The National Trust launches a ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ app for Soho

The National Trust has launched the Soho Stories app, which guides tourists round the famously seedy area of London.

Soho Stories app on an iPhone
Soho Stories app on an iPhone

Created by design consultancy Them Design, which collaborated with Phantom Productions on the sound aspects, the free app tells visitors stories about the area and its past inhabitants.  Them began work on the project in April this year, having won a creative pitch.

Soho Stories app on an iPhone
Soho Stories app on an iPhone

Dan Moscrop, creative director at Them Design, says, ‘We tried to create something less conventional. We stayed within the National Trust brand guidelines but wanted to try and open it to a different audience, so we wanted to capture Soho’s darker side.

‘The Soho Stories app is quite unusual for the National  Trust as it pushed the boundaries with the sex, drugs and rock and roll.’

Neon National Trust logo for Soho Stories

Them Design created a neon variation of National Trust logo, which is also being used on promotional materials and event collateral that accompany the app.

The free app uses images shot at night in Soho; and features a model with the National Trust logo shaved into the back of his head.

National Trust logo shaved into the back of a man's head
National Trust logo shaved into the back of a man’s head

The tales focus on events since the 1940s, such as music, personalities from the area, social movements, crime and gay liberation. GPS technology is used to identify the location of the user, and a story is tailored to their place, read by writer Barry Cryer.

Stories include Molly Parkin on boozing with Francis Bacon, Janet Street Porter on Damien Hirst at the Groucho Club, Frankie Fraser on the rise of the gangster and Wee Will Harris on the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. It includes original music by The Correspondents and Brian Eno and poetry by Felix Dennis.

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