M&C Saatchi creates campaign to support Soho’s independent businesses

The ads encourage those based in Soho to revisit some of their favourite places.

M&C Saatchi: illustrations each have dual meanings
M&C Saatchi: illustrations each have dual meanings

M&C Saatchi has created a campaign to support Soho's independent businesses. The push is supported by the Mayor of London's office, Westminster Council and The Soho Society. 

The campaign, "GoGoSoho", encourages those based in the district to revisit some of their favourite places and invites people in other parts of London to head back to the centre of town to check out these spots. It brings together more than 20 local businesses, including Ronnie Scott's, John Snow, Bar Italia, Soho's Original Adult Store and Duck Soup, under one creative umbrella.

A cohesive range of Illustrations designed by Andy Harris showcases each business alongside the business' name and the "GoGoSoho" logo. With a subtle quirk or dual meaning in each illustration, the executions aim to highlight the individuality of each business featured, referencing their histories and individual personalities.

Skull rings form the eyes of a frog showcasing The Great Frog's signature jewellery, while an angry cockerel with a boxing glove for its wattle sums up restaurant Coqfighter. In a nod to Soho history, the Broad Street water pump that John Snow linked to a cholera outbreak is shown pouring a pint for the pub named after him. The copywriter for the project was Amy Parkhill.

The campaign's styling hangs on a wordmark created using "FS Marlborough", a font designed in a collaboration between Fontsmith and M&C Saatchi based on an original street sign in Great Marlborough Street. A bold and vibrant colour palette of black, red and yellow was used to evoke a sense of the street life and nightlife that Soho is synonymous with.

M&C Saatchi has created a suite of fly posters that will appear in a number of London locations, including Mare Street, Brick Lane, Clere Street, Dalston Lane and Sclater Street. The poster campaign is supported by a GoGoSoho.co.uk microsite that hosts film content showcasing Soho's independent businesses.

The campaign will be amplified by social media, influencer activity and performance media, geotargeting visitors to central London to encourage them to pop into Soho, as well as creating a bot to hijack hashtagged conversations about Soho on social channels, directing people to the campaign and its participating businesses.

M&C Saatchi's Golden Square office is hosting a "GoGoSoho" takeover, with logos and signage inside and on its exterior. It is also running a photography exhibition at Soho members' club The House of St. Barnabas, featuring images of some of the businesses appearing in the campaign, and the people who work there.

M&C Saatchi has also created six GoGoSoho-branded "Open" signs designed and hand-painted by Jonathan Muddell, evoking the styles of Soho street signage that will sit in the windows and doors of local Soho businesses welcoming in customers.

Ben Golik, chief creative officer at M&C Saatchi, said: “Soho’s been hit hard this past year. It’s been our home for 25 years and if there’s ever been a time to give back – it’s now. 'GoGoSoho' is a proud shout out to our neighbours, and a rousing call to get Londoners back in to support them. From vintage vinyl to vibrators, Soho’s always been home to unique indie retailers. We’d like to keep it that way.”