Naming and branding Publicis Groupe Africa’s consolidated Activations division: “In Real Life” (IRL_)

This was quite an honour, and a fairly mammoth undertaking. I was tasked with naming and creating an identity for a new, consolidated activations division within Publicis Groupe Africa. The result?
IRL_ (or, “In Real Life”)

I have worked with and for several Publicis Groupe Africa companies over the last decade, both full-time (OwenKessel, LeoBurnett) and as a consultant/freelancer (Publicis Machine, Liquorice, Prodigious, Leo Burnett). I have also worked directly with the parent Groupe itself on several projects.

Throughout the 2010s, the Groupe acquired a number of agencies and businesses, many of which have seen several phases of mergers and consolidations thereafter.

IRL_ and Publicis Groupe logos

So, in August 2017, when Publicis decided to merge several of their agencies’ activation capabilities into one consolidated, new, stand-alone division, they brought me onboard to conceptualise the new division’s name and brand identity.

I named it, wrote its brand collateral, recreated and rewrote its case studies of the best work previously done by its hitherto separate divisions, and oversaw the the creation of its new logo, corporate CI, and presentation templates.

The new name: IRL_ (aka “In_Real_Life”)

Once named, and with its personality defined, IRL_ needed 12 of its best activations documented as new case-studies, written and designed in a single, unified brand voice, structure and visual language.

I worked alongside art director (and photographer extraordinaire) Mpumelelo Macu, and then-Leo-Burnett Executive Creative Director, Donovan Bryan, to turn the entire project around in less than two weeks.

There’s IRL_ right there; at about 18h30 or so.

It was a tough turnaround, but seeing the new company’s branding throughout Publicis Groupe’s HQ in Bryanston, Johannesburg – and on their “Galaxy Eco-system” infographic, which adorns the entrance to most of their divisions (and which I also conceptualised) – remains a special feeling each time I visit those offices.