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Metrolink 'Sorry…but…'

Agency: Hemisphere

Client: Manchester Metrolink

Manchester’s Metrolink tram system has launched a campaign to keep passengers up-to-date with the impacts of a massive £600 million improvement programme that will more than double the size of the system over the next few years.

Created by Manchester-based Hemisphere, the campaign sees the first promotional appearance of the new brand identity scheme developed for Metrolink by the agency, and focuses on offering an apology to passengers for the disruption caused by the improvement works, tempered with the promise of a much better service to come.

With a variety of headlines around a “Sorry…but…” concept, such as “Sorry for the diggers and drills…but we’ll make up for it in the spades” the campaign centres on a number of major street hoarding installations at key city centre tram stops, plus a series of 48 and 6 sheet posters at stations across the Metrolink network.

The campaign is further supported by leaflets being distributed at major transport interchanges, plus a 4-page cover wrap produced for local newspapers across the city region, giving passengers further information on the improvements that the £600 million will bring and the steps Metrolink is taking to help the travelling public through the disruption.

Hemisphere was initially appointed to rebrand Metrolink following a five-way competitive tender process in May 2008.  The new-look brand identity, evident for the first time in this campaign, reflects the agency’s exterior livery design for the new trams which was revealed last October.  Featuring a distinctive yellow background with a graphic pattern of graduated silver circles, the new identity will be carried across signage, station stops, mapping, uniforms and ticket vending machines as the improvements to the Metrolink system are made.

“The planned extensions and improvements to Metrolink will bring much better services to Greater Manchester, but a certain amount of disruption is unavoidable," said Director of Metrolink, Philip Purdy,

"The campaign has done a great job of encapsulating the scope of the investment and the measures we’re taking to minimise the disruption, allowing us to apologise for the inconvenience but in a positive way that focuses on the benefits it will bring.

He added, "It’s also fantastic to see the new Metrolink brand identity on the street for the first time, and its high visibility and impact are just a foretaste of what the new trams, new stations and new signage will bring to the city”.

Hemisphere director, Sue Vanden, added, “The campaign idea was about being honest and upfront with the travelling public, asking them to bear with Metrolink through the upheaval of the next few months – in effect it’s communicating the principle that you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

"The visual approach is also deliberately set ‘off kilter’, acknowledging that Metrolink is currently a bit out of sorts, but the underlying message is of an upbeat and confident approach to the future.”

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