Most people think of branding as a logo. And most people think of a logo as visual identity. A logo is one component of your visual identity system which makes up one part of your brand. A great example of this is Weiden and Kennedy Sao Paulo new visual identity which is shown in the video below. They break down the inspiration for the logo design and then show how it is translated across a series of touch points as part of a larger identity system. No this doesn’t establish their branding. Branding is much larger than just a logo, visual identity system or editorial voice. Branding encompasses everything that establishes a relationship with a product, company, or service. The example in the video is one hell of an awesome logo and identity system though.
Back in the early 1990’s I attended a lecture on automotive advertising that made a comparison to the way cars are, or were advertised in Japan at the time versus the United States. In Japan, it was less about the car and more about the mood or feeling. Here in America, little has changed. Most car ads talk about how fast you can go, how much you can haul, will this vehicle help you compensate for something missing in your life, etc. It was and still is an interesting comparison as to how different cultures perceive product relationships and branding. For example the video below, not for a Japanese car, but for Korean Hyundai. The video is an abstraction on relating to the automobile Hyundai’s design sensibilities. It is a short film that combines natural senses and emotions with visual abstractions that relate to what the product stands for; confidence, essentials, refinement, sensuality, effortlessness. It conveys all of this without ever showing a single Hyundai car, and not revealing the brand until the very end of the clip.
The video is an abstraction on relating to the automobile Hyundai’s design sensibilities. It is a short film that combines natural senses and emotions with visual abstractions that relate to what the product stands for; confidence, essentials, refinement, sensuality, effortlessness. It conveys all of this without ever showing a single Hyundai car, and not revealing the brand until the very end of the clip. What a completely different approach to branding, and one that is the polar opposite of the way automotive branding and advertising is handled here in the good old US of A.
Produced by Trizz Studio for Innocean Worlwide and Hyundai, this is a fantastic blend of CG work, live action footage, and sound design. High production value, and the opportunity to create an abstract representation of what the Hyundai brand represents helps to sell this piece. I think it is wonderful, and frankly would like to see more car ads like this, but I know for a fact no agency in America is ever going to pitch this kind of concept to an automotive client, let alone have an automotive client actually buy in, here in America.
WAtch it full screen and turn up the volume.
I’ve never lived in the South. I have cousins that live there and my brother moved to Alabama a few months back, and that is about as deep as my relationship to the southern United States gets. I know the south has a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and I know that the confederate flag is a symbol of controversy for many living there and not living there. It is a symbol that has long been divisive and polarizing, occasionally popping up in the news when there is a call to ban or abolish it from public use by a state or local government. So I can’t imagine the challenge of designing a new symbol for the south that would be inclusive, embrace the traditions and heritage of the region, and not spark arguments from those that believe the confederate flag is sacred.
Last year PRI and WNYC asked 70k ft to do just that, and they did. Below is the imagery that they created and some of the thinking that went into the redesign. The embedded links go to the South website and to the PRI site where the team discusses in detail the process, the thinking, and the reaction to the new symbol for the southern portion of the United States. It is an interesting read and listen if you have the time. I have mixed feelings about the end results. I like the new symbol better than the tired old confederate flag, but I’m not sure it will resonate with southerners. It’ll be interesting to see if this new symbol takes hold and develops traction in the future.
The infographic below is from the UK printing company Oomph that shows you the correct pronunciation of 30 famous brand names that most people get wrong. Everyone should read and memorize the correct way to pronounce these brands, so the next time you hear someone say it wrong, you can correct them. Because everyone wants to be corrected by a stranger. Especially when that stranger is correcting you on how to pronounce brands like Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, and IKEA. The good news is I now know how to pronounce Miele, so when I go to Nebraska Furniture mart to buy a new dishwasher I won’t sound like a complete fool.
Just under a week ago, Paris was rocked for the second time in less than year by senseless terrorist attacks. Over the last 6 days the news has been filled with more information about the attacks, and the possibility of more. In times like these it is often hard to imagine how much good is going on in the world, but occasionally we get reminded of it. Today I was looking around for visual inspiration for a new project I am starting when I came across this animated short by Hue&Cry for CARE. The animation is fantastic, the script and narration filled with hope, as it tells the story of how CARE started and evolved over the last 70 years.
It’s always tough to tell a brand’s story. It’s even tougher when the story spans 70 years of evolution and progress. But the toughest part about telling this story was truly honoring one of the oldest and greatest humanitarian foundations on the globe.’Power of a Box’ touches on the history, the evolution and the sheer scope of the work that the CARE Foundation has been delivering since the first half of last century, an effort that has improved the lives of a billion people in 90 countries around the world.
Then we took it another step. The core message and visuals of ’Power of a Box’ have been translated to an additional :30 and :15, as well as print, digital and social medias to create a new campaign for CARE. Our hope is that an organization that was at one point the ‘go to’ for humanitarian contribution will again become a house hold name that people know and trust, and we look forward to continuing to push their message and help them deliver lasting change.
Written and Directed by Hue&Cry
Original Music and Sound Design by Antfood
Narrated by Matt Dillon
Over the last decade as online video has become more available and ubiquitous, brands have begun to turn to long form video advertising in the form of storytelling. A great example of this is a video produced by Land Rover that tells the story of a 1957 Series 1, bought by 4 friends in college that fell into disrepair. The friends were forced to sell the car, and Land Rover stepped in to help.
I love this on so many levels. The production quality of the video is as good as it gets. The story is compelling and draws you in. It doesn’t fell like an ad per say, because Land Rover isn’t trying to sell you something. It demonstrates brand loyalty. It hooks you in and gets you to watch the entire 3 minute video because you really want to see the pay off when the friends are reunited with their beloved Land Rover.
Land Rover has built a small single page microsite that gives even more back story on the car and restoration. On the page, the only ad hooks are the in the header and right menu system with ties to the current vehicles, find a dealer, sign up for the newsletter etc. It’s a subtle display of effective integrated advertising and storytelling hat uses YouTube to spread the word. The video went up on Valentine’s Day. In less than 3 days it has had almost 300,000 views. Not bad at all.
In 2013 a group of artists, animators, scientists, writers, designers, producers, and marketers formed Brazen Animation with one purpose. “In a world saturated with “Throw Away Entertainment” we have only one goal: to tell inspirational stories with meaning and purpose.” To achieve that goal, they work on commercials while they develop their own feature projects. The video below is a fabulous example of the quality of the animated work they produce. It features “Iggy” who represents the Brazen spirit within each of us that is passionate, bold, unique, accountable, autonomous, collaborative, and classy.