First Essex unveil a rebranded airport route

I seem to spend much of my time chasing buses, but with this project it wasn’t so much the bus that was important, but the route it took.

Built by Alexander Dennis Ltd, 12 brand new single deck Enviro200 buses have been introduced by First Essex and Stansted Airport investing £1.9m to improve the journey between the airport and South Essex.

The X10 and X30 enjoy features, such as leather seats, USB Charging and free Wi-Fi. The service will also benefit from eye-catching livery designed by JRBuzz.

Working with Adam from First Essex and Paula from JRBuzz, we shot the whole thing in one day (bar a bit of livery timelapse), and managed to choose the one gloriously sunny November day, in what appeared to be the Essex rainy season.
We needed a dramatic sunrise as an opener, and no we didn’t use any Caribbean stock footage, that really is Southend Pier (at about 6.45am – and probably minus °2).

Thanks to First Essex, JRBuzz and ADL for their help, and also to Stansted Airport and the very pleasant though heavily tooled up security men who decided not to arrest us with our cameras …

A shiny new website


I certainly didn’t set out to create a new website. That was a job I’d been putting off for a while …well it’s one of those arduous tasks isn’t it. Many of us spend our days promoting and creating ‘artistic’ visual content for clients, but when it comes to doing our own stuff, we suddenly find ourselves staring blankly into space and scratching our heads. All I’d really wanted was a new page.

I produce a lot of induction and safety films for industrial clients, and I decided I needed a page to reflect that side of my business. I thought a new dedicated web page focussing squarely at safety training and H&S would do the trick. So I contacted my favourite web man – Foamshore – to ask if he could create a new page for me.

The problem he explained is as everything is template based, adding just a single page wouldn’t be straightforward. The best solution would be a complete refresh of the site, create a new safety page as required, add a few new images, an update in style and Bob’s your uncle. So began a few weeks of nicking  ideas, buying new iStock images, writing new text and batting suggestions back and forth with the very patient Adam until we got it right. The big breakthrough for me was video content. Again I’d avoided showreels for so long, but I knew deep down that it was something I had to face up to … and so I shall write a future Blog all about the endeavours of producing your own showreel – after a 30 years of pretending I didn’t need one.

Oh, and that’s another first. Blogging. What the hell am I doing blogging about stuff ? Adam and other experts (hi Richard) have always extolled the virtues of regular blogging – keep your audience engaged and keep your website refreshed so the Google spiders (or whatever) can find stuff on your site and help it up the rankings (I’ve no idea what I’m talking about, please feel free to advise).

So, if you’re new, welcome to my new site, enjoy the video content, and thanks for reading the first of a more frequent blog

John @ Red Dot

The ADL secret to bus design

Here’s a mini epic Red Dot Digital produced for ADL.

Alexander Dennis Ltd are a hugely successful British bus manufacturer, and operate on a true global scale.
In 2012 they announced not only a major new model, but also a completely new manufacturing process to produce it. Under the banner MMC (Major Model Change), they were to develop a completely new vehicle, to replace their own current market leader.

For ADL, the all-new Enviro400 would be a game changer, re designed from the ground up.
Red Dot Digital was asked to follow the process. Not so much about the nuts and bolts, but more about another essential part of the design – the views of the customers.

This bus was designed entirely for the customer. “Walking in the customers shoes” is a well worn cliché these days, but that is exactly what ADL did. During a series of unique customer sessions around the country, the people who buy and operate the buses were invited to sit and explain in never ending detail, exactly what they wanted in a new vehicle. Everything from the drivers coat hook to the new heating and cooling system, the re-designed staircase to the wiring harnesses – there were over 200 improvements listed.

At these sessions ADL would sit, listen, discuss and then go away, develop and build it. The customers were delighted. They were having a major say in the design of their bus.

The cameras of Red Dot Digital were invited to follow this process throughout from the beginning. We listened to the sessions and spoke with the customers. We saw the designing, the mock-ups, the testing and eventually the actual launch at ADL’s new Larbert facility.

Red Dot Digital produced this programme in association with John Broadley of BHA, and thanks must go to ADL’s CEO Colin Robertson for his vision, and allowing RDD the freedom to attend the meetings and gain access to the clients.

Thanks must also go to the driving force of the entire video and launch project Director of Corporate Communications Bill Simpson, and Marketing Services and Events Manager Caroline Lee who co-ordinated a very complex shooting schedule.

The CGI was produced at Mediasphere, and the narration was provided by the brilliant Andrew Brittain