Circle brands Phoenician Ship Expedition

An historical expedition is to be recreated next week as part of a charitable project, with an identity and brand communications devised by London consultancy Circle.

The Phoenician Ship Expedition, headed by ex-naval officer and social entrepreneur Philip Beale, will take to the seas in July. It will try to explore questions associated with the ancient Phoenician trading route, while stopping en route to support clean-water projects in Africa.

The findings of the voyage and the ship itself, the Phoenicia – a reconstruction of an ancient design currently in the last phase of development – may form the basis for an exhibition, which is at the proposal stage, at the British Museum next year.

Circle, appointed last year on recommendation and without a pitch, has created the brand to help raise the project’s profile and generate sponsorship. It created the main identity and brand toolkit for print and on-line communications. Circle managing director Claire Livesey reveals that the Syrian Embassy in London will officially launch the expedition on 19 May.

‘The aim is to inspire people across the globe, and it’s being promoted as a cultural odyssey linking Europe, Syria and Africa,’she adds.

The ship – which is being built in Syria, where it will begin and end its circumnavigation of Africa – will be promoted as part of Damascus’s celebrations as the Arab Capital City of Culture 2008.

According to Livesey, one of the key challenges of the project was how to distil the complex messages the ship needed to communicate.

‘The project has a varied audience, from schoolchildren interested in the project, to investors looking for a viable sponsorship opportunity. The brand needed to retain the sense of fun and adventure but at the same time appeal to a more serious academic or corporate audience,’ says Livesey.

The Phoenicia will circumnavigate Africa, a voyage thought to have been originally made in 600 BC by ancient Phoenicians inhabiting what is now Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Phoenicia project manager Alice Chutter explains that the British Museum’s assistant keeper for ancient Levant, Jonathan Tubb, has advised on the project, and is planning an independent research project called First Contact.

For more information, visit www.phoenicia.org.uk.

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