Saturday, December 09, 2006

Brand Immersion: Public Service or Advertising?

In the same vein as the previous post about the health care company whose advertising was of service...

Last week I was walking through the Times Square subway passage and was treated, along with thousands of other commuters, to holiday wall murals. Red, white and green graphic snow scenes. Every third or forth mural had a smallish logo placed in a corner.

With limited logo placement but strong visual continuity - those who experience these murals know within minutes this is from Starbucks. Because these murals appear where advertising posters usually hang - I walked from one to the next in a kind of eager anticipation to see which brand was responsible for this little bit of visual pleasure. Granted, I'm always looking for innovative advertising so maybe others were less inspired to find the brand - but regardless, I've overheard people talking about how nice it was to have the subway passage filled with holiday scenery.

Starbucks is a brand that gives us a "third place" - not work, not home, but that lovely place to stop in for a moment or for an hour and just be. Now they've taken a little bit of that and extended it to the New York underground.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Brand Immersion: How to calm down during rush hour...

In my quest to find and reveal great examples of analog and digital branded utilities I've come across a health insurance company that believes even its advertising can be of service in keeping people healthy. Check this out - as reported by Creativity...

Health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente aims to maintain health in the frantic workaday world exemplified by this friendly domination effort seen at the Montgomery Street BART station in downtown San Francisco last month.

"Suggestions on how to live well in a busy world," along with "calming images" lined the walls of the station, allowing Kaiser Permanente to "actually provide a healthy moment in a person's busy day," says Karnowsky. In addition, sponsored musical performances heard during rush hours "can lower a commuter's blood pressure," she says.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Brand Immersion: Dove Evolution

In discussions about Branded Utility I generally use the example of Dove Soap. When one uses a bar of Dove in the shower, the brand, in the form of the product, is of use to us. And the question that follows is, "how can this same brand be of service when it appears as a printed page or video?"

Watch this spot posted to YouTube for the answer. Here, Dove is of outstanding use as a brand. And, the results are proof of how positively audiences respond to advertising that is of service.

Video Posted: Oct 6
Cost of Distribution: $0
Engagement: +1.7 million views and counting
Buzz: Top 15 most linked to spots among bloggers
Featured on The View, Ellen, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, and Geraldo

Monday, November 20, 2006

Brand Immersion: Can Pie be a Branded Utility?

I'm having a deja vu moment. It's from Willi Wonka when Violet grabs a piece of gum and begins experiencing a full 6-course meal (or something like that).

"What brought this on," you ask?

In this morning's (digital) headlines I read "Give Thanks: Pie Takes On Life Of Its Own". The article goes on to say that Godiva has come up with a line of pie-flavored chocolates and Jones Soda has done the same with fizzy drinks.

Oh come now! Why replace pie with anything else? Tis the season for pie eating and I must say that there is just no substitute for the stuff. Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING should come between a girl and her pie. Not even a fancy chocolate with a pie-flavored soda chaser.

This may just be a case of branded utility gone wrong...

Read on...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Brand Immersion: Advertising that is Of Service...

I've been thinking lately about ways in which brands can be of service in every form they take - especially in advertising. There is a flurry of writing and thinking being done, especially in the digital word around the notions of branded utilities. And I've heard more than once this month that applications are the new advertising.

Here's a fantastic example of a brand being of service through its advertising. Charmin is gifting the city of New York with toilets in Time Square for the holidays. My question to P&G is why not make it permanent?

For more on the story about Charmin - check out the story in the New York Times

For more on branded utility see PSFK

Monday, October 16, 2006

Brand Immersion: Who needs brains?

In today's New York Times Op-Ed, Bob Herbert writes "Why aren't we shocked?"

My question is why aren't we ashamed?

A young woman walks into a store, selects and then wears a shirt emblazoned with "Who needs brains when you have these?"

People should feel free to express themselves and thanks to our forefathers we can speak and consume media freely. I, in no way, want to suggest that we curtail anyone's civil liberties. But what kind of conscious act of liberty is exercised by a young woman who wears a shirt like this?

Is this an expression of freedom, or has oposite occured? Have her liberties been curtailed by the pressures of a society that has reduced her to her piece parts? I'm all for admiring the beauty of the human form, but that's not what this shirt is about.

What's responsible for this happening? Do we blame the retailer? A thriving porn industry? Media? Advertising? The young woman? Her parents?

More important than blame, how do we influence the situation? How do we reverse the pressure so that no retailer would even consider putting something like this on a shelf and so that no woman would ever degrade herself by buying or wearing something like this?

Link to Bob Herbert's OpEd piece that inspired this rant

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Brand Immersion: Child Guilt

In the category of "you've got to be kidding me" AdAge today reports that Wal-Mart have launched a holiday wish list site for kids. I can't find the site myself, but the email alert reports that an elf guides children through a conveyor belt of toys. When a little darling clicks "yes" on a toy, an email is sent off to his parents and he's rewarded with a round of applause. But when he clicks "no" on a toy, that's when everything goes pear-shaped. Little Stevie watches as the rejected toy gets boxed up and sent off to a dump truck. Sad, sad, sad. Just what every child needs - a guilt complex for rejecting his materialistic destiny.