Archive for December 2010

Branding in the fast lane

Despite being a ‘public service’ (as opposed to ‘commercial’) broadcaster, the BBC puts many big-spending corporations to shame when it comes to brand creation. Quite apart from its expertly managed own brand, and innovative sub-brands like BBC i-player, it has also created global programme brands, tapping into universal human needs for connection, empowerment and…. driving…

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Going with the flow

Tetley Tea Folk on the Tea section of a supermarket

Tetley made quite a splash a few months ago with the news that the Tetley Tea Folk, the advertising icons that made the brand famous, were back after nearly 10 years in the cupboard. Around the same time new pack designs were introduced across an increasingly diverse range of products, including green tea and redbush…

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Christmas is coming

We’re all used to tinsel-infested TV ads starting in October, but in supermarketland the onset of the festive season provides no finer a visual feast than this aisle full of choccie assortments. It’s a minor miracle of global buying power that Mars, Cadbury’s and Nestlé can let Asda give these away at a fiver each.…

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McPassion fact – or fiction?

McDonalds Sandwich packaging

I’m hoping that I can prove my wife’s assertion – that McDonalds owns Pret à Manger – to be plain wrong. Even if she’s right, it’s still plain wrong, because the two brand stories couldn’t be more diametrically opposed. I’m not one of those with a knee-jerk detestation of McDonalds and all that it does.…

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Jan, Jan the pancake man

Dutch pancakes packages

In the Dutch market this must be the UK equivalent of a steak and kidney pie called John. Or a TV channel called Dave. With its brand story firmly rooted in the well-trodden path pioneered by innocent and Michel et Augustinto name but two, Jan has nonetheless managed a new twist. To me it’s the kids…

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Smells like teen spirit

Men deodorant section and Nivea Menergy deodorant in detail

Surfing through an internet chatroom on computer games that had been ‘seeded’ by some flunky asking for opinions on a new Axe fragrance, I was touched by one respondent who proudly declared his preference for Slazenger deodorant: “This is what the Pros smell like.” Here in Southern Europe (and it doesn’t come much more southern…

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Moisturising Men

Men cosmetics and toiletries

The early pioneers of this category were the fabulously named Metrosexuals, a small band of males with enough self-confidence to happily embrace cosmetics. Mainstream acceptance has been some time coming, but the magic formula as always turns out to be a credible brand story. So now moisturising man can look himself in the eye in…

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Power of packaging

I like this simple example of the power of packaging structure, because I distinctly remember staring at these for minutes on end, to triple-check that they were actually the same product. The possibility of parting with north of seven quid for that cheap Own Label copy of proper lubricant on the right makes me shiver.…

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Seasonal stock

Dr. Oetker and Coca Cola seasonal packages on shelf

An interesting contrast between the fate of these packaging-led promotions. You can’t give me these Halloween products 2 weeks after the event (even though they’ll probably be still ‘in date’ for next year). On the other hand Coke’s BBQ pack has me thinking I’d quite fancy one, despite the fact that it’s freezing outside. Appetite…

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Cat tales

Cat food section in a supermarket

In 1991 I wrote some copy for the first Design Bridge brochure, including an account of our recent highly successful redesign of Felix cat food. ‘The faithful companion, the athletic adventurer, the Vogue model; take a look at the cat food shelves and they’re all there’. They’re all still there, and it’s good to see…

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