Debbie’s latest visual essay is now up on the Print Mag Imprint blog:
Archive for September, 2010
âA better web is coming,â touts an AOL ad in this weekâs Advertising Age, which folds out to reveal the new streamlined look AOL has created for web pages viewed through its service. (more…)
A major thanks goes out to everyone who participated in this year’s epic ping pong tournament finale. Perhaps someday we could take on one of our sister agencies and show them our mastery of the craft.
If you haven’t heard, Chris O’Rourke took the 1st place trophy for the third consecutive time and has secured one of our larger conference rooms for his personal trophy storage.
2nd place winner Paul Nicosia, and 1st place (AGAIN) Chris O’Rourke
A very special thank you to Mac Love for directing, editing and producing a terrific movie feature that preceded the match:
And More Photos HERE<<
Scope the latest issue of Brand Packaging and you will find our label design for Campbell’s Condensed Soup! The design is tastefully featured in a piece entitled ‘Decade of Design‘. The article highlights the introduction of the easy-open lid, which spurred a bevy ofÂ Campbell’s packaging design upgrades and point of purchase innovations.
I donât know about you, but Iâm sick and tired of the b-word…
Our favorite snaps from the Appetite Exhibit– a really great show, and it’s up through Oct 9th. Come check it out!
Buttering Up the Crowd
A Great Motto
A Great Bunch
The show, which examines the relationship between graphic design and food is up at Cooper Union, NYC. For more information click HERE<<
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW ON OUR FACEBOOK HERE<<
The ascent to brand success is an interesting ride. The upward path to growth is usually accompanied by a charismatic leader, superbly different product, strong financial performance and by newsworthiness and buzz.
For brands experiencing this dizzy stage of life â think Wii, Hyundai, facebook â the picture looks pretty rosy. That elusive element called âmomentumâ has been achieved. The brand becomes more and more talked about and in turn, it becomes more and more confident. In this purple patch, which can last anywhere from months to decades, the brand progressively begins to assume an invincibility. Strange things begin to happen that are completely out of character âsuch as a disappointing new product, a messy recall, a few arrogant or clumsy statements from the company, or bad buzz on facebook. And just as the good news snowballed, so the not-so-good news begins to stick and accumulate.
During these tremors, the advocates for the brand remain defiantly loyal, while excusing the company these missteps. But the advocates are just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface, unseen and starting with the less loyal, brand dissatisfaction begins to mount and what starts as a trickle builds to a steady stream of doubters and in turn deserters. Inside the company, the metrics begin to reflect the changed customer behavior, either through less robust growth, a dip in consumer affinity or a market share âanomalyâ.
Three recent examples serve to illustrate this pattern and all three make us realize how close the line is between brand ascent and brand descent:
âÂ Â Â Â Â First, an historical example. Wal-Mart faced this challenge some 5 years ago and, despite obvious signs and signals, remained in denial for some time. Their impressive and courageous response has resulted in them restoring their prowess but, for a while, it didnât look pretty.
âÂ Â Â Â Â Second a current example. Johnson & Johnson is right in the eye of this storm. The company has, over the years, built and enjoyed a superb reputation but these are worrying times as product recalls and questionable trading practices erode that hard-earned goodwill. It just canât seem to stop shooting itself in the corporate foot.
âÂ Â Â Â Â And last, a future exampleâŚmaybe. Apple could be about to enter the âloved to loathedâ zone. Their incredible success, their closed systems, their apparent arrogance, the Android threat, some disregard for consumer complaints are all bubbling away and point towards a problem beginning to form. But I do stress, beginning to form.
All this tells me that achieving âlovedâ status as a brand is only the beginning of the challenge. The bigger task is to maintain and sustain this love. It is also clear to me that with so little consumer trust and respect for corporations, it can take only a couple of relatively harmless missteps to fall out of favor and into the dreaded âloathedâ category. And just as a airline pilot uses a different checklist for take-off from cruise control, so brands must realize that growth is only the critical first step to success. Managing and maintaining that success in an intensely competitive world with consumers armed and ready with social media to keep you honest is the even more critical second step. In the meantime, to all those brands enjoying success, please post a lookout as the line between love and loath grows thin.
Sept 12th is the Day! The day that Austin McGhie (who also happens to head up strategy at Sterling) takes off on his bike trip across the country- in just 40 days.
Austin is part of a small group of 10 riders organized by Trek Travel who will average about 80 miles per day on their trip from Santa Barbara, CA to Charleston, NC.
Check out updates from Austin’s Ride on his blog, and not to worry, we’ve hired a superhuman android to take Austin’s place– because what would we ever do without him? Stay tuned in!
Pop culture brands, similar to Pop art, need to connect with the consumer on an emotional level. These brands have long since evolved from their functional roles in our lives and transcended beyond a positioning that butts heads with competitors. Brands like M&Ms, the Keebler Elves and the Pillsbury Doughboy have an established personality in our minds that cannot and should not be shaken. Like many Pop artists, their style is instantly and internationally recognizable.
But has Pop Tarts crossed over? Certainly, itâs a love it or hate it brand, giving it a strong point of difference in the US marketplace. Currently, the brand needs to bolster its international status, and the influx of tourists through a Times Square venue will certainly spread the word. Clearly, with this positive brand experience brand managers hope to create new demand, especially in foreign markets.
For now, at the very least Pop Tarts is taking a risk and making some noise. The brand has a lease on its Times Square space until January and foot traffic flow has been steady according to reports over the past month and from what weâve experienced at the store. How the brand chooses to evolve the experience with ramped up use of online retail and digital communication channels, solid analysis of consumer feedback, and also the places where the pop up store travels to in the New Year will tell us how much Kelloggâs has invested in really reigniting a brand that has true Pop potential.