HYKE Gin – Sustained Excitement

Later this month (March 2019), the new HYKE Gin from our longstanding client Foxhole Spirits will hit the shelves of Britain’s biggest supermarket, bringing with it a unique brand story entirely in tune with the times.

Back in 2016, we worked with Sussex-based start-up Foxhole Spirits to launch its eponymous new gin brand. Its USP was that this would be the first English gin made using grape spirit derived from the (usually discarded) waste grapes left behind by the wine-making process. The gin itself proved an enormous commercial and critical success, and our brand scooped a Silver IWSC award. The only remaining question was: how do we follow that? The answer comes this month when, after months of behind-the-scenes work in absolute secrecy, Foxhole Spirits’ new HYKE Gin makes its triumphant debut.

An elegant solution

From its inception, the HYKE brand set out to continue, and explicitly build upon, the sustainability message of its predecessor. Like Foxhole Gin, HYKE is made using grapes that would otherwise be discarded: the difference is these are table grapes (the ones you eat) rather than wine grapes. Every year, Britain’s supermarkets import boatloads of them from as far as afield as Egypt, South Africa and Chile. Inevitably, by the time it reaches the UK, some of the fruit doesn’t meet the exacting visual standards expected by consumers; so every year, hundreds of tonnes end up being composted or anaerobically digested. By putting these grapes to productive use, HYKE is making a small but important contribution to tackling an industrial-scale waste problem few consumers are even aware of.

Creating the buzz…

That unique backstory reached the receptive ears of buyers at Tesco, which has led the way in publicising and addressing the issue of food waste. In fact, the brand resonated so powerfully with Britain’s biggest supermarket that it agreed to list HYKE even before it had tasted it. And to reinforce the sustainability message, HYKE will appear on Tesco’s shelves later this month following its official launch on 18th March 2019 – the second annual Global Recycling Day. Ahead of the launch, we worked with Foxhole Spirits’ Head of Marketing & Communications, Donna Amato, to create a range of PR assets, generating significant coverage across the trade and national mainstream media.

…and capturing the spirit

Photography is a major element of the HYKE brand story. Although it’s a sustainable product, it’s not an overtly ‘green’ one – and we certainly wanted to avoid coming across as ‘worthy’. At the same time, we needed to differentiate HYKE from the plethora of small-batch, on-trend gins in what’s already a pretty crowded market. We therefore opted for bespoke lifestyle images, shot within a residential property in East London that combined our ground-breaking label design with an authentic family-home feel. Working with renowned specialist drinks photographer Rob Lawson, we first created composition mood boards and then art-directed the entire shoot ensuring the images captured the brand essence, as well as being technically perfect. Following the shoot, a bespoke colour filter was applied to all images which captures the brand colour palette. This attention to detail helped ensure all photography is ‘owned by the brand’ and provides distinctive imagery for the marketing / advertising collateral.

It looks absolutely incredible, and is going to stand out in consumers minds as something that looks and feels totally different to anything else on the shelf. The talent at Warren Creative have been the driving force behind this, their expertise, knowledge and total understanding of our brand and vision is the reason this has all come together in such a beautiful package. Thank you.”

James Oag-Cooper
MD, Foxhole Spirits

The brand story was featured on BBC South East news on 13th March 2019.

To read more about our work for HYKE Gin, please click here to read our Work page.

One in a million

After 53 years, a million examples and numerous iterations, the Porsche 911 remains one of the world’s most acclaimed, recognisable and highly desirable sports cars. So what can we learn about design and branding from this genuine automotive icon?

When Ferdinand Porsche died in 1951, Forbes magazine marked the occasion with an article that asked ‘what’s the best piece of modern industrial design?’ It went on to answer its own question by saying: ‘You could make a very strong case for the Porsche 911’.

As designers (and in several cases, ardent petrolheads, too) we have a special reverence for Herr Porsche’s most famous creation. This, after all, is a design that’s remained basically unaltered since the first 911 rolled off the production line in 1964. Indeed, the car’s detractors (and it does polarise enthusiasts) mock the fact that every new 911 looks pretty much exactly like the previous one. But as Ferdinand himself said: ‘A coherently designed product needs no adornment; it should be enhanced by its form alone. Good design should be honest.’

His faith in his original concept has proved more than justified. In May 2017, the Stuttgart factory produced its one millionth 911: as a testament to the car’s engineering, the company claims more than 700,000 are ‘still ready to drive today’. Current celebrity owners include Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Lindsay Lohan, Matthew Perry, Jerry Seinfeld and Arnold Schwarzenegger, while the late, great Steve McQueen was also a big fan. Though he’ll be forever associated with the Ford Mustang thanks to Bullitt, the 911 he drove in Le Mans was actually his own.

People love the 911 for many reasons, but the two most often cited are, perhaps unsurprisingly, style and performance. Despite the naysayers’ claims, the 911’s distinctive outline has changed subtly over the years, including bigger bumpers (to meet changing safety requirements), wider wheel-arches, and reworked headlights, taillights and wing mirrors. Overall, though, the basic design has remained remarkably pure for more than five decades. Even the badge on the bonnet – a gold shield with the city of Stuttgart’s black horse emblem in the centre and the ‘Porsche’ name over the top – is almost identical to the original design sketched on a napkin by Ferdinand’s father Ferry in 1952. ‘Design must be functional and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics, without any reliance on gimmicks that have to be explained,’ Ferdinand declared. ‘If there are technical developments, then you have to incorporate the shape to the new technology; but a Porsche will always look like a Porsche.’

That integrity and consistency is a huge part of the brand’s success. And from a branding perspective, it’s telling that even after 53 years, there’s still no truly defining ‘Porsche’ colour. After all, for most brands, including leading automotive marques, colour is a fundamental identifier. For example, Ferrari is indelibly red, the Model T Ford was famously ‘any colour you like as long as it’s black’, and a Lamborghini can be ‘any colour as long as it’s garish to the point of vulgarity’; but a 911? Our best guess would be a balance of red, black or silver, but Guards Red, Irish Green and Riviera Blue are all classic 911 colours, too. In our view this is a good thing: the 911 shape is so iconic and immutable, it’s instantly recognisable and meaningful even to those who would never be customers, which is the holy grail of all brands. Interestingly the very first 911 was Irish Green and so in 2017 to celebrate the one millionth 911 Porsche produced another in Irish Green!

And if the look is distinctive, then so is the drive. With its rear-mounted, air-cooled, six-cylinder engine, the 911 caused a sensation when it was launched, and the unique layout has continued to thrill, bemuse, test and occasionally terrify drivers ever since. But here at least, the evolution is more pronounced and obvious. The original 2.0-litre flat-six developed 130bhp, with a top speed of 131mph. To satisfy today’s expectations, the current 3.0-litre twin-turbo unit produces over 400bhp: good for 0-62 in 4.3 seconds and on to somewhere around 190mph. As Ferry Porsche put it: ‘You may always modify a Porsche, but its character and inimitable quality must be maintained.’

A Porsche has always been an aspirational product; but in today’s market, does it still constitute a true luxury brand? With prices starting from £76,000, a new 911 isn’t cheap by any means; but compared to, say, a Ferrari 488 GTB (£184,000) it’s a positive bargain. And while it’s beautifully made using top-notch materials, it doesn’t particularly threaten the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce. Plus, with a million built so far it’s hardly a rarity: McLaren made a mere 106 F1s, while Ferrari produced just a single convertible 250 GT Spyder. That said, total European sales in 2016 were only around 15,000, so you’re still fairly unlikely to park your 911 next to another one.

The clincher, if course, is that no one really needs a Porsche 911. There are plenty of cars out there that are more spacious, powerful, beautiful, expensive, handmade, head-turning and capable of losing your licence for you. But that’s not the point. Anything else wouldn’t be a 911. And for those that love it, nothing else comes close. Ferry Porsche summed it up when he said: ‘I wanted to build cars that were not something to everyone but meant everything to some.’ And there is a million reasons for believing that, with the 911, he and Ferdinand did exactly that.

Paul Stephens

The London Classic Car Show brings together some of the UK’s rarest, most valuable and most desirable motors. We used this opportunity to spotlight the Paul Stephens Autoart and Works models – creating a buzz, stir and excitement for these exceptional cars.

Paul Stephens has been a Porsche aficionado all his life: he clocked his first 100mph run, in a 911, when he was just 10 years old. His passion has brought him success on the track at Le Mans, and made him one of Britain’s leading specialists in air-cooled Porsche models built between 1965 and 1997. His eponymous company, based in Essex, engineers and builds exquisite bespoke creations under its Autoart sub-brand, and offers a range of more accessible Works cars inspired by 1970s motorsport, hot-rods and the ‘outlaw’ scene. And if you want your classic 911 restored to factory-fresh, down-to-the-last-nut-and-bolt perfection, Paul and his equally Porsche-obsessed team are the people to talk to.

For 2017 the company secured a prime stand position in the centre of the exhibition hall, where it displayed the Autoart Classic Touring Series 2 and Works Clubsport models – alongside several beautiful 911s for sale.

We’d been working with the company on brand strategy for several months, and the Show provided the first real opportunity to apply our thinking on a grand scale. Our brief was fairly simple: we were given the stand’s area and position within the event space, what cars and areas of the business the company wanted to promote – and that was about it. The rest was down to us.

Our stand design incorporated graphics that promoted the new brand correctly and, crucially, caught the eye from a distance. However, one of the key features Paul Stephens brand values is obsessive attention to detail. So, our design also included elements that encouraged visitors to walk around the stand, look more closely and engage with the brand on a more intimate level, such as mini brochures and data capture screens. Everything Paul Stephens does is bespoke, and in that spirit, we created a one-off coffee-table book, displayed on the stand, capturing the essence of the brand and its associated lifestyle.

The response was fabulous, with the company reporting enormous interest in its new models. The Works Clubsport car was sold during the event, and also helped to secure a major new business opportunity. The show car was equipped with wheels made by LA-based manufacturer Fifteen52 and designed by British-born maverick Magnus Walker. Following the Show, Paul Stephens was appointed as the sole UK distributor for the Magnus Walker ‘outlaw’ wheel range, one of the most recognisable and desirable aftermarket parts for classic Porsches. The stand also won acclaim as ‘Best in Show’.