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North55’s branding campaign for Tatweer’s Italian restaurant chain, Urbano, had to capture the spirit of 50s Milan
DUBAIBASED INDEPENDENT de- nage—but thinking about things like,
sign agency North55 won the account maybe, olive jars, cups and mugs that
for Urbano—an Italian restaurant chain would work on a retail level as well.”
developed by Tatweer—in May last The br ief gave North55 a fairly good
year. It was, says creative partner Craig idea of what the client didn’t want.
Falconer, an interesting campaign from “ Tatweer wanted to move away from
both a creative and business perspec- the ‘mother’s own’ Italian restaurant
tive. For one thing, this was a home- approach and go a bit more ‘urban-
grown Dubai brand looking to build chic, but a little bit gr’ itty. They wanted
itself into a franchise which could be it to have a Milan feel, rather than a
sold around the world. A somewhat Tuscan feel. And they wanted to have a
different approach to the local compa- ‘street’ element to it,” says Falconer. “So
nies’ usual policy of buying into estab- we’d established that it wasn’t going to
lished multinational brands.
“They wan ted to launch a chain ofn of
Italian restaurants, as a self-developedped
concept as well as a franchise op-op-
portunity outside of Dubai,” Falconeroner
explains. “It was an interesting
dynamic that a Dubai-based
company was looking at concepts
to sell to the world as opposed to jjust
buying concepts to roll-out here.”
This also meant a more-involved rolel be a mock ‘home-ob k ‘h wned’ Id’ Ittalian rli es-
for the agency than is usual with region- taurant. No red, checked tablecloths.
al restaurant branding. “Traditionally, No farmhouse or countryside themes.”
it’s always been in-house at hotels, and Instead, Tatweer wanted the brand-
it’s got a fairly limited scope; you have ing to be based on 50s Milan. “Milan’s a “You have to be wary of suggesting four- much happier with this name.”
signage, menus and a corporate identi- great city,” says Falconer. “It’s nice and colour printing, for example, when it N orth55 was responsible for design-
ty, to a degree—depending on the ven- not-so-nice at the same time, which is comes to packaging. But we try and ing and producing all material for the
ue,” says Falconer. “But then it pretty a good contrast. We took some of the keep the designers quite free to work as restaurant—from napkins and menus,
much just becomes an outlet within a grittier elements like the graffiti [on the loosely as possible within the brief.” through uniforms to the Urbano web-
hotel. But this time it was stand-alone, print material] and the slightly grotty The n ame Urbano helped, he says. site, giving the agency the opportunity
home-generated and then rolled out element and tried to make it a little bit “From a design perspective, you think to flex its muscles in all of its core disci-
to the world. So that gave us increased chic. And we added an element of that of names in two ways. You look at them plines: branding, print and online. “The
scope to do things which was a lot more 50s glamour as well.” phonetically—how people will be able whole concept was above and beyond
interesting for us.” The plans to fr anchise the brand to pronounce and read them—but you your traditional corporate identity,”
It was also a lot more work. Not least meant that North55 had to keep things look at them visually as well. Some Falconer says. “It spilled over into in-
because Urbano is keen to expand into fairly simple design-wise—no crazy words really look nice. And I think this terior design, the uniforms; the whole
online retail. “We had to consider how colour schemes or weird mascots—so is one of them.” concept pulled together nicely. And
the brand would work when applied to that franchisees have a clear framework It almost wasn’t, though, Currie re- we rolled out everything you’d imagine
different media,” says account manager, for their own branding. veals. “When we first pitched for it, it from there. Packaging, signage, printed
Charlotte Currie. “Not just your table- “With a r estaurant, you have to think was a different name that had some collateral, online and official standard
cloths and the typical touch points in about the practicalities as well as just kind of reference to Milan,” she says. guides, so when they franchise it, it’ll
a restaurant—such as menus and sig- the visual appeal,” Falconer explains. “But they changed it. We were actually be quite an easy roll-out.”
20 / 10 MAY 2009
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