Archive for August 2009
IKEA fans are all a-Twitter over the company's recent font change from Futura to Verdana. Designed to be easy to read at small sizes (like catalogs and computer screens), Verdana will be used in IKEA's print and digital communications. What seems on the surface like a simple, subtle shift -- one that arguably fits the company's brand of streamlined, smart, affordable design -- has triggered an onslaught of negative reaction so filled with bile that one might think the company switched to Comic Sans or Jokerman.
Usually, the city of Venice is partially flooded by water a number of times every year, courtesy of its slowly sinking foundation. However, these days the city called "La Serenissima," or most serene, is facing a different kind of flood -- one it is much less prepared to stem.
The Unbound Edition Players now take the stage for "Love Among the Ruins," alternately titled, "The One Where Betty's Father Takes Up Way Too Much Screen Time."
We're in a post agency age, would someone please notify the sports leagues? While middlemen everywhere cry out in pain, umbrella sports organizations from high school to the pros skip blithely along with blinders on, slicing their member institutions' intellectual property into ever smaller segments while their lawyers kick and scream at technological advancements and rail at the consumers themselves - yes, that's right, the very fans who comprise what ESPN dubs Sports Nation, otherwise known as the blood that courses through the veins of the mighty American sports machine. Does this sound sustainable to you?
Starbucks has a brand problem. Everyone knows it. Their founder knows it. And, to Starbucks' credit, the company is taking action. A brand problem, though, is a business problem. It's not a matter of addressing or re-dressing things. It's about operations, about the integrity of processes. Making the promise and keeping the promise of the brand can never be detached from the consumer experience. This is not good news for Starbucks; it's still faking it.
Regardless of one's political affiliation, one thing is clear. Both sides of the aisle and their respective mouthpieces, as well as special interest groups, are leveraging public relations and other tools of persuasion to the best of their abilities in order to advance their sides of the health care story. However, as usual, the Republicans are winning the word war.
After nearly ten months of making ends meet by twirling signs outside of Jiffy Lube, the Unbound Edition Players dust themselves off, oil their squeaky joints, and take the stage for “Out of Town.”
It is no news that advertising agencies are in crisis, struggling to survive under the multiple pressures of reduced client budgets, degraded media effectiveness, and connected, informed consumers. What is news: agencies are proving themselves unable to adapt and to fix their own business problems; client-side solutions are winning. This, more than anything, illustrates the disconnect too often experienced between “the business” and “the creative” sides of marketing. The marketer’s role, in the end, is to navigate the markets — to succeed even amidst change — not just to razzle and dazzle though sales don’t come in the door. This applies to clients and to marketers alike. Mad Man: market thyself.
Dim Bulb’s Jonathan Salem Baskin wrote recently that rather than battling for the right to more broadly advertise mature and adults only-rated video games, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) would be better served investing in developers willing to challenge the gaming status quo. I share his hope that the industry will evolve beyond its current incarnation, and I too have written that the user-controlled sadism found in popular first-person games requires a different rating consideration than comparable subject matter in movies and music. Participants in this debate, for censorship and against, find common ground in calling for parents to better educate themselves about their children’s entertainment choices and take greater responsibility for their purchases. A few changes, however, are complicating matters.
Given that I last wrote about Hardee’s Biscuit Holes, I couldn't resist continuing the theme of fried dough. This time: doughnuts. Specifically, Krispy Kreme’s new international “Fave Fan” contest, celebrating six dozen years selling original glazed. Open to Krispy Kreme doughnut lovers in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and United Kingdom, "Fave Fan" invites customers to write, in 72 words or less, “how Krispy Kreme has made their lives special.” A winning contestant from each country receives 12 dozen doughnuts over the course of a year and a plane ticket to Krispy Kreme’s U.S. headquarters, where they will go head-to-head in a competition to “design the best doughnut.” Why Americans aren't invited to participate probably has something to do with the company's 2007 bankruptcy (and $3 stock price, down from a high near $50), but why celebrate an American brand through an international contest? Is "Fave Fan" the secret ingredient to a Krispy Kreme comeback, or is their marketing team one original glazed short of a dozen?