Marston’s is a British public house operator and brewer. It operates over 2,000 pubs in the UK, and is the world’s largest brewer of cask ale. 90 per cent of profits come from the pubs division. (Wikipedia)
When we went out as a family back in the day, it was almost certainly to a Marston’s pub, they are pretty much everywhere around the East Midlands, where they brew Pedigree, which is perhaps their most important beer (though in the expanding bottled beer market, Hobgoblin seems always popular, and Hobgoblin Gold is a personal favourite).
Many of their pubs tend to be pretty traditional affairs or the kind of pub which welcomes families, serves cheap food and gets built on the edge of a big residential estate or out of town commercial centre.
They have loads of different style pubs targeting various markets,, such as the 2 for 1 pub and branded bars Pitcher & Piano, Revere, Generous George and EBB & Flow.
They also have some 40 Martson’s Inns. These are an eclectic mix of mainly budget hotels in just of of the city locations plus a handful of rural style local hostelries.
It was just outside of Derby where I spotted the new branding for the Marston’s Inn.
Initially as I drove past I thought that The Kings Highway had some new super modern low key signage, a black square with sans-serif gold lettering at the base. Pretty modern and quite a departure from the pretty fussy and barrel based logo I know pretty well.
It took second look to see that the sign was being lit and up from the Marston’s wording rose some “ZZ’s”. A third look and the whole sign was lit revealing that on the right of the sign working from above the text to the to, the word iNNs was spelled vertically upwards.
It’s a cute idea, the NN’s become sleepy ZZ’s and the animated element of the signage is pretty smart, the growing iNNs text gives the logo an extra spoon of charm.
It’s a bit odd though, the multi case lettering that allows the N’s to become Z’s but leaves the s smaller and lowercase. The lowercase i is given a duel role it seems, with the tittle seemingly forming the apostrophe in Marston’s.
That trick leaves the unlit sign looking badly spaced with the s sitting a long, long way from the rest of the worst, but it’s never like that for too long. At first I struggled to see that it said inns, but when I did I smiled, which must be considered a good reaction.
It’s all odd as well because at least in the case of the pub I saw, the standard Martson’s logo is pretty prominent too and this has a very different feel to the modern Inns design.
I guess with 2000+ pubs, inns, bars and restaurants the group needs to appeal to all sorts of people in all sorts of places, as such it provides a bunch of brands each with different styles, from the cool contemporary look of Pitcher & Piano to the chalkboard personal nature of Generous George. The Inns brand has it seems been set to sell to the budget hotel market, no matter what the attached pub itself is like.
It’s a vast improvement over the bed for a logo, which had some of the main logo’s aesthetic but is it strong enough to compete against the budget hotel leaders Premier Inns or the recently revamped Travel Lodge?
The Inns brand has be put together by Vital and is rolling out across the UK as I type.