November 5, 2019 •
Nick Velardi, Designer •
3 minute read
Creating a distinct and impactful campaign for an entire town can feel a lot like trying to advertise tourism for the whole planet.
Well… maybe it’s not quite as challenging, but in a town like Red Bank, NJ, there are so many unique and diverse places to visit and things to experience, that crafting one unifying message and visual style is especially tricky.
How much should we focus on restaurants and bars? How much on shops or theaters? What about events year round? At Spitball, we know there is always a solution to our client’s challenges, though it’s often buried and requires some digging. “Digging” in our case means extensive research. One thing our research revealed was that most people only associate Red Bank with the one thing they regularly do there. It may be shopping, or grabbing a drink after work, but what they are likely missing are the endless surprises around every corner waiting to be discovered. All over town, businesses are pouring their creativity and craftsmanship into one-of-a-kind memories waiting to be made. Those who visit with their eyes open, leave with wonderfully unexpected experiences.
So, great! We have our angle, but how do we show this curated game of discovery that makes Red Bank special? We picked from a lot of vines for inspiration, but the one with the perfect fruit for our campaign was rooted in Late 19th Century Paris. (Cue romantic accordion and piano)
Where a photo might be able to perfectly capture a beautiful moment in a certain place, illustration is especially deft at encapsulating the unifying spirit of that place. In his lithographic posters for cafés and theaters in the Montmartre district of 1890s Paris, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen evoked a uniquely Bohemian style. None are more famous than his minimal, stylish, and iconic poster for Le Chat Noir. Today it lives on as an emblem of a specific time and place unlike any other; a romantic, vibrant French center of creativity and enjoyment, always surprising and never boring.
The limited color palette, bold typography, and imposing silhouette of a mysterious black cat have made it an icon. We wanted to steal some of that artistic magic for Red Bank, a town deserving of its own memorable iconography. From there, the design “work” would be better described as “play,” as we constructed an optical game similar to how people experience the town. It may be the style, the nightlife, or the performances that draw you in, but it’s everything else that keeps you exploring and coming back to make how you do Red Bank your own “Work of Art.”
“Red” is in the name so we embraced our boldness and flooded the stage red on which we set roughly 100 silhouette icons representing everything the town has to offer across 4 hero posters that invite curiosity. Our hand-drawn illustrations set the tone for an expansive campaign that embraces creativity and craftsmanship. Even in photographic ads, social stories and posts, our “A Work of Art” campaign is about capturing the shared spirit of one collective Red Bank, not just a few samples of what you might find in town.
We believe that’s how you take advertising and turn it into a work of art.