Many things drive culture, especially in the United States. In addition to the nation’s diverse consumer population and the emergence of a very blended, interconnected society, branding is also responsible for driving and cultivating culture. A simple reflection on your childhood would show how much your own experience growing up, no matter what region of the U.S. you are from, was the product of branding initiatives.
Specifically, on the East Coast it becomes vehemently apparent when one looks at branding initiatives created by huge companies like Campbell’s Soup Company. Without Campbell’s 2005-2009 “Possibilities” campaign for their tomato soup, would children of the early 90s have known to dip their grilled cheese in tomato soup? Would the parents of those children have thought to add Goldfish crackers, a product also owned by Campbell’s, to the children soup if there hadn’t been the Goldfish addition to the Campbell’s “Mm, Mm, Good!” campaign in 2001? Probably not, yet it has now become a part of the culture for many families with young children living on the East Coast, as much as Campbell’s Soup Company, originally created in New Jersey, dreamed it would be.
Hershey’s Chocolate, another major company on the East Coast with its headquarters in Hershey, Pa, has also greatly influenced the culture and education of children on the East Coast with its 1999 published book “The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar Fractions Book.” The Hershey Chocolate Company created an entire lesson plan for teachers to use and teach their students on how to divide, add and subtract fractions by breaking small bars of chocolate off of their Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars. This branding initiative immediately took off and made learning about fractions a fun and exciting project for children because who wouldn’t want to have some chocolate during a math lesson?
These are just two examples where branding and marketing tactics have assimilated into the culture and activities of typical Americans, an endeavor which can be very challenging to do. Many more examples of branding from all over the United States have been found to change the way consumers think and act, ultimately changing the appearance and influence of a product into an engaging activity. Have you considered how today’s culture uses your brand? We can help you find opportunities to strategize cultural engagement.
Well, it’s Tuesday after the Super Bowl, and our team has weighed in on their favorite TV commercials. Here’s our collective top 3. See if you agree:
First place: Jeep’s “Portraits”
Taking a more classic and unconventional twist, Jeep’s commercial quickly rose to our number one spot out of all the Super Bowl ads with its unique chronological portraits of Jeeps and their influence on the public over the past 75 years. This tribute and celebration marking their 75th anniversary was concluded with the slogan, “We don’t make Jeep. You do.” This beautiful commercial helps to once again enforce the idea that a brand is not a brand without its consumers.
Second place: T-Mobile’s “Restricted Bling” featuring Drake
On a completely different spectrum of the Super Bowl commercials, T-Mobile’s parody of “Hotline Bling,” which included Drake and his notorious box, also ranked as another top favorite of ours. From Drake’s hilarious facial expressions, to the obvious sarcasm and the sly way T-Mobile mocked their competitors, this was an easy choice for us. We especially enjoyed the end when everyone climbed into the box.
Third place: Doritos’ “Ultrasound”
Despite the growing controversy surrounding this Super Bowl commercial, Doritos’ in our opinion, has once again delivered another outrageous advertisement that has gotten everyone talking. It has become routine for football fans around the nation to anticipate what crazy, comical and creative commercial Doritos will produce each year and this year they have certainly outdone themselves.
If you are looking to score an awesome commercial or advertisement for your brand, organization or product, contact us.
McDonald’s has just rolled out new packaging. It’s simple and bold, with big type and vibrant shades of purple, orange and magenta that push the company’s color palette beyond the traditional red and gold.
It’s part of a comprehensive effort by new CEO Steve Easterbrook to transform the Golden Arches into a “modern, progressive burger company.” The company is also in the process of revamping its menu offerings and other aspects of the in-store experience.
The packaging re-design was a team effort by several designers who were handpicked from several of McDonald’s agencies worldwide—an unusual approach for such a high profile branding assignment.
Definitely more contemporary in its approach, the new cups and bags feature the Golden Arches prominently as well as the slogan “I’m lovin’ it.” The stated goal was to make every item a “billboard for the brand.”
Will the new packaging help reverse McDonald’s recent sales slide? Who knows? As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, packaging and the in-store experience definitely have an influence on how consumers perceive a brand.
It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Have a packaging assignment you need to tackle? We’d love to help you.
Photo Credit: McDonald’s 2016
At this time of year, it’s customary for bloggers and other industry pundits to look back at trends in the business — and extrapolate what it all means for the future.
Well, it’s been quite a year at Partners & Harrison, with lots of new projects and the addition of high profile clients like American University.
In the branding business, every year brings its share of insights. Here’s what we saw in 2015.
1. Digital technology continues to shrink timelines — everyone seems to be working on speed dial. And in some cases, 24/7.
2. Websites and microsites are becoming increasingly visual and cinematic. Large, visceral photography and video have become the norm, with copy being kept to a minimum.
3. Packaging design is getting more creative (in terms of form factor) and visually appealing as more and more companies realize the importance of brand design in influencing consumers’ buying habits at the point of sale.
4. Corporate responsibility and citizenship seemed to dominate many campaigns thematically this year. Consumers want to know what companies stand for as much as what they sell. (This year’s Super Bowl contained a plethora of socially-conscious advertising. A few standouts were Coca Cola and Dove.)
5. Experiential marketing — the growing importance of brand experiences and their emotional component — remains a dominant trend. We truly have entered the “human era” of branding and marketing.
6. And of course, the upcoming presidential election is dominating all forms of media — social as well as traditional.
Well, that’s the year as we saw it. Here’s to new exciting trends and clients in 2016. It’s still a fun business — and one that’s constantly changing.
Photo: Jim Hickcox (Creative Commons)