The power of nostalgia in direct marketing

We’ve all been there. That old song comes on the radio. You know, the one that takes you back to a time in your life. It was your favourite sing-a-long throughout that endless warm summer after you left high school, or maybe it was the soundtrack to that unforgettable holiday with friends (with moments you’d admittedly, rather forget) or the tune that blasted from the pathetic speakers of your first car as you drove – nowhere in particular – but just because you could.

For a few brief seconds you are back there. You can hear the sounds, even smell the air, you can really feel it in your bones when… reality kicks back in and you’re dancing around the kitchen in your dressing gown to Wham!, it’s a rainy Tuesday morning and you’re late for work… *sigh*

But never mind reality, this feeling of nostalgia is so special. It’s an emotional connection to yesteryear, to our fondest memories that nobody else has experienced in the same way, not even the people who may have been there and shared the experience. That same moment may fill others with nostalgia too but that memory is powerful and unique to you.

It’s no surprise then, that designers and marketers use an approach that works on a similar level, to help businesses to connect with their audience by tapping into these warm feelings, in order to create an emotional connection to their brand, product or service.

A good example of this in action is a targeted direct marketing campaign I designed whilst working at Reform Creative in Manchester. The campaign was for a company called Bankhall – who provide support services to financial advisors and aimed to generate positive leads and enquiries.

Aimed at a predominantly male audience, aged over 50, the subject of ‘support’ was brought to life through a fun mailer, inspired by Subbuteo – a game popular with children in the sixties and seventies.

To reignite happy childhood memories of a weekday evening spent flicking George Best around the kitchen table, recreating the action from the previous Saturday and the uncontrollable excitement of opening a brand new toy, the design of the mailer took reference from the classic Subbuteo box complete with felt lining and football figure. Themed messaging and a simple insert outlined the benefits of making Bankhall your new signing. 

Follow-up mailers on the football theme were also sent out, first a yellow, then a red card, to encourage the recipient to register their interest and book a meeting.

Intelligent ideas help brands communicate and connect with their audience. If you would like to discuss how I can help you capture the imagination and attention of your audience or if you fancy your chances against me in a game of Subbuteo, I would love to hear from you. Please call me on 07855 111 924 or email

New brand identity for lodge manufacturer startup

I recently completed a brand identity project for Phoenix Lodges, a new startup business based in Liverpool who manufacture bespoke luxury residential and holiday lodges in the UK. The project deliverables included a logo and brand identity, stationery, launch leaflet, lodge plans and website.

Phoenix have brought together a team of highly skilled craftsmen and sales professionals with extensive experience in the industry, allowing them to create beautifully crafted bespoke lodges with outstanding customer service. Despite this expertise they are also a new name in the market so when it came to creating their brand identity, I felt it was important to strike a balance of an established look whilst still feeling modern and helping them stand out from their competitors.

The new logo features a contemporary, hand-crafted phoenix emblem, reminiscent of roman style, who were known for their buildings that stood the test of time. The primary colour palette features a deep red and a strong grey, signifying luxury and quality.    

The brand identity has been applied consistently across all materials including the new responsive website which works across desktop, tablet and mobile formats. It is a basic site at this early stage in the life of the company but it has been designed with the flexibility to be added to as Phoenix expand their range of lodges over time.

Managing Director, Colin Noble was delighted with the overall look for the new Phoenix Lodges brand.

"The competition in this market is tough and, as a new player, it is important that we hit the ground running. Gray worked closely with us, understanding what it is we want to achieve and has created a brand that we are excited to go forward with and make our own."

You can visit the new Phoenix Lodges website at

Are you looking to create a brand identity for your new startup business? Or maybe you are an established company wanting a fresh look? If so, it would be great to hear from you. Please call me on 07855 111 924 or email