From left to right – Peter McEvey, Jackie Higgins and Ilan Sheady.
In recent months, the animated twosome Hampson & Hughes have appeared all over the country in various forms – from appearing in the LFC vs. Cardiff Carling Cup Final 2012 programme at Wembley to being blown up to massive proportions to appear in our outdoor advertising campaign across Merseyside .
We asked the award winning Creative team at Trinity Mirror – creators of the animated characters – to tell us the story behind how Hampson & Hughes came to be.
The scene… it’s autumn 2011 and Liverpool-based personal injury solicitors Hampson Hughes are looking for a fresh approach to their marketing and advertising campaigns.
“How about we create a couple of cartoon characters named ‘Hampson’ and ‘Hughes’, to star in a series of slapstick animations in which a number of painful, yet humorous, accidents befall the pair?”
Such was the response of the design team at Creative North West, Ilan Sheady (Animator) and Peter McEvey (Creative Director) and so warmly-received was the idea that it wasn’t long before a new double act, fit to challenge the knife-wielding tomfoolery of The Simpsons’ Itchy & Scratchy, was born.
Trinity Mirror (TM) Merseyside handles Hampson Hughes’ print advertising from its base at the Liverpool Post and Echo offices on Old Hall Street. It was TM account manager, Jackie Higgins, who had the good sense to get the decision makers at Hampson Hughes into a room with the creative minds of Creative North West.
A few months later, the characters Hampson and Hughes were appearing in their own commercials, racking up internet hits by the thousand and being seen by many more on the big screen at Everton FC’s Goodison Park stadium.
But where on earth did Ilan get the inspiration for his crazy cartoon double-act?
Firstly, it has to be said that Hampson and Hughes, in cartoon form, bear no resemblance to their namesakes from Hampson Hughes Solicitors. In fact it was the design of the Hampson Hughes logo that helped him bring the characters to life – that and a love of retro cartoon stars.
Ilan explains: “I knew the client wanted a more light-hearted approach than your typical solicitors’ advert. I wanted to create a retro style comedy double-act who specialise in slapstick, like Laurel & Hardy or Tom & Jerry.
“The inspiration for Hampson and Hughes actually came from the design and colour scheme of the firm’s own logo,” continues Ilan. “Hughes is tall and thinner, Hampson is thicker set. The ‘thicker and thinner’ idea comes from the style of the ‘H’s in the logo, as does the colour scheme for each character – Hampson is blue and Hughes is yellow.
“The look of Hampson and Hughes themselves is influenced by some of my favourite retro cartoon characters, like Mr Magoo and The Pink Panther.
“They loved it when they saw it,” says Ilan. “We’re all really pleased with the results.”
Injuries are a regular occurrence in the series of animations and designs the characters have appeared in, but the action is very much tongue-in-cheek and played for laughs using the sort of familiar, stylised and over the top violence associated with classic children’s cartoons.
Hampson Hughes wanted something that would directly contrast with other solicitors’ adverts and produce a friendlier, more likeable image for the company. Judging by its popularity on YouTube and at Goodison Park, it looks like mission accomplished.
Looking forward, Ilan says: “Having successfully created these popular characters it presents us with so many more options to bring Hampson and Hughes to life in the future. I can’t wait!”