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Case Study — Trafalgar Lead Imagery

Delivery of a challenging project of lead campaign travel photography for Trafalgar, one of the world's leading travel operators in the international guided travel market.


Towards the end of 2015, Trafalgar’s decision to split contracting its creative functions between an agency in London and an agency in Geneva created an unforeseen “crunch”. The travel industry is highly seasonal and photography, especially featuring talent in iconic travel destinations, can only be undertaken successfully at particular times of the year.

Once the newly appointed London agency had locked down its creative concept and style for the new branding, there was scant time left to deliver new visual assets for the forthcoming season. Combined with the lack of experience of the incoming Swiss agency’s at working with Trafalgar’s signature visual asset style or producing specialist travel location photography, PROJECTile was asked to “fill the gap” with original photography for European destinations —the brand's bestselling travel products— for the coming 2016/2017 season.

The Challenge

The new brand collateral design toolkit presented specific challenges—especially for the articulation of the brand’s extensive print collateral in multiple international markets. For example, the new design for print featured substantial overlays of maps and copy over large-scale hero images in the flagship brochures. While it was vital that they had to be impactful, the hero images also had to accommodate these new demands. Luckily PROJECTile pulled together a project team with experience in delivering photography with such specific demands.

The Project

PROJECTile jumped into action, securing a relevant photography, location production and creative direction team as well as undertaking casting under severe time pressure. Talent casting was based on the extant Trafalgar visual style—casting “real” people proven to resonate with the brand’s target audiences and markets rather than slick models.

Focussing on key destinations for the new season—settling on Portugal, Spain, Scotland and Ireland for a range of complex reasons following a full viability assessment of European locations—the second stage of the project was to manage logistics in line with the available budget and practicalities (such as access to iconic locations where it would be possible to shoot). PROJECTile undertook all liaison with client and talent, directly booking key aspects of the itinerary and working closely with relevant departments of the client brand for others.

In terms of creative direction and styling, PROJECTile rapidly created a new wardrobe brief—and navigated sign-off—ensuring that it could be fully communicated with all those who needed to know.

During a madcap two-week period, the creative team joined the first trenche of talent in Seville for the first leg of the project where the first shoot was completed. Thereafter followed a circuitous journey around the Iberian Peninsula—taking in key destinations featured in the brand’s travel products—Cordoba, Evora, Toma, Óbidos, Nazaré, etc.— ending up in Lisbon. An intense shooting schedule ensured that the suitable range of assets featuring many of the brand’s key messaging and unique of its travel products was articulated—sightseeing and culture, local food and dining experiences and top-quality accommodation, among others.

As shots were captured, the PROJECTile production team checked them against the design template overlays, even on the road, in the back of the mini-coach hurtling cast and crew on to the next location. This meant that the client could be sent early-stage mock-ups indicating how they worked within the new design and allowing for on-the-fly feedback that might inform adjustments in the upcoming destination shoots.

Bidding farewell to the first cast in Lisbon, the creative production team flew directly to Edinburgh, in time to meet up with the second cast of talent. Following a similarly winding route out from Edinburgh via the Highlands to Skye and back down to Glasgow before flying to Northern Ireland, this stretch of the project was even more varied, ranging from urban settings and places of natural beauty to whisky tasting experiences in more remote locations. Some of the locations—featured in the brand’s travel products—were certainly less obvious, such as the pretty, historic town of Strangford, once a Viking settlement on the edge of Lough Ard, the UK’s largest sea lough, incidentally, also near to an ancient site used as a filming location of the popular TV series ‘Game of Thrones’, also included as an experience on one of the travel products.


The substantial deliverables—hundreds of them—consummately fulfilled the brief of delivering on-brand, bespoke original photography for the flagship print brochures, global campaigns and online content. Achieved and delivered in a very tight turn-around time, PROJECTile disproved the old industry adage that, “If you don’t have time, you’ve gotta have money”. Actually, it was quite the opposite, cost-effectively delivering engaging visual assets for more than 20 destinations, some of them separated by great distances.

Most importantly for Trafalgar, all of these were exclusive, owned assets that stood out from the crowd, travel visual assets not available from any commercial travel photography vendor.

The success of this project was not only down to the creative talents of the team PROJECTile pulled together and its robust experience of working to complex briefs. It’s also an example of how PROJECTile understands the importance of how logistics skills and in-depth destination/travel knowledge bring immeasurable value to deliverables, both in quantity and quality, when pulling together the right team for a challenging project.


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