Campaign to breathe new life into Croydon’s hospitality sector

After what seems like a lifetime, indoor areas of hospitality venues are set to reopen on May 17th, providing a much-needed lifeline to all the businesses that have been hit so hard by the restrictions. Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) represents 560 businesses across Croydon town centre, 100 of which are hospitality venues, many of whom have been severely impacted by the lockdown restrictions. The enforced closure of businesses, coupled with low consumer confidence has resulted in a drastic reduction in income for the hospitality sector.


To support these businesses, Croydon BID needed to develop a creative campaign that promotes the hospitality sector and encourages locals to get out of their homes and through the doors of these venues.

The hospitality sector covers a wide range of business types, so it was important to adopt a collective approach to achieve the shared goal of attracting more footfall into the town centre and generating more business.

Having created the look and feel of Bounce Back Better and Raise The Bar – initiatives to lobby the Government to provide more support for the leisure, retail and hospitality sectors – we wanted this new campaign to be visually in keeping with them but to add an extra level of humour and fun. This would help both the BID and the hospitality businesses to engage with the local community and provide flexibility to use and expand on the campaign concept for more specific promotions further down the line.

The ultimate aims of the campaign, launched on Friday 14th May, is to build confidence so people will go back out and into Croydon, and to help the businesses of Croydon to get back on their feet, providing ideas and the tools to inject life into one of the sectors worst hit by the pandemic.


With a very short turnaround time from concept to delivery – one week – the brief was to create a simple and effective awareness-raising social media campaign for the opening of Croydon hospitality that the BID could then distribute across their media channels. We needed to cover the core hospitality venues of cafés, pubs, bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

We were also asked to integrate the ‘Treat Out Croydon’ phrase as this is the name for an event planned for the end of the summer. We created a lockup for this so it could be used as a mark for the event when used separately, and it also helped brand the campaign for Croydon. However, we also wanted to explore the use of a different hashtag to support the social media campaign. We were a bit bored with the more politically driven phrases we are all so used to – stay local, support local, shop local – and wanted something to capture this but be a bit edgier. We came up with the hashtag #popoutpopin to suggest staying local (pop out) and a friendlier tone for going back into the town centre (pop in).

The initial thoughts for the campaign design were to have fairly generic assets that could be used for promoting multiple venues, as static and animated social media posts, that would encourage and entice locals to go out. The campaign also needed to provide the foundations for what would become a longer-term campaign, that the businesses could adapt and use for their own promotions and offers, as well as events that the BID had planned for the summer.

With quick-paced projects like this, even pre lockdown, we’d all work individually to research and jot down ideas. We knew we wanted the concept to be message-driven first and that these messages needed to work across each of the hospitality areas. Having individually experimented with various approaches, we came together over zoom for a collaborative session where we selected a mixture of simple, punchy phrases that had been inspired by the #PopoutPopin – for food we had “Pop out – Tuck in”, for nightclubs and bars, “Pop out – Strut in”, and we even had one ready for the football venues “Pop out – Get in”. We also had a range of adapted song lyrics and titles to help convey a positive and playful tone, with the Crystal Palace anthem “I’m feelin’ glad all over” a firm favourite as a positive song for Croydon’s reopening and recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

We had a lot of fun with the words and finding tunes that were relevant, and despite the rejection of Simon’s Dame Vera suggestion “We’ll eat again”, we could see that these ideas could easily be adapted and grow to create a bigger campaign that everyone could get involved in. As a result of this approach, the focus of the designs we presented was on this messaging with support provided by simple black and white images and bold colours that were a subtle reflection of the BID pledge colours. The final element we added was another subtle hint to the branding work we started to do for Croydon with our CR People campaign, using the CR mark as a watermark to further brand the graphics as Croydon and start to build recognition of this mark too.

Once we’d agreed on a set of 12 phrases and support imagery, we put the design pack together with a range of visuals and some storyboards to show how the various ideas could be animated. It was clear at an early stage this was a very strong campaign and our client Matt Sims, CEO of the BID, decided to invest further in using our concepts in a wider but targeted media campaign using Reach Plc. The 16 digital adverts will be GEO targeted to Croydon and will run across all 61 websites that Reach PLC have in their portfolio including national titles such as the Mirror and Football London. Each month Reach PLC attracts over 42 million unique visitors to their sites and by GEO targeting Croydon, the Croydon BID campaign has the opportunity to engage with the 199,000 unique visitors from Croydon who visit one of the Reach PLC websites. It will be interesting to look at the campaign analytics and footfall after the campaign launch – a campaign where we can really measure effectiveness.

Now that we had the extra work of repurposing our social media assets for use on digital banners and the two BID websites, we divided the work up across the team. But work didn’t stop here, Croydon BID also asked us to further evolve the campaign for the new al fresco areas that will be opening up first on the High Street – applying our designs to wayfinding, outdoor seating barriers, and eventually applying them to the lamp post hanging banners, where more concepts will be required to help support the Croydon retail offer.

With the design implementation in hand we could get on with the magic – this happens when we work on animations and senior designer Joe Cook got to work on adding layers of dynamism to the flat graphics, with each of 8 approved concepts being animated into a 9-second short. These were then stitched together with additional messaging intertwined to create a flowing story and enhanced further with a feel-good soundtrack, forming a full 1-minute video for the promotion of the campaign. With everything coming together for the deadline the final piece was to adapt the 8 graphics so they could be used as banners to feature on the carousel of Check Out Croydon’s home page, where they will click through to a directory page showing the venues and any special offers and deals. Job done!

“There are some really good creative agencies out there. Then come the great design thinkers who deliver. Then there is To The Point, who have demonstrated on our latest campaign, Treat Out Croydon, why they are a cut above and such a valuable asset for our business. In supporting the reopening of the hospitality sector, To The Point developed the most dynamic, fun, and vibrant campaign designed to engage us all. They met our brief with the methodical, creative genius that we have become accustomed to with simple yet effective messaging such as ‘Breakaway from the Takeaway’ and ‘Shake me up before you go go’ accompanied with designs that delivered the necessary impact we were looking for. With a series of animated GIFs and a full animated video to support, the team has excelled. What makes them different? The team. The complete campaign was created in under 7 days utilising every aspect of their team, focused on delivering for their client. That is what makes them different. That is what makes To The Point a special creative agency.” Matthew Sims, Chief Executive, Croydon BID