How a New-Look LBB Is Helping Creativity Roar
Create. Promote. Roar. That’s the tagline and proposition at the heart of Little Black Book (LBB), which this week unveiled a new brand identity and multi-channel marketing campaign.
It’s an offering which establishes LBB as the natural home of great creativity. And creativity, as we know, can come in many - often surprising - shapes and sizes. That’s reflected in the star of the new creative, an anonymous and mild mannered worm. But don’t judge a (Little Black) book by its cover. Thanks to LBB, even the most timid worm can find its creative roar.
Developing the campaign has been 2050 London, whose creatives worked directly with LBB CEO Matt Cooper to fine-tune the idea. To go behind-the-scenes on the campaign, and find out why now is the perfect time to refresh LBB’s look, we spoke to 2050 creatives Adam Morrison, Ben Tan, Adam Chiappe, and Saunby, as well as Matt Cooper.
Q> Matt, what was your initial brief to 2050, and what did you want to achieve with this campaign?
Matt> Right from the start, we knew we wanted two key things having done some great early work with Nick Kendall and John Hegarty at The Garage. The first was that we wanted to really underline what was unique and different about LBB. We’ve always been compared to others and whilst some of that is flattering, some of it is bothersome as we set LBB up to be different to the existing options available. I’d known about many of these options since I walked into an agency in the 80s, and they hadn’t really changed since. We wanted people to perhaps start seeing what we really were and how they could benefit from working with us.
The other objective was for us to be seen as a creative company. We wanted whatever we created to appeal to creative people and get new recognition in new markets.
Q> Our new tagline is ‘Create. Promote. Roar’. How does this encapsulate the purpose and spirit of LBB?
Matt Cooper> Quite simply, it brings together the three things we want LBB to do for our members. They create something ace, use the channel we have built to promote it to the global creative community, and that allows them to roar. In three short words it brings the simplicity of LBB together.
Adam Chiappe> ‘Let Creativity Roar’ is the core idea for the campaign, and is the rallying call that will appear across a lot of the advertising. However, we needed something to lock up with the logo that spelt out the proposition behind LBB’s self-publishing technology.
Adam Morrison> Many don’t realise that LBB makes it easier for you to be the master of your own fame. ‘Create. Promote. Roar.’ as a tagline helps drive a better understanding of the utility, while also reflecting the idea that anyone’s creative roar can be heard.
Q> 2050, how did you land on the idea of a roaring worm - it's pretty bonkers?
Saunby> Yeah, positively bonkers. We liked the idea that creative people who are frustrated about not being heard, are like unappreciated worms hidden under the ground!
Adam Chiappe> Worms are creative creatures that do so much, but don’t get noticed for it. Our analogy was that LBB empowers all creative creatures to get them heard - they get them roaring. It also helped that Sir John Hegarty liked the idea of a roaring worm! There’s a kind of mad logic, too, in it being a bookworm.
Q> Matt, you also drew on some design influences that played into the finished product. Can you tell us about some of the artwork that inspired the final assets, and why you feel it will resonate with LBB’s global audience?
Matt> Yeah, I did - only really because I like art and design, and seem to be particularly drawn to art that works for a movement or change. I have an original Vivienne Westwood/Jamie Reid ‘God Save the Queen’ Sex Pistols T-shirt from Seditionaries, for example. I also collect the original posters from the May 1968 Paris uprising created by and for The Atelier Populaire. This art was never meant to be ‘art’, and certainly not to be hung on walls. But I love it. It's so energetic, even 50 years on.
I like the idea of movements and groups doing things for change, and whilst this may sound a little dramatic it is what LBB is all about. It’s not just a publication with a bunch of editors who are telling people what they think is best. I think that approach is a bit daft in our business, particularly as it pivots so often. LBB is about creating a place where huge networks, small indies, post houses, prod cos, editors, music and sound companies, and brands are all together on a level playing field showing what they do. No gatekeeper, and no bullshit. We want people to read about work they like and be inspired while they find who to work with.
Above: A 'making of' gallery from the project.
Q> And why did you feel a character was the right way to take LBB’s brand?
Saunby> Images can stay in the brain forever if you get it right. We wanted to create an icon for LBB that would be remembered for years. That’s what 2050 is about, trying to make things that can stay cultural in the long term, through positively bonkers iconography.
Adam Morrison> LBB has a whole host of benefits people don’t realise can help them to roar globally. With a roaring worm we had a flexible, distinctive vehicle to support a range of messages over time.
Q> Advertising to the advertising world is a bit like inception. How do you make ads stand out to an audience who are immersed in promotional content all day, every day? What insights influenced your approach?
Saunby> Great advertisers want to create entertaining brand worlds that have never been seen before. We wanted to do something that got them feeling ‘this is something I’d be happy to have made’. A worm with a roar that’s always changing and doing mad creative stuff is a pretty cool canvas to play with. It can go in lots of different directions and this is just the beginning. It’ll hopefully become a world the ad community will want to add to over time.
Adam Chiappe> Creativity is being devalued too much at the moment. It’s frustrating. In the worm, we hope the advertising community identifies with the values of the LBB brand and the challenges of the industry - we need to nurture, empower and unleash creativity. Not squeeze it and devalue it.
Q> LBB hasn’t previously rolled out a marketing campaign like this. Why is now the right time to be making some noise?
Matt Cooper> Well, the past year changed lots of things. From our perspective, we’ve found that this year has been when many realised what they could do with LBB. LBB doesn’t fix everything. It can’t make your tea and give you a massage. But it can get your work seen by thousands across the globe without breaking the bank, or needing huge teams to understand how to use it.
We are also growing. We have belief in what we are doing, and know that we have only scratched the surface. With all that in mind, we think now is absolutely the time to be making some noise. The whole campaign is really based on the advertising and production world coming back from this past year roaring. We want to help it roar, and we will.
Q> The design incorporates several different styles, can you tell us about what influenced the final designs for the OOH posters and social films?
Adam Chiappe> The core visual of the worm is purposely very simple. We knew the style of it needed to stay consistent throughout all the work, whatever media channel it was going to be seen on. The roar on the other hand is where we knew there was fun to be had, and we wanted to tailor how we brought the roars to life depending on where they were being seen.
Saunby> In high dwell areas like a 48sheet poster site, it made sense to create a roar that kind of hit you in the face on first viewing, then sucked you in with attention to detail and craft. Using a collage effect made up of all the weird and wonderful public domain imagery the internet had to offer made perfect sense to us.
The smaller the media space was, the more the core typographic messages needed to punch through. The bold fluorescent colours and anarchic typography of early punk art were a big inspiration when bringing these to life, it also helped reinforce that the worm was no meek little creature. The multi-media collage effect is also a representation of all the different stories and styles of creativity covered on LBB. From illustrators, to photography, to street art and film makers.
Q> What can you tell us about the media approach? We’re using a mixture of OOH, digital and social - why is this a great way to reach people in our industry?
Ben Tan> The comms strategy works to reach out and connect with audiences on two key parts of the comms journey. OOH means we can make big cultural statements at scale. While digital provides the opportunity to target to more discreet audiences around the world to drive brand performance.
On top of that, global agency and brand leaders are on LinkedIn a lot. And the broader creative community is on Instagram. We wanted to use these platforms to engage and communicate relevant benefits to specific B2B audiences throughout the year. It would have been tempting to just do static posts, but we can drive performance whilst also building brand effects. Therefore, we went for fun animated films of our worm to create thumb stopping moments that will shift specific audiences’ perception of what LBB can offer them, as well as raise a smile.
Adam Morrison> OOH will pop up in cities in and around the creative communities giving the brand some stature and presence, as well as build a broader understanding of LBB’s global proposition. Billboards are powerful as they can’t be skipped! The roaring worm is a highly visual idea, and so the medium offers a cost-effective way to really showcase that idea and create some cool art that the audience will love. This and the timing should chime with how people will feel coming out of lockdown. We all just want to come out and let creativity roar!
Q> Finally, why do you believe it's worth pursuing the weird, possibly uncomfortable ideas?
Adam Chiappe> It’s funny how things which at first may appear a bit bonkers, can after a while seem rather normal. It’s been a bit like that with the roaring worm, after all when you scratch beneath the soil, he is just a vessel for sounding out all the voices from within our creative community. We think true originality is always worth pursuing if you really want to cut through. As our old boss John Hegarty says, ‘good is the enemy of great’.
Saunby> Simply, they're the ideas that worm into the brain.
Featured Companies: LBB Editorial
Creative Directors: Adam Chiappe and Matthew Saunby.
Managing Director: Adam Morrison
Planning Director: Ben Tan
Strategy and Creative Development: Nick Kendall and John Hegarty, The Garage
Producer: Nikki Ford
Design: Dan Forde (Pier Studio)
Illustration: Sam Misty
Motion: Harry Davidson
Sound: Grand Central Recording Studios
Category: Media and Entertainment , Online