Posts tagged “brand”

Be a rock star, just like…Spider-Man?

spidey rock star

This designed-by-committee advertainment highlights three benefits, speed, agility, reliability – the third probably not top-of-mind when we think of the web-slinger. And as if this cross-promotion for the USPS Priority Mail and Spider-Man (well, Spider-Man 2) wasn’t ridiculous enough, these qualities will make you a rock star. Just like the US Postal Service. Or Spidey.

What?

That’s it. “Rock star” is officially over. Meaningless. We’ve known this for a while, but this is too far and we must all agree to stop it immediately.

ChittahChattah Quickies

I gave a talk recently where I advocated for the importance of being aware of pop culture; this led to an interesting conversation (where not all parties agreed with my proposal). This set of quickies is dedicated to pop-culture-specific examples of note.

‘Les Misérables’ and Irony [NYT] – While I haven’t seen (and don’t plan to see) this movie (the stage show was enough for a lifetime), this analysis of the film’s cultural performance (and why that may explain it’s appeal to some) is pretty wonderful.

The key to what is intended by these technical choices was provided for me by Hooper himself when he remarked in an interview (also printed in USA Today) that while “we live in a postmodern age where a certain amount of irony is expected, [t]his film is made without irony.” Irony is a stance of distance that pays a compliment to both its producer and consumer. The ironist knows what other, more na?Øve, observers do not: that surfaces are deceptive, that the real story is not what presents itself, that conventional pieties are sentimental fictions.

The artist who deploys irony tests the sophistication of his audience and divides it into two parts, those in the know and those who live in a fool’s paradise. Irony creates a privileged vantage point from which you can frame and stand aloof from a world you are too savvy to take at face value. Irony is the essence of the critical attitude, of the observer’s cool gaze; every reviewer who is not just a bourgeois cheerleader (and no reviewer will admit to being that) is an ironist.

“Les Misérables” defeats irony by not allowing the distance it requires. If you’re looking right down the throats of the characters, there is no space between them and you; their perspective is your perspective; their emotions are your emotions; you can’t frame what you are literally inside of. Moreover, the effect – and it is an effect even if its intention is to trade effect for immediacy – is enhanced by the fact that the faces you are pushed up against fill the screen; there is no dimension to the side of them or behind them; it is all very big and very flat, without depth. The camera almost never pulls back, and when it does so, it is only for an instant.

Netflix to Deliver All 13 Episodes of ‘House of Cards’ on One Day [NYT] – I’m intrigued by how technology affords shifts in media consumption and then how those shifts inform the content of the media itself.

Netflix will release a drama expressly designed to be consumed in one sitting: “House of Cards,” a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Rather than introducing one episode a week, as distributors have done since the days of black-and-white TVs, all 13 episodes will be streamed at the same time. “Our goal is to shut down a portion of America for a whole day,” the producer Beau Willimon said with a laugh. “House of Cards,” which is the first show made specifically for Netflix, dispenses with some of the traditions that are so common on network TV, like flashbacks. There is less reason to remind viewers what happened in previous episodes, the producers say, because so many viewers will have just seen it. And if they don’t remember, Google is just a click away. The show “assumes you know what’s happening all the time, whereas television has to assume that a big chunk of the audience is always just tuning in,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer.

Muzak, Background Music to Life, to Lose Its Name [NYT] – Do we mourn when a derided brand goes away? The awful experiences that brand promised us – and perhaps much much worse – still seem to be on offer. I will shed no tear.

The Muzak name – long part of the American vernacular, if sometimes as the butt of jokes – will be retired this week as part of a reorganization by its owner, Mood Media. The company is consolidating its services under a single brand, Mood, thus eliminating the Muzak name…”We have a team of music gurus, visual specialists, sound and scent-tech experts,” Mr. Abony said. “We develop compelling, consistent experiences that connect our clients with their customers. The new brand signifies the integration of the company.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

Volkswagen turns off Blackberry email after work hours [BBC News] – Technology changes work boundaries and work patterns. Will a technological solution work? The article suggests that they will stop people from receiving email after hours, but will they stop people from sending email after hours? Is the demand for after hours work coming through the email messages or are there other pressures? So many questions about this one!

Volkswagen has agreed to stop its Blackberry servers sending emails to some of its employees when they are off-shift. The carmaker confirmed it made the move earlier this year following complaints that staff’s work and home lives were becoming blurred. Under the arrangement servers stop routing emails 30 minutes after the end of employees’ shifts, and then start again 30 minutes before they return to work. “It’s bad for the individual worker’s performance being online and available 24-7. You do need downtime, you do need periods in which you can actually reflect on something without needing instantaneously to give a reaction,” said Will Hutton, chair of the Big Innovation Centre at The Work Foundation.

Manischewitz Creates Kosher Food for Gentiles [NYT] – Having grown up with the traditional meaning of the brand, I find this a bit challenging but am intrigued by the potential to reframe and expand their story.

“Instead of taking the older products we have out of the kosher aisle and forcing them into the main aisle, we’re creating new products that have a place in the main aisle,” said Alain Bankier. A new line of broths, for example, is being shelved in many supermarkets not with most Manischewitz items but rather in the soup aisle. A new line of Manischewitz gravies also will be stocked with other mainstream brands. Manischewitz ads traditionally have emphasized Judaism, showing yarmulke-wearing celebrants at, say, a Seder. But new ads, by Joseph Jacobs Advertising in New York, the Manischewitz agency for more than three decades, take a decidedly more secular approach. “Don’t miss the boat,” says a print ad for beef gravy, which shows it being poured from a sauce boat onto mashed potatoes – no shofar or Star of David in sight. New ads “make little if any reference to any Jewish holiday,” said Elie Rosenfeld, chief executive of Joseph Jacobs. “There’s a tagline we use, ‘Bringing families to the table since 1888,’ and we want to be part of that family with you whether it’s Rosh Hashana, Hanukkah or Easter.”

Samoa Sacrifices a Day for Its Future [NYT] – A massive change in infrastructure and function, revealing time (or at least our documentation of it) to be more arbitrary than fixed.

The Pacific island nation of Samoa and its even tinier neighbor Tokelau are skipping Friday this week, jumping westward in time across the international date line and into the shifting economic balance of the 21st century. The time change is meant to align Samoa with its Asian trading partners; it moves the islands’ work days further from the United States, which dominated its economy in the past. In this giant-step version of daylight saving time, the island’s 186,000 citizens, and the 1,500 who live in Tokelau, will go to sleep on Thursday and wake up on Saturday. The government has decreed that those who miss a day of work on Friday will be paid all the same.

Portable Cathedrals [Domus] – Dan Hill’s epic articulate review of the Nokia N9 isn’t a gadget review, it’s a (tl;dr) cultural critique of design, where culture is within the producer organizations as much as – if not more than – the consumer society.

Yet the skeuomorphic nonsense that incomprehensibly pervades apps like Apple’s own Contacts, Calendar, iBooks, GameCenter, Find My Friends et al-all awkward faux-leather, wood and paper stylings-is is of such questionable “taste” it threatens to damage the overall harmony of iOS with its discordant notes. You cannot derive value from the idle suggestion of such textures on screen; they are physical properties and should be experienced as such, or not at all. Yet Apple’s design team will not explore those physical properties, merely sublimating their desire for such qualities into a picture of leather, a picture of wood. It recalls Marcel Duchamp’s critique of ‘retinal art’ i.e. intended only to please the eye.

For a Corn Chip Maker, the New Spokesman Is the Product Itself [NYT] – The argot of advertising is hilarious and depressing all at once. Zany and authentic spokesbag?

At the Fiesta Bowl on Monday, the game’s sponsor, Tostitos, will have a new endorser – a “spokesbag” puppet in the form of a chip bag with arms, a mouth and a generous dollop of swagger – to humorously convey the message that it is the tortilla chip brand that enlivens social gatherings. The new life-of-the-party campaign resurrects the top-selling snack’s 1990s theme. ” ‘Tostitos Knows How to Party’ means we are returning to our roots,” said Janelle Anderson, the brand’s senior director for marketing. Tostitos returned to the ’90s theme after marketing research over the last year found that its customers wanted reasons to celebrate and have fun in economically lean times. Tostitos chose a zany character “to get the message across and make it authentic,” said Ms. Anderson. “We wanted something that was magnetic, fun and approachable.” The brand’s new advertising agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, decided to “bring personality to the brand, and, in one of those rare cases, have the actual product be the actual spokesperson,” said Brett Craig, the group’s creative director for Tostitos. Working with Legacy Effects, a Los Angeles special effects company, the agency developed the hand-manipulated puppet with movable parts and special effects to convey energy, said Mr. Craig.

ChittahChattah Quickies

Art.sy’s ‘Genome’ Predicts What Paintings You Will Like [Wired] – Although the article deals more with the carefully controlled art market, I’m mostly intrigued by this quantitative translation of the ineffable. Pandora is a successful proof of concept (though I suppose we might debate it’s ability to deliver on it’s promise); I am waiting for the donut genome project and its recommendation engine. [Hah. Mere seconds after posting, I come upon this. Pretty close!]

On its screen, the Warhol painting-that is, the phone’s rendering of the laptop’s picture of the painting-was now surrounded by tiny thumbnails of other artwork, painted or made by diverse artists and dating from multiple eras, including the present day. According to Art.sy, these works all share the same DNA, so to speak. Cleveland and a team of art historians have spent the past year studying thousands of works and compiling a list of their distinct and measurable elements. The result is the Art Genome, composed at present of more than 550 “genes”: attributes of fine art that range from the simply factual (the medium, the color palette) to the undeniably subjective (the “movement” a work falls into, or its “subject matter”). Using these attributes, Art.sy’s recommendation engine can evaluate a piece on the fly and suggest relationships with other works, presenting those results on any device-even, eventually, a phone.

Saving Humanity from Homo Sapiens [SHfHS.com] – Just from a cultural collision perspective, I like the conflation of techno-nihilism and not-for-profit advocacy. Two great tastes!

The greatest threats to humanity lie in technologies humans have invented. From the danger of nuclear war or catastrophic global warming to the looming threat of future technologies such as self-replicating nanobots and powerful artificial intelligence, SHfHS is dedicated to finding ways to ensure that humanity continues to progress without snuffing ourselves out along the way. There are people trying to do the good work of saving humanity from potentially destroying itself, but they need our help. That’s what Saving Humanity from Homo Sapiens is all about: finding the people doing the best work to prevent man-made X-Risk and supporting them. You can help.

The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot [Dirty 30s!] – Once again, art reduced to a formula. Here, there’s no pretense that doing so remains within the realm of art. In general, I find these deconstructions fascinating as artifacts, whether or not they produce quality output.

This is a formula, a master plot, for any 6000 word pulp story. It has worked on adventure, detective, western and war-air. It tells exactly where to put everything. It shows definitely just what must happen in each successive thousand words. No yarn of mine written to the formula has yet failed to sell. The business of building stories seems not much different from the business of building anything else.

Here’s how it starts:

1. A DIFFERENT MURDER METHOD FOR VILLAIN TO USE
2. A DIFFERENT THING FOR VILLAIN TO BE SEEKING
3. A DIFFERENT LOCALE
4. A MENACE WHICH IS TO HANG LIKE A CLOUD OVER HERO

One of these DIFFERENT things would be nice, two better, three swell. It may help if they are fully in mind before tackling the rest.

A different murder method could be–different. Thinking of shooting, knifing, hydrocyanic, garroting, poison needles, scorpions, a few others, and writing them on paper gets them where they may suggest something. Scorpions and their poison bite? Maybe mosquitos or flies treated with deadly germs?

To thwart porn, colleges are buying up .xxx sites [AP] – The introduction of new domain suffixes means new flavors of pre-emptive domains. It was amusing more than a decade ago when companies like (say) Starbucks bought (or battled over) domains like (say) starbucksucks.com. The likely misappropriations of a college brand are slightly different, a this story reveals.

The University of Kansas is buying up website names such as http://www.KUgirls.xxx and http://www.KUnurses.xxx. But not because it’s planning a Hot Babes of Kansas site or an X-rated gallery of the Nude Girls of the Land of Aaahs. Instead, the university and countless other schools and businesses are rushing to prevent their good names from falling into the hands of the pornography industry. Over the past two months, they have snapped up tens of thousands of “.xxx” website names that could be exploited by the adult entertainment business. “Down the road there’s no way we can predict what some unscrupulous entrepreneur might come up with,” said Paul Vander Tuig, trademark licensing director at the Lawrence, Kan., school.

Pumping For Thrills

The other day, my car on fumes, I stopped at a 76 station. While I was filling up, I noticed some amusing signs. One was a taxonomy of bugs, as seen post-windshield. The other suggested some stretches to do while you waited. Master shot and details, below.


I guess they’ve had this campaign for a while now, but as an infrequent 76 customer, this was my first time seeing it. The tone confuses me: I can’t tell if they are wry or serious. I guess, yeah, it would be good to stretch during a long drive. But why are the names of the exercise all smart-ass driving jokes? And it would be good to learn about the bugs around us, but smushed ones? It seems like something BoingBoing would link to, but not something a mainstream American corporation would post next to the pumps. I’m all for brands unstodgying themselves, but they aren’t taking a holistic approach to the experience (go figure). Other than seeing those signs, everything about my gas station experience was like every other time I’ve filled up at every other station. Except the buyers remorse when I found gas cheaper elsewhere an hour later. If you want to reframe your commodity as a destination, you have to think a little bigger than just swapping out the credit card ads for bug posters.

Gender Bender

What do diet soda, strollers, and pink have in common? (hint: not women)

Dr Pepper Ten: Because Men Don’t Drink Diet Soda? [huffingtonpost.com] A new diet soft drink is out and “It’s not for women”. In explicitly marketing the dudeness of the drink, including a definitive guide to social protocol for men known as the Dr Pepper 10 Man’Ments, the ad campagin has apparently been effective at getting both men and women to give it a try.

A Facebook page for the drink contains an application that allows it to exclude women from viewing content, which includes games and videos aimed at being “manly.” For instance, there’s a shooting gallery where you shoot things like high heels and lipstick, for example. There is also a “man quiz” with questions on activities like fishing and hunting. “One topic people never tire of talking or arguing about is differences between men and women, particularly if women are excluded,” said Deborah Mitchell, executive director for the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin School of Business. “That will always get someone’s attention.”

How To Design “Manly” Household Products For The Involved Dad [fastcodesign.com] ‘More Work for Mother’ comes full circle as designers focus on the domestic dad.

When out in public, even the most rational dad might shun parenting products that make him feel less “manly.” For instance, my friend Chris is a tough-on-the-outside social worker by day, but he also stays at home part-time with his daughter, Sarah. Every time he goes to daycare, the park, or play dates, he has a routine of emptying the entire contents of his wife’s handbag-like diaper bag into his own duffel. “One topic people never tire of talking or arguing about is differences between men and women, particularly if women are excluded,” said Deborah Mitchell, executive director for the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin School of Business. “That will always get someone’s attention.”

Defend Your Research: The Color Pink Is Bad for Fighting Breast Cancer [harvardbusinessreview] Gendered approaches to marketing and branding may actually have the opposite effect desired, aka rejecting the hypothesis of “So long as it’s pink-”

The finding: Seeing the color pink makes women less likely to think they’ll get breast cancer and less likely to donate to cancer research… In psychology, there’s a lot of literature on defensive responses. How do we deal with threatening ideas, with things that are existentially difficult to comprehend? What happens is, these set off very strong denial mechanisms. By adding all this pink, by asking women to think about gender, you’re triggering that. You’re raising the idea that this is a female thing. It’s pink; it’s for you. You could die. The cues themselves aren’t threatening-it’s just a color! But it connects who you are to the threats

ChittahChattah Quickies

Kenny Powers Takes Over K-Swiss [Fox 9] – A hilariously audacious video, by shoe-purveyor K-Swiss, depicting a fictional reality where their company is now run by Kenny Powers, comedic douchebag athlete from HBO’s “Eastbound and Down.” In brainstorming sessions we encourage our participants to come up with bad ideas as a way to feed the creative flow. Here K-Swiss reveals all their bad ideas – more bad ideas than you thought possible, not through a leak of a secret company PowerPoint but in a deliberate marketing campaign. This is some ballsy corporate culture. I don’t care what kind of edgy ad agency put this together, a lot of people at K-Swiss signed off on it and they’ve got to have enormous confidence to be able to toy with the image of the company so aggressively. I don’t know a lot about any K-Swiss precursors (so let me know in the comments!) but I’m suitably impressed with this. It’s very funny, very NSFW, very confident, and actually seems very authentic (i.e., the pitch is pretty low-key and doesn’t get in the way of the funny). It begs the question for all of us, “How willing would you be to pretend to poop all over your brand, in service of your brand?”

The Colosseum guards story

We recently redesigned our business cards. While business cards are hardly the sexiest of collateral and perhaps of questionable relevance in the West, we were excited about the opportunity to take a simple instance of our identity and play with it, without worrying too much about impact on other elements like our site, and so on, that might be more challenging for us to take on ourselves.

Our new cards consist of a few different designs, each with a photograph on one side and the question “What’s your story?”, pointing to this series of blog posts. Over the next while, we’ll be presenting each of the images we chose and offering some of the background, context, or what we saw in the image. Of course, we welcome your own interpretations, questions, examples, etc.

Here’s a photo I took in Rome, in May 2010, while walking through Trastevere.

What’s the story? The body language says heading home from a day at the office, but the outfit suggests a man lost in time. This juxtaposition is the sort of thing that amuses me a great deal.

Later in our trip we made it over to the Colosseum, where we saw costumed, muscley fellows posing for pictures with tourists, presumably for tips.

You can’t even see the poor tourist in this picture as he’s being aggressively dominated. It was getting close to a private moment as this guy seemed to be having the time of his life pretending to be abused, manhandled and perhaps even slaughtered!

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Kraft Dinner mentions must stop, teacher told [CBC News] – [Kraft Dinner is a Canadian-specific brand for packaged macaroni and cheese, known among the pastacenti as KD.] Kick the KD teaches students how to avoid convenience foods and eat healthier. Clapson received a notice from Kraft Canada demanding the name be changed and any references to Kraft Dinner be removed. "We understand that the focus of the cooking program is to encourage students to prepare meals which are healthy and delicious. Please note that Kraft Dinner macaroni and cheese is a nutritious food that can be part of a balanced diet. In addition to being delicious, it is also a source of calcium and iron and a good source of protein." Clapson said he didn't know "KD was trademarked and personally enjoys the occasional bowl of Kraft Dinner." Clapson said he intends to keep running the classes and has taken suggestions for a new name. The most popular one so far has been "Kick the Crap Dinner."
  • [from steve_portigal] ‘Cinema Verite’ review: ‘American Family’ revisited [SF Chronicle] – [Fascinating article on how a recreation bio-pic of the filming of the original reality show reveals shifting cultural contexts and the challenges of authenticity] In 1971, Craig Gilbert and Alan and Susan Raymond, set out to document the lives of an everyday American family. Viewers may have subliminally understood that reality was somewhat altered through editorial choices, but they more or less accepted what was on their TV as life as it actually and naturally happened. But was it? That's the question posed by "Cinema Verite" directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini as they look back at "American Family." Did Gilbert direct the Louds' actions to make his film more dramatic? In "Cinema," Gilbert (James Gandolfini) is shown inserting himself into a scene and telling the family what to do. We also see the Raymonds (Patrick Fugit and Shanna Collins) revolting when Gilbert begins to cross the boundaries of documentary filmmaking, perhaps because he's developed a crush on Pat.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from wstarosta] Status displays: I’ve got you labelled [The Economist] – [Evolutionary biology helps to explain why luxury branded objects, even counterfeit ones, are so appealing.] DESIGNERS of fancy apparel would like their customers to believe that wearing their creations lends an air of wealth, sophistication and high status. And it does—but not, perhaps, for the reason those designers might like to believe, namely their inherent creative genius. A new piece of research confirms what many, not least in the marketing departments of fashion houses, will long have suspected: that it is not the design itself that counts, but the label.
  • [from steve_portigal] The Future of Books. [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency] – [As usual, McSweeney's does razor-sharp mockery, but you could read this as straight-ahead prediction and it would sadly almost pass for believable] 2050: Analog Reading Will Be Digitally Simulated. As people spend more and more of time immersed in massively multi-player role-playing games, they will begin to crave some downtime. Virtual simulation worlds will start to include hideaway "libraries" you can lock yourself into. There you'll be able to climb into a virtual bath and lovingly turn the pages of a pixilated representation of one of those dog-eared tomes—reliant on old-school linear narrative— that by this time will have been made illegal in the real world. Perfectly reproduced will be the sensation of turning the pages, the crack of the spine, and even the occasional paper cut.
  • [from steve_portigal] When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink? [Smithsonian Magazine] – [Fascinating cultural history] The march toward gender-specific clothes was neither linear nor rapid. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before WW I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out. In 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colors for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene’s told parents to dress boys in pink. Today’s color dictate wasn’t established until the 1940s, as a result of Americans’ preferences as interpreted by manufacturers and retailers. “It could have gone the other way,” Paoletti says..Nowadays people just have to know the sex of a baby or young child at first glance, says Jo B. Paoletti, a historian & author of Pink and Blue: Telling the Girls From the Boys in America. Thus we see a pink headband encircling the bald head of an infant girl. [Via @boingboing]
  • [from steve_portigal] In Sweden’s frigid north, auto testing is hot [SFGate] – [Obvious car companies do a ton of lab and simulation testing, but they are also big advocates of real world testing] Arjeplog, a region in northern Sweden is is important to car makers eager to optimize their vehicles for driving in extreme weather, This winter, temperatures have hovered around -4 F, making ice on the lakes consistently thick enough for driving. About 180 engineers convened at the test center at one point this season to work on making cars more fuel-efficient in cold weather and to optimize their anti-spin function. While Arjeplog is the world's largest winter testing area, rival locations include Ivalo, Finland; West Yellowstone, Mont.; Carson City, Nev.; and Millbrook, England. Francisco Carvalho, an analyst at IHS Automotive, says such tracks provide automakers with "the ultimate test for the little things they can't detect or predict in a lab." Almost 9,000 car industry officials visit Arjeplog each winter, with about 2,800 engineers working on any given day.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from wstarosta] Disney Helps Reboot Commodore and Amiga Brands [Brand Channel] – [The Commodore 64 is getting a re-boot from Tron, the movie. The company is updating the old school computer with a 1.8Ghz processor, Blu-ray drive, and HDMI! ] When Tron: Legacy was released in December, the product tie-in that drew all the attention was for Ducati. It's a product placement the Italian motorcycle maker told us was unpaid, but highly valuable. Now, the release of Tron: Legacy on DVD introduces a whole new marketing tie-in. This time for… Commodore 64?! That's right — Disney is helping promote the relaunch of the Commodore and Amiga brands, with the relaunched computers going on sale the same day (April 5th) as the DVD went on sale.
  • [from steveportigal] How To Steal Like An Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) [Austin Kleon] – [While the frame of reference is being an artist, you could substitute a lot of other descriptors and it’d work just as well – designer, innovator, ethnographer, what-have-you. The riffs here manage to be wide-ranging and incredibly concise.] Your job is to collect ideas. The best way to collect ideas is to read. Read, read, read, read, read. Read the newspaper. Read the weather. Read the signs on the road. Read the faces of strangers. The more you read, the more you can choose to be influenced by. [Thanks @anneincal!]
  • [from steveportigal] Recreating the Legendary Commodore 64 [Commodore USA, LLC] – [Many of my favorite themes here: reviving dead brands, retro technology, enthusiast fans become producers instead of just consumers, and of course, boat-loads of irony] The new Commodore 64 is a modern functional PC as close to the original in design as humanly possible. It houses a modern mini-ITX PC motherboard featuring a Dual Core 525 Atom processor and the latest Nvidia Ion2 graphics chipset. It comes in the original taupe brown/beige color, with other colors to follow…[We were] founded by Barry Altman in April 2010, with the express purpose of reviving and re-establishing the famous Commodore computer brand. We are Commodore and AMIGA fanatics, just like many of you. We ask ourselves what could have been, and we are appalled by Apple revisionism. Commodore is back, and we’re determined to bring the much loved brand back to the mainstream and restore its prominence in the tech industry to that which it richly deserves. It ain’t over ’till we say so.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] The Super Bowl of Social Media? Maybe Next Year [Advertising Age – DigitalNext] – [It is a bit shocking that innovative thinking in marketing has not yet leveraged – or even experimented with – the promise of social media on the big stage.] There was not one spot that actually asked us to do anything. Or suggested that we do something. These ads could have all run before the internet was even invented. Nothing acknowledged that we had any other connections at our disposal other than the one between us and our televisions. We were expected to visit the brands' websites because we found those brands and their commercials interesting. The irony is that those brands will look to social media to gauge their audiences' reaction. They'll count views on YouTube. They'll ask their interns about what Twitter had to say. Their PR firms will be watching the Google Alerts roll in. But none of them will reap the benefit of actually building a meaningful connection… Coca-Cola could have actually helped some real people make some real people happy.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Tesla Motors resolves nagging trademark dispute [MarketWatch] – [Good contrast between brand meanings] Tesla Holding is a successor to the massive, state-owned Tesla conglomerate that churned out ubiquitous, communist-era electronics. Prior to the overthrow of the totalitarian regime in 1989, visitors to what was then Czechoslovakia were often treated to hotel rooms outfitted with a small, black-and-white Tesla TV, capable of picking up only a few channels. According to Tesla Holding’s website, the company also at one point provided transceivers for more than 60% of the radio and TV broadcasts in the former Soviet Union. In its current form, the Czech firm offers technologies for water treatment and military communications, while guarding a trademark it claims to have registered in dozens of countries…In spite of its frequent identification as a household name from the communist era, the modern Tesla Holding has sought to popularize its brand. The Tesla name adorns Tesla Arena in Prague where recent events have included a concert by 50 Cent.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] A big admission ahead of bigger mission for Batman [AP] – [While the reporting here is primarily about Bruce Wayne revealing his secret identity as Batman, more interesting is the fictional franchising/crowdsourcing approach. The creators of the Batman product are talking about the brand within the story of Batman, but in fact by incorporating real-life businesses themes, they are refreshing the actual Batman brand within our world. Layered!] The confession..is part of a detailed effort that puts into motion a plan for Batman Incorporated, a global network of Batmen from China to Argentina to fight crime worldwide…In doing so, Wayne is free to take his crime fighting international by building what Morrison calls a "global, international army of Batmen. Batman in China, Batman in Japan, Batman in Russia. Expanding the Batman brand to areas where he really hasn't been before."

The package is the brand. Now what?


Method soap in here, Virgin America, June, 2010

On a recent Virgin America flight, I saw they were featuring Method hand soap in the bathroom. But (as they have obviously realized) Method’s brand is more recognizable via the uniquely designed dispenser than the name, so the identifying sticker shows a picture of that shape. You don’t have the opportunity to use that container, but by interacting with the generic goo dispenser in the bathroom, perhaps you are supposed to associate somehow with the visual and tactile interaction with the iconic dispenser.

The Virgin America experience seems to be partly about aggregating a hip, design-y, youthful set of other brands for travelers to experience (e.g. BoingBoingTV), but I’m not sure this is a win for Method, or Virgin America. VA seems to have rethought so many traditional aspects of air travel (such as their fantastic safety video) but this compromise evokes the overcompensating-unhelpful-infographic-signage common in commercial aircraft interiors, where you can’t help but feel trapped in a world of call-outs (like the Ikea Catalog scene in Fight Club). And Method takes a straddle position, suggesting that their goo is just goo, if they are forced to offer a visual reminder of the container to help us connect with what is different – and better – about their product.

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