Design

Crafting a luxury travel product by Thomas O'Malley

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The challenge - to update the printed materials of WildChina, a Beijing-based luxury travel operator. I was onboard as writer and creative consultant, together with their in-house designers.

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The elegant package unwraps to reveal individual trip cards together with a flagship corporate brochure and other materials covering the education and corporate travel arms of the business.

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The brochure begins by playing on the slightly ambiguous WildChina name; the founder appreciated this approach because the name has sometimes been a source of anxiety for potential customers (WildChina being a luxury outfit but potentially being interpreted as a "wild" or budget-minded adventure company), not to mention the nature documentary series of the same name.

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The question "How Wild is Wild China?" is broken down into a series of dictionary definitions that serve to exemplify - via a neat leap of logic - the core features of the business. This has also been used on the "Why Us" section of the company's website.

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The brochure includes excerpts of key messaging I wrote for the brand. Words that inspire the potential traveller, that contain and champion the vision of the company, and that don't fall back on China's "mist-swathed mountain" cliches:

China is a nation of people and their stories. Of joy and struggle, tradition and innovation. Of mighty rivers, vast wilderness, and sprawling mega cities. It’s a tale 5,000 years in the making, and we’re just getting to the most exciting chapter.

We are the travel company that punches through the tourist bubble to get to the real stories. We empower you to discover the China that lives amid the aromatic sizzle of street-side woks, in bustling city markets and far-flung mountain villages, and most of all, in the hearts of the people you will meet along the way.

Play your part in the story of a nation set to shape the 21st century. Come with us to Experience China Differently.

Creative Marketing: The Nightwatch by Thomas O'Malley

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Here's a selection of my work on The Nightwatch, an after-dark guided tour of Beijing's old alleyways that traces the footsteps of a Qing Dynasty nightwatchman. (Still available for private tours, folks.) Guided walks are a fabulous way to get to know a city, particularly when created by someone with the historic smarts and charisma of Lars from Beijing Postcards. I worked with Beijing Postcards and Bespoke Beijing to create marketing buzz for a number of their walks (we called them 'Signature City Experiences'), designing posters, flyers, even videos to drum up the hype.

All good guided walks need an elaborate video teaser trailer, right? Well, ours did. My first ever attempt at cinema, shot entirely with iPhone on location at the Beijing Drum Tower and surrounding hutongs...

Not forgetting the logo. Something snazzy, edgy, yet classy.

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I designed these fun teaser flyers, printed on coarse brown paper, which were scattered around select Beijing cafe establishments, alongside adverts for dance parties and gallery exhibitions...

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Other work included e-newsletters to customers...

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Also these making-of videos interviewing Lars on his research processes, and repeated reference to the erstwhile Game of Thrones slogan, "the night is dark and full of shadows". Because, you know.

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Where's Wally in China? by Thomas O'Malley

He's in the Forbidden City! I created this little booklet as part of a publicity stunt I devised for Bespoke Beijing during China's famously congested Golden Week national holiday. With Beijing's tourist sites overrun with visitors, the temptation is to avoid sightseeing altogether. Or... seize the opportunity and play a life-sized game of Where's Wally? instead. Next year: Badaling Great Wall. Big thanks to Liz Phung for helping out with the photography, and Harold from XIX Spirit for being such a great Wally. Click the cover above to check it out.

Despite the pollution it was a fun day out. The only folks who clocked it that it was a Where's Wally stunt were foreign tourists. Chinese tourists figured out he was supposed to be someone, but the closest they got was an old lady who knowingly declared him to be 麦当劳叔叔 (Ronald McDonald!).

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The full "Where's Wally in China" (Wo Li is his official Chinese name, actually) game can be played / read over at Bespoke Beijing's website.