Ciaran Watkins – Eating Out Manchester’s Country Side:

Posted on July 25, 2011 by


I’m hilarious. Anyway. The first of possibly two entries today brings you a new press campaign to advertise a side of Manchester most people don’t know exist; Countryside and that.

When I think of Manchester, I see the city before I see anything else. I’ve lived in the centre of this quite frankly amazing place for the past six years, and on the outskirts for sixteen before that. I knew the city streets before I knew the names of streets in the town I lived in. I’ve been to uni here, I’ve been to hundreds upon hundreds of shows here, and I’ve spent many a night stumbling home from various night spots, to one of the many flats I’ve occupied. Manchester to me is a city, but this campaign, is working to remind us that Manchester is much bigger than that city it contains.

It’s a shame really, as it looks like something we’ve seen before. If you were to make your way to any ‘Visit *‘ website, you’ll see similar styled posters in their dozens. Don’t get me wrong, the art direction is rather nice although the font is a strange choice, and the photography is absolutely stunning, but it’s hardly exciting. It doesn’t match up to previous work done by Dinosaur, and in all honesty looks like something an in-house design team could have knocked out in a few days, which is not what you want to be thinking when looking at work done by one of Manchester’s best.

The locations Dinosaur have decided to use are picturesque, and might have been what was required, but I feel the four posters I’ve managed to find feature only two locations. According to the agency head, the aim is that “Each treatment places an activity, such as cycling, trekking, or narrow-boating at the centre of it and then we have fun playing it off against the preconceptions of ‘urban’ Manchester. We wrap it up by highlighting ‘there’s another side to Manchester’ – its wonderful countryside.”, which is all well and good, but there are many more locations that would have worked just as well, if not better, than the two they’ve decided to focus on.

Here’s me obviously shooting myself in the foot, and in a few weeks time they’ll run posters of kids zooming down wires at Go Ape, but for now I’m stuck feeling underwhelmed and needy. Browsing the Manchester Countryside website, I can see activities that would define the ethos of this campaign much better than the country house and reservoir we’re looking upon in these images; East Lancs Steam Railway (I fucking love trains), Burrs Activity Centre, Go Ape!, and Wild Wings to name a few, but of course running these exciting attractions might somehow over shoot the aim of the campaign. However as an addition to the tamer attractions, they’d create a wider, fuller, and dare I say it, better run of adverts.

What I need to stress is that these adverts will work. The public will see them, take the information in, and then comes the dawn of realisation that there’s much more to Manchester than the city. Unfortunately for me, Mr.Over Critical, while the campaign is definitely adequate and ‘on-brief’, I can’t help but wanting the campaign to have been pushed that little further. Two dinosaurs out of five, please try harder.

Read more over at Whatever’s In There, Falls Out Here.

Posted in: Ciaran Watkins