One Black Bear’s ad campaign for M6 Toll is bursting with colour and life

The Birmingham agency has enlisted the help of illustrator Andy Smith and animator Ben Rustage to help promote the Midlands toll road, and you can’t help but be grabbed by the vibrant visuals they came up with.

The M6 Toll, aka the Midland Expressway, is a 27-mile toll road that allows drivers to bypass Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Connecting Junction 3a to 11A, this six-lane stretch of motorway – the only major toll road in Great Britain – offers a free-flowing alternative to the congested M6 for those willing to pay.

Now Birmingham-based creative agency One Black Bear has launched a bold new advertising campaign for the M6 Toll to promote its upgraded technology and new customer account program, Breeze.

Over the past year, M6 Toll invested £20 million into upgrades, including new Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology that allows Breeze account holders to drive through toll plazas without stopping. A new pricing structure also makes the toll more affordable for local journeys.

Colour of life

Forming the centrepiece of the campaign, titled ‘A Toll New Look’ (ouch), are six larger-than-life illustrated characters created by artist Andy Smith and animated by Ben Rustage.

The visuals really stand out and make an impact: compare them to any recent transport advertising you’ve seen, and they’re light years apart. And they really are bright and breezy – just what you’d expect for a service called Breeze.

Over the next few months, the new assets will be displayed on digital displays, direct mail, billboards, and service stations in the Midlands region.

“You won’t be able to avoid this campaign if you’re travelling in the Midlands,” said Jenny Ray, creative director at One Black Bear. “The illustrations give life to the different benefits of the new M6 Toll experience: cheaper, simpler and quicker thanks to Breeze.”

Website redesign

To complement the new ad campaign, One Black Bear has also redesigned the M6 Toll website to align with the branding of its new parent company, Aleatica – a transport infrastructure operator headquartered in Spain with a presence in Europe and Latin America.

“We’re very proud of this campaign, which really captures the convenience and value of the upgraded M6 Toll,” said Tristan Vere-Hoose, copywriter at One Black Bear. “If the bold visuals pique your interest, we’ll see you out on the toll road.”

The campaign launches this week and will run across the Midlands through the summer. One Black Bear collaborated with media agency BBJ&K for strategic planning and placement.

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