During my time at Frame in Glasgow, one of our clients was a shopping centre called Buchanan Galleries. For years they had been spending their annual marketing budget on a win a car competition. So any advertising they did promoted the competition. That meant a picture of a car and a dazzlingly creative headline, such as ‘Win a car at Buchanan Galleries’. As an incoming creative director tasked with winning awards, I knew the car competition was a creative non-starter. Fortunately my boss, Alan Frame agreed, and he set about convincing the Buchanan Galleries clients to drop it and do a brand campaign instead. The clients were nervous, but never one to take no for an answer, the tenacious Mr. Frame, returned to the agency with a brief and a very small budget. I don’t remember the details of the brief, only that it included the insight that Glaswegians love shopping. It’s probably their third favourite pastime after drinking and football. So it wasn’t a huge leap to get to the idea of people putting shopping before anything else in life. Below you can see some of my early scribbles and how the campaign took shape.
At some point I think there were concerns about photography being too expensive, so I made a half-hearted attempt at writing a more budget-friendly typographic campaign. Bit long for posters.
The idea of a father missing the birth of his child because he was shopping seemed funny, so this was the first attempt.
And this was the second attempt and the one we used.
The teacher taking her class on a shopping trip was later recycled to became a TV commercial directed by Rory Rooney.
Kelvin Murray shot the campaign and you can see the final posters here. ‘Pushchair’ was shot in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow, ‘Birth’ was shot in London using a fake baby in a fake hospital used to film medical dramas for TV and ‘Funeral’ was shot in a real cemetery in Chiswick, West London.
So, was the campaign a success? Hmmm. Well, after football, drinking and shopping, the other thing Glaswegians are really into is religion. The city is famously divided between Catholics and Protestants and the two share an uneasy side-by-side existence. But I’m proud to say that our little Buchanan Galleries campaign managed to unite these two fractious sides. For a brief period in 2004, both Catholics and Protestants came together to complain vehemently about our funeral poster, which they claimed was sacrilegious. In the end the God-fearing people of Glasgow’s prayers were answered and our campaign was banned and taken down, making them ineligible for awards. Maybe we should have stuck to the car competition, after all.
Client: Buchanan Galleries
Art Director/CD: Doug Cook
Copywriter/CD: Martin Gillan