What we did
When we first got in touch with Wallenius Marine, work on a “sailing cargo ship” had been going on for a few years under the name wPCC, which is an acronym for “wind-powered car carrier”. The core group in the wPCC project consisted of Wallenius Marine, The Royal Institute of Technology and SSPA. The Swedish Transport Administration partly funded the venture. Work was proceeding well, and the project was described as “a great example of how industry and academia can come together to collaborate on new innovations in our high-tech society. Together, we can develop the transports – and engineers – of the future”.
All of that was, and still is, true. However, we saw the potential in highlighting different facets of this fascinating project. We were tasked with developing a new brand identity for wPCC and decided to focus on Wallenius Marine’s ambitious goals in maritime shipping, making them known to the mainstream, and showing that sustainability is within reach for an industry that contributes 3 percent of global emissions.
When Gullers Grupp joined the project, there was no visual identity, no comms strategy, and no launch window or PR roadmap for this revolutionizing concept. It did not even have a name.
Since the ship was still a concept, building hype and anticipation was essential. The maiden voyage was planned for 2026, ushering in a new era in maritime shipping – and there is your headline. We decided to create a comms strategy around that potential, and push messaging that focused on three specific things.
First, we changed the approach from “engineering project with high-tech aerodynamic simulations”, to messaging that would attract a wider audience; communication that would wow the crowds and create a sense of hope around what this project is trying to do: revolutionize an entire industry.
Second, we decided to emphasize wind and sustainable transports over sailing, connecting the seafaring explorers of our past with a sailing cargo ship for the modern era. Where the wind once enabled us to discover the world, it can now help us preserve it.
Third, we created a brand that could carry the whole concept from the drawing board, through prototyping, into production. We put the wind front-and-center. Naturally, the name Oceanbird is an homage to the majestic birds that travel great distances carried by the wind, the same way this ship would use wind to transport 7,000 cars across the Atlantic in only 12 days. Once we had settled on a name, the tagline wrote itself: “The wind carries a shipping revolution”.
With our brand identity and platform done, we set our sights on a blockbuster launch for maximum exposure. 700 journalists from all over the world, including both niche and mainstream media news reporters, were invited to a live-streamed launch on the Wallenius Marine website. The result? The Oceanbird took off!
The launch garnered a fair amount of attention from industry experts and publications, but it was nothing compared to all the coverage that Oceanbird garnered from mainstream media! CNN, Reuters, Clarin, Forbes, Der Spiegel, National Geographic – news sites from six out the seven continents reported on the launch (the missing one being Antarctica, which is excusable given that it doesn’t have a steadfast population). Potential reach was measured at 3.6 billion (yes, billion) people! Without spending a cent on sponsored content, we managed to spread a hopeful message about a sustainable solution that is within our reach, in an industry that is vital to global trade – and that Wallenius Marine is making it happen.