Thursday, March 19, 2009

DixonBaxi / Five Rebrand

I’m very interested in what goes through people’s heads when they come up with a branding for a channel – lots of people have different ideas as to what makes It memorable for the viewer and what strategy to take. I'd seen the new Five idents some time ago before I started this blog, but as I liked them a lot (especially the guitar player/motorway one) I thought I would call up Dixon Baxi – the company who made them, and ask a few questions. Luckily Simon Dixon was nice enough to answer them!

I asked him what did the guys at Five see in their approach, over all the other submissions? He said: We didn't submit our work as we were commissioned. After chatting about how we work and the potential of what we could deliver for Five we moved into discussing the brief. From there we develop a look and feel, identity and visual approach based on the channel strategy and brief.



I then asked him why they called them “brand bursts” and not "idents" and what the thinking was behind that. Also I wanted to know why they had got many different directors to work on the project and not just a few? He said:
An ident is an industry term. We like idents but feel they can be a bit restrictive. A long meandering look at a logo whilst a continuity announcer describes up coming programs. We feel there is a broad context to brands. More than just a logo. It is the spirit, personality and tone of the channel. A Brand Burst, which is an internal term, represents a moment of the channels spirit, it's view of the world. Aimed at being entertaining, fun and eclectic. They can grow, change and adapt with the channel. They are a reward for the viewer. In terms of why many directors it was really to create the range we needed. The different styles and approaches are important to the character.

Finally I asked him about the theory behind the creative. I had had a few different conversations with people within the industry about the fact that although all the idents are creatively “beautiful” there was a body of thought that said there does not seem to be any central visual idea that links them all together.

In return Simon said:
In terms of lacking a central visual that's not really an issue we feel is relevant. As part of a cohesive set of channel elements the "Brand Bursts" are the fun part of the channel. The part where it can be different, reflects its personality and take a few creative risks. Everything around them is highly considered and fits neatly into them. This frees what would be very static and similar 'idents' to be more playful, adaptive and flexible, making an identity that can grow and develop. The world changes so brands need room to change too.

Also it is interesting that when you look at how the audience reacts - the actual viewers - they feel the channel is much more active, with much more personality.

So, a refreshing look at branding theory – the idea that the viewers can and should be more involved with a channel as a brand, in the same way they are with other brands. This is certainly true of the new UKTV channels coming out of Redbee – channels like Blighty and Dave actively try to get the viewers engaged online as well as on TV.

I personally could not imagine myself going to the BBC1 website and getting involved, but I could see myself wondering what was going on on the websites of some of these more creatively packaged channels. As we know the march of social media is unstoppable at the moment, and maybe viewer involvement is something that all channels should be thinking about.


The following directors all worked on the Five identity as well as the DixonBaxi crew: Mate Steinforth, Cassiano Prado, Buck, Chris Cairns, Man vs Machine.

DixonBaxi has also recently rebranded Five USA

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