Brand Candy

BRANDOPOLY
…and there it is. All the world’s food (basically) on one page, represented by just 10 companies. It’s neat and scary all at the same time. (Sidebar: Kraft Foods is now Mondelez?? When did this happen? And where was I? I need to keep track of who’s ultimately responsible for my watermelon OREO obsession…)
via SPLOID

BRANDOPOLY

…and there it is. All the world’s food (basically) on one page, represented by just 10 companies. It’s neat and scary all at the same time. (Sidebar: Kraft Foods is now Mondelez?? When did this happen? And where was I? I need to keep track of who’s ultimately responsible for my watermelon OREO obsession…)

via SPLOID

POP (-PED) ADS

Today’s pop icons never pitched better! French graphic artist David Redon has married vintage advertisement design of bold color and hand-applied typography with popular performers like Pharrell, Drake, Rihanna, Kanye West and more. Ads Libitum replaces ad man copy with song lyrics, which cleverly pitch products and support period propaganda, all appropriate for the selected artists. See more of Redon’s artwork here, courtesy of DesignBoom.

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

Google the term “7-11" and undoubtedly, you’ll discover a litany of news stories about robberies, shoplifting and even hostage standoffs and shootings. The convenience of milk and eggs around the clock has oft led to more grandiose criminal cravings, a plague so prevalent that another redundant newsworthy topic is that of location closings in the world’s largest convenience store operator, licensee and franchisor. At the same time, tales of its expansion woes also abound: push back from neighborhoods in cities like New York, where sentimental allegiance to smaller, independently-owned "old school" markets and bodegas wins the day…that is, until hipster tendencies kick in.

So, to make the go a bit more palatable, why not re-brand? Above are photos of a 7-11 in lower Manhattan’s Financial District which looked so unlike it’s traditional counterpart, we stood dumbstruck outside in awe of it for several minutes. With obvious design nods to several “hip” food and retail destinations, (think Whole Foods, Starbucks, Argo Tea), this new design was inviting, open, and definitely more soothingly illuminated than most existing doors. Fresh fruit, self-serve coffee and beer (yes, on tap and refills for growlers) and of course, a tricked-out 21st century Slurpee machine await customers, and this mart is not all about the quickie: free WiFi with elevated electrical outlets above sleek bamboo work surfaces invite extended stays. (Sold!)

While the familiar logo was used sparingly throughout the store, there was a new concentration on grass green as the highlight color, a seemingly smart move, if intentional, to lend the brand some kind of fresh, if even recycled air. Natural woods, concrete floors and warm colors help create the sense of a familiar atmosphere, like a campus bookstore. And the rear of the store houses a wall of Amazon Lockers, further endearing the corner store as a neighborhood fixture. 

As far as we can tell, this is the only rollout of this new format in the immediate area. Time will tell if it will impact the chain on such a level that the design is implemented on a larger level, similar to the new look of McDonald’s restaurants. But we do think when looking to reinvent yourself, a makeover usually ranks up there as the best way to start. Kudos to 7-11 for clearing Hurdle #1.

What do you think of the 7-11 store re-design?

HOW DEEP IS YOUR (BRAND) LOVE?

Few things are as permanent as tattoos (we found out the hard way). So, when Taco Bell Canada hooked up one of its biggest brand fans, Tyler, with a pro tattoo artist, they were doing more than making a statement about a new menu item. This kind of brand evangelism has always lived without much documentation: we’ve all known someone with a weird affinity for Nike, McDonald’s, Chevrolet or Coca Cola. We’ve laughed at (and circulated) internet pics and videos featuring folks all Louis Vuitton-ed out for prom, and in attendance at NFL-themed weddings. And we’ve seen people rent space on their bodies for Las Vegas casinos and the like. But mainstream eatery Taco Bell married their brand values with a lifestyle, and made a slick video to boot, endorsing this utmost show of love, a permanent tie to a company, in exchange for a lifetime supply. Think Tyler will have later regrets about the life size taco he now has plastered on his person? Doritos Loco Tacos can’t be that good, can they? We hope so. #DLT4Life

Read more in Marketing Mag Canada.

FLYING THE BRANDED SKIES

Yeah, yeah, yeah…logo changes, revamped color palettes, designer uniforms…these all can help an airline shift brand identity, project a new image, tell an updated story in a crowded marketplace. But nothing hits home like good old fashioned entertainment. Check out this Virgin America safety film that runs like a Beyonce video — with good reason:  choreographer/writer Todrick Hall most recently completed work on a featurette in Miss Carter’s latest video concept album.

THE TREE IS KNOWN BY ITS FRUIT

Well, if you didn’t see this coming, you know absolutely nothing about branding (and what have you learned here?). BlackBerry has reportedly ended its’ one year relationship with Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Alicia Keys. Dubbed a “collaboration,” Keys was initially touted as the struggling smartphone giant’s “global creative director” last January, a move now more widely accepted as not so much a publicity stunt, but a desperate play to refresh the company’s declining “cool” factor.

Although a social media photo campaign and a scholarship program were borne out of the short-lived relationship between the brand and the musician, one can’t help but wonder how exactly this partnership was a benefit to BlackBerry.  A full year later, is the brand better off? More visible? In a new market? While you can’t blame Ms. Keys, other celebrities cite similar tenures with well-publicized involvement (think will.i.am at HP and Coke, Beyonce at Pepsi, or even Keys’ husband Swizz Beatz, who has helped keep Reebok relevant), so perhaps a full scope of what was to have occurred at BlackBerry was never thought out. This should serve as a warning to companies still seeking validation through “celebrity” endorsement in the 21st century. If social media has taught us nothing else, it should be that the end-consumer holds all the power, and influence comes from many sources, not just those entrenched in fame. Engage your endorsers, pay them for their ideas, not just influence; reserve titles of grandeur (“global creative director”) for those who have toiled in their careers and understand the gravitas. And, if you must, shell out a little more for loyalty: Alicia using an Apple product while on the BlackBerry payroll? A low-hanging fruit move, for sure.

(from a story by Mashable)

MAKING IT WRITE
Bankrupt Motor City may have found the answer to urban blight, while restructuring brand rules.  Wanna rebuild your city’s brand image? Give away houses.
Write-A-House, a new Detroit-based non-profit, has started an Indigogo campaign to raise funds that will go to restoring homes for working, “low income” writers. Through an application process, Write-A-House hopes to attract writers both locally and from around the world, to spend two years in residency leasing the homes from the non-profit, striving for the end-goal of ownership at the end of their tenure. Call it crowdfunding for the community, the idea is to bring other nonprofits together (like local Young Detroit Builders), to all pitch in and reinvest in neighborhoods, one house at a time.
As a former resident of Detroit (thanks to a job relocation, the city got two years, 10 months and four days of my life — yeah, I counted), I am very familiar with the scores of perfectly good but abandoned boarded up, empty properties that dotted almost every block, regardless of neighborhood.  I heard stories of people who paid just tax and water bills on houses to secure ownership, but I never knew if those tales were true, and if so, why the whole city hadn’t jumped on that was a mystery. So, this idea of an artists’ enclave, a writer’s colony, is an amazing one, that will not only clean up the visual brand of dear Detroit, but uplift the literary quotient and add to the intellectual treasure of the city, as well.  My hope is that the writers who arrive to call Detroit their home will start publications and cultural ventures that help document the journey back; that their influence and dedication and pride in the dream of home ownership will translate into a larger groundswell for rejuvenating the pulse of the city. It’s rebranding at its’ best, if it works.  My fingers are crossed.

(From an Huffington Post article.)
Read more about Write-A-House and donate to the Detroit project here. 

MAKING IT WRITE

Bankrupt Motor City may have found the answer to urban blight, while restructuring brand rules.  Wanna rebuild your city’s brand image? Give away houses.

Write-A-House, a new Detroit-based non-profit, has started an Indigogo campaign to raise funds that will go to restoring homes for working, “low income” writers. Through an application process, Write-A-House hopes to attract writers both locally and from around the world, to spend two years in residency leasing the homes from the non-profit, striving for the end-goal of ownership at the end of their tenure. Call it crowdfunding for the community, the idea is to bring other nonprofits together (like local Young Detroit Builders), to all pitch in and reinvest in neighborhoods, one house at a time.

As a former resident of Detroit (thanks to a job relocation, the city got two years, 10 months and four days of my life — yeah, I counted), I am very familiar with the scores of perfectly good but abandoned boarded up, empty properties that dotted almost every block, regardless of neighborhood.  I heard stories of people who paid just tax and water bills on houses to secure ownership, but I never knew if those tales were true, and if so, why the whole city hadn’t jumped on that was a mystery. So, this idea of an artists’ enclave, a writer’s colony, is an amazing one, that will not only clean up the visual brand of dear Detroit, but uplift the literary quotient and add to the intellectual treasure of the city, as well.  My hope is that the writers who arrive to call Detroit their home will start publications and cultural ventures that help document the journey back; that their influence and dedication and pride in the dream of home ownership will translate into a larger groundswell for rejuvenating the pulse of the city. It’s rebranding at its’ best, if it works.  My fingers are crossed.

(From an Huffington Post article.)

Read more about Write-A-House and donate to the Detroit project here

WHY, YOU’RE JUST RADIANT!
…and here it is, the Color of 2014, as chosen by that pigment powerhouse Pantone: Radiant Orchid. In the company’s annual announcement, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, described the hue as “an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones” that “inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.”
Uh-huh. We just like it. 
The color has already graced the collections of several Spring ‘14 fashion houses, and we can look forward to its appearance in brand packaging and logos, home decor and accessories, and perhaps even on the boldest of beauties walking awards-season red carpets. (Or will they be Radiant Orchid rugs?)
Don’t worry if you’re not feeling it yet.  You have a whole year to warm up to the berry blush!
Read more about the new hue here.

WHY, YOU’RE JUST RADIANT!

…and here it is, the Color of 2014, as chosen by that pigment powerhouse Pantone: Radiant Orchid. In the company’s annual announcement, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, described the hue as “an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones” that “inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.”

Uh-huh. We just like it. 

The color has already graced the collections of several Spring ‘14 fashion houses, and we can look forward to its appearance in brand packaging and logos, home decor and accessories, and perhaps even on the boldest of beauties walking awards-season red carpets. (Or will they be Radiant Orchid rugs?)

Don’t worry if you’re not feeling it yet.  You have a whole year to warm up to the berry blush!

Read more about the new hue here.

JIGGA BELL ROCK or FURTHER LESSONS IN BUSINESS FROM JAY-Z

"What more can I say?"

These are more than just rhetorical lyrics: this is now a real-life question that Shawn Carter MUST ask himself everyday. The rapper, businessman, mogul more commonly known as Jay-Z has now put his imprint on the holidays with a newly-announced collaborative effort with Barneys New York.

As he has in the past, Jay-Z reps his hometown well, showing love in “A New York Holiday,” an unprecedented collection of limited edition products inspired by Gotham, in the color palette of black, white, gold and silver. Starting Nov. 20, products by fashion partners Balenciaga, Rick Owens, Lanvin, and more will be available in the BNY SCC (for Shawn Corey Carter) Gallery, an immersive space in the Madison Avenue flagship and an accompaniment to a highly-anticipated holiday window installation conceived by Mr. Carter.

Let’s add this project to a growing list of accomplishments for a man who threatened to retire a few years back. In the last two years alone, with the birth of his daughter, a top-selling solo project, a sold-out collaborative tour with Justin Timberlake, numerous drops with everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Drake, popping up worldwide on his wife’s tour (and still managing to get in vacation time at exotic locales) — just to name a mere few —  one would think he would be dead tired.  Instead, all we do is wonder how he does it.

"Picasso, baby." 

Read more about the Barneys New York x Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter collaboration at The Window, Barneys’ insider fashion access blog.

CODE “DO”
“For most people on Earth, the digital revolution hasn’t even started yet. Within the next 10 years, all that will change.” — Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
We could have just posted the above graphic, and it alone would catch attention. But there’s others. Like the one that illustrated the percentage drop in graduates with a computer science degree as compared to 10 years ago. Or, the one that said nine out of 10 schools don’t even offer courses in computer programming. In a world where fervor over budget-cut casualties like art and music has turned heads; soft-drink and snack vending to youth in schools stoked PTA panic; and the fight to keep physical education both in and mandatory has gone its share of rounds in the ring, it is appalling that this stat about coding classes has gone virtually unaddressed.
Today’s society is so computer-dependent, it’s almost embarassing (no “Rise of the Machines” references, please). Just think: you can’t start a car, make a phone call, or borrow a book from the library nowadays without the aide of a digital system of some sort.  It only makes sense that our next generations be proficient in the repair and renewal of the technologies that support our digital existence. And it’s not just technical careers that await those that learn: computer science provides the foundational learning for a variety of jobs.  Read: it is OUR responsibility to pass on this knowledge and foster interest in the growing field.
Enter a new crop of non-profits, dedicated to providing opportunities for kids to learn coding, to become thinkers, innovators, leaders, inventors. Organizations like BlackGirlsCode, Social Coding for Good, and Code.org are busily identifying both students in need of exposure and instruction, as well as volunteers and donors to give time and resources.  In a country that already lags behind in math and science proficiency, this is no small feat. Some of these same groups are also lobbying for change in school systems to require certain computer programming skills prior to graduation. And while there’s a financial component to everything, this is more about an old-fashioned sense of sharing knowledge than anything. (What’s that? You can’t code, either? Even us of the older ilk can check out Codeacademy, a free online portal staffed by global tech volunteers, and run on donations.) It’s “giving back” at a previously unheard of level. And it’s serious.
Off the soapbox now. And on to discover how to help more.
Check out (and share) how you and your students or your company can get involved through any of the links above

CODE “DO”

“For most people on Earth, the digital revolution hasn’t even started yet. Within the next 10 years, all that will change.” — Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google

We could have just posted the above graphic, and it alone would catch attention. But there’s others. Like the one that illustrated the percentage drop in graduates with a computer science degree as compared to 10 years ago. Or, the one that said nine out of 10 schools don’t even offer courses in computer programming. In a world where fervor over budget-cut casualties like art and music has turned heads; soft-drink and snack vending to youth in schools stoked PTA panic; and the fight to keep physical education both in and mandatory has gone its share of rounds in the ring, it is appalling that this stat about coding classes has gone virtually unaddressed.

Today’s society is so computer-dependent, it’s almost embarassing (no “Rise of the Machines” references, please). Just think: you can’t start a car, make a phone call, or borrow a book from the library nowadays without the aide of a digital system of some sort.  It only makes sense that our next generations be proficient in the repair and renewal of the technologies that support our digital existence. And it’s not just technical careers that await those that learn: computer science provides the foundational learning for a variety of jobs.  Read: it is OUR responsibility to pass on this knowledge and foster interest in the growing field.

Enter a new crop of non-profits, dedicated to providing opportunities for kids to learn coding, to become thinkers, innovators, leaders, inventors. Organizations like BlackGirlsCode, Social Coding for Good, and Code.org are busily identifying both students in need of exposure and instruction, as well as volunteers and donors to give time and resources.  In a country that already lags behind in math and science proficiency, this is no small feat. Some of these same groups are also lobbying for change in school systems to require certain computer programming skills prior to graduation. And while there’s a financial component to everything, this is more about an old-fashioned sense of sharing knowledge than anything. (What’s that? You can’t code, either? Even us of the older ilk can check out Codeacademy, a free online portal staffed by global tech volunteers, and run on donations.) It’s “giving back” at a previously unheard of level. And it’s serious.

Off the soapbox now. And on to discover how to help more.

Check out (and share) how you and your students or your company can get involved through any of the links above