Areas of Expertise

Beauty & Personal Care
Food & Drink
Global Femininity
Health & Wellbeing
Luxury & Retail


Case Histories

Dove Hair - Enriching the Damage Category >

Dove had been highly successful but hadn’t found its niche for hair. The damage category seemed a natural fit for a caring brand but was stuck in a samey problem-solution dynamic which had negative connotations in some cultures, especially parts of Asia. To enliven the category, we looked at cultural associations around damage within - and beyond - hair, in four different countries. The project, conducted with The Semiotic Alliance, opened up the damage platform by providing cultural context to consumer insight and allowing positive associations around damage to flourish. It provided a successful platform for Dove hair and inspiration for the Favourite Things advertising campaign, rolled out globally.

Diamonds & their Connection to Love >

De Beers brand Forevermark wanted to look at the connection between diamonds and love to find a distinct ownable space. They needed to connect the idea of an enduring promise with the essence of diamonds for the wedding market. By identify cultural aspects of promises and commitment in different cultures, a global positioning, imagery and advertising were developed for the brand. One of my favourite brands to work on, further projects looked to inspire design, website development and further communications.

Taking Hay Fever Seriously >

Ad agency, The Corner, was pitching for Prevalin, a drug-free alternative for hay fever sufferers, and needed to disrupt category norms in order to gain traction. They needed semiotics to look at the dominant category imagery, pack designs and cultural codes to find a new way in. The category was full of smiling people surrounded by buzzing bees, flowers and fields which suggested that hay fever was literally a walk in the park, rather than a serious issue for sufferers. Using these insights helped them win the pitch and create new advertising. Prevalin also won Pharmacy Product of Year 2015.

Special K: From Dieting to Food Enjoyment >

In line with cultural changes around healthy eating, Special K was moving away from the diet-world but was it communicating this to consumers? This project, with The Semiotic Alliance, analysed the brand's advertising history, pack codes, brand assets and the semiotics of the actual cereal. Recommendations helped focus Special K back onto food pleasure, with the product reformulated to highlight three healthy whole grains. Packs were redesigned to look less sterile. Brand assets such as the iconic red dress were adapted for a more modern context, connecting real food to real life. Influences of this work can still be seen in the brand’s current Live in Colour positioning.

Female Centred Personal Fitness Branding >

Focussing on the post-pregnancy market, personal trainer Lucy Miller was launching a new brand. Getting the name and visual identity right within a crowded, male dominated market was crucial to her success. A new-business semiotics consultation looked at her proposed identity, tone of voice and strategic direction. Personal training codes were dominated by aggressive push-harder fonts and pumped-up language, which could potentially alienate the new-to-fitness (and motherhood) market. By looking at these codes Lucy was able to develop a softer, friendlier tone of voice and a lighter, more feminine visual identity that had immediate appeal. Urban Fox Fitness, was ahead of the curve in championing a This Girl Can type of female-friendly wellness.

Gratitude & Thanking for Charity Supporters >

A leading UK charity wanted to find creative ways to make supporters feel more appreciated and involved. In partnership with qualitative agency Supernova, a creative two-stage project was designed. First, semiotics investigated the cultural landscape around gratitude in the charity world and beyond. From the semiotic inspiration, a set of thanking guidelines were designed, then taken into consumer groups to be refined by the charity’s supporters. The highly successful combination of semiotic insight plus creative supporter-facing research created a flexible thanking strategy for the charity.