For the first year of the Gentlemen’s Expo, I got the gig of doing most of their marketing, branding and signage materials. I got this by fixing up the original concept logo someone had come up with into the current logo, and because Steve Comrie of Simplicate Interactive recommended me to them.
The Gentlemen’s Expo Website
We wanted to come up with a visually interesting website that reflected a polished style and classy atmosphere. The original aim of the show was to elevate the meaning of ‘being manly’. This would be accomplished by creating an exhibition of the finest things that are ‘man-stuff’. Fine scotches, Cigars, suits, fast cars, meat – all the stereotypical things taken to a GQ level. So we created a site that felt a bit like a mosaic of a men’s style magazine. Then overlaid it with visual icons and trappings that resembled modernized Victorian design elements. This gave it both a new and old world ‘refined’ feel.
Print Media Advertising
Once the site launched, we immediately began putting out ads for vendors and exhibitors. The first buy had several magazine threads, and our targets were all over the place. The idea was to cast a wide net and let them know that this was a targeted retail experience for men, and to encourage brands and products to showcase themselves there. Everything from banking and insurance to vaping and motorcycles.
Outdoor Media Advertising
The big part of the project came towards the end where we put the last media push out into newspapers, public outdoor ads and radio. I didn’t have much to do with the radio stuff, but the concept was two-fold for this push. Being that we had no real brand awareness, and a recent culture shift had tarnished the word ‘gentlemen’ because of a bunch of desperate PUA’s and MRM’s, we really had to find a place that still kept the tone of ‘bettering yourself as a man’ without the intonation that ‘and then the world owes you something.’ We came up with a tongue in cheek approach to ‘how-to’ tips, where we gave serious life hack advice with absurd images. So was born what we believe was the icon of TGE – The gentlemen. A faceless yet moustached man.
Yes, he’s loosely based on Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson. I illustrated these and laid them out. I’ve only shown the TTC bus ads here, but we also did Zoom Media indoor posters as well.
On a personal note, we found out after the show that one lady was such a fan of the artwork on the posters that she went dumpster diving after the TTC tossed them to get her own versions of them.