On this anniversary of 9/11, we remember the great loss with a powerful tale of resiliency – The Survivor Tree.

Almost a month after the terrorist attacks in the US that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people, a pear tree was found trapped beneath the rubble of the Twin Towers. Rescue workers vowed to nurse it back to life and now, thirteen years later, The Survivor Tree is alive and thriving at the newly opened 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

BBDO New York has created a short and simple animated film about The Survivor Tree, poignantly reminding us all that, ‘There’s nothing so bad that we can’t overcome it.”



Schoolboy Harry Deverill holds his redesigned bottle in the condiments aisle of a Waitrose store.

The story of the 7-year old who redesigned a bottle of Waitrose Essential Brown Sauce may just be a charming human interest story to most, but to those in our line of work, it raises legitimate concern. The primary school child’s criticism of the original design was succinct and astute – it’s too boring and the ingredients shown are unidentifiable. One look at the bottle, and you know he’s right. Featuring illustrations of the ingredients that make up brown sauce, the bottle is almost dismal and, like the kid said, boring. There’s no need to conduct weeks of expensive research to reach this conclusion, but the sad truth is, there probably was.

The original design.

The original design (pictured) was criticised by 7-year-old Harry Deverill for being ‘too boring’.

Youngster’s opinions have the advantage of being completely honest, pure, and instinctual. Kids don’t over think it. They like it or they don’t. Good packaging is pretty, cool, and fun. Bad packaging is boring, nonsensical, and ugly. Perhaps the reviews we give our own work would be better if we followed their instinctual thought process.

He also created a new design, not with Illustrator or Photoshop, but with a few crayons and a sheet of paper. It is simple, clear and an improvement on the original. A children’s illustration is perfect for an own label brand, communicating basic and uncomplicated. It’s highly probable that the desire to communicate basic and uncomplicated led the creatives responsible for the former design to feature the few ingredients of brown sauce. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of brown sauce’s recipe. (Furthermore, tomatoes, dates and tamarind don’t particularly led themselves to compelling design.) The boy and his family didn’t and, to be honest, neither did we. What the child did know though, is how he uses it. Which is what led to his design – the perfect condiment for a fry up.

The addition of the child’s signature endorses the product, thus appealing to mothers and encouraging them to buy it for their families. Furthermore, it creates a dialogue with the consumer proving that even an ‘own label’ brand can and must find a way to engage consumers.

It’s a humble reminder to trust your instincts and not fall victim to tunnel vision when expressing an insight.


Harry sits down to enjoy a fry up with the sauce bottle he designed in hand.

And finally a message to Harry from bluemarlin:

Dear Harry,

If your talent and passion for design continues to develop, there’s an internship waiting for you at bluemarlin when you graduate university in around 15 years. There’s always room for a mind like yours in an agency like ours.

Best wishes,



By the 1980s, it looked like Coca-Cola had maximised its growth potential. But it wanted more.

Coca-Cola tribe

The biggest soft drinks company in the world had two options: steal customers from other beverage companies or encourage its pre-existing loyalists to buy more. Coke took the view that the best of those two options was both of them. It achieved this by diversifying its appeal with unique products targeted at specific market segments.

Today, there’s a coke product for everyone. Here’s what your coke says about you:

Original Coke: The Everyman

Coke originalFull flavour, full sugar, full satisfaction. Original Coke fans are life’s-too-short types who want to enjoy the real deal, whether it be from a can, a plastic bottle or as it tastes best, a glass one.

Diet Coke: The Fashionista

Diet Coke

Originally introduced in 1982 intended to capture the calorie conscious market, Diet Coke is now easily as famous as it’s 128-year-old father. Today the brand is intrinsically tied to the fashion world.


Packaging design collaborations with Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gautier and countless others have hallmarked Diet Coke as an intrinsically girlie offering. One might have seen this as the brand excluding half the population ’til Coke Zero launched in 2005.

Coke Zero: The Metrosexual

Coke Zero

The gendered exclusivity and different formula of Diet Coke might have meant the end of the brand’s appeal to health-conscious males but fortunately, it had a stroke of genius. Coke Zero claims to offer an identical taste to Original Coke but with absolute no sugar.


With an unashamedly macho ad campaign and a label design that ticks just about every stereotypically masculine box (read all about them here) Coke Zero might not deserve it’s popularity based on originality, but it definitely does for sheer cheek.

Coca-Cola Life: The Whole Foodie

Coke Life

You can’t be a multi-national conglomerate corporation making a calorific, high sugar beverage, billions of dollars and questionable decisions without also making a few enemies.


Coca-Cola Life, aimed at 33-55 year olds, is said to taste identical to regular Coke but is only 89 calories per 330ml can (compared to Coke’s 140). It’s production comes as a reaction to those who have criticised the cancer-linked sweetener used in both Coke Zero and Diet Coke. The jury is still out on whether Coke Life is any healthier than the alternatives but one thing’s for sure, the green label alone sets this sub-brand apart.

Coca-Cola Lime/Lemon/Vanilla/Black Cherry/Orange/Raspberry: The Connoisseur 

Coca-Cola flavours

This is Coke playing hard to get. Introduced for a limited time and still micro dispensed through specialists, these variants captured the ‘gotta try ‘em all’ market. Then they created a whole new army of Coke loyalists who feel a thrill every time they rediscover their favourite.

Caffeine Free Diet Coke: The Coke-Head

Caffine free Coke

Another 80’s throwback, Caffeine Free Coke came about in order to invent the occasion of drinking Coca-Cola right before bed. Just like Diet Coke, it captured new consumers without cannibalising sales from Coke’s classic product.

Clever, isn’t it?


This month many Londoners have been lucky enough to bear witness to British artist Lucy Sparrow taking an everyday cornershop and catapulting it into the art world with her felt FMCG creations. You can read all about it here.

Clearly Lucy’s skill and creativity is extraordinary but it does reflect the important role that packaging plays in the retail experience – taking something ordinary and making it appealing. Many brands accomplish this but only a select few push the boundaries. Here’s how boring objects like shoelaces, hair pins, and even socks are being combined with 2D and 3D design elements to create innovative shelf stand-out solutions.

Cartoon characters
Brightly coloured, stylised characters are always bound to catch our eye and capture our imagination. They bring us back to our childhood and put a fun twist on usually boring everyday products.

Shoelaces birds

These, believe it or not, are shoelaces.

Bread fish

Bready or not, here we come.

Gum monsters

Fresh breath, fresher pack design.

Pins people

Hair pin heaven.

Art materials
These packaging designs unleash our inner creativity. We think the parmesan pencil and sharpener are particularly clever.

Towel pencils

Sketch yourself dry.



This is sharp.

Socks paintbrush

Socks made to look like paint brushes. There’s no link between the two but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Recognisable objects
By embodying a range of familiar everyday items, these products shake up the packaging status quo. A pizza box that opens like a Babybel? Why not?

Juice lightbulb

Light up your thirst.

Pizza babybel

The opening is more fun than the eating sometimes.

Headphones note

Waxing lyrical.

Pasta ESB

Towering beauty.

Juice orange

Fruit juice has never been more real.

Different for different’s sake
This rice packaging defies all convention. Definitely one for the creative chef, there’s no doubt that this futuristic design would stand out on shelf against the transparent bags and pouches we normally get our rice from.

Rice pyramid

Nice rice.

Rice unpacked



Storytelling has always been at the heart and soul of a successful brand identity, creating an approachable personality to encourage consumer engagement. But with the rise of the tech-savvy Generation Z, brands are innovating by telling their tales in different ways. One of those ways currently trending amongst a handful of the world’s biggest brands is CGI. 

Several Pixar blockbusters have proved that CGI is a fantastic way to tell a story; now brands are joining in. Using computer generated imagery to produce content allows brands to manipulate their story like never before. Elements such as the weather, light and location are completely controllable in CGI. In short, the possibilities are endless. CGI allows brands to take consumers through a dynamic dream-like sequence that’s far more grounded in reality than a 2D cartoon could ever hope to be.

Using creativity, originality, and flair, these mini CGI masterpieces perfectly balance humour and art to captivate audiences of all ages. But it’s not an easy task to get right. Take a look through these 3 exquisite examples to see how it should be done.


Nike Risk EverythingThe World Cup may be over but that doesn’t mean our appreciation for the captivating mini-blockbuster Nike created for the 2014 tournament has to end. Building on its recent ‘Risk Everything’ tagline and promoting the new Nike Soccer app, ‘The Last Game’ brought audience members young and old back to the pure essence of their passion for the beautiful game. Although in hindsight the choice of stars may seem questionable, the campaign captured imaginations from all corners of the world. In terms of its success and benefits for Nike, well, 67 million YouTube views and counting says it all really.


McLaren F1

McLaren ToonedMcLaren’s witty and mischievous Tooned is exemplary of brands using storytelling to appeal to a wider audience and build greater brand loyalty. Not so much a specific advertising campaign, the adorable cartoon is more of a sideline, designed to push the boundaries of branded content in an industry not often associated with laughs. Highly stylised characters and double entendre aplenty make the animation popular amongst adults and children alike, as well as making the brand seem much more accessible.

The first series back in 2012 focused on the camaraderie between McLaren’s then drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Coinciding with McLaren’s 50 year anniversary in Formula 1 motor racing, the second series tells the history of the brand, from its humble beginnings with Bruce McLaren in a Kiwi shed, all the way through to the multimillion pound technology pioneer we know today. Watch series 2 from the very beginning below or click here to zoom all the way back to the Hamilton/Button era.



BBC OlympicsWith a mind-blowing 2012 Olympic Games came an equally explosive television trailer from its official UK broadcaster. Exquisite animation and a music score worthy of Hollywood, the BBC’s London 2012 ad managed to tackle the truly British trepidation and pessimism apparent in the months leading up to Games, and prove that they were misplaced. The CGI trailer reminded Brits to have faith, and identified the real stars of the London Olympics whilst setting the perfect stage. It solidified the BBC’s position as Great Britain’s premier broadcaster.


An abandoned corner shop in east London has received a new lease of life from British artist, Lucy Sparrow. Over the last 7 months Lucy has hand-sewn 4,000 items including branded packages, magazines and even a cash register to exhibit in the shop. The Kickstarter funded piece, entitled The Corner Shop, is open to visitors ’til the end of August. The stitched snacks are even available to purchase online!

Artist Stocks the Shelves of a London Corner Store with 4,000 Hand Stitched Felt Products textiles shopping London felt From The Corner Shop’s official website
Every single thing inside the Cornershop – the till, the functioning pricing gun, the contents of freezers, the pick ‘n’ mix stand – is fashioned from fabric, and the whole lot took Lucy seven months to complete.

“All her highly huggable versions of everyday essentials are for sale, but will stay in the store for a month, during which time a variety of sewing workshops will take place, designed to engage the local community (particularly individuals with autism and sectors often socially excluded) in relatable, accessible art that’s relevant to them and their neighbourhood and has been brought right to their doorstep. People can sign up to these workshops in the shop and group workshops for charities can be arranged through Lucy.”

We haven't had a chance to visit ourselves just yet but can see a couple of brands we designed (including Irn Bru!) are lining the shelves.

We haven’t had a chance to visit ourselves just yet but can see a couple of brands we designed (including Irn Bru!) are lining the shelves.

Artist Stocks the Shelves of a London Corner Store with 4,000 Hand Stitched Felt Products textiles shopping London felt

Artist Stocks the Shelves of a London Corner Store with 4,000 Hand Stitched Felt Products textiles shopping London felt

Artist Stocks the Shelves of a London Corner Store with 4,000 Hand Stitched Felt Products textiles shopping London felt

Artist Stocks the Shelves of a London Corner Store with 4,000 Hand Stitched Felt Products textiles shopping London felt

Artist Stocks the Shelves of a London Corner Store with 4,000 Hand Stitched Felt Products textiles shopping London felt

Artist Stocks the Shelves of a London Corner Store with 4,000 Hand Stitched Felt Products textiles shopping London felt

Artist Stocks the Shelves of a London Corner Store with 4,000 Hand Stitched Felt Products textiles shopping London felt

The Cornershop is at 19 Wellington Row, Bethnal Green E2 7BB until 31 August, 10am-7pm.



Low calorie, naturally fat/cholesterol-free, and with potassium levels that bananas can only dream of, it’s no surprise that coconut water has taken the swelling health-minded population by storm.

An abundance of athlete and celebrity endorsements, including mononymous superstars Rihanna and Madonna, have aided a surge in the popularity of this super hydrating beverage in the States. An impressive stunt by category leader Vita Coco on London’s Southbank recently confirmed an equally significant marketing push to increase its profile in the UK.

Vita Coco's recent marketing stunt in London.

Vita Coco’s recent marketing stunt in London.

As it’s often positioned as a premium product, coconut water brands have turned to packaging design to convince consumers that it’s worth a little extra cash.

Tropical paradise
The exotic connotations of coconut water mean that many brands focus their packaging design on the romance of the tropical paradise. Bright vibrant colours not only provide shelf stand out, but also invigorate the category. The designs seek to convey provenance through the stereotypical idea of coconuts growing from an Antiguan palm tree lining a bright blue ocean.


100% natural
Promoted as a healthier alternative to many sports drinks on the market, there is a distinct focus on natural science over its artificial twin within this category. Consumers choose coconut water for its natural benefits and to avoid chemical additives at all costs. Neutral colours let the product do the talking, with hints of green indicating fresh, organic ingredients.

As the ultimate thirst quencher, these brands have chosen to emphasise coconut water’s mouth-watering quality on pack. Energetic aqueous splashes take centre stage and illustrate that these beverages are bursting with hydration, while subtle colour palettes complement coconut water’s thirst-quenching abilities.

oquacoconut-water-potw-01bcf4b120439b7b3ff8ee8d9476d06648Bluemarlin design




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 160 other followers