I-AM creates Soft Republic for Walls
I-AM and Walls have worked together to install a pop-up and flagship retail experiences targeted at the Instagram generation this summer.
Unilever have created a ‘special projects’ division within Walls, with a licence to think as a disruptor brand would. The mission was to create a new stand alone experiential brand within their portfolio that reinvents soft serve ice cream for the millennial and Gen Z consumer. The Wall’s soft ice cream proposition is wide-ranging, with different products available outside of the home according to global location and individual situation & opportunity. The aim was therefore to create a fresh and vibrant new umbrella brand, providing a contemporary & future-facing image applicable across, and flexible to this range of scenarios, helping establish Unilever as owners of the world’s best soft serve brand.
The resulting ‘Urban Explosion’ of Soft Republic is a brand world that encourages self-expression & creativity, and celebrates individuality – a timely & positive response to unsettling global developments. It is a force for unification over the joy of ‘Messy Creativity’ through the medium of soft ice & unrestrained toppings.
The Soft Republic retail pop-up at London’s iconic Spitalfields Market has launched in tandem with a social-media led strategy to encourage fans to spread the word and share their ice cream creations.
For global roll-out, I-AM built flexibility into the brand. Rather than designing a rigid identity ‘bible,’ a design philosophy was established, combining a wide range of varied visual elements. This allows the concept to adapt to its geography – street art plays a key role in the world of Soft Republic, and in the Spitalfields pop-up, Shoreditch artist Rich Fairhead’s work references local cues as well as a world of
In-store, customers invent their own ice cream creation – hot dog, burger, magic box, a cone, or soft-ice coffee (affogato) . I-AM worked closely with product development specialists F.I.S. on these new formats. Customers are encouraged to share their creations with the world on their social media platform of choice. The ‘Hall of Fame’ wall is covered in polaroid’s taken by staff of customer’s creations, and there are plenty of instagram worthy features within the store.
The initial reception has been a combination of surprise, delight and excitement. Future plans include adaptation to local markets around the world using the in-build flexibility in the palette of brand assets and approaches to engagement with local culture such as street artists, as well as application across the range of soft serve equipment and packaging required for all the scenarios that exist for spreading joy through this iconic product.
“You’re not just getting the job done, you can feel the passion” Comments Ian Maskell, Global Vice President brand development, Walls, Unilever