London studio me&dave has created a language-led brand identity for Anco&co, a build-to-rent (BTR) development that has just launched in the heart of Manchester with the bold goal of shaking up the rental sector.
Located in up-and-coming neighbourhood, Ancoats, me&dave’s urban fly-poster campaign is inspired by protest placards. It also references Manchester’s world-famous music scene – the iconic bands, and gig posters by artists like Peter Saville of Factory Records fame.
The campaign shuns imagery and dull property vernacular in favour of a new, straight-talking language of protest and revolt. It empowers renters to take a stand against the status quo and aspire to a better lifestyle, getting the message across that Anco&co is changing things for the better with a new, upscale approach to the rental market.
Real estate investor DTZ Investors approached me&dave to come up with a strategy that would demonstrate how Anco&co is moving renting into a new era.
"There’s a big gap between Anco&co and what many people regard as ‘typical’ renting," says Mark Davis, co-founder and creative director of me&dave. "Our challenge was to make it clear that the two are poles apart. Build-to-rent is a bit misunderstood. Our bold campaign reframes renting as being more like belonging to a members’ club and, along the way, hopefully we crush a few stereotypes and make people smile. Real estate can take itself far too seriously sometimes."
The campaign has been deliberately designed to pique interest and get people talking. Hoardings surrounding the whole site have been covered in fly posters and a dedicated website has been set up so that people can register interest.
Much of the messaging is explicit – "There’s a new landlord in town", "Renting just got good" – but some is implicit. Signs with slogans like "Sorry Billy, we’re over" are intentionally abstract, but will appeal to renters sick of dragging Billy bookshelves from flat to flat (it also nods to the fact Anco&co apartments are fully furnished).
As well as being humorous and aesthetically striking, the campaign is standing for a cause. "It’s saying, we’ve had enough of being fobbed off with old mattresses, exploitative landlords and damp, substandard accommodation," adds Davis. "Anco&co is moving the goalposts and things are going to change."