Eurostar has been whisking passengers under the Channel (or as the French call it, “La Manche”) since 1994. I was among of the first of them, clutching recent memories of making the crossing on a wind-blown ferry. It felt like the dawning of a new, more sophisticated era.
Now Eurostar itself is in renewal mode, with a refreshed brand identity and a lyrical advertising campaign. Customers are already benefiting from a revamped website (far more fluid than the last, by the way) and an upgraded loyalty programme. It all follows the Eurostar’s fusion with the former Thalys service to Belgium and the Netherlands.
The new logo actually reaches back to the past. It’s inspired by the Étoile du Nord (or “North Star”) train, launched in 1924 as an express that linked Paris with Brussels, and later Amsterdam. It went through several changes of style and owner before being succeeded by the Thalys service in the 90s.
The logo by DesignStudio places a six-point star inside a lower-case E, accompanied by the name Eurostar in a “bespoke wordmark” that recalls the original 1994 version. DesignStudio says the star – called The Spark – can “break free” to take on animated forms in ad campaigns and digital media.
Some critics have been a little harsh with the logo, suggesting it would look more at home on a domestic appliance, but I rather like its elegant feel and retro heritage.
Other creatives have been involved too: the design agency partnered with seven illustrators for images that capture “the unique feeling and energy of the destinations”. This meets the goal of reflecting the role Eurostar plays in connecting people through train travel.
The accompanying campaign achieves the same in a bold and contemporary way. Created by two DDB offices – adam&eveDDB and DDB Paris – the campaign has at its heart a film made in partnership with Riff Raff and The Mill. Of course, The Spark gets a role alongside the two female protagonists. The endline is “Together we go further”.
François Le Doze, chief commercial officer at Eurostar, says the film and outdoor ads are packed “with hidden details for the public to enjoy and discover the more they revisit, in the same way we explore our destinations”.
The new look Eurostar is on the rails. All that remains for us to do is get on board.