As covered on my Vox blog, Life on Mars’ new season has been supported by an advertising campaign from Red Bee Media.
Most impressive to me has been the return of the old BBC1 Colour branding, from when there were only three UK networks, and outdoor advertising that apes the 1970s. A small booklet on policing has also made its way out into the public, supposedly authored by DCI Gene Hunt.
A Camberwick Green spoof 20-second commercial was clever, kicking off the campaign, working on the nostalgia that many have. And before the ﬁrst episode of the new series, the BBC1 ident shown was that of the early 1970s. The English announcer even said, ‘This is BBC1, in colour.’
Typographically, the BBC1 ident in Wales was a bit fake, with Arial used (the typeface was not around in 1973), while the booklet’s use of ITC Franklin Gothic (which dates from 1980) and the kerning in the ITC Souvenir text betray the 1970s effect. The poster has the on in the programme title capitalized—not sure if it would have been in 1973—and the headline is not centred. However, the tightly set Caslon is a beautiful throwback to days of headline compositors and Letraset. The BBC logo looks like it is set in Neue Helvetica angled slightly more—the original was not Helvetica. In fact, I am not sure if it was a Swiss sans serif, but a grotesque that was custom-done for the network.
As covered at mad.co.uk, the Cortina used in the show (is it a GXL or a 2000E?) will even be auctioned.
I wrote at Peter Taylor’s blog earlier today:
Still, hats off to the Beeb for the campaign. Not many networks would have the guts to depart from current branding for the sake of a single show. Someone there obviously has a brain, knowing that occasionally breaking the rules can enhance brand equity. And, occasionally breaking the rules will nab a crim or two.
Sometimes, breaking the odd rule can work. The trick for any organization is to know when it’s OK to do so. I am glad the BBC was not too bureaucratic and precious when it came to promoting this ﬁnal season of Life on Mars.
Oh, the episode wasn’t too bad, either! Going to watch the second one in a tick. More from me on this topic at Vox, plus a few of the the TVCs and idents collected together in another post. (The Starsky & Hutch-referred one is not there presently.) Posted by Jack Yan, 04:08
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