New Sharpie Ads Draw the Right Picture

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGBZFns20cg


This new ad from marker manufacturer does a great job of elevating the brand from a commodity to near-aspirational. I really like how the proper tone in brand communications can alter our perceptions of everyday products, at least when it’s genuine.

Companies like Unilever and Procter & Gamble also do this with commodities – like toilet paper – but their efforts fail to render the emotional response that this ad has.

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Rom Chocolate Case Study

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A compelling advertising case study featuring national branding, social media, and challenging youth. Not much else I can say, you just need to watch.

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Nike Swoosh Logo Retrospective

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Imprint recently posted a nice retrospective of the Nike logo, which just turned 40. I’m fascinated by this brand identity, which is perhaps the most famous mark in history, yet the work was originally underpaid and unappreciated. As someone who has designed some identities that I really believed in – only to have the client say that they didn’t love it – this story resonates strongly with me.

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Pretty Little Fence-sitters

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This article on Brand Channel is worth a read. The short of the story is that after a right-wing group petitioned General Mills to pull their advertising from a show with a lesbian character (Pretty Little Liars), General Mills replied:

“We have informed ABC Family Channel and our agencies that Pretty Little Liars is not a program that we will sponsor.”

But then General Mills started to get some more attention for pulling their ad they responded with:

“General Mills does not make advertising placement decisions based on the sexual orientation of characters.”

Which is funny, because that’s exactly what they led us to believe (rightly or wrongly). Sitting on the fence is an awfully uncomfortable position for a PR department to take these days.

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Trent Reznor Knows Consistency is Important to his Brand

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In two short tweets, Trent Reznor shows how savvy he is to key brand strategies. Consistency in your brand, regardless of the cost, is essential.

http://twitter.com/#!/trent_reznor/status/91521769332154368
http://twitter.com/#!/trent_reznor/status/91522745376059392

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The Economist Preaches the Four Cs of Social Commerce

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More lessons for corporations engaging in social media. This time from The Economist:

Consistency. Retailers need policies in place to ensure that their brand promise remains consistent across all media channels, including social media – even if the interactions on Twitter, Facebook and the like are less formal than traditional media.

Community. Key to success is an understanding that social media is not purely a communications channel – in which the retailer controls the message – but more as a community of individuals who share an interest in a brand, or a product, or a category of products.

Collaboration. Social media channels deliver the most value when they move beyond the customer service objective and when insights are effectively shared between different departments.

Commitment. For many retailers, the biggest challenge with social media is getting people throughout the organisation to buy into the benefits. 27% of survey respondents have budgets dedicated to social media marketing and 12% have added one or more full-time positions to support social media.

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Kunming’s Fake IKEA

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Brandchannel has a good writeup on another of Kunming’s other brand knock-offs: IKEA. The store is called Eleventh Furniture, and its employees have a pretty causal attitude about working for the IKEA knock-off, “If two people are wearing the same clothes, you are bound to say that one copied the other. Customers have told me we look like Ikea. But for me that’s not my problem. I just look after customers’ welfare. Things like copyrights, that is for the big bosses to manage.”

If you took someone from Kunming to visit an IKEA store, would they remark “Hey, this IKEA looks just like Eleventh Furniture”?

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Ron Tite’s Case Study on Social Media for Corporations

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Over two posts on his blog, Ron Tite has written a crash course for corporations using social media. They work really well as a case study for best practices. The main point: let compassionate humans run your social media, not your legal department, not your marketing department. Be genuine; have character; and engage your audience instead of yelling at them, deaf to their responses.

One of the most common mistakes big brands make is using social media as a one-way bugle that provides a never-ending and piercing stream of infomercial-like offers, deals and promotions. On both Twitter and Facebook, Pizza Pizza excels at this. SM isn’t a commercial. It’s an operational service that listens, responds and keeps people interested and engaged.

  1. Uh oh. Pizza Pizza pissed off the wrong person.
  2. Pizza Nova gets it. Pizza Pizza doesn’t.
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Branding Diverse Organizations

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I’ve worked on branding projects for companies that have a diverse product offering, and it’s a real challenge to come up with a way to bring everything together under one succinct tagline that has any meaning.

That’s why I’ve liked GE for some time. They came out with their “Imagination at Work” tagline, and it’s done a great job of describing the proposition of the GE brand. This video is a pretty recent brand awareness spot that explains the GE brand in the simplest of terms.

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Nike Promotes Addiction

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This is a great spot from Nike that is, in typical Nike fashion, tremendously inspirational. Not many brands can build clear, aspirational brand values like Nike can. This is a great example of how they do it.

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