RSPCA reveals first major branding update in 50 years.

The UK’s largest animal welfare charity has launched a vibrant, flexible identity by JKR, along with an upbeat campaign created by AMV BBDO that asks for a little respect

RSPCA has updated its branding for the first time since the 1970s. Although research showed the brand ranked highly in terms of awareness, faced with a growing animal welfare crisis being driven by industrial farming methods, climate change, and increasing urbanisation, the leadership team felt it was time to rethink the charity’s image and messaging.

“Animals are now facing some of the biggest challenges ever,” explains Chris Sherwood, chief executive at RSPCA, who says that to create a better world for animals, it needs as many people as possible to join the mission. “To do that, we needed to relook at ourselves as a brand and align our purpose, positioning and identity to achieve our goals.”

Hoping to inject some more energy, and a much-needed sense of optimism, into the charity’s branding, the RSPCA team reached out to creative agency JKR.

Following an extensive research process that involved JKR visiting animal centres, hospitals and RSPCA branches, and even going out on the road with animal rescue officers, the agency developed a new purpose for the organisation: ‘Inspire everyone to create a better world for every animal’. After ensuring that supporters of the charity felt this accurately reflected its ethos, the team at JKR began building a vibrant visual identity that would align with the purpose and encapsulate the new messaging.

At the heart of it is a logo that speaks to the huge range of animals that need and deserve our help, from birds to dogs to hedgehogs. The stamp-like design borrows the octagonal shape of the previous RSPCA logo, and acts as a frame to hold simple yet charming illustrations of various animals, which can be adapted to suit different contexts. The animal graphics appear elsewhere as animations, lending them an extra dose of personality.

Key to this bolder approach is also the updated brand typeface, Wilberforce Sans (named after Willliam Wilberforce, who helped to found the RSPCA in 1824). Thick, subtly flared letterforms grab attention while retaining the friendly and welcoming spirit of the charity.

These, along with the graphic and illustrated elements of the branding, are rendered in a bright range of colours across the system. Rabbit White, RSPCA Blue, Lizard Green, Butterfly Blue, Fox Red and Swallow Blue come together to create an engaging aesthetic that nods to the charity’s roots whilst firmly positioning it as a future-facing organisation with important work to do.

“We need people to reappraise us and rethink our place in the world if we are going to face up to the huge challenges facing animals,” says Sherwood. “Our bolder, brighter, welcoming brand aims to inspire everyone, whoever they are, to get involved so that together we can help animals now and for many years to come.”

Along with the branding, a new campaign titled For Every Kind has been developed in collaboration with advertising agency AMV BBDO. The two-minute campaign film by Rye Lane director Raine Allen-Miller highlights some of the neglect and cruelty that animals endure every day, with the animals singing along to Aretha Franklin’s iconic song Respect.

As well as clearer references to animal mistreatment, the advert also includes cartoon clips, video games and social content to show the subtly harmful ways that animals are treated or represented without many of us realising it. RSPCA’s celebrity ambassadors including actor Brian Blessed, wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham, and Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas, who have lent their voices to the spot.

The campaign also includes eye-catching OOH displays around the country that showcase the new identity and tone of voice.

“Given the complex and varied relationships we all have with animals it was important to create something that didn’t just shock or scare people but offered a sense of hope and left you feeling inspired,” say AMV BBDO creative directors Jack Smedley and George Hackforth-Jones.

Source: By Daniel Milroy Maher