Thursday, January 27, 2011

They Know We've Got Swagger

I was alerted to this one by my fabulous friend Amanda, who wrote, "Fantastic brand marketing. I'm single, but this video makes me want to buy this car, get married, adopt my neighbor's kids, make out inappropriately and drink Bloody Marys on the porch as I call my children to come in for mac-n-cheese! I absolutely love this!"

It's a ringing endorsement if I've ever heard one! And the video didn't disappoint:

Selling a product by increasing its coolness factor, using a hipper cultural medium is nothing new. People were using rap to do this way before Weird Al Yankovic.  But this is made all the more awesome by how hipster-y these people are.  Getting a minivan now becomes representative of being chic young parents, as much as a Buggaboo stroller.  Better yet, this commercial has us laughing, which always creates positive associations between buyer and product.

Will you be getting your own swagger wagon?  Weigh in!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What's Inside

I'm sure your mom or some overarching parental figure once told you that it's what's inside that counts.  It couldn't be more true with product packaging.  One of the things I've griped about in the past is that if you can't sell the outside, you sure as heck can't sell the inside.

But luckily, these two products make it work:

This nut butter packaging by Danielle Davis is fantastic.  Very clean, shows the product inside, and with the nut shapes, reinforces exactly what it is.  It's clever, but true to the pared-down, raw nature of the product.  Love it. (via Lovely Package)

Another great one is for Colorcril paint, designed by Mariella Leal:

The label color on the outside is the same color as the paint inside.  No more reading the name of the paint and having to locate a chip on the wall.  The can is big enough that you'd be able to form a pretty firm conjecture on how it would look on a wall.  I recommend painting a swatch regardless, but still—having the color take up the majority of the package is good sense.

It's so simple, I wonder why everyone hasn't done it. I did a quick survey, and most have a band of color at the bottom that matches the paint, but none of them make as big a visual impact as this Colorcril sample. I love how simple the design is too; it really makes the color pop.  (via Lovely Package) 

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Brand of a Band

I just read this thoughtful and enlightening article by Damien Kulash about his band, Ok Go.  Ok Go, in case you aren’t familiar, is a fantastic band made famous by their inventive and eccentric YouTube videos, as well as their fantastic music.  I’ve been a fan for years, before they became YouTube sensations.

Kulash’s article concerns how the band markets itself.  Instead of relying upon the support of a major label, who would provide them with intensive marketing but little creative control, the band promotes themselves with videos and other projects that they give their fans for free.

This totally flies against the wisdom that to create demand for your product, you have to create a scarcity mentality, i.e. if there’s less of your product, it will be more valuable.  Inflating the cost of it is one way to do that.  Keeping a small supply of it is another.  But Ok Go doesn’t do that.  It allows its fans to experience its product—its music and videos—for free.

Through this, Kulash says:
Artists have meaningful, direct, and emotional access to our fans, and at a time when capturing the public's attention is increasingly difficult for the army of competing marketers, that access is a big asset.

But how does the band make money?  This was the really interesting part for me.  Some of it is what you’d expect—album sales, merchandise, ticket sales, and the like.  But a new paradigm that hinges on a an old standard is coming into play: patronage.

Ok Go got funding from Range Rover to stage a huge 8 mile musical parade in Los Angeles.  Range Rover didn’t put any cars in the parade.  They didn’t get any signage or promotional spots.  They just asked to be credited at the end.  Samsung and State Farm followed suit with other Ok Go creative projects to widespread success:

We had complete creative control in the productions. At the end of each clip we thanked the company involved, and genuinely, because we truly are thankful. We got the money we needed to make what we want, our fans enjoyed our videos for free, and our corporate Medicis got what their marketing departments were after: millions of eyes and goodwill from our fans. While most bands struggle to wrestle modest video budgets from labels that see videos as loss leaders, ours wind up making us a profit.

I love this so much.  I like that the brand isn’t clubbing you over the head with promotional spots, and instead, taking a hands-off approach to let the band do what they do.  The band gets the money to do what they’d like creatively, without a lot of constraint.  And the brand gets the goodwill of the band’s fans. 

Also, if such a cool brand is supporting a cool band, then there’s also the affiliation aspect: I want to buy from Range Rover, Samsung, and State Farm, because they’re awesome enough to support Ok Go, a band I enjoy.  If Ok Go is cool, and they’re the brand behind Ok Go, then they must be pretty rockin’ too.

Further, Ok Go is considered even more cutting edge and maintains artistic integrity and a fair amount of cred by developing these kinds of relationships.  They're at the forefront of where music is going.  By developing patronage and then writing about it, Kulash positions himself as a pioneer on music's frontier.

I think patronage in the music industry is a great trend and I hope it continues.  If Ok Go is any indication, it ameliorates innovative, exceptional art in a space that’s increasingly crowded with brands jockeying for attention through over-promotion.  This approach feels fresh, new, and current, and as always, the members of Ok Go look like gurus of artistic genius.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pretty Penhaligon's

The holidays and a bout of the dread sniffles have caused my blogging hiatus, but I'm back for a quick one.

Let's talk about Penhaligon's (via Lovely Package):

It's a luxury fragrance and personal care brand.  It looks to me like their packaging is treated with as much care as their exquisite products.  What's neat is that this packaging is for men's fragrance.  Honestly, that kind of surprised me.  I didn't think men went in much for velvet bows, but I stand corrected.

This really ties in with the vintage shaving trend—personal care in this respect walks a neat line between the manly-man grooming of the Old Spice Guy and the verging-on-feminine Metrosexual.  It's masculine, but old-world masculine. It heralds from a time when men had a toilette—a whole ritual of personal care that was taken with utmost seriousness.  This trend towards that allows men to be able to construct elaborate grooming rituals without mockery. 

In this particular packaging, it's got a bow, but it's also got an owl in a tie.  Nice mix, don't you think?