Recently, there have been a number of brands that had to apologize for campaigns that seemed to “take things too far,” and later offended somebody or a group. The mea culpa, usually issued by reps for celebrities fresh out of rehab, is now being offered by entire brands.
Most recently, PepsiCo apologized for an online campaign featuring a Dew-obsessed goat who tries to jive his way out of being identified by a white woman in a police lineup comprising exclusively African American men.
Critics have argued that the commercial portrays racial stereotypes and makes light of violence towards women. Dr. Boyce Watkins, an African American commentator and finance professor at Syracuse University, suggested, in fact, that the Dew commercial was one of the most racist spots he’d ever seen. The ad’s mastermind, Tyler, The Creator, also an African American, defended the storyline as so bizarre that it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.
So is the ad really offensive? Maybe. Depends on how you look at it. That’s part of the beauty of an ad—viewer perceptions play a key role in how the message is unpacked and ultimately judged. Mountain Dew’s message may not appeal to Professor Watkins, […]
“You’re not on OkCupid? Why the hell not?” Two years ago, a colleague of mine, her mouth agape, eyes widened and brow furrowed, posed this challenge about dating in an online age: “How else are you going to meet people?”
At the time, her concerns, and the prospect itself, seemed ridiculous. Little did I know that swarms of New Yorkers had already hooked up via digital means.
So here goes my “Hi, my name is Eliza and I have ‘dabbled’ in online dating” (cue awkward shrug and eye roll) confession.
During the time that it’s taken me to become just partially cool with the whole thing, online dating has rapidly transformed.
No longer are people motivated out of desperation, a hook up or dare we say, companionship. Now, it’s all about the tribe. It’s about knowing what you want and clinging to people most like you. It’s about the shared band (or brand) of people. The mystery for the most part is gone (#tear). Just look at the new, tribe-specific sites popping up today:
– If you consider yourself a classy lady (their words, not mine), specifically, an Ivy League student, aspiring model or young actress, and you want a […]
I was feeling lazy on another lazy spring afternoon. I had just finished watching “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars on YouTube. My kids love that song and the irony is that it’s actually pretty clever with a well-choreographed video. I’m not sure exactly why the monkeys are in there. Maybe to imply that Bruno “monkeys around” on his days off? What the monkeys do provide though is innocence. They don’t know any better. Instead of judging Bruno for being lazy, they’re just happy to be there, having a good time and eating things out of each other’s hair.
The next video I clicked on was a commercial for AT&T. It was one of many in their “It’s not complicated, faster is better” campaign. Not quite a universal human truth but OK, I’ll nod. It shows a man in a suit sitting with 4 kids and asking them simple questions like, “Is saving money better than not saving money?” and “Is being fast better than being slow?”
The kids are as funny as kids can be when you get them talking. They are answering questions correctly and incorrectly and saying funny things like “pickle roll” when they should be […]
It’s no secret that Nike is a marketing titan among the many sports brands that dot today’s competitive landscape. The activewear giant pioneered the idea of driving awareness through brand sponsorships by enlisting professional athletes to endorse its products. Romanian tennis player Ilie Nastase, track star Steve Prefontaine, basketball god Michael Jordan and golf great Tiger Woods all paved the way for Nike to become the international conglomerate it is today.
From a brand perspective, introducing new products to the market is much easier and effective when you can hang your hat on a high-profile spokesman like LeBron James. But while that formula has proven successful for Nike, the brand hasn’t stopped there. It continues to innovate around the very sneakers, apparel and accessories these athletes use to compete and succeed at a high level, and has managed to stay on top by doing so.
Over the years, Nike has strategically integrated specific proprietary technologies and created naming conventions that play a large role in establishing a unified portfolio architecture model and sustainable brand equities. If you visit nike.com, it’s easy to get lost in myriad styles, models and colors in the brand’s sneaker portfolio. But thanks to a smart […]
What’s important to you? Being popular? Making money? Putting a product you believe in into the marketplace?
America’s homemaking icon, Martha Stewart, has managed yet again to get serious media attention by becoming the most popular girl on the department store playground.
Earlier this year, J.C. Penney offered Martha millions of dollars for the rights to sell Martha Stewart-branded household products in their store to help with J.C. Penney’s turnaround strategy.
This would seem like a great business venture for Martha had she not already sold exclusive rights to her home products to Macy’s, and signed a contract that prohibited any other store from selling these exclusives.
In essence, Martha sold the same rights twice and offended Macy’s by making a deal with a less upscale department store. And all for a few extra million bucks
So what’s a girl to do? J.C. Penney claims that Martha is a critical piece of their turnaround strategy, while Macy’s says they need Martha products to drive growth. In Macy’s defense, they did take the initial risk by selling her products post prison sentence. Does she owe Macy’s a thank you? Or is she simply saying, “It’s been real, I’ll be moving on […]
Honest. Loving. Cheerful. Friendly. Sincere. According to one personality trait study¹ these are the top five most socially desirable personality traits that a person can have. I would venture to guess that half of all the brands that I have ever worked on had one of these five traits in their personality description. And another hefty percentage probably leveraged a personality trait from the next tier: “helpful,” “warm” or “broad-minded.”
Why are these personality traits so popular in the world of brands?
The obvious answer is that we want people to like our brands and these traits encourage liking. When people like a brand, they are more willing to believe what it says, think it is unique and even buy it. This is all good and important.
Additionally, people use brands to reflect and reinforce their own self-image or to project an image they hope to aspire to. Who wants to signal to the world with their brand choice, “I am prejudiced, crabby and dumb.” I totally get that.
But by stripping brands of their shadows are we inhibiting their ability to connect in an authentic and more human way? The people in our lives including the ones we love […]
Sometimes, even a baby needs an update. Gerber Products Company was founded in 1927, and in 1931, the ubiquitous Gerber baby illustration was officially made the company trademark. Since then, the Gerber baby has been recognized as a sacred brand icon all over the world. According to Wikipedia (which means it may not be true), the company started looking at a new baby in 2011 but as of 2013, it appears that baby Ann still remains the Gerber trademark photo. As a worthwhile exercise, let’s play devil’s advocate concerning potential updates to the baby logo:
Argument #1 – The baby is iconic. Everything points to an exploratory that started and culminated in a study that reached this conclusion: Don’t change the baby. At the same time, brands modernize logos all the time because they realize they need to stay relevant in an evolving consumer and cultural context. By not updating, Gerber runs the risk of losing relevance as women become moms. Gerber is pursuing other brand touch points, such as a slew of iPhone apps, so we know the brand is trying to stay relevant. However, Gerber should also consider the relevance of its overall look, tone and feel
It seems as if the frozen yogurt craze—and talk about a franchise frenzy with all the Red Mangos, Pinkberrys and Yogurtlands across the country—is finally slowing down a bit! As much as Froyo might pick up again this summer, there’s been a bit of a step back to the basics: good ole yogurt.
If you’ve taken a look at the dairy aisle recently, you couldn’t have missed the plethora of new yogurts that have hit the shelf (if you’ve always thought of yogurt as a bit bland or boring, think again). There are drinkable yogurts, fruit- infused yogurts, Greek yogurts, protein yogurts… the list goes on and on. What’s remarkable is that here in New York we’ve even had two yogurt stores open up in the last year: The Yogurt Culture Company, which is a subsidiary of Dannon, and Chobani SoHo, a Mediterranean yogurt bar.
With its “good” bacteria, yogurt is not only healthy but a great base to “dress up” and pair with accent ingredients for a snack, or be used itself as an ingredient to supplement another dish. But with the great number of yogurt options for consumers to choose from, how will each yogurt brand differentiate itself?
Growing fresh and healthy food is a founding value for the French. I grew up in a small town in the western region of France, and as a child, avoided eating processed foods until I moved to Paris at the age of 15. Even then, a healthy diet remained a part of my daily life. Paris today has 82 farmers’ markets and 3 organic farmers’ markets that run 2 to 3 days a week, all year round. The city also boasts around 675 large grocery stores.
So imagine my surprise when I first moved to the U.S. and learned that not everyone had equal access to healthy food. Neighborhood pockets in cities like New York seemed to offer little options for fresh and affordable food. (How’s this for a contrast: there are approximately 450 Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Manhattan alone; I could only imagine the impact each store might have should they carry pâté, cheese and other savory French delights instead!).
CBX’s recent project for the hunger relief organization Philabundance—to design a prototype for Fare & Square, a not-for-profit grocery store in PA—has made me think about these inequities even more. In our work for Philabundance, I’ve also been introduced […]
An Interview with CBX’s David Fung, the Human Behind Bodhi (aka Menswear Dog), the Fashionable Pooch Gone Viral.
Saturday January 26th a picture was posted on Facebook, by Sunday it was submitted for trademarking along with debuting on Tumblr. Come Monday, GQ had blogged about it. The following week Anderson Cooper, The Today Show, The Daily Beast, GMA, Laughing Squid and many more were all a twitter with features of this viral pooch. CBX publicist Christine C. sits down with David Fung for the full story.
CC: How did you come up with the idea of Menswear Dog?
DF: It was the combination of a lazy Saturday, idle hands and a handsome 2-year-old Shiba. So we decided to dress him up in my clothes. Bodhi loved it! We posted the one photo on Facebook as a joke and our friends and family thought it was real!
CC: Tell me what a typical day in Bodhi’s life is like
DF: Bodhi (who’s named after Patrick Swayze’s character in the movie Point Blank, by the way) comes from a breed known for being stubborn and very independent. He exhibits all the classic traits. At first it was painful, but now he […]