Over the past few decades, town centre footfall has been in decline nationwide, with a number of key retail stores disappearing from the high street forever. To make this even worse, in 2020 a global pandemic hit which had a devastating effect on the retail sector, which changed the way we live and shop forever.
Bolton Council approached Absolute with a simple task - to come up with a campaign to drive people back to Bolton's high street in a post-covid world. A campaign to show the plethora of shops, restaurants, bars and attractions at the heart of Bolton town centre and put Bolton back on the map as the world returned back to normality.
Throughout the pandemic people were cooped up at home with family or in isolation. Retail therapy became a coping mechanism and shifted to online. Although this kept delivery drivers extremely busy nothing really comes close to heading to the high street in the search of a bargain or meeting up with friends for a catch up.
The importance of socialising and getting back to normal after being stuck inside for months on end became apparent. This inspired the campaign line 'Unleash your inner...' - which seemed apt and was a flexible tool to promote diffferent businesses and sectors.
Our campaign playfully encouraged people to return to the high street and enjoy their newly found freedom. What better place to start than Bolton town centre? The perfect place to shop, socialise and explore some of the finest attractions and hidden gems available.
We created a set of three striking, playful TV commercials which highlighted the vast array of food, drink and retail businesses that Bolton has to offer. Each ad was art directed to be deliberately elaborate and over-the-top to reflect the Boltonian quirky sense of humour.
These were combined together with a series of bold, colourful typographic posters to get people smiling again after a torrid chapter in their lives. The result was an iconic suite of ads full of wit, warmth and charm to create a truly memorable campaign.