Our Work

  • Brand Development

    We work on brands across many categories and many cultures, delivering a 'semiotic toolkit' to deal with a range of brand issues.

    Some past examples:

    Charity: how are cultural meanings around 'Charity' changing? How can an international aid charity best connect with consumers' changing ideas?

    Lager: how can the traditionally masculine world of lager start to attract  female consumers?

    Transport: how can a function-focused travel website start to reflect the consumer experience of urban travel?

    Breakfast cereal: what are the key words and images that can talk about The Family in a modern, distinctive way?

    Supermarkets: we live in a 'culture of choice' - how can a supermarket best connect with this idea?

    Mobile phones: a consumer co-creation project has yielded thousands of 'picture responses' - how can we make deeper sense of them?


  • Advertising

    We do a lot of work alongside ad agencies, helping them translate cultural insights into strategic planning and powerful executions. For example:

    The Dulux global pitch (Euro RSCG): what is the cultural role of Colour- what differences and commonalities are there across international cultures, and even within those cultures?

    Kingsmill (M&C Saatchi): what kind of stories and characters should this brand be portraying, to make it distinctive, yet keep its authentic identity?

    Vodafone (McCann Erickson): what is the dominant 'body language' of the mobile network category- how can a brand work against these conventions, yet remain relevant?

    Flora (Ogilvy): the symbol of the heart is at the centre of the Flora brand- how could a new campaign inject new life into this age-old and ubiquitous symbol? undefined

  • Packaging & Design

    When you've only got a few square inches on which to communicate, every word, image and squiggle counts.

    Semiotics helps brands use their space as powerfully and relevantly as possible. Some examples:

    Soft & Gentle (Colgate-Palmolive): Consumers felt that packaging was 'not modern'- but how could 'modern-ness' be added in a way that retained the core visual elements of the brand?

    Nokia: packaging for accessories is notoriously dull- how could Nokia do something different that was both relevant to the brand and connected to its brand values?

    ING Direct: financial direct mail is rarely welcomed by consumers: ING Direct needed a rationale for choosing images for a range of direct mail campaigns.

    P&O Cruises: the world's favourite cruise line was not producing the world's favourite brochures and leaflets. How could it overhaul its visual and verbal identity? 


The National Lottery

The National Lottery

"Rob Thomas has a particularly valuable skill for a semiotician. He was not only able to make complex ideas easy to understand, but he also moved swiftly from analysis to business application"

Wendy Gordon, Martin Lee, Directors, Acacia Avenue