“I come from a real place, I speak about real issues
and I stay out of all the silly stuff.”

- Charlie Angus

The Charlie Angus Leadership Campaign

Brand and Marketing.

In January of 2017, I started volunteering some time to work on developing the brand and marketing theme for Charlie Angus’s NDP Leadership campaign.

The initial first run at the theming for this campaign was influenced a few things, the first was this Walter Benjamin quote.

“The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity.”

That quote distills perfectly the the marketing voice and identity of Canada’s NDP leading up to and following the 2015 federal election. That is to say, the NDP was missing key historical and present day characteristics, without which they were unable to contextualize their cause clearly. That lack affords both opponents and media the opportunity to assert their own narrative attributes.

I wanted to structure Charlie’s campaign to leverage his specific strengths and character. First, was his activist roots, positioning him as the punk rock outsider to the corporatist and lobbyist status quo Liberals and/or Conservatives. As an actual heuristic leadership  alternative that chooses to live ethically, in plain sight, because he doesn’t cut deals in backrooms. The second essential piece in developing this theme was to leverage these same NDP roots. Using the quotes from leaders and luminaries past, to mirror their historic fights to the same ones we face today. Connecting Charlie’s roots and credibility to the historic leadership and authenticity of the Party.

In establishing those keys pieces of the theme Charlie’s campaign (and a potential transition in becoming the leader) would have been afforded a built-in narrative both in the messaging and aesthetics. Basically putting his campaigns messaging, marketing and collateral products in a kind of auto-pilot.

(Proposed) Brand & Messaging Guide
Creative & Art direction, writing, design and layout
Proposed Creative.

The tagline I brainstormed, “Frontline Leadership” as well as the look & feel were intended to mirror picket signs from the frontlines of the industrialization labour movement and “New Deal” era aesthetics. I made a subtle shift from the Party’s brand standard Pantone 21C Orange to a slightly more burn Pantone 715C. The complimentary blue, a kind of electric, kind of ice cream truck smooth, used mostly in the cursive font stacked over a strong sans-serif. I wanted to mix the Modernist san-serif with a Populuxe era cursive. The word “frontline” always in the strong Modernist feel, while the “leadership” remains relatable and personified. And of course, the imposition of different types of paper texture, where useful.

Again, the intention of connecting different eras to this contemporary one, so every a message would be seen from Charlie’s campaign, it would come back to Walter Benjamin’s wonderful words, “the presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity.”

Proposed Creative
Creative & Art direction, writing, design and layout
"Building our better world"
Spec Script for Campaign Ad
Concept, writing, editing.
Edited by: James Valcke & Jesse Brady.

Cut to: Open on stock footage of post-Trump America-March on Washington, Air Ports, protests, people looking worried. The images should be identifiable without showing Trump.

V/O Charlie Angus:

The world is a less certain these days…

Cut to: Images of here in Canada, factories shut down, people struggling to get by, Indigenous communities in crisis, non-Albertan pollution.

V/O Charlie Angus:

…and here at home we have our own problems.
Yet our leaders seem unwilling or uncaring to really deal with them.

Studio shot set-up: 2 DSLR camera’s stacked, direct address interview style. 1 Medium “Talking Head” shot and another close up, cropped at the shoulders, in direct address.

V/O Charlie Angus:

Yet, as a New Democrat I know that things do not have to be this way.

Cut to: Images of people fighting for justice: Suffergettes, Labour, War Measures Act

V/O Charlie Angus:

Through out our history, Canadians have come together to make Canada more fair country for our families and our neighbours.
And we stood together against intolerance and injustice.

Cut to: Images of more resent movements: LGBT, Environmental, FN, Student protests in Montreal.

V/O Charlie Angus:

It was hard work. But it has been worth it.
And there is still more to do.

Cut to: Powerful, images and video of current day Canadian communities and people, outlining the promise of a better future.

V/O Charlie Angus:

Today our party today must rise to the hopes and expectations of those that came before us and those who believe that better is possible.
We must renew our faith in our movement, in our communities and in our neighbours.
We must continue the fight for a fairer, more inclusive society.
A society where no one is left behind.

Cut to: Powerful, montage of film, images and video current and past NDP leaders and luminaries.

V/O Charlie Angus:

It won’t be easy.
But New Democrats never hide from hard work.
Our hope is a relentless one, and our dream has always and will always be of a better and fairer tomorrow,
for everyone.

Cut to: Charlie in the studio

It’s why I want to lead.
Will you join me?

Cut to: Text over related images highlighting the past and future coming together.

Cut to: Charlie Leadership Wordmark with URL.


Print and Digital Creative (at launch).

I don’t think I was effective at selling the creative direction to Charlie and his team, mostly because I didn’t get the buy in from others. Charlie was really into “Got your Back” as a campaign tagline and had his heart set on using it. So that’s where the creative was to be driven after.

I did my best to set the team up with assets and products that could be used throughout the campaign. Producing handbills, donation forms, volunteer sign up forms, buttons T-Shirts, pop-ups and postcards.

All in all, it was a good experience. I am hoping that one day I can leverage this experience and style of appropriation (not mis-representational cultural appropriation) into something unique and cool that helps affect positive political and social change.

Digital Creative
Creative & Art direction, writing, design and layout
Print Creative
Creative & Art direction, writing, design and layout