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Archive for September 2013

How the financial crisis affects branding

Display window in Cyprus

Here in Cyprus, a place I’ve been coming to for 20 years, the financial crisis is very real and visible. Nicosia’s main street, formerly lined with cool cafés and fashion boutiques, has ‘shut up shop’ and the centre of activity has moved to the old town. In many ways this represents a full circle of…

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Don’t worry… be happy

Coca Cola Advertising Corner in a Greek Supermarket

I read recently that one of Coca Cola’s defining values is that it’s always there for you in a time of crisis. At a corporate level, when natural disasters strike Coca Cola bottlers stop production of everything but water, and distribute that for free. A financial crisis might not seem so disastrous, but people are…

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Hand squeezed in black and white

Oranges really do grow on trees in Cyprus, a fact that is evident in gardens and even in many tree-lined streets. In that context I found it interesting that the packaging seems far more contrived than in Northern Europe, where we tend to prefer the stripped-down natural look. I guess Mediterraneans need a good reason…

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The daily grind

Coffee Blend in a Greek Supermarket

What would the world do without tea and coffee? These magical elixirs offer relaxation, sociability, refreshment and consolation, sometimes all in the course of one cup. Whilst tea tends to taste fairly similar the world over, coffee comes in a variety of strengths, textures and aromas and can often tell you where you are in…

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Full of natural Goddess

The Mediterranean diet isn’t a differentiating proposition here of course, so olive oil brands of all price levels abound. Many of these might look like an authentic if unsophisticated discovery brand sitting on the top shelf at Waitrose or Albert Heijn, but here they look like the undifferentiated and unbranded commodities that they are. A…

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A lot less Goddess

Despite the beautifully in-mould labelled tubs, there’s not much branding support for these fancy prices. I guess Benecol looks sufficiently authoritative with its heart-health claim backed up by not one but two heart symbols, but next door what looks a bit like a logo actually reads simply ‘Village’. Last time I checked most village cheeses…

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Badly drawn sheep competition

Cheese in a Greek Supermarket

We’re all used to packaging carefully designed to imply a small producer without the resources or interest to employ ‘professional’ packaging design. But here on the yoghurt fixture it’s real, not just implication. The question is how real can you handle your authenticity, when that might mean the cheapest, ugliest plastic bucket or industrial container?…

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Energy – it’s in the blood

Energy Drinks Greek Supermarket

The energy drink category often finds its metaphors and symbolism in the untamed power and strength of frightening animals, Red Bull being the original reference and the one to ‘beat’. Good luck with that. To avoid this confrontation brands like Monster take a different tack, implying that some sort of supernatural blood transfusion lies at…

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Iconic or plain?

Beer on a Greek Supermarket Shelf

Guinness has been perfecting the art of reductionism for many years, so this latest manifestation simply tweaks a successful formula: presenting a tasteful product in an iconic glass. Local beer Keo is new to this particular game, and has elected to ditch its beer label ‘furniture’ like the crest and what I always thought was…

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Island spirit

As well as brewing the national beer Keo is also a major winemaker and distiller, so you can ‘be happy and drink well’ in a wide assortment of ways. Here at Duty Free I spotted a couple of attractive labels for two local favourites, Zivania (distilled from wine and grape stems, seeds and skins) and…

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