And the winners are …

February 8, 2016 / Advertising, Branding
super Ad Bowl

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.

McD’s new packaging.

January 9, 2016 / Branding
mcdonalds packaging design

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.

McDonald's packaging design

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

A 2015 retrospective.

December 26, 2015 / Branding, Sales/Marketing
branding retrospective

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)


Packaging and good taste.

November 18, 2015 / Branding, Design
coke packaging

We read an interesting article in Adweek a few weeks ago.

Research by Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford who investigates sensory perception of food, has determined that consumer perceptions of the taste of Pringles were actually altered by how fresh or stale the chips sounded. In further experiments, Spence discovered that product packaging influences taste perceptions, as well.

A failed packaging experiment for Coke involved a limited edition white can — designed as part of a fund-raising effort for endangered polar bears. The can was discontinued because consumers complained that Coke had changed its formula and the “new product” didn’t taste as good. Which wasn’t the case at all. It was a new can, not a new Coke.

The takeaway here: Color palettes, packaging, product shapes — even product names — can make or break your product. Design is more important that you might think. So choose wisely.