Archive for April, 2009

iBranding without the album artwork?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 by wwwheelz


 iPhone "Yelp!" Application

The iTunes model is emerging as a dominant approach to marketing everything from movies to restaurants on smart phones, but in rushing to get many of these ventures up and running a key component is missing. Album art found on iTunes is a rich, visually evocative representation of the music and the bands contained within. To truly tap into the success of iTunes, companies making a foray into the mobile space should consider the visual opportunities to engage lift and separate their brands.


The Art of Branding. Have We Lost It?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 by wwwheelz

1929 Poster for Quick Drying Paint

 Other people have paintings in their living room, I have classic advertising posters. The one above is actually a self portrait of the artist, Leonetto Cappiello who painted the same scene on the paint can he is holding. A Poster can be a powerful branding device. It can communicate a mood or product attribute in seconds visually crossing language barriers words often stumble upon. In a world of royalty free stock images and cliché headlines, posters can still be very distinctive. Considering not many people put the art into posters the way they should, there’s a huge opportunity to stand out and perhaps be framed and hang on a wall for years. Not something media people talk about often, but when thirty seconds can still sell for thousands or even millions of dollars a poster can be used in many other formats such as a postcard, a t-shirt, an email, on a cell phone, on a coffee mug, on a train, in an airport and framed on a wall for years for far less. Famous restaurants like Chez Panisse in Berkeley California have used posters for marketing purposes for years and in fact sell them…Yes you heard me correctly, they SELL their marketing communications on their website. Now that’s strategic branding! The next time you talk to a media professional have them do the math on that one. Full color posters can often be folded and inserted into newspapers like the L.A. Times for far less than the actual page rate. The poster above is now probably worth more than Nitrolian’s entire marketing budget in1929! Posters that are framed are posters that are loved and achieve a following brands often set out to do, but too often miserably fail at.

Introducing the iPost. Say Goodbye to The Post Office!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2009 by wwwheelz

Can a sophisticated Kindle like device actually replace the US Postal Service? Probably it will take Apple to come up with this, but think of all the time, natural resources and money it will save. Also the global market potential for such a device. We already know Apple will probably introduce a tablet device soon, but giving it a simple purpose like delivering the mail would make it surpass the iPod. Think of all the catalogs that could be delivered digitally and not printed at all saving millions of trees. Then there’s the millions of pounds of freight that would not require all that jet fuel and gasoline to deliver. And because like many Apple devices it would be made of aluminum and other highly recyclable components, we’re talking about one killer device environmentalists will love. Letters and books can be scribed and put to press the way they should be. The look of letterpress and fountain pens on parchment would bring back at least the look and feel of the lost art of fine letter writing and book publishing. The big innovation would be the ability to control the junk so you opt-in only to the things you want. Elderly people who need larger type to read, just adjust their settings. The visually impaired  have an audio feature they can turn on that makes their lives easier. The iPost is FREE. Who pays for it? Stamps. Yes, we keep the postage rates intact, just make the whole postal system a lot more efficient, user friendly and environmentally friendly.

Re-Branding The American Auto Industry

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2009 by wwwheelz

Almost anyone living outside of Detroit would agree the American auto industry has way too many brands. Brands like Mercury and GMC are not well differentiated while Jeep, Corvette and Hummer remain quite distinctive. This begs the question: “If we’re going to save the American auto industry, which brands are worth saving?” Somehow I can’t see Fiat making a decent Jeep. If it were my task I would get rid of the holding companies and save the brands. Let’s just call it United Auto Works, put Alan Mulally in charge, since he’s been doing a decent job at Ford and give some ownership stakes to the union workers who have survived. I’d keep the union and push to level the playing field with other global automakers with how their workers are compensated. When Americans get passionate about their cars it’s not a Ford, GM or Chrysler it’s a Corvette, Camaro, Jeep, Mustang. These are some of the brands that deserve to live on and to go on to a brighter future. Brands like Mercury, Pontiac and Dodge would not be a huge loss.

If government really wanted to go green…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2009 by wwwheelz

Green branding is largely lip service here in the United States. We recycle and put green logos on things, use energy efficient light bulbs and talk about reducing our carbon footprint on the world, but there’s only so much businesses and individuals can do without the help of smart government. If government really wanted to go green, it would put The Post Office, one of the world’s biggest polluting corporations, out of business. The average American receives about 2-3 pounds of mail a week. While it may be less in other places most would agree there’s still too much junk mail. Most of this is catalogs from companies that already have websites. Just limiting postal marketing to postcards and letters, which is arguably even more than what the postal service was ever intended to carry, could go a long way to reducing millions of tons of garbage in the world. Benjamin Franklin who founded the USPS would have banned catalogs because they would have put too much weight on the postal carriers’ shoulders. There may be a place for these catalogs, but if they are so important they could be sent via FedEx or UPS. When you consider how email has already replaced traditional mail, getting rid of the post office entirely makes a lot of sense. As far as stimulus goes this kind of a move would be a boom for the delivery companies that do a much better job of delivering than the post office. Currently I have to pick up the mail at my local post office, because the postman is afraid of my neighbor’s dogs. The UPS guy and the FedEx guy come nearly once a day, but the USPS guy is afraid of the dogs, so we have to go to the post office and stand in line and collect our mail, most of which goes into the garbage. By closing the post office or severely phasing it out, governments worldwide can save billions of trees and billions of dollars.

Strategic Branding

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2009 by wwwheelz
“ADVERTISING” is a word I loathe. Not because of it’s meaning to me, it’s a profession I love and that I’ve been in most of my life: Other people have fine art on their walls, I have advertising art on my walls. For me advertising is one of the most sophisticated forms of communication. We have to artfully communicate a business concept, product, service or cause very quickly. The problem with the word “ADVERTISING” is that it is also the generic word, container, or chum bucket for all the crap that is also associated with all advertising in the world. Being generic, the word doesn’t stand for anything, but that big ugly chum bucket to many and to some advertising is a dirty word on an evil par with the best of the worst in the four letter category. “INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS” is more descriptive, but could still become it’s own kind of generic bucket. For this reason I’ve landed on “STRATEGIC BRANDING” as the best description of what I do.
Strategic hints to some of the thought that goes into what I consider to be my best work and good branding is ultimately the end goal of all advertising. Social network marketing is social network marketing. Good social network marketing is strategic branding. TV advertising is TV advertising. Good TV advertising is strategic branding. You get the picture!