In 2007, London Underground approached Turner Prize winning artist, Jeremy Deller, to design a new cover for the Tube map. If they’d done their homework this wouldn’t have made much sense. As Deller is a “militant cyclist”. However, not wanting to turn away a commission, he took the familiar colours of the Tube lines and turned them into a bicycle. Thinking that getting on a bike wasn’t perhaps the best advert for the Tube, London Underground turned Deller’s design down.
Make It: Tiny Wi-Fi Camera
The Internet of Things camera is an open-source camera build based on an Arduino that can be set up to snap pictures at regular intervals or even with a motion sensor. It’s a pretty simple build and you can find the full tutorial, software, and parts list over on Adafruit. Think of it as a much cooler Nanny Cam.
I’m really fond of Newcastle (the one on the Tyne that is). Typical associations with this splendid place are Newcastle United, Newcastle Brown Ale and girls wearing no coats in the dead of winter.
To say I’m fond of a rival town (I’m from Sunderland) might be quite surprising,* and I’m fond of it for lots of reasons; the Norman Foster-designed Sage (based on a sound wave visualisation) and many hazy uni days, but I’m most fond of the place because one of my favourite brand successes in recent times was born-and-bred (or bread) there… the mighty Greggs bakery.
Yup, I said it. Good ol’ Greggs. The makers of sausage rolls and stotties (depending on where you live…). This family bakery now has 1,500 stores across the UK with plans to open 80 new stores this year. As far as brand successes go Greggs has defied the general trend and been able to register a 2.2% year-on-year climb.
It has flung its custard tarts in the face of competitors and chucked a defiant digital doughnut or two to take on the likes of Krispy Kreme http://bit.ly/r01MCx and this week announced that it was trialling a ‘coffee-shop format’ called Greggs ‘Moment’ in its original birthplace.
It’s planning to sell ‘gourmet’ pies and pasties from an oak-pannelled, sofa-lined room. Aspirational indeed.
Did you have the same reaction as me to this piece of news? I’m imagining a wide-eyed, jaw-dropping look? Yep. The same.
Is it the right move for the brand though? I’ve started to imagine strange a scenario where staff are saying things like: “Tek a seat on the Chesterfield while I bring yer cheese n onion pastie ower, pet!”. Or maybe not.
I’d like to see Greggs succeed and take on Starbucks and Costa with their ‘Moments’ sub brand but I don’t think that this kind of experience really helps to differentiate it.
What Greggs has over its competitors is a certain kind of down-at-heel, honest charm and aping ‘category norms’ with slick décor and a build-your-own-sandwich-type approach just doesn’t feel right.
Greggs may have its moment (!) in Newcastle (whether it’s the right place to trial it is debatable…) but they may have just scored a brand ‘own goal’. It’s likely to be received well in its hometown, but I’m not so certain it would do so well elsewhere in the UK. I want to be proven wrong and I hope it’s a success. I’ll be watching with keen interest to see how this pilot pans out. Perhaps even a little visit next visit to the ‘rentals. I’ll keep you posted.
* Some context for those of you that don’t know, the people of Newcastle (Geordies) and Sunderland (Mackems) have a long-standing rivalry that most people view with indifference as a ‘football thing’. Black and White versus Red and White. Geordies avoiding eating streaky bacon because of the opposing team colours and those types of daft, irrational things.
In fact, this rivalry predated footie by over 230 years. Rivalry Reason #1) Newcastle were historically awarded Coal Trade Rights by King Charles I and Sunderland weren’t very happy. In fact they were starving. If only Greggs had been around then…). To cut a long story short, Rivalry Reason #2) Sunderland supported Cromwell’s Parliamentarians and Newcastle Supported the Crown. Cue more fighting and we’re up-to-date.