i'm with the brand


“One size fits all” fits no one

airplane

Sorry for the prolonged absence, folks–busy times! Here’s some food for thought from John Winsor of Victors & Spoils (thanks, Blair!) about rethinking our modes of customer interaction to make them more relevant, welcoming, and illuminating. Key takeaway? Make it make sense. Force-fitting customers (and audiences) into a mold or dismissing them altogether is not the way.



I like my gateaux like I like my Van Gogh: on display
April 2, 2010, 10:06 am
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , , , ,

bakery

Coolhunter brings us mouthwatering images of La Pâtisserie des Rêves, a Parisian bakery which displays their tantalizing wares in gallery form throughout the store. So it’s not really a bakery per se–it’s a pastry boutique, and the presentation suggests true artistry.

The best ideas are those that solve business, branding, and audience problems simultaneously, and this execution would definitely qualify: from a branding perspective, the unique presentation is a differentiator amongst the myriad bakeries dotting Paris; from a business perspective, it moves traffic more efficiently through the store and speeds transactions, relieving congestion at the counter where throngs of customers would normally mob the bakery case; and from an audience perspective, it allows patrons to unhurriedly peruse the merchandise in a playful atmosphere that elevates the various trifles from mundane commodities to little works of art, infusing pastry purchase with a sense of occasion.

It’s cool when businesses seize fresh ideas by conceiving of themselves as another type of business, a business in some other industry or category. For example, in some ways, Mini is a car company that behaves like a toy company; Virgin Air is an airline company that behaves like an entertainment company–obviously in part because the larger Virgin brand informs how they approach their airline business, but still.

This particular instance isn’t anything drastic or revolutionary, but it’s an example of how we can revitalize ourselves and learn from other disparate industries, businesses, and brands by retooling the way we think of our own, and by being open to the idea that our “best practices” may not really be the best practices.



Branding meets pop culture for the 4th annual Peeps Diorama Contest

eep

Just in time for Easter, Peeps is presenting its 4th annual diorama contest winners. This year’s winner, entitled “Eep,”  modeled after last year’s Disney hit, Up!, and chosen from over a thousand entries, is exquisite–and the overall quality of entries has definitely gone up over the years.

Ever-imaginative, these dioramas use the famous sugary animals (the bunnies are the most popular, but the chicks and bears make an appearance, too) to revamp culturally relevant events, icons, and ephemera–and you might be surprised how many, like this year’s winner, choose to depict some other branded entity. Here’s a couple of my favorites below, but definitely check out their other 35 top entries here.

masterpeeps

sterling coopeep



Get smart with the new bADimal vlog
March 24, 2010, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , ,

badimal

For his new project, bADimal, the astute Anthony Kondeati presents a new series of advertising trend, case study, and campaign analysis videos that cut through the noise to cull the larger insights we can draw from media arts successes and failures. These thoughtful videos, which go up each Wednesday, provide depth on branding topics and give systematic, holistic consideration to brands themselves, as in last week’s analysis of the Coke vs Pepsi authenticity brand-off.

This week’s video is on the branding implications of automated services. Have you ever felt like companies bury the information on how to talk to a real person? Guess what? They do. In calculated decisions made on the daily, companies often opt for automation of key customer care touchpoints at the expense of relationship-building. In these instances, automation or self-service is often a cost-cutting brushoff presented to customers in the guise of convenience, but we all know they can sometimes be anything but. Businesses must realize that not all branding goals can be measured in terms of traditional ROI metrics–if your aim is relationship-building, measure customer interaction, satisfaction, repeat business, and brand evangelism.

Anthony offers his thoughts, as well as some solutions that should work for customer, brand, and business alike:

Head over to the bADimal channel on Vimeo for the first two videos in the series, and tune in each Wednesday for more!



Kit Kat & The Salvation Army: Useful interactive posters give people a break

kit kat chair

JWT for Kit Kat is on fire–but this time it’s Auckland, not Tokyo. In their latest, passersby in local parks are invited to take a break twice over–that is, break up a poster to take a break. The confectioner placed wooden posters at park entrances and in public spaces–posters that could be popped apart and assembled into the perfect bench for a (snack) break. (And it’s got to be intentional that the mode of assembly so closely parallels the way you would snap apart a Kit Kat bar–it’s too good not to be.) The poster is not only interactive–it’s useful–and it does a kindness while connecting simple pleasures with the “break” line Kit Kat’s been using for years.

kit kat

In the spirit of useful interactive posters, here’s one of my all-time favorites, from the Salvation Army, which posted blankets emblazoned with the words “Support the homeless this winter. If you’re cold or know of someone who is, please take this poster” in areas of need. Not only did these ads get the word out and even provide much-needed comfort to the homeless that began using them for warmth, but when the blankets were thus displayed, on the backs of those in need, the message became all the more starkly powerful. The absolute opposite of urban spam.

salvation army



Complacent? FITC delivers a swift kick in the pants to agency dinosaurs-in-the-making
March 22, 2010, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , , , ,

last ad agency on earth

Urging true creativity over cut-and-paste, FITC, which puts on design and technology events, is encouraging old-school agencies to become nimbler and more inventive with their digital work–before it’s too late.

In a video to promote their upcoming digital conferences, FITC creates a Discovery Channel Pompeii Special of sorts chronicling the fall of the “Last Advertising Agency on Earth.” It’s funny, and I’m sure it hits close to home for many branding professionals who have lived through just the sort of dysfunctional head-in-the-sand environment the video describes, but it seems a bit of a harsh indictment to me–I’m unwilling to believe that no big agency has learned how to embrace new media (at least on a case-by-case basis) this late in the online game (seriously, guys–partying like it’s 1999, are you?). But there may be a kernel of truth under the heaps of tardy exaggeration–for every gem of inspired digital, there’s a truckload of unimaginative nonsense, and it’s perhaps less about digital per se and more about combating a culture of complacency: it’s about knowing how best to play the game in new and ever-changing spaces, whatever and wherever they may be.

In an ironic twist, it’s agency behemoth Saatchi & Saatchi Canada that helped produce the very video that takes shots at agency behemoths. Funny times, give it a watch:



50 Billboards Worth Pulling Over For
March 18, 2010, 8:22 am
Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: , , ,

ponds

Best Week Ever has collected 50 of ambient’s stodgiest sons (that’s billboards, to those of you not chuckling at your own jokes) for a showcase of “50 Awesomely Elaborate Billboards”–translation: Media Arts City.

I’ve got almost undue love for a good ambient execution. (That and packaging; I can’t help it.) So while I’ve seen most of these before over the years (and have even posted a couple here on the site), you might not have, and I think you’ll love them. These billboards demonstrate that no medium is dead or dying or dull or limited, so long as inspired insights meet inspired creative.

The list is missing many of the greats (Mini chief among them–the one they picked was basic by Mini standards. Unconscionable–I will have to fix this. Look out for a facemelting Mini post soon.) but check it out nonetheless–a nice survey of billboards that play with (and even transcend) their format to do it right.