The whole concept of "branding" is a vacuous hustle, the majority of the time. You can spend outrageous amounts of money "improving" your "brand" with only vague ideas and doublespeak. Nowhere is this more evident than in "rebranding" and logo redesign and shit like that, that could be accomplished by one guy with a pencil in 45 minutes, but instead is farmed out to consultants for ridiculous sums. Mindshare, a big media agency, just paid half a million bucks for this:
Every year "brand consultancy" (the fake industry to get into, btw) Interbrand puts out a numerical ranking of the world's "best" brands. They have a long bit in the press release about their methodology, but I always assume they just count up the Google hits for "(Brand) sucks." The new list is out, and it seems to follow the "sucks" method to perfection: For the eighth year in a row Coke is the world's best brand, (drug joke). The biggest gainers this year were Google, Apple, and Amazon; the group of biggest losers included financial brands like Merrill Lynch (#1 loser with a bullet!), Morgan Stanley, and Citi. As you would expect. Also plunging into massive suckdom: Ford and The Gap. The lesson here is that in order to have a strong band, be massive yet innocuous-to-boring. I am now a brand consultant. Here's the top 20:
Sure, the internet is great, but you never know when some disgruntled person will go out and register a domain name that has to do with you. So 35% of companies "own the domain name for their brand followed by the word 'sucks.'" As well they should! Some companies are more thorough than others. Xerox has XeroxStinks.com and IHateXerox.org, for example, whereas Dell could buy DellIsEvil.com, but doesn't think it's worth it. Either way, it's clear corporations aren't doing their homework—the following domain names are, unconscionably, still available right this minute for anyone to buy:
You thought that Rafael Nadal's pensive, shirtless pose on the back cover of New York magazine last week was just one more coup by the mag's upscale media trendsetters? Think again! Nadal himself-or, more accurately, his corporate overseer Nike-is in the midst of remaking his entire image, shifting it from that of a wild young ball-slinger to something "more mature" (and better able to sell polo shirts). The first casualty: his capri pants. Sorry, ladies:
The sad television image: while single people run around coupling with any and all sweaty bodies in their path, married people are sick of each other and never have sex. Not tonight, honey! The happier truth: in real life married people actually do have sex! Or so we hear. This disconnect is a matter of concern to certain segments of the right wing pro-marriage fringe, who feel that TV's bias against showing boring husband-and-wife sex is-I don't know-making people not get married? It's unclear. What we know for sure is that our networks must do more to promote fucking within marriage; particularly NBC, which has an obvious preference for "bestiality and necrophilia":
I don't claim to be an expert on hair, or sexiness, but I'd be willing to wager that far fewer people have heard of "Sexy Hair Concepts LLC" than have heard of Victoria's Secret. Nevertheless, Sexy Hair Concepts somehow managed to persuade a Trademark Board that "consumers were likely to confuse the lingerie giant's 'So Sexy' trademark for haircare items with Sexy Hair Concepts' various trademarks using the word 'sexy' for its coiffure line." Consumers will be wandering around in a sheer sexiness daze! Victoria's Secret's response to the ruling: you trademark people must be crazy:
BrandTags.net is a website with a deceptively simple idea: it shows you a brand's logo, and you enter the first word that comes to mind. Then it combines all the thousands of responses into a tag cloud, showing the overall consumer perception of each brand. Smart! So what great truths do these responses show, besides the fact that many people associate Adidas with "shoes?" They show that your brand is crap, stupid, and sucks! Corporate image gurus, take note:
Hannah Montana, the kids' show starring exploited teenager (or, alternately, picture-posing strumpet) Miley Cyrus, ran its first new episode in two months last Sunday. And the ratings were down 24%! Could this be the end for our hero—done in by Annie Leibovitz, Vanity Fair, and a child-unfriendly wave of bad publicity?
You'd think at some point, in a creative review meeting, some advertising exec would stand up and say, "Maybe the 9-11 picture's not such a good idea." Such a simple sentence. But no! The latest example of incorporating a nationally traumatic terrorist mass murder into an ad: this spot for SABC Radio [via AdScam], with the tagline "There's More To See On Radio." Such as the Twin Towers burning. So hey, listen to the radio! Click through for a larger image, and pictures of the five worst 9-11 ads we've covered in the past:
What is the single most repellent image that humans can conjure up? Apparently, it's scorpions. Trendhunter has a list of the Top 50 "Shockvertisements" in recent history—ads that stirred up a controversy. The most common thread, obviously, is sex; but three different campaigns on the list chose to shock people by picturing scorpions. Scorpions that are touching you! Advertisers find that no other bug comes close in its ability to disgust. Below, pictures of the three scorpion ads: one is shocking but effective, one is weird but effective, and one is just misguided.
Back in the 1930s and 40s, Kellogg's cereal was a steamroller. It didn't have all types of boutique designer cereals to compete against, so you were damn well going to eat it. And Kellogg's wasn't shy in positioning itself. It's not just something you consume; its products will cure constipation, calm your nerves, and give your man the PEP he needs to do you all night long, baby. Not to mention: single-serving Kellogg's boxes defeated Hitler. All that, and a 13-year-old girl in—I'm sorry—ugly clothes, after the jump.
San Francisco-based advertising guru Hal Riney died this week at the age of 75. He masterminded a ton of corporate ad campaigns, but he'll go down in the history books as the man whose ads helped re-elect Ronald Reagan in 1984 [NYT]. His masterpiece for Reagan was "It's Morning Again In America," a minute-long spot that reassured Americans that everything is okay—with the rich, fatherly voice-over provided by Riney himself. Barack Obama really could have used this guy for the next several months. After the jump, the full version of Riney's "Morning Again" spot. Welfare moms probably didn't appreciate its success.
Remember that whole "Campaign For Real Beauty" by Dove that was all about showing that real, non-model women can be pretty too? Well, they're moving on from all that. They have a new, more fitting face now: beautiful, famous, shapely singer Alicia Keys. Screw you, real women! Dove is sponsoring a new "micro-series" called "Fresh Takes" starring Keys. It will air, appropriately, during The Hills on MTV. They've also used research to uncover this critical fact: "96 percent of women in their twenties say their inner voice speaks to them on a typical day." Psychosis? From the looks of the preview, this show will be stilted and terrible; the trailer, after the jump.
When iPods first came out, you obviously had to replace the headphones so no one would think you were showing off that you had an iPod. But then everyone started doing that, so you went back to the white headphones to prove that you couldn't give a fuck if people knew what kind of mp3 player you had. Plus, you weren't going to get caught in the consumer cycle of buying unnecessary goods to validate your uniqueness. But now people are starting to catch on to that, so the only way out is to buy this new colossal mp3 player for $21.99. With 256 mb and a stunning quartz crystal display, it says, "I care about the music, not my image." [via The Triumph of Bullshit]
Softcore porn king and "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis was set free today after spending the past year in a Nevada jail. He pleaded no contest to charges of filming naked underage girls, and was let off with time served . Who is he turning to to rehabilitate his shattered image during this critical period? None other than woman-cursing flack Ronn [sic] Torossian's 5WPR, home to more than a few disgruntled ex-staffers. Francis worked with 5W before, and I guess the whole "women as stupid cunts" angle does fit in with his normal M.O. Rock on! [TMZ] UPDATE: And here is Ronn's perfectly tone deaf quote to the media about Francis:
Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of Blackstone Group, SVP of the Illuminati, and chief party coordinator for the Rich Powerbrokers' Society, is really just a regular guy. He dragged Times reporter Michael J. de la Merced along on a totally spontaneous tour of the Sacred Heart School in the Bronx, which Schwarzman gives millions to (because he likes the fact that it's easy to fire the teachers. Really). There, he meets his fourth-grader protege and pen pal "Victor." Awww/ retch! The private equity god is working hard to rehab his image, which took a hit after his insane birthday bash last year, where he simply sat in a cavernous room for hours burning bricks of $100 bills under the feet of shackled welfare recipients. Or at least, that's how the public remembers it [NYT, New York]. Bonus pics of his super fantastic 2007 birthday party room, after the jump.
Oscar Batori is the 21 year-old "image director" (*snort*) on the Meatpacking district club circuit profiled by the Times yesterday. His job, apparently, is to go to clubs, convince other rich, good looking people to go to clubs, and wear extremely expensive clothing. A $1,500 Gucci overcoat! A $1,000 Prada coat! He does this while simultaneously talking lots of shit about those around him: a guy in a diner is the biggest loser in the world, a fellow model wrangler is "small time," he can't stand bookworms. The mystifying part is that Oscar Batori continues to engage in his reckless coat-wearing, mouth-running, and media-whoring without comeuppance, despite being, quite simply, a skinny ass punk. As these modeling shots of him will attest:
Before Hillary Clinton showed us that she really does wear her heart on her sleeve (and it's a ladylike sleeve!) she backed out of a Vogue photo shoot because she was afraid of looking too feminine. Editor Anna Wintour was irked. But the Democratic candidate is featured in a February issue of Harper's Bazaar, along with six of the other running candidates. She is not, despite earlier reports, wearing a miniskirt and heels. After the jump, see the pictures of Clinton in all her high couture glory.