Italian craftsmanship has long been considered a renowned art form. Now, in a time when younger generations are gravitating to smartphones rather than toolboxes, expertise is only reminiscent of a bygone era. With the help of Leo Burnett Milan, Samsung created the first-ever digital conservatory called Maestros Academy to foster the next generation of Italian artisans in order to preserve “Made In Italy” excellences.
To bring to life the Samsung strategic role of “enabler” in people’s life, we looked at the current social situation in Italy: the disappearance of great handcrafting excellences which once brought Italy to greatness. At the same time, unemployment rate among young people is dramatically growing and younger generations are yearning for new opportunities to discover and express their potential and talent. Our idea aims to deal with this Italian paradox, reconnecting two generations, preserving the future of “Made in Italy” and fostering a new generation of Italian artisans. We want to demonstrate the great results that people and technology can achieve together.
For this reason we created Samsung Maestros Academy: the first digital and integrated platform where young talents can learn the secrets of “Made in Italy” masters, through every kind of smart-device, inspiring the youngest to preserve and innovate the greatest Italian heritage.
The idea of Samsung Maestros Academy was spread on digital channels (FB, Italian newspapers’ and lifestyle magazines websites, Confartigianato’s channels, LinkedIn, Twitter) to join the primary target of the initiative, digital natives, and drive them to the main platform, accessible from every consumer’s electronic device, such as smartphone, tablets, laptops and Smart-TV. The engagement platform consist in more than 40 video-lessons, full of invaluable ancient secrets, in-depth materials and live-interactive lessons, featured even on outdoor and digital-billboards in the major Italian squares, such as Duomo Square in Milan. A technology-enabled connection between two generations, that inspired Discovery Italia channels to produce a 12 episodes TV-series, telling our students’ best success, spread even thanks to Online and mobile TV channels platforms (Realtime.it, DMax.it, Discovery Italia digital platform). The project gained spontaneous echo on national newspapers, magazine and Tv-programs (Piazza Pulita) generating conversation even in the major Italian University.
Samsung Maestros Academy generated a great conversation on newspapers, social media and TV-programs, with more than 6 million TV-viewers, 1 million Youtube-views in few days, 4.5 million FB-users reached and 30 million media impressions -in Italy alone- becoming a big topic even in universities including “Università commerciale Luigi Bocconi”, “Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore” in Milan, IED, “Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata” and even by Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.Thanks to an extensive network of touchpoints people learnt ancient crafts through every smart-device,empowering consumer-awareness on product-features and brand reputation.
During interactive-lessons, users asked very specific questions, proving a remarkable high user-engagement. Almost the 50% of live-lessons participants asked the Maestros to become an apprentice, exceeding the available positions by 300% on average. Maestros’ students produced with great success innovative design-items, inspiring even more young talents to preserve and innovate the greatest Italian heritage. After Maestro Pelizzoli’s course, Alice created a truly innovative bike, showcased with great success during the Milan Design Week event. Marina together with Maestro Siniscalchi tailored a shirt, featured on an important Italian newspaper, triggering even the curiosity of GQ. Anna and Valerio crafted a bag, immediately displayed by the prestigious “Flow” shop in Florence.The results achieved by many other students generated over 30 million media-impressions and reaching 4.5 million FB-users, on Italian market alone.
After few months, a student with her Maestro created Samsung Smart-Bike, the first safe-bicycle that protects the rider with its built-in smart-components, automatically activated through a Samsung smartphone. A responsive “safety-environment” that detects ambient-conditions and protects the driver in real-time. A concrete solution for the problem of bikes being the most “unsafe” way of moving in Italy and a real help to break the young people’s barrier with using appropriate safety-equipment.
The idea was to control a fixed-bike and its built-in smart components with a Samsung smartphone and a dedicated app, allowing the automatic control of four laser-beams, a safety-camera a GPS-tracking system, offering innovative safety-features. The first engineered bike and its paired app were presented to one of the greatest design fairs in the world: the Milan Design Week, with the endorsement of EXPO2015 representative of Urban Mobility capturing the interest of important journalists. Alice’s idea has been taken under consideration for applications according to EXPO scenarios, after being recognized as a big step-forward for urban-safety and sustainability.
Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett Italy
Executive Creative Directors: Francesco Bozza, Alessandro Antonini
Creative Director: Christopher Jones, Anna Meneguzzo, Cristiano Tonnarelli
Digital Creative Director: Paolo Boccardi
Copywriter: Alice Jasmine Crippa
Art Director: Alessia Casini, Gianluca Ignazzi
Creative Team: Cristina Bissanti, Felipe Iglesias, Alberto Lot, Lia Paganini
Project Manager: Andrea Castiglioni, Francesco Loprete
Producer: Riccardo Biancorosso, Gaia Fusaro
Art Buyer: Giada Cioffi
PR Coordinator: Maria Teresa Genovese
Managing Director: Niccolo Arletti
Brand Leader: Elena Korzhenevich
Account Supervisor: Luca Ruspini
Account Manager: Federica Giacomotti
Technical Director: Gianluca Mori
Production House: Magnolia
TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris – We Sent Their Briefs Back
Although TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris is well established as an above-the-line agency, our clients were yet to be introduced to the wealth of talent that TBWA\ Design has to offer. So, to get our clients’ attention, we intercepted existing above-the-line briefs and used the physical advertising brief as our canvas. Instead of answering the brief in a traditional manner, we conceptualized various designs that captured the essence of the brands, then brought them to life using only the cardboard job bags and the briefs that were attached to them. We created intricate pieces of paper art, transforming our client’s briefs into multi-dimensional design pieces. We then sent our clients’ briefs back to them, proving that TBWA\ Design can do amazing things with their briefs. Our campaign was a huge success. The design studio received their first new brief from our client just 5 days later. Even more notably, new design work in the system rose by 450% within the first 6 weeks.
Advertising Agency: TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, Johannesburg
Executive Creative Directors: Matthew Brink, Adam Livesey
Art Director: Jade Manning
Copywriter: Vincent Osmond
Creative Director: Sacha Traest, Mike Groenewald
Design: Sacha Traest, Leigh-anne Salonika, Katleho Mofolo, Graeme Van Jaarsveld, Ilze Venter, jason Fieldgate
Typographer: Hazel Buchan
Photographer: Graeme Borchers, Des Ellis
Coca-Cola – Sharing Can
Advertising Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Paris/Ogilvy & Mather, Singapore
Chief Creative Officer: Chris Garbutt, Eugene Cheong,
Creative Director: David Raichman, Frederic Levron, Yvan Hiot
Copywriter: Xiao An Cheng
Designer: Martin Olivier, Olivier Brechon
Technical Partner : Capital Innovation
Land Rover – The Escape Key
Jaguar Land Rover MENA is promoting the Land Rover LR4 with “The Land Rover Escape Key”, a small icon designed to replace the ESC key on desktop computer. Sent out in three batches of 800 pieces, the keys are designed to remind people at the office that there’s way to escape the every day routine of indoor business. Test driving a Land Rover LR4 is the way to find life beyond the office cubicle. The number of queries almost tripled and test drives are up by 208%.
Advertising Agency: Y&R MENA
Chief Creative Officer: Shahir Zag
Creative Director: Joseph Bihag, William Mathovani
Kit Kat – The Pillow Book
Advertising Agency: JWT, Sao Paulo, Brazil
CCO: Ricardo John
Art Director: Brunno Cortez
Copywriter: Erick Mendonça
Creative Director: Ricardo John
Marionnaud – Memory Game
Marionnaud, one of Europe’s largest perfume retailers, celebrated “10 years’ expertise in fragrance”. For the jubilee we created a very special staff incentive: the first Memory game without pictures. The cards had been finished with a fragrance coating. When rubbed, the cards released the scent of ingredients used in perfume manufacture. Rub and sniff: that was the only way to identify the pairs – but no problem for Marionnaud professionals.
Advertising Agency: Wirz/BBDO, Zurich
Executive Creative Director: Philipp Skrabal
Art Director: Barbara Hartmann
Copywriter: Marietta Mügge
FIAT – Hero Hug
Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, São Paulo
Chief Creative Officer: Marcelo Reis
Executive Creative Director: Guilherme Jahara
Creative Director: Rodrigo Jatene
Copywriter: Caio Lekecinskas
Art Director: Rafa Oliveira
Domino’s Pizza – Domino’s Pizza Disc
Advertising Agency: Artplan, Sao Paulo
Executive Creative Director: Roberto Vilhena
Creative Director: Rodrigo Moraes
Copywriter: Tiago Trindade, Rodrigo Sanches
Art Director: Diogo Barbosa, Guilherme Grotti
Graphic Production: Bruno Werner
Megaman – Light Bulb Calendar
Advertising Agency: Grabarz und Partner, Germany
Executive Creative Director: Ralf Heuel
Creative Director: Andre Price, Jan-Florian Ege
Art Director: Andre Price, Jana Mehrgardt, Jan Riggert
Designer: Sönke Jansen
Heineken – First Interactive Bottle
Heineken embraces the start-up culture of experimentation because it knows that invention never sleeps. The brand understands that the best ‘user experiences’ tap into existing consumer behaviors and push technology into the background.
The intent of the Heineken Ignite project was to develop an idea that would create a memorable Heineken experience unlocking the power and possibilities of mobile innovation and technology.
Heineken believes that mobile innovation could offer a much more rewarding experience than just an app and embraced the challenge to think about how the product could be leveraged as an interface to the brand experience.
A prototype of Heineken Ignite will be revealed on 9 April at Milan Design Week as part of Heineken’s Lounge of the Future concept. Heineken takes its promise to “open your world” even further with the Heineken Ignite project, enhancing the organic way in which the product is used based on social interaction between beer drinkers. This innovative approach lets people be a part of the party in a whole new way and opens up possibilities in social situations.
Advertising Agency: Tribal DDB, Amsterdam
3M Earplugs – Volume Pack
The task was to develop an original promotional packaging solution that immediately conveyed the product value of 3M’s Solar Earplugs – a product targeted at end users frequently requiring effective noise protection (such as musicians and festival-goers). Solution: 3M turned the purpose of the earplugs – to reduce noise – into an original package design. The container’s cap looks like the volume knob of a hi-fi system; when opening it to reach the earplugs, one seems to be turning down the volume.
Advertising Agency: Scholz & Friends, Germany
Chief Creative Officer: Martin Pross
Executive Creative Director: Matthias Spaetgens
Creative Direction: Robert Krause, Wolf Schneider
Copy: Nils Tscharnke
Art Direction: Sebastian Frese, Ralf Schroeder
Deutsche Bank – Anamorphic Mirror
The vestibule is a narrow room of 25sqm strongly limiting the possible size of the installation. Therefore, we decided to utilise light for a radiant impact, and to expand the process of reception by making use of the visitors’ movement while approaching the area via a short staircase. Going upstairs becomes part of the experience as visitors gain increasing insights to the entry with the installation. Its concept is based on the principle of anamorphosis: what you see alters as you change your position in space. The image only fully resolves itself when seen from a particular ‘sweet spot’.
Describe the brief from the client
The redesigned corporate headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt am Main are now housing a brand and conference area. Parts of this section are public and can be accessed directly from the spacious atrium via a staircase. Deutsche Bank commissioned us to develop an installation that references the well-known company logo, originally designed by Anton Stankowski, for the vestibule of this area. The brief was to provide an atmospheric element that would be visible to customers, visitors and employees standing at reception, as well as on the bridge connecting the building’s 2 towers.
Description of how you arrived at the final design
‘Anamorphic Mirror’ consists of a faceted mirror and blue light projected onto the opposite wall. When viewed from the ‘sweet spot’ the mirror reflects the Bank’s logo. Standing at the bottom of the stairs, visitors see seemingly random blue reflections on the mirror’s facets. As they get closer, the blue reflections begin to take shape, until they resolve into the bank’s logo upon the visitors’ reaching the stairs’ top. In this manner, an animation is created from a static surface. While getting even closer to entering the conference area, visitors are themselves reflected in the mirror and thus take centre stage.
Indication of how successful the outcome was in the market:
Since the opening on April 6 more than 20,000 visitors came to see the public part of the brand area. Board members use the overall facilities to hold receptions, functions such as HR are using it for employee activities, bank managers invite partners and clients, the press department welcomes journalists. With unobtrusive means, the dynamic and yet poetic installation ‘Anamorphic Mirror’ creates an atmospheric element with space-encompassing impact, and attunes visitors to the brand from the very beginning.
Advertising Agency: ART+COM in Cooperation with COORDINATION, Berlin
Executive Creative Director: Joachim Sauter
Designer: Simon Häcker
Project Manager: Gert Monath
Senior Art Director: Eva Offenberg
The Hälssen & Lyon - The Tea Calendar
The Hälssen & Lyon tea calendar is the first calendar in the world to feature calendar days made from tea leaves. Finely flavoured and pressed until wafer-thin, the 365 calendar days can be individually detached and brewed directly in the cup with hot water. The tea calendar was sent exclusively to selected business partners.
Advertising Agency: Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg
Executive Creative Director: Sascha Hanke
Creative Director: Heiko Schmidt and Kay Eichner
Creative: Patrick Schroeder, Julia Meissner
Hot Wheels – Don’t Drink and Drive Key Chains
Advertising Agency: Ogilvy, Mumbai, India
National Creative Directors: Abhijit Avasthi, Rajiv Rao
Senior Creative Director: Amitabh Agnihotri, Sameer Sojwal
Creative Group Head: Yogesh Pradhan
Greenpeace – Do Not Disturb
Advertising Agency: AlmapBBDO, São Paulo, Brazil
Chief Creative Officer: Marcello Serpa
Executive Creative Director: Marcello Serpa
Creative Director: Luiz Sanches
Art Director: Caio Tezoto
Coca-Cola FM – Magazine Amplifier
The piece consists in an exclusive insert for subscribers of the latest edition of the Capricho magazine which was created by JWT. Attached to the cover, the art allows readers to turn the magazine into an amplifier. Simply by rolling the magazine and inserting the iPhone tuned into the Coca-Cola FM application in the spot indicated. The final format allows the sound waves to travel in two different directions at the same time, intensifying the stereo effect created by the device. The next step is to enjoy the music.
Advertising Agency: JWT, Brazil
Red Bull – Portable Charger
We created Redbull-shaped portable charger. This Redbull-shaped charger will show its own recharging screen when they ﬁt into the gadget And the mobile webpage of Redbull will be on the screen when it is unlocked.
Advertising Agency: Hallym University, Cheonan-si, South Korea
Copywriter: Heejo Sun, Dongkyun Yu
Art Director: Minseok Go
Land Rover – Edible Survival Guide
While Land Rover vehicles can take on any obstacles in the desert, it cannot be said the same of their owners. Scorching temperatures, deadly animals and sinkholes are just a few things they might encounter. And when they venture deep into it, even the most experienced drivers can quickly succumb to the harshness of the desert. We wanted to create something that would cut through the clutter and that these people would like to keep. So we created a survival guide, which explained the basics for staying alive in the Arabian Desert, and packaged it in a way that would spur the attention of our target audience.
We researched every indigenous animal and plant, people could encounter in the Arabian Desert and how they could be used to survive. We studied the topography of the region to guide people to safety. We used a reflective packaging similar to army rations, which could be used to signal for help, and bound the book with a metal spiral, which could be used for cooking. Finally, we even took an extra step so that in case of emergency, people could always EAT the book. It was made out of edible ink and paper, and it had a nutritional value close to that of a cheeseburger.
We sent the book to 5,000 existing customers, gave it away as a supplement to the cars’ manual and made it freely available in sports shops. The initial response was very positive. And the client was so happy with the concept that they asked us to include the book as an insert in the next edition of a car magazine, with a 70,000 circulation.
Advertising Agency: Y&R, Dubai, UAE
Chief Creative Officer: Shahir Zag
Creative Director/Copywriter: Shahir Zag
Creative Director/Art Director/Illustrator: Joseph Bihag
Copywriter: Guillaume Calmelet
Designer/Copywriter: Khaled Said
IBM – Outdoor as Utility
Advertising Agency: Ogilvy France
Ricola – Ricola Music Edition
Ricola, a brand of cough drops and breath mints in Switzerland, is known for its traditional blend of thirteen natural herbs. The provision of instant relief, even to the most strained throats, is visualised with the help of the wrapping paper. The Music Edition, an illustrated release, turns the drops into the heads of suffering singers. Each and every throat appears to be constricted. However, when you unwrap a bonbon, the throat is relieved and all hoarseness disappears. Print advertising presented the five characters: Rockabilly, Pop star, Opera singer, Rapper and Punk Rocker, with the tag line, “Unwrap your voice”. The project won Gold for Package Design at the London International Awards this week.
Advertising Agency: Jung von Matt, Hamburg
Camp Nectar – Fruit Boxes (Made from Real Fruit)
General Brands in Brazil ran a two-year experimental campaign in which fruit was grown in the shape of Camp Nectar fruit boxes to promote the claim, “Made from Real Fruit”. Customized juice box molds were placed around growing fruit on an orchard in Paranapanema, producing 1,123 oranges, lemons, guavas and passion fruit with the Camp Nectar box shape. The specially designed fruit, complete with brand imprint, straw and carton flaps, were placed in supermarkets and fairs to promote the juice range. The campaign won a Gold Outdoor Lion, a Bronze Direct Lion, a Silver and Bronze Promo & Activation Lion.
Advertising Agency: Age Isobar, Sao Paulo
Sweet Enough – The Candy Room
Sweet Enough, an importer of sugar free candy products in Australia, has set up The Candy Room, a store in Melbourne designed to draw out the inner child in customers, connecting them with childhood, fantasy and fiction and of course, sweets. Black line artwork is applied on white space, supplemented with the bright colours of the sweets throughout the store.
Advertising Agency: Red Design Group
Oreo – Oreo Crumb Case
Miami Ad School students have developed a tea bag enclosure for Oreo cookie crumbs to infuse milk with Oreo flavor. The Oreo Crumb Case, developed as a student project, could go a long way. Just shake together all the crumbs left in the Oreo packet, sprinkle them into the Crumb Case, and infuse the crumbs in your tumbler of milk.
Advertising Agency: Miami Ad School
“Imagine if one day capitalism reaches the point, where the big brands starts to sponsor the superheroes. How would this influence their images?”
Being a superhero doesn’t seem to be a lucrative gig, but what if it was? Brands sponsor athletes and celebrities all the time, and with the increasing popularity of superheroes, it’s not all that shocking to think that The Incredible Hulk could one day be rocking a massive Monster logo across his chest.
Italian graphic designer Roberto Vergati Santos imagined many of our favorite superheroes sponsored by our favorite brands. The aptly titled ‘Sponsored Heroes’ series sees characters from both the Marvel and DC Comics universe, and includes all the members of The Avengers, Batman, Wolverine, and many more. Batman can be seen sporting a Nike suit of armor, while Iron Man has been stamped with the golden arches of McDonald’s, and Captain America is seen holding a massive UPS shield. Check out some of the superheroes from the collection below.
IRON MAN – Sponsored by McDonald’s
HULK - Sponsored by Monster Energy
WOLVERINE - Sponsored by Adidas
BATMAN - Sponsored by Nike
CAPTAIN AMERICA - Sponsored by UPS
FLASH - Sponsored by Red Bull
AVENGERS - Sponsored by Coca-Cola
SILVER SURFER- Sponsored by Apple
SUPERMAN - Sponsored by Giorgio Armani
IRON MAN (Sponsored by McDonald’s) vs CAPTAIN AMERICA (Sponsored by Burger King)
French artist Thomas Lamadieu, also know as Roots Art, must really love looking at the sky, but for different reasons than you might think. Every time he looks up, Thomas sees a potential canvas where the building rooftops frame the sky. He photographs it and uses the odd sky shapes to create whimsical line drawings.
“My artistic aim is to show a different perception of urban architecture and the everyday environment around us, what we can construct with a boundless imagination,” says Thomas. Aren’t you just gonna see these creatures now every time you look up?
All adults know: healthy eating is important. The organic supermarket chain Fresh`N´Friends benefits from that situation. There is just one small problem: kids hate healthy food but they love sweets. Actually, that´s even a big problem. In Germany every fifth child is overweight. “Instead of calling attention to that problem with a traditional ad campaign we chose to solve the problem.”
The solution was a new product: fruit figures. “To make fruits as appealing as sweets for kids we designed fruit arrangements that suit children. Boring fruits were designed in shape of teddy bears, kittens, flowers – all the things kids love.” Just like ordinary fruit salads the fruit figures were sealed, put in a tray and sold in Fresh´N´Friends stores.
Additionally, they were promoted with advertising specifically targeted at parents and their kids – direct mailings, email newsletters and posters. In order to involve the kids directly in the campaign a contest was started. We placed cut-out sheets in every package. So the kids could make their own fruit figures by hand. They also could design them digitally on the Fresh`N´Friends website. All ideas were published and judged online. The figure with the most votes was added to the product range. Over 3,500 designs from children were submitted. The rabbit figure of five-year-old Dario got the most votes and was therefore added to the product range.
Advertising Agency: Scholz & Friends, Berlin, Germany
Creative Director: Martin Pross, Matthias Spaetgens, Wolf Schneider, Mathias Rebmann, Florian Schwalme
Art Director: Alexander Doepel, Sandra Krebs, Bjoern Kernspeckt, René Gebhardt, Loic Sattler, Jinhi Kim
Photographer: Attila Hartwig
Graphics: Peter Schoenherr, Simon Rossow
I Amsterdam was a photography exhibition devised by tha ad agency Kesselskramer (in conjunction with Amsterdam Partners) as a promotion for the city of Amsterdam. Twenty well-known photographers, who were either Amsterdammers or Amsterdam-based, were commissioned to capture the city from their own perspectives, resulting in a personal and diverse portrait of contemporary Amsterdam. The exhibition opened initially at the FOAM photography museum in Amsterdam before travelling the world, proving a subtle promotion for the city as a place to live and work. A 308-page book of exhibition was also published, and the motto “I Amsterdam” has continued to be used in promotion of the city.
From “Changing the Tide: The campaign to re-brand Amsterdam.”
By M. Kavaratzis & G. J. Ashworth Urban and Regional Studies Institute University of Groningen Netherlands
The re-branding of places whose existing brand image has become for various reasons inappropriate or ineffective poses particular challenges to the marketing of major multifunctional cities. The position of Amsterdam as the national cultural capital and major international cultural centre has for some time been threatened by a sharpening of competition from other cities both within and outside the Netherlands and by social and economic trends within the city that have seriously undermined the previously successfully promoted brand image. Furthermore, one of the main elements of the city’s international image associated with the liberal attitude towards soft drugs and prostitution is now seen as inappropriate for the city, as it overshadows other more desirable aspects of the city’s aspirations. This has focussed official thinking and led to a serious and fundamental attempt at strategic re-branding involving a far-reaching examination of stakeholders, goals and competitive positioning. The main tangible result so far, is the recent launching of the ‘I amsterdam’ brand. This paper first elaborate on the context of the intensifying inter-urban competition expressed through the re-branding of cities. In this context, the process of developing the brand and the ‘I amsterdam’ campaign that has followed is described and explained and its likely success is assessed.
The environment in which European cities operate has significantly changed in recent years. The process of European Integration and the transition to a knowledge-intensive society are only two basic trends that prescribe new characteristics to the urban system of Europe and pose challenges to individual cities within it. According to Kotler et al. (1999), the main challenges European cities are facing are the accelerating pace of change in the global economic, political and technological environment, the growing number of competitors in their efforts to attract scarce resources and the increasing dependence on their own local resources to face growing competition. Van den Berg et al (1990) further identify the growing importance of the quality of the living and location environment as a determinant of economic growth, the fast intensifying spatial interaction among European towns, with respect to goods transport as well as business, leisure and social traffic and, finally, the diminishing influence of national governments and growing influence of regional and supranational governments. In order to secure development and growth, localities or individual cities now have to offer even more inducements to capital, whether a refashioning of the city’s economic attractiveness (e.g. tax abatements, property and transport facilities) or alterations to the city’s image through manipulation of its physical form and/or its soft infrastructure (e.g. cultural and leisure amenities) (Gospodini, 2002: 61).Within this environment, city marketing has become an increasingly popular practice across Europe. It has been developed in most cases as a response to the new conditions that the above economic, political and social changes pose to cities and their operational environment. Its use has been accelerated in an attempt for cities to position themselves strongly within the fierce competition between them for finite and increasingly mobile resources, whether investment capital, relocation of companies or recreational and business visitors.
The concept and methods of city branding have also been employed by cities in order to reinforce and manage perceptions of the cities held by relevant target audiences. The topic has also drawn scholarly attention from various disciplines (e.g. Kavaratzis and Ashworth, 2005; Trueman et al, 2004; Evans, 2003; Hauben et al, 2002). City branding is an approach that centres on the conceptualization of the city as a brand; and a brand is a multidimensional construct, consisting of functional, emotional, relational and strategic elements that collectively generate a unique set of associations in the public mind (Kavaratzis and Ashworth, 2005). This construct is what should provide guidance for all marketing efforts, in order to achieve consistency in the messages sent and in such a way that the ‘stories’ told about the city by the brand are built in the city (Kavaratzis, 2004). As Hankinson (2004) suggests, the brand lies at the centre of marketing activities and the focus of branding activities extends “beyond communications to include behaviours; a focus of considerable relevance to place branding” (Hankinson, 2004:111).
Amsterdam and its brand image
Official place marketing programmes are all too often a response to a crisis driven by political considerations. City league tables play a major role in creating and defining this sense of crisis. Although the relevance and accuracy of such rankings can be questioned and the importance attached to them by city residents or tourists has not been demonstrated, local officials and politicians in most cities all over the world take them seriously (Ashworth and Voogd 1990) and Amsterdam is no exception to this.
Metropolitan cities have been retaining their predominance by constantly attracting corporate headquarters, international finance houses, producer services, research and development, high-level public administration, internationally dominant institutions and arts and media industries (Gospodini, 2002: 62). Amsterdam has been scoring well in many of these sectors but with the competition increasing, it is precisely in this context that the city decided to develop a new marketing strategy and specifically attempt the re-branding examined in this paper.
Problems became evident in the early 1980s as Amsterdam began to slip down the various league tables of European cities in the face of competition from cities such as Brussels, Barcelona and Munich (Ashworth and Tunbridge, 1990). In the DATAR lists of European cities in 1989 Amsterdam was still 5th in art gallery visits and 10th in international congresses but did not appear in the European top 10 for international organisations, headquarters of international companies, cultural performances, or foreign visitor nights. More recently research undertaken by the city itself indicated that Amsterdam’s position had continued to weaken in a number of respects (for example hosting international conferences) and that even in the areas of relative competitive strength (e.g. as a business location) competition was increasingly sharply (City of Amsterdam 2004). Even on the national stage Amsterdam was increasingly seen as a city of problems rather than opportunities. Explanations of the weakening of the competitive position of Amsterdam have generally focussed upon the perceptions of the city held by various actual and potential users whether national or foreign and thus it is not surprising that place branding has been enthusiastically embraced as the solution to the problem.
The image problems of Amsterdam can be traced back forty years and are to some extent a consequence of earlier highly successful branding long before the term itself was in use. The image formed in the 1960s was composed of two dominant elements. First, there was the urban tourism image of ‘Vermeer townscapes and tightly packed canal side building’ (Ashworth & Tunbridge, 1990), which has become so established as to lock the city into a single historic period and single morphological product. Secondly, together with London and Copenhagen, Amsterdam acquired an international status as ‘swinging’ youth centre based upon sexual liberation and narcotic indulgence. The intrinsic problems of these images stem in part from their very strength. The established image made product diversification difficult and the tourism image of the capital was sharply discordant with the official nationally projected ‘Holland waterland’ image (NBT, 1987), and the popular ‘clogs windmills and tulips’ foreign image of the Netherlands. In part however it can be attributed to fashion changing faster than brand image. In addition, ‘… an easygoing tolerance slipped effortlessly into personal insecurity and public disorder. Acceptance of soft drugs and of sexual variations became a serious hard drugs problem and a sordid commercial sex district on the ‘Wallen’ and the city’s continuing polycentric vitality as a focus for homosexual tourism is equivocal for its general tourism promotion’ (Ashworth and Tunbridge, 2000: 221).
Vandalism, graffiti, antisocial behaviour, personal insecurity and a lack of public order became firmly established in the international as well as national psyche (VVV Amsterdam, 1987) reinforced by the 1982 public disorders at the royal inauguration and failure, partly as a consequence, of the bid to stage the Olympic games. The ‘T’ shirt slogan, ‘I went to Amsterdam and survived’ evoked a certain local pride in resilience among residents but was hardly conducive to attracting more tourists, investors or enterprises. Current ‘Easyjet’ promotion of its Amsterdam flights aims quite explicitly at a youth party market (especially ‘stag and hen’ parties) stressing the advantages of cheap alcohol, possible sexual encounters and indulgent policing.
There were a number of attempts to analyse and correct the increasingly unfavourable city image (Binnenstad Amsterdam, 1987: KPMG, 1993) but these tended to founder on a lack of official coordination and indeed political will, in a social democratic city whose interests lay in social provision for residents rather than attracting exogenous economic enterprise. However by the first decade of the twenty- first century, the necessity for re-branding had become quite evident and impossible to ignore.
Re-branding the city
Over recent years Amsterdam has had many brands promoted by diverse public agencies often for a specific purpose. The remains of some of these (for example, ‘Amsterdam Has It’, ‘Amsterdam Capital of Inspiration’, ‘Capital of Sports’, ‘Small City, Big Business’ and ‘Cool City’, ‘Amsterdam: living city’) can still be found in promotional material. However the need for long-term continuity and consistency determined that a more through approach was required.
A first step was the commissioning of a comparative study of current city marketing practice in 4 other European cities (Berlin, Dublin, Barcelona and Rotterdam). The choice of these cities was somewhat arbitrary: only Dublin and Barcelona were competitors on the European scale while Rotterdam although to some extent a competitor in some domestic markets is a city with a quite different set of functions and perceptions. This survey focused on two main subjects, namely how the marketing effort was organized in the selected cities in terms of specific organizations involved in marketing each city and on how these organisations cooperate and coordinate their actions. The general conclusion of this benchmark study was that Amsterdam compared unfavourably in both these respects. In particular, compared with the other cities, there was the lack of a clear ultimate responsibility for the Amsterdam brand, which remained muddled and muted. Five rather general lessons were drawn. There was a need for, a coherent long-term vision, a selection of priorities, a realistic promoted image, a powerful brand, and a balance in the roles of the public and private sectors (Gemeente Amsterdam, 2003). None of these were very surprising or indeed very helpful in framing policy.
Who brands Amsterdam and to whom?
The main coordinator of the whole marketing effort of Amsterdam is a newly established organisation called Amsterdam Partners. This is run by an Advisory Board, of which the chairman is the city’s burgemeester, and by a Management Board. The main executive functions within the organisation are managed by a ‘City Marketing Manager’, an ‘Events and Festivals Manager’ and a ‘Corporate Affairs Manager’. The partners in this organisation include, seven departments of the municipality, representatives from several large private companies (such as, ABN AMRO bank, Heineken, ING, KLM, Phillips and the Schiphol Airport Authority), organisations concerned with travel and tourism (such as Amsterdam Uitburo, Amsterdam Tourism and Convention Board, AMS Cruiseport, Amports, Topsport AMS) and representatives from the seven neighbouring municipalities. The specific tasks of Amsterdam Partners were defined as branding, positioning and merchandising; assisting, supporting and advising on marketing festivals and events; encouraging the existence of a supportive business climate; relations with national and international media; creating a new approach to hospitality; and research and monitoring
Three primary target groups were identified, which can be summarised as businesses, residents and tourists. The first focuses especially upon business decision makers, especially of international enterprises with their head offices in the Amsterdam area, the ‘creative’ and ‘knowledge’ sectors. The second ‘active city dwellers’ that is, residents attracted by the special atmosphere of Amsterdam (such as empty nesters, two income couples, homosexual couples, young professionals and students). The third are international visitors and congress participants.
There are many questions raised by this selection. The search for ‘creative’ and ‘knowledge based’ enterprises is currently fashionable amongst urban managers but remains vaguely defined in terms of both what these are and which locations they favour. Equally, the elements of the urban ‘atmosphere’ attractive to specified groups of residents remain undefined. There is a clear tendency to being all-inclusive and it should be remembered that in place as opposed to other product marketing it is very difficult to distinguish between the various groups of users and cities are not in a position to exclude groups of users, for reasons of social justice, political balance or future security and sustainability. There is, however, a consensus that a fundamental objective of the marketing effort and a necessary precondition for its success is to make residents believe in the core values of the city, ‘feel’ the city’s brand and be proud of their city.
The main idea behind the new branding campaign, launched in September 2004, was that previously the Amsterdam brand had been badly managed. There had been little consistency of brand usage, uniformity of style and availability of image material. Both the city and the region needed a tangible new positioning; a new brand that would typify the city’s benefits and values. To this end an advertising agency developed a new logo, which was approved by the city. In the new approach, the slogan is intended to serve as an umbrella in both a practical and intrinsic sense, to be versatile without being implicit and to clearly stand for Amsterdam’s main benefits and values. They eschewed the choice of one or two dimensions, thereby excluding the rest. Amsterdam’s strengths are thought to lie in the combination of associations, the versatile city, and thus the effort was made to profile the entire range of dimensions as strongly as possible.
‘I amsterdam’ is the new slogan for the city and the region and will be the ‘flag’ on city marketing plans. The choice of the specific slogan was based on the assessment that it is clear, short, powerful and memorable. Brand usage is coordinated under the supervision of Amsterdam Partners, who especially initially while the brand is becoming established, will carefully consider how it is used, by whom, and for what purpose. The city expects to gain significant benefits in income, visitor numbers, investment, market position in the world, and general image from the new brand. These ‘returns on the brand’, are summarised in three mutually supportive components. These are the subjective mental position of an increase in familiarity and preference, a measurable increase in actual visitors, investment and purchasing behaviour, and a more general improvement in market position on the relevant international lists. The chosen slogan, ‘I amsterdam’, is certainly inclusive and all can identify with it. The parallel disadvantage is its non-specificity and also that it relies heavily on a single linguistic association in a language foreign to the city’s residents and many visitors. However, in a preliminary review Amsterdam occupied the 6th position in the world’s most successfully recognised city brands (Anholt City Brands Index 2005).
The branding is to be supported by a range of other policy measures. These include the promotion of festivals and events, which are powerful vehicles for profiling the city. Tourism will be encouraged through the ‘Hospitality’ programme which is a combination of improved information, activity and facility coordination and a campaign for hospitable reception of visitors. Marketing is to be linked to a series of continuing infrastructural planning projects, the so-called ‘pearl projects’, including the ‘Zuidas’ plans, which link image with visible development
The brand image vs. the product?
In Amsterdam the research and preparation work that was done before initiating the campaign was extensive and involved significant conceptual development, which is not common in the practice of city marketing which too often sees the marketing effort as just a promotional campaign. The chosen organization is also strong and coordination, although still not perfect, is proceeding with a broad consensus on strategy. All participants in the research and all reports on the marketing effort of the city agree that city marketing and especially city branding is a long-term activity, which needs a long time to establish both within the city and beyond. Similarly the translation of the chosen strategy into specific, feasible projects clearly demonstrate that the city has adopted a wide view of marketing and integrated it into broader city policies.
However, branding in Amsterdam is being used mainly as a promotional tool, something exemplified in the disproportionate amount of significance attributed to the merchandising that displays the logo. Furthermore there is some confusion in the meaning of the terms image, brand and logo, a confusion that extends to much of the literature of city marketing (Ashworth and Voogd, 1994). An evident distinction in the marketing and branding effort in the city of Amsterdam is between the content of policies, projects and actions and the ‘visibility of the brand’. This distinction in itself leads to the confusion of the brand and the logo chosen to ‘carry’ the brand.
The slogan, ‘I amsterdam’ has advantages over other approaches which would exclude markets and possibilities. It has the potential to address multiple audiences. However, a brand that tries to associate with everything, is risking association with nothing. The connection of the slogan with the chosen priority dimensions or the core values of creativity, innovation and spirit of commerce is also not clear.
A certain point of criticism can be concentrated on the early stage of the process when the sixteen dimensions of the city were transformed first into three core values and then to one slogan. It is not clear exactly whose choice these dimensions were and how the three core values were deduced from them. It is also not evident how the slogan ‘I amsterdam’ expresses the core values. The seven selected target groups are vague and the apparent effort to be all-inclusive, might lead to problems of ill-defined target groups and therefore confusion in actions and messages addressed to them. This, of course, seems to be an almost intrinsic characteristic of much city marketing in general, simply because of the lack of understanding of the peculiar nature of a city. Unlike commercial companies, a city is not in a position to exclude groups of users.
Finally, if city branding is a way of thinking about city management that centres on the conceptualisation of the city as a brand then the Amsterdam brand is unhelpful in this respect. Much of the strategic thinking seems to miss all the important issues. The image of dirt and disorder, of cheap beer, drugs and pornography is rooted in enough reality to make product improvement a priority over product promotion. While other European cities have invested in spectacular new cultural, tourism and infrastructural facilities, Amsterdam has done virtually nothing for 30 years. The branding effort of Amsterdam is vulnerable to the accusation of being used as a crisis-solving mechanism to provide immediate solutions to urgent problems when it should be used as a long term, consistent and proactive strategy. If the new brand developed for Amsterdam is really intended to work as “a source of orientation, identification and order” (Mommaas, 2002:36), then a redirection of efforts is needed.
From “The Making of I Amsterdam”
Analysis of carriers of the Amsterdam brand
Over recent years Amsterdam has had many brand ‘carriers’; remains of old brands can be found in promotional material. ‘Amsterdam has it’, ‘Amsterdam Capital of Inspiration’, ‘Capi- tal of Sports’, ‘Small City, Big Business’ and ‘Cool City’ are some of the examples of slogans we continue to run into. But Amsterdam needs continuity, slogans need time to be recog- nised and become effective. Slogans from the past do not provide an umbrella for Amsterdam’s key values and benefits. They tend to cover but a single dimension, or focus on a sin- gle target group.
The Amsterdam brand has also been badly managed. There were few if any agreements on brand usage, uniformity of style and availability of image material. The idea of combining slogans attracted few.
With which rules should brand carriers comply? An intrinsic descriptive brand name is recognisable yet less distinctive and specific for the brand it refers to: there are several artistic cities in the world so ‘Amsterdam city of art’ or ‘Amsterdam the art metropolis’ are neither unique nor distinctive in the communication war between cities. The same goes for a process-based descriptive brand name: a slogan such as ‘Amsterdam has it’ does not say much about Amsterdam’s identity. In the brave new world of brands and identities it calls up an image of total lack of colour rather than a distinc- tive profile. This does not mean that intrinsic and process-ori- ented slogans cannot work well in certain areas of city mar- keting. Slogans such as ‘Amsterdam Airport Area – nerve cen- ter of your European business’ is effective for the logistics sector. So carriers should also provide specific sectors the possibility to build on these slogans.
Mokum is an example of an imaginary brand name (although it has a historical foundation). An imaginary brand name is cre- ative, surprising and makes a unique link to the brand. The disadvantage, however, is that recognition might cause prob- lems as the imaginary brand name only means something when combined with the brand. These terms often come up in an unguided way. Inventing them involves a lot of energy when they need to be conveyed to the market. Unique carri- ers such as Big Apple and the City of Light lead instantly to associations and are recognised by all. These are loaded imaginary brand names which have developed a huge mean- ing.
Both the city and the region need a ‘tangible’ new position- ing; a new brand that will typify the city’s benefits and values. Organisations are willing to link their brand names to a new brand. This means the brand has to meet conditions; for instance it has to be useable for any organisation and also effective beyond national frontiers.
A new brand
In the new approach, Amsterdam Partners has opted for a slogan which will serve as umbrella in both a practical and intrinsic sense, will be versatile without being implicit and will stand for Amsterdam’s main benefits and values. I amsterdam is the new slogan for the city and region. It will be the flag on city marketing plans. It will be one of the instruments used to establish Amsterdam’s name on the world map. Why we chose for I amsterdam? It is clear, short and powerful. I ams- terdam is easy to remember and an appealing slogan accord- ing to research thusfar. I amsterdam starts in Amsterdam and its region and over time will travel the world. The concept was developed by Kessels Kramer.
The idea behind and mission of I amsterdam has been described in the manifesto. The starting point is the Amster- dammer, city ambassador. I amsterdam is the slogan for both people and area. I amsterdam allows the people to voice their pride and confidence while expressing support and love for their city. I amsterdam can be used in many ways, but must always come from the people; this is the slogans true power. The people who live here, the people who work here, the people who study here, the people who visit here and the people who come to Amsterdam seeking a better future are, in the end, the best evidence for why Amsterdam is a city of choice. I amsterdam should embody the spirit of Amsterdam, and therefore its use will create a city brand recognized the world over.
Many organisations, institutions, companies and events will be able to benefit from the new brand, however not in an unre- stricted manner and and not in any form desired. Brand usage will be coordinated under the supervision of Amsterdam Part- ners. Especially in the beginning, when the brand is still vul- nerable, Amsterdam Partners will carefully consider how it is used, by whom, for what etc.
From the brand manual
The way in which the slogan should be used has been described in the manual by Kessels Kramer. The manual specifically limits usage. This document contains the following parts:
I amsterdam conclusion form
I amsterdam applied form
I amsterdam mission statement I amsterdam slogan & proportions
I amsterdam font + colour specifications
I amsterdam pure form
I amsterdam forward I amsterdam downloads
I amsterdam legal guidelines.
A number of forms as to usage of I amsterdam are described and illustrated. I amsterdam in combination with photography is the basis for the I amsterdam campaign. Here I amsterdam shows the human face and the human story of Amsterdam.
I amsterdam also means a clear choice. I amsterdam is an active statement that can be used as an answer. Therefore, I amsterdam is a conclusion. So, use I amsterdam to answer specific questions about who, what, where and why in choices for Amsterdam. The questions themselves should be the same size and typeface as the answer: I amsterdam. Always place I amsterdam on a separate line from the question. This creates a spatial heartbeat giving I amsterdam an appropriate finality and strength. If there is more information, include the logos of partners in a separate space from the question and I amsterdam. This cues the reader to register the further sup- port and partnership for Amsterdam in the specific area in question, and maximizes the call of the City of Amsterdam overall. Where do I find inspiration? I amsterdam.
The 23rd of September marked the beginning of the ‘I ams- terdam’ campaign. Representatives from the business com- munity, cultural institutions and promotional organisations, amongst others, got acquainted with the campaign in the ele- gance and old charm of the Amsterdam Concert Hall. The book ‘I amsterdam’, showing photographs of the city, its sur- rounding area and local residents represents the first tangible result. The book will be exhibited in the Amsterdam Museum of Photography for a month, and subsequently included in a travelling exhibition, Japan to be the first destination in autumn 2004. We expressly say the start of the campaign, in spite of all the preparatory work undertaken and results already achieved. From the slogan launch we must give body to what the brand stands for. It will need time to grow, may- be 8 or 12 years, Therèse van Schie, director of the Amster- dam Uitburo, correctly commented. That is why a slogan has been chosen that can and should last for many years to come.
What has thus far been achieved was demonstrated by the testimonies of many captains of industry, creative entrepre- neurs, regional mayors and directors of cultural institutions. All of them, from Tony Ruys of Heineken to the ‘magician of Amsterdam’, Hans Klok, from the mayor of Haarlemmermeer, Fons Hertog to Duncan Stutterheim of ID&T, feel closely bound to Amsterdam. Personally, because they live and work there, and more formally as representatives of their organisa- tions. They all acknowledge the mutual interest between their organisations and the city, and hope both sides will benefit from the joint city marketing efforts. That all these partners are eager to back Amsterdam and ‘I amsterdam’ is thanks to the work undertaken over the past year and a half.
All parties clearly understand what we want to achieve. The Amsterdam ‘product’ is good, says Economics Alderman Frits Huffnagel, but could also be improved where necessary which will happen with help from other committed parties con- cerned. The city marketing and the specific campaign linked to it will benefit city, region and partners. The result will be more visitors, more companies and more residents. According to mayor Cohen the first step is for current resi- dents to feel committed to ‘I amsterdam’ and proudly carry and disseminate the slogan. Thus his appeal to all present and all people and lovers of Amsterdam – “Spread the word.”