Friday, February 25, 2011

This here Resign London campaign

A few years ago I heard Mark Radcliffe talk about the "journey through London" that many Northerners had to make to further a career in television and radio. I did it in my sector of the media too. I don't feel bitter about it, and it's not defensive to acknowledge that the capital city of the country and the most important cultural city in the Western world might just have some attraction.

OK. Are we clear? I also am a chippy Northerner. I want my children to have rich and prosperous lives without having to move away. I believe in the North. I support the move of large parts of the BBC to Salford. I wish there were more people working for national newspapers here. I wish advertising and design agencies here were given more chances to do their best work on great brands. I support those who do.

When I first saw the Resign London campaign on Twitter I thought "this sounds like a bit of a laugh" and posted something to that effect. It would be good if more creative Northerners could ply their trade back home, especially if it was part of a viable ecosystem of creative businesses. I remember an NWDA campaign called "It's Grim Down South" which tried to promote the North West at the expense of a crowded and grimy London. It didn't work did it?

But having seen the spoof press conference clip based on a child abduction plea, and the adverts for houses in Standish, the silly resignation letter and the rest of the news feeds on the website, I think it's all a bit embarrassing. Just as I don't want Manchester or Liverpool to pretend to be a bit like cool London, equally I don't want the reinforcing of dreadful old Northern stereotypes, like the parents in the clip.

This misguided though well intentioned campaign has, I feel, missed the mark. I can't pretend to know how a better one would look, which proves what a difficult concept it is to get right.


Creative said...

Pusillanimous, misguided and pointless. The creative idea is weak. But only because the strategy is flawed. I can't begin to understand how a project like that got any funding. London is one of the world's great cities and business centres. Brilliant people come to it from all over the world, to do work that changes the world. We can't and shouldn't deny it. But we should be happy that creative people from the North take jobs in that environment and contribute to the great movements that take place there, and you can't blame them. Some great work is also done in the North, but if we're honest, not as much, because businesses tend to go to London. So you'd think the better strategy would be to encourage businesses to use the talent in the North, which would mean more talent would return up here to follow the opportunities.

Coral Grainger said...

If like attracts like, the @ResignLondon campaign should have focussed on the familiar, whilst highlighting our strengths.

Talent moves:
to do good work, for good brands, with good people. Talent also wants to eat, drink, have fun and maybe flirt, with interesting people in cool, yet friendly places.

I would be surprised if talent is attracted by a reminder of living near parents, by a 4 bed bungalow in Wigan or a free biscotti.

More thoughts on the campaign and the 'talent issue' are at - and (I nervously) await feedback!

Michael Taylor said...

The more I've thought about it, the main weakness of the campaign is its lack of positivity.

"Come to the North, it's ace." would be better than this.

janine watson said...

The best advert is producing quality work. So do good stuff. Make sure clients know it's done in the regions. Job done.