Primary Navigation

The Trip

“The Trip” is a favorite movie by two brilliant English actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. The first one “The Trip to Spain” was sequenced, legitimately, four years later by “The Trip to Italy.”

“As in many road movies, the trip becomes an occasion for philosophizing, a journey inward and out as the men joust and parry, improvising and entertaining each other, at times by imitating, hilariously, someone else (Michael Caine, Sean Connery). They also eat, of course, often and well, dining in restaurants where the rooms and service are hushed and the dishes extravagantly conceptualized and prepared.  There are gardens of vegetables, oceans of seafood, a veritable abattoir of meat. At the Cumbrian restaurant L’Enclume, the near-parodic haute and low offerings include lollipops “made out of duck fat with peanuts” (“Why not?” Mr. Coogan muses) and some foamy pea-green ick made from mallow, ginger beer and whiskey and served in a martini glass.

“The consistency,” Mr. Coogan says after braving a sip, “is a bit like snot.” Pause. “But it tastes great.”

On my train ride back from Ft. Lauderdale, yes, you read it correctly “train ride!” I reflect on my day trip from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale.  All in all, a trip less than 25 miles.

Six plus years ago, I was sitting in meetings with developers who were thrilled to have a new transportation scheme; to erect a building behind it, next to it or on top of it.  Urban Planning 101: transportation, transportation, transportation, not location, location, location.

Agonizing over how to get to Ft. Lauderdale for the Boat Show, my splendid summer  memories kicked in. With little to no experience with trains until then, I discovered the marvels of journeying by train in Europe and enjoyed it so much that the destination became dubious.  It was the trip that mattered. Staring out the window over the pastoral landscape was the ultimate chance in eternity.

Fast forward to last night, I decide to take Brightline to Ft. Lauderdale; the long waited newcomer to the Magic City. Greatly incentivized for the first-time skeptics like me, it seemed like a no brainer. And, yessss, Brightline, was everything it promised and more. Or perhaps my expectations of anything in Miami is dreadfully low, either way, walking into the train station after triumphing over the homeless and the large cranes overhead, seemed to be a respite.

Purposefully designed, lit and signed, Brightline felt civil, equal, and modern. Most importantly, it held up to its namesake (Bright), it was  hopeful and promising, and relatively intelligent. It was also one of the few emblematic opportunities we at Kremm had missed to land for the branding work which takes me to talk about the logo and the brand architecture created around Brightline.

Brightline, undoubtedly, a good choice for the Naming. It encapsulates the essence of the brand, it is durable, descriptive, clearly communicates brand’s personality and has symbolic power beyond the literal linguistic meaning. So far so good.

Yet, the visual expression lacks the qualities the brand wants to communicate verbally.  The lower case, more than likely, was chosen for its welcoming, inclusive, and friendly attributes; yet the distinct thickness of the fonts between bright and line does not make much sense or impact. More interestingly, all the trains have different names i.e. Bright Red, Bright Blue, etc. but the goal of subnaming trains with various colors remains mysterious as all of them operate on the same exact line.

Beyond details that hardly matter as long as the product and service performs to its full ability, Brightline has bigger brand challenges partly created by the misfortunate events, but, partly by mismanagement of the brand from a public relations and communications front.

All and all, Brightline is a magnificent addition to South Florida and one that needs a great PR firm that can shift the already crusting negative perception around it.

Back to Coogan “is a bit like snot.” Pause. “But it tastes great.”