Oct 22, 2021
Visit our sister site:

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: A Swiss director working out of Montreal, a Russian client with a newly acquired lifestyle channel, and the rebranding assignment from War and Peace

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

 
 

The Russian client discovered the Montreal based, Swiss director, Greg Barth, the same way I did, streaming from Vimeo. The client was looking for someone to rebrand a recently acquired Russian TV station called 7TV.

The Brief is featuring this rebranding “IDENT” campaign because – well – wasn’t it Churchill who described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”? So imagine how curious I was to speak to the director, Greg Barth, about getting on a plane to pitch a Russian client who speaks no English and convincing him that you’re the right choice to rebrand a lifestyle channel to a country with clashing lifestyle values! Vodka, anyone?

Click on Greg Barth’s rebranding campaign for Russia’s 7TV and see why this rebranding campaign won Bronze in this year’s New York Art Director’s Club.

Watch 7TV IDENTS below.

Barth plays with stop motion themes. A vocabulary of symbols in a text-driven medium, because symbols, Barth explains, break language barriers and express values. He describes his style as playful, naive and minimal, and when I ask whose work has influenced him most, he mentions among others, Dutch designer, Josef Hoffmann*, known for his strict geometrical lines and quadratic themes, Josef-Müller-Brockmann, the Swiss master of the grid system for graphic design, and Dutch designer, Willem Hendrik (Wim) Crowell*, for his love of typographic grids, typography and visual order in general.* One can see these influences in Barth’s commercial and personal work. He also admires the surrealists, Magritte, Dali and the great Sartre. Very heady. Which is good when you’re heading off to create a campaign for a client like Putin.

I spoke with Greg Barth via Skype.

The Brief: Tell us about your Russian client?

Greg Barth: Basically the man was the most hostile client I ever worked for.

The Brief: How did he come to select you?

Greg Barth: He was searching on Vimeo and found some work I’d done for a French TV show called L’Edition Speciale. * What he wanted was an outsider’s design point of view, and then to immerse them in Russian culture.

The Brief: What was the strategy?

Greg Barth: To bring the identity of 7TV in a totally new direction. Much like TLC. A channel focusing on lifestyle.

The Brief: What was the personality of 7TV before this rebranding?

Greg Barth: Provincial. They played old soccer games… old Soviet films. It was low end with terrible viewership.

The Brief: I can see why they needed rebranding. What’s the competition doing on Russian TV?

Greg Barth: Programming is flamboyant. It’s aimed at the under 30 generation in Moscow which is young, hostile, and aggressively capitalistic. It’s ‘Look at us. We’re rich, richer, the richest! See our logos shining in gold and diamonds?’ It’s a hustler, rough environment; be rich or die trying.

The Brief: No wonder my dentist loved it so much.

Greg Barth: We arrived in Moscow and walked 16-hours a day. The client insisted we see every Communist monument. He wouldn’t let us stop for a cup of coffee.

The Brief: It sounds like a scene from the Cold War. Did you feel at odds with the assignment or just the client?

Greg Barth: No. It took a lot of time to finally win the assignment. And I’m a big fan of the Communist architecture of the 50s and 60s. It’s beautiful – austere. Red Square. Lenin’s building. These are striking buildings and design. Pure minimalism.

The Brief: But how does that austere aesthetic coexist with a lifestyle channel?

Greg Barth: The client was targeting nostalgic Soviets who hate the new Russia. An older Russian generation. A lower wage to middle class (30-plus to 65/70), whose values were the very opposite of Moscow’s.

The Brief: So there’s a whole population of people who prefer pre-Perestroika?

Greg Barth: Capitalism came so quickly to Russia that Moscow is crazy. And because of that Russia goes to two states of mind: There’s Moscow, which I have described, and then there’s St. Petersburg. People in St. Petersburg share the older values. If you asked them the question, ‘How did you like Soviet Russia?’ they’d say they “loved” it. If you weren’t an activist you had a happy life. More neighbourly. People were in it together.

The Brief: So the psychographic is a Russian whose values are incongruent to the new Russia.

Greg Barth: Yes.

The Brief: 7TV had to project a lifestyle channel for a nostalgic lifestyle.

Greg Barth: With 4 key themes: Travel, Construction, Cinema, and Changing Yourself.

The Brief: But, what do those themes have to do with austere architecture?

Greg Barth: The “lifestyle” rebranding was defined by the client’s notion of perfection and precision.

The Brief: Still, not very lifestyle-ish, is it?

Greg Barth: Let me give you an example of the client’s obsessiveness: we walked literally hours and hours to a building and he pointed to its gate, “Look at this gate,” he screamed (in Russian), “It’s not the same design as the building. See? This is a lesson for rebranding; every detail must be perfect. Nothing must stand out.”

This is why I built the Polaroid camera out of wood for the CINEMA IDENT. So it wouldn’t stand out from anything else.

The Brief: Old Soviet values.

Greg Barth: “Everything fits together perfectly.” Which is the tag line for whole 7TV rebranding campaign.

The client wanted older iconography, and raw design, rustic objects — everything minimal. He was totally absorbed with aesthetics… instead of people.

Everything you see in the campaign was handmade, so that nothing stands out, but the essence of hand-made is ultimately and ironically very human. So it’s not austere in that sense. It’s Playful and friendly.

The Brief: Absolutely.

Greg Barth: And despite the overall impression of precision and how perfectly it all fits together – which it does in each of the 4 IDENTS, the way we shoot, in stop motion animation, makes the narrative feels very human.

The Brief: You’re right. I wonder whether this irony went over your client’s head. Because when you see the campaign, and the way you shot all the objects, with the bright colours and music – I see how it targets a modest lifestyle, but on several levels. The selection of symbols/objects entreats a full and intellectual life. On all those themes of travel and books and cinema etc. The older values are what you come away with. So you added humanity but fulfilled the brief brilliantly.

Greg Barth: It was really a team effort. 25 dedicated people, very collaborative, highly motivated – 14 days of stop motion animation with everyone having their roles – a very communal thing.

The Brief: Sounds like everything fit together perfectly. A theme within a theme.

The Brief would like to thank the talented, Greg Barth for his candour and unique creativity. You can see more of his work here.

And do write in and tell me what you think? Without your feedback, The Brief is just another voice in the sphere.

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION:

* FYI: two art directors, Vanda Daftar and Capucine Labarthe, accompanied Greg Barth to Russia.

* Josef Hoffmann http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Hoffmann

* Willem Hendrik (Wim) Crowell, http://talent.adweek.com/gallery/FTRT-typeface/4260405V

* Josef Müller Brockmann – Swiss Design and the Grid System

* L’Edition Special  http://vimeo.com/16926514

* The Brief highly recommends The Making of 7TV http://www.gregbarth.tv/#7TV-Idents-Making-Of

* More Greg Barth http://www.gregbarth.tv/#Essays-On-Reality

* Greg Barth is represented by Bernstein & Andriulli www.ba-reps.com/

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: A Swiss director working out of Montreal, a Russian client with a newly acquired lifestyle channel, and the rebranding assignment from War and Peace

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

 
 

The Russian client discovered the Montreal based, Swiss director, Greg Barth, the same way I did, streaming from Vimeo. The client was looking for someone to rebrand a recently acquired Russian TV station called 7TV.

The Brief is featuring this rebranding “IDENT” campaign because – well – wasn’t it Churchill who described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”? So imagine how curious I was to speak to the director, Greg Barth, about getting on a plane to pitch a Russian client who speaks no English and convincing him that you’re the right choice to rebrand a lifestyle channel to a country with clashing lifestyle values! Vodka, anyone?

Click on Greg Barth’s rebranding campaign for Russia’s 7TV and see why this rebranding campaign won Bronze in this year’s New York Art Director’s Club.

Watch 7TV IDENTS below.

Barth plays with stop motion themes. A vocabulary of symbols in a text-driven medium, because symbols, Barth explains, break language barriers and express values. He describes his style as playful, naive and minimal, and when I ask whose work has influenced him most, he mentions among others, Dutch designer, Josef Hoffmann*, known for his strict geometrical lines and quadratic themes, Josef-Müller-Brockmann, the Swiss master of the grid system for graphic design, and Dutch designer, Willem Hendrik (Wim) Crowell*, for his love of typographic grids, typography and visual order in general.* One can see these influences in Barth’s commercial and personal work. He also admires the surrealists, Magritte, Dali and the great Sartre. Very heady. Which is good when you’re heading off to create a campaign for a client like Putin.

I spoke with Greg Barth via Skype.

The Brief: Tell us about your Russian client?

Greg Barth: Basically the man was the most hostile client I ever worked for.

The Brief: How did he come to select you?

Greg Barth: He was searching on Vimeo and found some work I’d done for a French TV show called L’Edition Speciale. * What he wanted was an outsider’s design point of view, and then to immerse them in Russian culture.

The Brief: What was the strategy?

Greg Barth: To bring the identity of 7TV in a totally new direction. Much like TLC. A channel focusing on lifestyle.

The Brief: What was the personality of 7TV before this rebranding?

Greg Barth: Provincial. They played old soccer games… old Soviet films. It was low end with terrible viewership.

The Brief: I can see why they needed rebranding. What’s the competition doing on Russian TV?

Greg Barth: Programming is flamboyant. It’s aimed at the under 30 generation in Moscow which is young, hostile, and aggressively capitalistic. It’s ‘Look at us. We’re rich, richer, the richest! See our logos shining in gold and diamonds?’ It’s a hustler, rough environment; be rich or die trying.

The Brief: No wonder my dentist loved it so much.

Greg Barth: We arrived in Moscow and walked 16-hours a day. The client insisted we see every Communist monument. He wouldn’t let us stop for a cup of coffee.

The Brief: It sounds like a scene from the Cold War. Did you feel at odds with the assignment or just the client?

Greg Barth: No. It took a lot of time to finally win the assignment. And I’m a big fan of the Communist architecture of the 50s and 60s. It’s beautiful – austere. Red Square. Lenin’s building. These are striking buildings and design. Pure minimalism.

The Brief: But how does that austere aesthetic coexist with a lifestyle channel?

Greg Barth: The client was targeting nostalgic Soviets who hate the new Russia. An older Russian generation. A lower wage to middle class (30-plus to 65/70), whose values were the very opposite of Moscow’s.

The Brief: So there’s a whole population of people who prefer pre-Perestroika?

Greg Barth: Capitalism came so quickly to Russia that Moscow is crazy. And because of that Russia goes to two states of mind: There’s Moscow, which I have described, and then there’s St. Petersburg. People in St. Petersburg share the older values. If you asked them the question, ‘How did you like Soviet Russia?’ they’d say they “loved” it. If you weren’t an activist you had a happy life. More neighbourly. People were in it together.

The Brief: So the psychographic is a Russian whose values are incongruent to the new Russia.

Greg Barth: Yes.

The Brief: 7TV had to project a lifestyle channel for a nostalgic lifestyle.

Greg Barth: With 4 key themes: Travel, Construction, Cinema, and Changing Yourself.

The Brief: But, what do those themes have to do with austere architecture?

Greg Barth: The “lifestyle” rebranding was defined by the client’s notion of perfection and precision.

The Brief: Still, not very lifestyle-ish, is it?

Greg Barth: Let me give you an example of the client’s obsessiveness: we walked literally hours and hours to a building and he pointed to its gate, “Look at this gate,” he screamed (in Russian), “It’s not the same design as the building. See? This is a lesson for rebranding; every detail must be perfect. Nothing must stand out.”

This is why I built the Polaroid camera out of wood for the CINEMA IDENT. So it wouldn’t stand out from anything else.

The Brief: Old Soviet values.

Greg Barth: “Everything fits together perfectly.” Which is the tag line for whole 7TV rebranding campaign.

The client wanted older iconography, and raw design, rustic objects — everything minimal. He was totally absorbed with aesthetics… instead of people.

Everything you see in the campaign was handmade, so that nothing stands out, but the essence of hand-made is ultimately and ironically very human. So it’s not austere in that sense. It’s Playful and friendly.

The Brief: Absolutely.

Greg Barth: And despite the overall impression of precision and how perfectly it all fits together – which it does in each of the 4 IDENTS, the way we shoot, in stop motion animation, makes the narrative feels very human.

The Brief: You’re right. I wonder whether this irony went over your client’s head. Because when you see the campaign, and the way you shot all the objects, with the bright colours and music – I see how it targets a modest lifestyle, but on several levels. The selection of symbols/objects entreats a full and intellectual life. On all those themes of travel and books and cinema etc. The older values are what you come away with. So you added humanity but fulfilled the brief brilliantly.

Greg Barth: It was really a team effort. 25 dedicated people, very collaborative, highly motivated – 14 days of stop motion animation with everyone having their roles – a very communal thing.

The Brief: Sounds like everything fit together perfectly. A theme within a theme.

The Brief would like to thank the talented, Greg Barth for his candour and unique creativity. You can see more of his work here.

And do write in and tell me what you think? Without your feedback, The Brief is just another voice in the sphere.

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION:

* FYI: two art directors, Vanda Daftar and Capucine Labarthe, accompanied Greg Barth to Russia.

* Josef Hoffmann http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Hoffmann

* Willem Hendrik (Wim) Crowell, http://talent.adweek.com/gallery/FTRT-typeface/4260405V

* Josef Müller Brockmann – Swiss Design and the Grid System

* L’Edition Special  http://vimeo.com/16926514

* The Brief highly recommends The Making of 7TV http://www.gregbarth.tv/#7TV-Idents-Making-Of

* More Greg Barth http://www.gregbarth.tv/#Essays-On-Reality

* Greg Barth is represented by Bernstein & Andriulli www.ba-reps.com/

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: A Swiss director working out of Montreal, a Russian client with a newly acquired lifestyle channel, and the rebranding assignment from War and Peace

By TO411Daily Columnist
Linda Chandler

 
 

The Russian client discovered the Montreal based, Swiss director, Greg Barth, the same way I did, streaming from Vimeo. The client was looking for someone to rebrand a recently acquired Russian TV station called 7TV.

The Brief is featuring this rebranding “IDENT” campaign because – well – wasn’t it Churchill who described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”? So imagine how curious I was to speak to the director, Greg Barth, about getting on a plane to pitch a Russian client who speaks no English and convincing him that you’re the right choice to rebrand a lifestyle channel to a country with clashing lifestyle values! Vodka, anyone?

Click on Greg Barth’s rebranding campaign for Russia’s 7TV and see why this rebranding campaign won Bronze in this year’s New York Art Director’s Club.

Watch 7TV IDENTS below.

Barth plays with stop motion themes. A vocabulary of symbols in a text-driven medium, because symbols, Barth explains, break language barriers and express values. He describes his style as playful, naive and minimal, and when I ask whose work has influenced him most, he mentions among others, Dutch designer, Josef Hoffmann*, known for his strict geometrical lines and quadratic themes, Josef-Müller-Brockmann, the Swiss master of the grid system for graphic design, and Dutch designer, Willem Hendrik (Wim) Crowell*, for his love of typographic grids, typography and visual order in general.* One can see these influences in Barth’s commercial and personal work. He also admires the surrealists, Magritte, Dali and the great Sartre. Very heady. Which is good when you’re heading off to create a campaign for a client like Putin.

I spoke with Greg Barth via Skype.

The Brief: Tell us about your Russian client?

Greg Barth: Basically the man was the most hostile client I ever worked for.

The Brief: How did he come to select you?

Greg Barth: He was searching on Vimeo and found some work I’d done for a French TV show called L’Edition Speciale. * What he wanted was an outsider’s design point of view, and then to immerse them in Russian culture.

The Brief: What was the strategy?

Greg Barth: To bring the identity of 7TV in a totally new direction. Much like TLC. A channel focusing on lifestyle.

The Brief: What was the personality of 7TV before this rebranding?

Greg Barth: Provincial. They played old soccer games… old Soviet films. It was low end with terrible viewership.

The Brief: I can see why they needed rebranding. What’s the competition doing on Russian TV?

Greg Barth: Programming is flamboyant. It’s aimed at the under 30 generation in Moscow which is young, hostile, and aggressively capitalistic. It’s ‘Look at us. We’re rich, richer, the richest! See our logos shining in gold and diamonds?’ It’s a hustler, rough environment; be rich or die trying.

The Brief: No wonder my dentist loved it so much.

Greg Barth: We arrived in Moscow and walked 16-hours a day. The client insisted we see every Communist monument. He wouldn’t let us stop for a cup of coffee.

The Brief: It sounds like a scene from the Cold War. Did you feel at odds with the assignment or just the client?

Greg Barth: No. It took a lot of time to finally win the assignment. And I’m a big fan of the Communist architecture of the 50s and 60s. It’s beautiful – austere. Red Square. Lenin’s building. These are striking buildings and design. Pure minimalism.

The Brief: But how does that austere aesthetic coexist with a lifestyle channel?

Greg Barth: The client was targeting nostalgic Soviets who hate the new Russia. An older Russian generation. A lower wage to middle class (30-plus to 65/70), whose values were the very opposite of Moscow’s.

The Brief: So there’s a whole population of people who prefer pre-Perestroika?

Greg Barth: Capitalism came so quickly to Russia that Moscow is crazy. And because of that Russia goes to two states of mind: There’s Moscow, which I have described, and then there’s St. Petersburg. People in St. Petersburg share the older values. If you asked them the question, ‘How did you like Soviet Russia?’ they’d say they “loved” it. If you weren’t an activist you had a happy life. More neighbourly. People were in it together.

The Brief: So the psychographic is a Russian whose values are incongruent to the new Russia.

Greg Barth: Yes.

The Brief: 7TV had to project a lifestyle channel for a nostalgic lifestyle.

Greg Barth: With 4 key themes: Travel, Construction, Cinema, and Changing Yourself.

The Brief: But, what do those themes have to do with austere architecture?

Greg Barth: The “lifestyle” rebranding was defined by the client’s notion of perfection and precision.

The Brief: Still, not very lifestyle-ish, is it?

Greg Barth: Let me give you an example of the client’s obsessiveness: we walked literally hours and hours to a building and he pointed to its gate, “Look at this gate,” he screamed (in Russian), “It’s not the same design as the building. See? This is a lesson for rebranding; every detail must be perfect. Nothing must stand out.”

This is why I built the Polaroid camera out of wood for the CINEMA IDENT. So it wouldn’t stand out from anything else.

The Brief: Old Soviet values.

Greg Barth: “Everything fits together perfectly.” Which is the tag line for whole 7TV rebranding campaign.

The client wanted older iconography, and raw design, rustic objects — everything minimal. He was totally absorbed with aesthetics… instead of people.

Everything you see in the campaign was handmade, so that nothing stands out, but the essence of hand-made is ultimately and ironically very human. So it’s not austere in that sense. It’s Playful and friendly.

The Brief: Absolutely.

Greg Barth: And despite the overall impression of precision and how perfectly it all fits together – which it does in each of the 4 IDENTS, the way we shoot, in stop motion animation, makes the narrative feels very human.

The Brief: You’re right. I wonder whether this irony went over your client’s head. Because when you see the campaign, and the way you shot all the objects, with the bright colours and music – I see how it targets a modest lifestyle, but on several levels. The selection of symbols/objects entreats a full and intellectual life. On all those themes of travel and books and cinema etc. The older values are what you come away with. So you added humanity but fulfilled the brief brilliantly.

Greg Barth: It was really a team effort. 25 dedicated people, very collaborative, highly motivated – 14 days of stop motion animation with everyone having their roles – a very communal thing.

The Brief: Sounds like everything fit together perfectly. A theme within a theme.

The Brief would like to thank the talented, Greg Barth for his candour and unique creativity. You can see more of his work here.

And do write in and tell me what you think? Without your feedback, The Brief is just another voice in the sphere.

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION:

* FYI: two art directors, Vanda Daftar and Capucine Labarthe, accompanied Greg Barth to Russia.

* Josef Hoffmann http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Hoffmann

* Willem Hendrik (Wim) Crowell, http://talent.adweek.com/gallery/FTRT-typeface/4260405V

* Josef Müller Brockmann – Swiss Design and the Grid System

* L’Edition Special  http://vimeo.com/16926514

* The Brief highly recommends The Making of 7TV http://www.gregbarth.tv/#7TV-Idents-Making-Of

* More Greg Barth http://www.gregbarth.tv/#Essays-On-Reality

* Greg Barth is represented by Bernstein & Andriulli www.ba-reps.com/

—–

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisements