GERTRUDE Launches Experiential + Branded Architecture Division
Global innovation and brand development agency GERTRUDE, INC. officially announces the opening of RAYE — the agency’s new Experiential, Branded Architecture, and Environmental Design division that specializes in premium branded structures and environments, from concept and design to build and activation.
Backed by GERTRUDE’s branding expertise, RAYE takes experiential to a completely new level, turning a brand’s strategic architecture into physical, branded architecture. In short, Branded Architecture is the sum of Strategy + Design + Architecture + Advertising.
RAYE delivers premium product placement and exclusive engagement activations. We believe that dreams can be built, from an idea, an environment, or an event. Brands want to believe they are reaching their customers, touching them; experiential activations are an extension of a brand’s breadth, and RAYE delivers through custom crafted premium branded environments.
In the area of developing spaces and small structures, RAYE does so in a style that brings to life a brand’s personality through innovative structural design and communicates the essence of the brand in every design detail. “We’re mixing branding and architecture,” says Founder, Chief Creative Officer Otis Gibson, who founded GERTRUDE in 2005.
The launch of the new unit at GERTRUDE Inc., which is now in its 11th year in Chicago, came, Gibson said, after his firm got more and more requests from clients to translate the agency’s success into developing and shaping brands into launch activations. “Clients increasingly are looking beyond traditional television and print ads,” said Gibson. So Gibson’s GERTRUDE and RAYE are doing a lot of experiential stuff with what is rapidly becoming a new signature offering—shipping containers. Now, Gibson’s may very well be the only Chicago ad agency that can say it specializes in premium-branded shipping container design, modification and activation.
RAYE opens with several projects completed for the launch of two DIAGEO innovation brands: I.W. HARPER Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky and STUDEBAKER Expertly Crafted Whisky Cocktails. For the latter, RAYE redeveloped of a 20’ shipping container into a custom designed and fabricated “modern speakeasy” to introduce these premium, bottled whisky cocktails inspired by Prohibition era classics, the Old Fashioned and Manhattan.
Designated internally as RAYE-1001, the “modern speakeasy” conjures the image of an exquisitely handcrafted whisky crate, featuring a burnt cedar clad exterior, wrap-around deck, reclaimed wood finishes, electrical, video and sound system, and dry bar. “1001” is one of a collection of branded environments to launch under RAYE’s belt that are also completely mobile, making RAYE fully adaptable not only to brands, but to locations and experiences across the globe. RAYE is currently developing several new projects for a number of clients, including a mobile classroom and a beer garden in Chicago’s booming West Loop.
Another recent RAYE client highlight was a project for QSR giant McDonald’s called “McDonalds Contains Happiness.” The concept features a fleet of 40′ and 20′ Shipping Containers reimagined as the iconic McDonalds Happy Meal. The inviting, bright red structures, topped by the signature golden arches, emanate a large scale “happiness” centric to the classic menu item that gives consumers an opportunity to experience the world inside a McDonald’s Happy Meal. The fully mobile units are designed for turn-key activation, including electrical, HVAC, finished interiors, optional wrap-around deck, and portable generator.
Finally, RAYE conceived and produced the agency’s striking main entrance, designed from a 20′ L x 8.5′ H shipping container, customized with glass and wood trim, and finished with the agency’s signature vibrant red color and branding.
RAYE is led by GERTRUDE Founder, CCO, Otis D. Gibson, and agency President, Heather Knapp.
Visit RAYE at www.raye.agency
Follow RAYE on Instagram at www.instagram.com/raye_inc/
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