The office is dead, declares property campaign by Music

Music has turned marketing for commercial property developer Property Alliance Group on its head with a tongue-in-cheek campaign

Music has turned marketing for commercial property developer Property Alliance Group on its head with a tongue-in-cheek campaign.

To promote the renovation and refurbishment of 54 Princess Street in Manchester, a Grade II listed building, the agency came up with a campaign, theofficeisdead.co.uk, that pokes fun at the clichés of mundane office life, highlights the way in which workplace design is evolving and celebrates the “death of the office as we used to know it”.

A core aim was to reach the target tenants – businesses who take a creative approach to workplace design – in a different way. Conventional lettings marketing usually takes place after a refit, but Music decided to start drumming up interest before the decidedly humdrum interiors were stripped.

This approach included an attention-grabbing graphic holding page for the building, which displayed either serene images of kittens or a strobing series of neon words declaring the said death of the office, depending on the visitor’s aversion or inclination towards flashing images. It got the ball rolling, garnering 7,000 hits within two weeks.

The agency also persuaded its client to let it create an extensive series of installations in the pre-refurb building. Each ‘artwork’ poked fun at well-trodden office clichés such as ‘EOP’, ‘data driven’, ‘synergy’, ‘A big ask’ and ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here…’.

‘A big ask’

‘Brainstorm’

‘Synergy’

‘If at first you don’t succeed, remove all evidence you ever tried’

‘That takes the biscuit’

‘Data driven’

The artworks were created “from scratch” by the creative team, according to Music’s Adam Rix, and were installed over a week. “At Music we’re lucky to have a very diverse range of skillsets and talents. One of our art workers sews, and sells her work at craft fairs, so she ran up the giant ties on her sewing machine using kids’ duvet covers,” he explains. “One of our designers is a typophile, so he painstakingly crafted the ‘Badmintonathon’ type, before about five of us put all the pins in over many hours…”

‘Stick a pin in it’

The installations remained in position for just 48 hours, in order to fit in with the schedule of refurbishment work. But they now form the basis of the content for the building’s website, which launched this week, as well as a series of social media campaigns which will run in the next few months. “Part of our response to the brief was to create the installations with a view to them being repurposed as permanent artwork in the communal areas of the building,” adds Rix.

Music has also salvaged some of the materials stripped from the building, repurposing them for other elements of the campaign. For example, it has screen printed 200 of the ceiling tiles removed to sell the new space (see below).

Refurbishments are well under way and space will be released floor by floor as they are let. Each tenant also receives the services of interior design firm Sheila Bird Group for free to help them realise their work space.

And for those interested in the progress of the building, there will be virtual tours in due course. See theofficeisdead.co.uk.

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