‘There must be hundreds of consultancies spending money doing creative on this, and yet you cannot even talk to anyone at the client end about the brief,’ says a Lambie-Nairn spokeswoman. ‘The best you can do is e-mail questions.’ She adds that the tender compares ‘very badly’ to the London 2012 Olympics identity tender, ‘and yet this is even more high-profile and complex’.
The brief calls for ‘a visionary, challenging’ brand that will reflect London as a place to ‘visit, study and do business’ and communicate the ‘breadth and depth of London’s story’.
‘The tender is potentially a lovely PR story for the GLA, and it will produce some beautiful design, but free creative pitching does our industry a disservice,’ protests Lambie-Nairn chief executive Christian Schroeder. ‘It allows people to believe that we can come up with meaningful design based around some pretty creative work.’
Appetite, which branded the GLA when it was established in 2000, is also ‘unlikely’ to bid, according to the consultancy’s owner Laura Haynes.
‘It is interesting that there are people in the industry willing to say, “Let’s do this”, but, quite frankly, we are very busy professionals and consider this tender disrespectful to London,’ says Haynes. ‘We respect the GLA and the branding of London too much to go at it in such a cynical way.’
Wally Olins’ group Saffron Brand Consultants is entering the competition, but declines to comment on the tender.
Interbrand did not confirm whether it was bidding or not, but global chief executive Jez Frampton says, ‘I am sure the GLA has good reasons to structure the tender this way. Sometimes free-pitching can help the process if you are using it as a means to understand how the consultancy will work with you.’
Also bidding is Moving Brands, which is publicising every element of its bid on a blog and Twitter, and asking the public for ideas.
The consultancy is collaborating on the project with Scott Thomas, design director for the Barack Obama election campaign, which used social networking to great advantage.
A brand for London brief:
- The GLA asks that London’s new branding should promote it as:
- The business capital of the world
- Europe’s number one city for culture
- The place to study for international students
- A leading centre of research, science and technology
- A leading centre of the creative industries, especially film
- A low-carbon capital
- The number one city for inward investment
- The world’s number one visitor destination
- The number one place to live and work