Stephen Woodford’s MAA blast from the past: Orange launch

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In these isolated, locked-down times, with uncertainty and hardship ahead, my blast from the past is a beautiful slice of future-facing optimism – the launch commercial for Orange by WCRS. I re-joined WCRS to work on Orange just after this launch and I remember the intrigue and anticipation around the brand, generated by the simple one-word 48 sheet posters, bought on twin sights; ‘Laugh’ and ‘Cry’, ‘Talk’ and ‘Listen’, a fantastic use of outdoor showing the visionary brand identity, created by Wolff Olins.

Then this commercial aired, talking about a ‘wire-free future’ where you ‘call people not places’, setting out an optimistic and enticing world view the brand build on in the years to come. In effect the 4th brand into the market, selling the category benefits of mobile and doing in a way that inspired and connected with people like no mobile brand had done before.

Created by WCRS creative directors, the brilliant Larry Barker and Rooney Carruthers, directed by the legendary Frank Budgen, the hypnotic music by Philip Glass, the feelings it evoked were perfect for the times. The UK was just coming of an interminable recession and it captured a new optimism about technology and hope for a better world. It powered Orange from 4th to 1st in the market and though sadly the brand has disappeared in the UK, it remains for me one of the best endlines of all time. ‘The future’s bright, the future’s Orange.’ Here’s to a bright future for us all.

Stephen Woodford is CEO of the UK Advertising Association. He is a former chairman of adam&eveDDB and CEO of WCRS.

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