Friday, July 08, 2005

Saville & Manchester

To promote their rejuvenated city, Manchester City Council turned to the branding experts. A body called Marketing Manchester was handed the task of turning Manchester into a ‘brand’. It’s response was to mount a lack-lustre campaign built around the feeble sounding phrase, “We’re up and going.” The paucity of the campaign angered a group of vociferous Mancunians. Calling themselves The McEnroe Group (after the tennis player’s famous utterance “You cannot be serious”), they dismissed Marketing Manchester’s efforts as “dull, mediocre and worthy of a cycling proficiency badge,” and challenged the city council to do better.

The McEnroe dissenters comprised a number of local movers and shakers, including Factory records-founder and TV-personality Tony Wilson and Manchester-born designer Peter Saville. The group stung the city council into a volte-face. One of the outcomes of which was the appointment of Peter Saville to the role of Manchester’s Creative Director.

Saville’s famous insouciance and legendary aversion to deadlines, makes him an unexpected choice for this task. Despite being the crown prince of British design, a sulphurous whiff of risk and danger always accompanies him. Yet he never seems short of clients.


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