A campaign to calm pre-race nerves
Funded by the Department of Culture Arts & Leisure, we were asked to create a campaign that would encourage volunteers between the ages of 18-30 years old to sign up. Up against a short lead time, the campaign required a strong, distinctive visual focus but also the ability to provide a variety of localised PR and marketing opportunities around the event. No pressure then!
Two unlikely images that are poles apart
The breakthrough concept came via an unlikely pairing of iconic images; James Montgomery Flagg’s famous 1916 ‘I Want You For The U.S. Army’ poster and the 1968 cult classic film ‘The Girl on a Motorcycle’, starring Marianne Faithfull. Culturally, these two reference points couldn’t be any further apart. One was a military conscription campaign and the other was America’s first X-rated movie, yet they combined to make a striking image that was powerful enough to carry the campaign and memorable enough to resonate with a young audience.
Instead of the heavily sponsored rider and motorcycle imagery that’s the mainstay of modern motorsport marketing, we were free to flirt with club culture semiotics. By stripping back the visually noisy race vernacular, we could instead emphasise the event’s independent heritage and the sponsor free, leather-clad riders who were once the lifeblood of the race.
We ended with a podium finish
The posters became so iconic that people were peeling them off phone boxes and stealing them from venues. Most importantly, the campaign achieved its goal of persuading a number of fresh new faces to turn up at volunteer events and get excited about the International North West 200.
It’s fair to say that motorbikes scare the bejesus out of us, but there's no escaping the daredevil attitude of the riders and the exhilaration of the race itself. We’re honoured to have played a role in the future survival of a historic event that has been running since 1929.
What we did
Print Design and Production