A look at how the Saddleback creative team creates our striking new Sidi advertisements
Adding an enormously prestigious company such as Sidi to our portfolio gives Saddleback's head of creative, Nick Cox, plenty to do, but the opportunity to visually unite a world-class brand with our own identity is something to relish.
One of the biggest challenges is the production of print advertisements for industry leading magazines such as ProCycling, Rouleur and Cyclist. These introductions between Sidi and potential customers have to be finely balanced to create the desired high-end, aspirational effect.
"It's a collaborative process involving [senior brand manager] Rich Mardle, [marketing manager] Martin Astley, and the team at Sidi," says Nick. "We want to make sure we're showing the brand in a mutually beneficial way that everyone's happy with.
"That doesn't mean we can't be creative though. In fact, it's an opportunity to create something new and different, with a striking visual style.
"A lot of adverts in the cycling industry today can so easily be mistaken for editorial or lost among product-heavy pages, so for Sidi, I needed to create something that would really stand out.
"I want continuity across all the Sidi adverts we'll do, which is why we've used quite a rigid template: the shoes are always at the same angle; font and logo placements remain constant. The idea is that once we've run a few, people will instantly connect that design with Sidi and Saddleback.
"Taking inspiration from the likes of Nike and other leading companies dealing with hyperrealism, we started with the highly detailed, beautifully shot images of the shoes taken by Sidi in Italy. These provided a foundation to build on.
"Normally, the focus of an ad is firmly on the product, but here I've gone for a closer split between product and concept, which helps lead the reader's imagination and appeal to people's aesthetic instincts.
"To achieve this, we created a visual support for each shoe being featured, based on a more emotional story that Sidi riders' results lets us tell. For example, the map of France to highlight Froome's 2015 Tour de France win for the Wire Carbon or rainbow stripes for the Drako Carbon SRS, as worn by Nino Schurter.
"Thanks to the consistent layouts, that professional connection is shared with the third advert, which uses splashes of paint to highlight the colourful accessory customisation Sidi offers.
"The most recent design is for the new Katusha-themed Wire Carbons. Here I took inspiration from the team's maxim, using this inspirational text in the background and tying this together with the shoes in the advert's messaging at the bottom.
"The adverts also have to be tailored to the UK market while reflecting Saddleback's own values in order to closely align our own identity with that of our elite brands. This is how we tackle all our brands: each has a clear, individual style, but you also know the advert is from Saddleback. Maintaining that consistency while reflecting the brand's heritage and style is one of the biggest challenges we have.
"I didn't want the designs to just be technical, nor distinctive for the sake of it, but to create a beautiful series of prints that could you could easily imagine being hung on a wall – something fit for the world's best cycling shoe brand."
Check out the full Sidi cycling shoes range.