Goodwood’s Revival reveals design winners and losers.

I previously wrote about my disappointment with Santander’s sponsorship of F1 and how they had undermined their brand with their poor trophies at the British GP. Today I am sticking with the car racing theme following an amazing weekend at the Goodwood Revival where 400 cars and motorcycles from all corners of the world competed in 15 races in front of the most stylish audience ever.

The Revival is just one event from what is fast becoming the global “Goodwood” brand that has become so phenomenally successful.  What exactly are they doing so well? On a design level the Revival ticks every box. From the paddock full of C and D type Jaguars, phenomenal Ferraris, amazing Maseratis and the speedy Austin Healeys, it is a feast of the very best in car design (and a harsh reminder of the blandness of current cars  – with the exception of specialists like renowned car designer Ant Anstead’s Evanta).

Then there is the fashion. The effort people put into their vintage outfits is both astonishing and delightful. To be able to clearly identify a period of time through iconic clothes design made me wonder whether leggings will have a similar effect in future decades.

For me, the design of all of the accompanying Revival material is where Goodwood has got it completely nailed. From the tickets in their distressed wallet,  the period meeting timetable to the beautifully designed Revival programme – it is a designer’s dream (Northstar, we salute you). The programme is a celebration of nostalgic typography and design with that smell of print that has you reaching for another heady inhalation. A front cover disguised as an old transistor radio complete with working dial, a “Ghost of Goodwood” comic story, poptastic facts and a trippy psychedelic romp through the latter pages. Of course a number of pages are dedicated to advertising – from brands you would expect like Rolex, Landrover, Credit Suisse, Porsche, Cazenove and Aston Martin – and then there is Tesco. Yep, you heard it right Tesco. I don’t think I have ever used the words Tesco and design in the same sentence – certainly not in a positive way – but despite the current profit forecasting disaster, they’ve absolutely gawn an’ done it for Goodwood. In true nostalgic Revival spirit they recreated the Tesco store of yesteryear at the event and managed to restrain themselves from using anything with blue stripes on their advertising.

The small handful of brands who embraced the Revival spirit through their advertising win hands down in my opinion – and Tesco is right up there. Of course every brand wants to stand out wherever they appear and I would never criticize a brand implementing consistency. But the question is should a brand have consistent rigidity or should it think more about the audience and adapt to have ultimate appeal to them. The 140,000+ audience at The Revival are there to soak up the nostalgic atmosphere over the three days and the majority of people have gone all out to make each snapped scene look pretty authentic. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those mega brands decided to make that much effort too?

So I am hoping that next year the very affable Earl of March and his team can persuade each of the luxury brands to take a leaf out of Tesco’s book and go all out for authentic vintage styling. Then bedecked in 50’s florals, red lippy, victory rolls and day gloves I will be able to work my way through each mouth watering double page spread without any contemporary interruption.

So listen up Sharps Brewery, Maserati, Aston Martin and Cazenove. The Valiant team are here, ready and waiting  (salivating) to explore those heady days gone by with you and create ads worthy of inclusion in this victorious triumph of design.

Goodwood Revival and all who make it such a blinding success – we thank you!