggests an ugly product". He was absolutely right, but forgot about the basics. Who wants to buy a package of chocolates that shouts "I am cheap and distasteful"?
I have seen complete, expensive, nationwide advertising campaigns go wrong just because of a bad housestyle. Simplus is a good example. They were a subbrand of one of the two largest mobile phone providers, and launched the brand with a visual style that no single person could remember. After more than a year of campaigning selling nearly nothing but loosing a fortune on a nationwide atl campaign, they changed agencies and my team at Euro RSCG won the pitch.
I could not touch the logo too much - there was not even a strict necessity - but what I could do was add a colour grid: light-green and orange. Amazingly, no one before Simplus used such obvious concept, and so even small newspaper ads became extremely visible. Spendings on the advertising campaign were lower as on the initial brand launch campaign, but despite that brand awareness rose by 600% in only 3 months time (7 to 42%).
Link4 car insurance was a similar case, with the difference that they had only just ordered and finished a corporate identity manual, that was to guarantee to make them the laughing stock of the insurance world.
I convinced them to change it just before the launch campaign, but had only 4 days to complete a new corporate design. By changing their C.I. they lost only about 60.000 zloties for a complete identity that went to the trash can. For the launch campaign, I used the same trick as with Simplus - an aggressive black & orange colour grid. It worked.
above: part of the Link4 Corporate Identity, prepared in cooperation with Enterprise IG, London
The characteristic Simplus colour grid in very visible orange and light green
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