#BASQUEINBIARRITZ:

Branding Campaign Case Study

Close your eyes and imagine the slow crash of the morning waves beat against coastal rock, the salty air pouring through your open window. It’s seven am in Biarritz, France — your day of adventure had just begun.

Exploring all the treasures of this aquitaine town is like slipping between rips of time from reliving the grandeur of Napolean with the art deco styled buildings, to the fleeting gift of this paradise as the waters erode 70cm of the rocks annually. Making you want to take in this place as much as you can.

THE PROBLEM

Biarritz, France is a magical place that has a lot of great pieces but could use some tender love and care in packaging their unique high points.

THE OPPORTUNITY

Challenge myself to build a strong brand and marketing plan out of the riches of Biarritz as a must-go travel destination.

THE SOLUTION

Create a landing page, branding guideline and mockups of marketing assets.

TIME:

17 DAYS

I had never travelled to Biarritz, France. However, one look at a google search of the place made me so envious and depressed that I hadn’t experienced it yet. I took a few days to look up facts that about Biarritz. The size, the population, those types of things. Once I had enough solid pieces, I began reading travelogues, journals and blogs of people who had been there to get a grasp on their feelings and emotions tied to this specific place. The way they would describe their visit often spoke of the warmth of the sun, the squish of sand between their toes or the rustic basque country charm of the seaside restaurants they dined in.

The architecture really drew me in at first. This was a place rich with years of these proud building the formed the magical maze of this coastal city’s downtown. Much of it was built during Napolean’s time, most often as tributes to Empress Eugenia. Biarritz was a coveted vacation destination spot at that time and continues to still be now.

This is ‘Le Carlton’ which was a hotel built in the 20th century now repurposed as luxury apartment living. Below are photos of an old art deco building that turned into The Office of Tourism. The photos referenced are from culturepassport.com. Her travel blog was one my favourites to read. Sometimes her posts would be filled with her adventures and sometimes it would just be a line or two and littered with photos that told the tale.

When it was just the photos there was an airy charm. You could tell there was a story and a meaning behind capturing a building, meal or scenery that made you curious to know for yourself.

Here is where we get to have some fun. Taking the research synthesis and try to visualize those thoughts and feelings into well, more thoughts and feelings. Except it would have a specific field of view. The first direction was to go coastal. I listened to Tycho’s Dive and Awake albums over and over again while conceptualizing and came up with peach, corals, sea greens and this very pink and lovely, hipster desert days concept.

There problem here was that it was too narrow now, it only focused on beach life. So I looked at the landscape to help me out. The things were manmade — the things we as people produced. The repeating patterns of geometric shapes in the tiling were mesmerizing and still reflected the colour scheme I became attached to.

At this point, it was solid direction. However, once can never go wrong with trying to find a competing idea. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t projecting what I wanted not necessarily what was best to represent Biarritz.

So became the exploration of the idea of the window that is formed with the tunnel shape in the swell of a huge wave. There was something very spirited and festive in the second run through of mood boarding. I got a bit lost — in all the options available to me.

Now to take a step back and see at what it is that I did have and connect the dots.

As the quote states, I wanted to capture this escaping existence. There are many places in the world that carry that same feeling. I wasn’t trying to claim Biarritz’s supremacy over it’s magical setting. If anything all I wanted to do was polish so it shined a little more as one of those places one might regret to never knowing the pleasure of experiencing it.

Here are my notes from inception sheet moving forward.

From here there were days of trial and error to sculpt the balance of the page from multiple user tests, mostly A/B focused to gauge it’s readability. The landing page still needed to five information while hosting a playground of eye candy for the user.

Below are screens of the individual pages for the landing screen that I designed. The website has very few ornamental elements. In fact it’s not very traditional that there is no CTA button but rather a bolded coloured text. I think it gets away with not being in a box because there are so few things to distract the user. It’s quite a conceptual landing page that in itself is an experience.

I wanted the page to be simple. It needed to mirror the vibe and lifestyle one could have while in Biarritz.

The font choice were soft, rounded types. Raleway for it’s legibility and fresh feeling when the tracking was set higher. It’s different weights allowed for a lot of play and diversity whiles Times — was able to give the pages a touch of elegance and classic history quite like this aquitaine town.

The video above goes through a walk through of the landing page. Illustrated in Sketch and animated on Principle.

Play around with mobile prototype hosted by InVision.

The navigation is dispersed into specific times of day of which the traveller could see what a typical day in Biarritz was like.

7 / When you wake up

8 / To the scrumptious food you’ll eat

10/ The restorative activities you’ll enjoy

1 / The paths you walk revisiting back in time

3 / Jumping to the energizing sports and play

Marketing mockups of the landing page and merchandise were all chosen to reflect the notable feelings of visiting Biarritz. The glint of the sun off the corner of your device as you relax or refreshing sea breeze whipping through your hair, all the sights and sounds that take you back.

Something I wanted to impart on each time traveller is a record of just that. The campaign would supply the guests with a blank travellogue free to personalize as much as it suited the guest.

The book would feature multiple perforated pages, stickers, flaps and folders to store receipts or keepsakes. The pages could be kept in order or moved around to suit the guest. The folded pattern was meant to replicate the feeling of opening a map — each traveller free to navigate their way through Biarritz as if they were discovering the land for themselves, just like a true explorer of this beautiful basque country.

If you wish to view the branding guideline, please follow this link.

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