at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Archive for 2009|Yearly archive page

I Thought Customers Meant Business?

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2009 at 5:55 am


Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Knee deep in work

In communications, Consumers, culture on March 4, 2009 at 7:18 am

This has been the theme from the last few weeks. However, on my cold walk to work I made a comittment that I would make a focused reentry into the blogosphere. And while my phone is filled with snapped pictures begging to be released from their iPhone purgatory, for now I deny their crys.

A while back I wrote a post about manufacturing authenticity which I still believe in as a last resort. But I came across two interesting posts this morning that made me consider the general lack of culture through which things are emerging.  The first is an interview from the newly discovered A Continuous Lean in which Mr. G. Bruce Boyer discusses Ivy League style and how it emerged from a class culture and came to signify it. He makes the assertion that today’s fashion is a mash-up but that it is all about costuming rather than authentic references.

Second link comes from Daily What and is a very authentic list of what it takes to be cool. I’m moving my way up the cool scale as we speak and I’m currently seeking individuals who can speak “European” so that I may learn from their skills.

Who spends money where?

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Hat tip to Good Magazine
Shout out to Jeffluence

Maybe that wasn’t the best name after all…

In communications, culture on February 10, 2009 at 7:15 am

Weird weekend.

In culture on February 8, 2009 at 11:04 am

Originally uploaded by aknacer

In summary, NY is summery today, and yes, it is early February. I’m sure I will go back to shivering in my boots within mere hours but in the meanwhile the whole world has seemed to go topsy-turvy.

First of all there is the continued saga of Peanut Corp of America. This story reminds me of the Somali Pirates in that I just can’t take the whole thing very seriously. It seems like either A) a comic book where the baddies break into Peanut Corp. to do dastardly deeds, or, B) a company founded on an SAT question wherein Peanut Corp makes 8,000,000 jars of peanut butter and 1/3 of them are chunky so how many of them have salmonella? (BTW, is PBOA’s logo for real? If they didn’t already have problems…)

Secondly, I walked past a woman and her dog today. When the dog sneezed the woman said ‘God bless you.’ It felt like I got sucked into an Evangelical Buddhism whirlpool.

Speaking of whirlpools, Michael ‘Gold-Medal’ Phelps has earned his place in history as one of the most driven pot smokers alive, and then, strangely, the first companies to stop their sponsorship deals are Subway and Kellogg’s.

And lastly, this is the weekend of the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, FL where grown ups run around in Pirate costumes and ask strangers if they do ARRROBICS. Somali pirates, RPGs and common sense are unwelcome.

This is no time to point fingers…

In communications on February 5, 2009 at 8:08 am

Unless of course you are going to do a brief history of “finger pointing” posters through the ages and around the world. See them all here courtesy of the Russian design studio of awesomeness, Art. Lebedev.

We are…an American b(r)and (sing along)

In Branding, Brands on February 4, 2009 at 8:44 am

Watching the first family it is clear that we have the start of a new American brand. We also have a family of endorsers who are able to give credence to other “American” brands and in doing so dictate the future of what that means to us all.

Michelle Obama has inspired a number of blogs that follow the designers that she selects and the way that she is bringing style back into the White House. By selecting up and coming designers as well as a couple of key selections of White+Black and J.Crew she is helping to democratize style in much the same way that Target did for much of the last ten years.

Radiance and Rosebud (the secret service names for Malia and Sasha) may well fan the flame of J.Crew’s stateside comeback under the helm of Mickey Drexler. Of course, if I was over at Gap Inc. or Ralph Lauren I would be screaming and shouting as they seem to have lost some of the American luster that was key to the success of both brands.

I do have some reservations about the choice of Pottery Barn for the First Residence, but…you can’t win them all and I suppose I would rather live in a Pottery Barn America than a Lazy Boy America. Thinking about it, it’s probably a better message to send although a little DWR around the edges wouldn’t hurt.

The problem with digital media.

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2009 at 7:49 am

Or perhaps more appropriately titled, “The problem with people who work in digital media.”

Digital is a fantastic medium for doing some really interesting and creative things. The outstanding question though is whether it is indeed the equivalent of discovering a new galaxy or whether it is more like finding a pair of pants that you thought you had lost.

Follow me here for a bit. See, from my perspective digital media isn’t any different than traditional media in how consumers interact with it. For marketing it still breaks down to a few fundamentals:
• the appropriateness for the audience
• appropriateness for the brand
• the ability to get a message across
• and drive engagement and purchase

Within this realm of digital media we also have social media. Still conducted online the entire industry has been created by providing socially relevant tools and paying for them with advertising. But then marketers decided that they wanted to use these tools as well. But one can argue that they still don’t quite know what they are doing with these tools. They like to say that they are creating “brand engagement,” and some are, but others are attaching social media to existing plans like Frankenstein’s limbs. Twitter Wolf Blitzer anyone?

But on to the issue of “digital/social media” purveyors. I’ve sat through one to many conferences that feel like religious revivals. The self-appointed guru of media stands up, or more appropriately slouches, and says that “Obama is recreating the Presidency by reaching directly out to the people through YouTube” without taking time to understand that this has been going on since FDR started his fireside chats. That the only thing that has changed is the medium, not how it is being used.

Likewise, Razorfish has published a paper on how social media is influencing purchase behavior that is getting a lot of buzz. When I read the paper it seems to suggest that actually social media works just like regular media. Perhaps that the whole industry is still in the self validation stage and will start talking about real differences soon. I can only hope that it does and that it gets some intelligent voices in the mix as its champions.

hat tip:

The odd branding of sister cities.

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2009 at 7:45 am

Sister cities
Originally uploaded by amrit1983

I remember growing up and learning about sister cities. Seemed like a cool idea and certainly made a kid in small town Ohio feel more connected to the world at large. But, as I now travel around the world on projects, I question the logic of it all.

Some cities make a lot of sense. San Francisco and Sydney share a temperate climate, water-side views and a general openness toward life. Milwaukee, WI and Galway, Ireland share an appreciation for beer (or at least that’s the way that it seemed when I visited each). New York City is an easy girl and has befriended several sister cities, Tokyo, Beijing, Cairo, Madrid, Santo Domingo, Budapest, Rome, Jerusalem, Greater London, and Johannesburg. Which only makes me wonder what was wrong with the rest of London?

But then of course it starts to break down. Imagine the family reunion between the sister cities of Duluth, Minnesota and Isumi, Japan or Seattle, Washington and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. At some point in time one of those cities is going to realize that they were adopted and they are going to embark on a journey to find their real families.

It seems as though the whole concept of sister cities needs a little strategy help. If they are similar, it creates this great small world feel where you realize that there are people in the world who are like you but aren’t near you. If it is about differences, then it is great for kids who need pen pals, although I’m not sure that concept still exists.

Nike ID: Touch to colour

In advertising, Branding, Brands, denim, innovation on January 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Originally uploaded by distillerymedia

Shop windows always feel a bit like wasted space. Headless manequins in static poses as if frozen in fashion future. They neither say come in nor walk by but stand more simply as pronouncements of their anotomically incorrect selves. Now, window dressers have a difficult business for sure. A few like Simon Doonan are considered minor rock (sock) stars, but most are arrangers trying to simulantiously support the brand and its message while also driving traffic through the doors of the store.

That’s all to explain why I like these Nike windows. Not only do they support the idea of customization and uniqueness when everything is starting to look very safe and bland, but they actually encourage interaction. By touching the store window you can change the color combinations of the products, in effect test driving before you buy. I liked it online but I really love it as a window concept.