Friday, October 8, 2010

Gap of gaff?

Gap, the iconic retailer that has deftly managed to navigate the turbulent waters of American fashion since 1969 has a new logo, and the design world is up in arms.

Why go from an instantly recognizable logo to generic mark using Helvetica, the most universal typeface, a font, by the way, that is used by competitor American Apparel?

Is this a ploy to engage consumers? Produce an incredibly mediocre design and then ask for more ideas from disgruntled fans... That could be, based on this post from Gap's facebook page:

Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to see other ideas. 

For now they're playing it with a straight face. If they were serious with this logo, however, and it's the best they got from the process, then they overpaid, no matter how little they paid.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Consider the source is a new website that answers health related questions from consumers using a variety of experts including Dr. Oz, The Cleveland Clinic and the American Cancer Society.

In order to pay for all this wonderful content, Sharecare has enlisted corporate sponsors – or as they call them "knowledge partners" – like Unilever, Pfizer, Aurora Health Care and others. But rather than just running ads on the site, these sponsors will also be answering questions.

This is just another example of how the lines between content and sponsorship are becoming increasingly fuzzy. Good for marketers. I'm not so sure how good it is for consumers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Michael Scott Effect

The funny thing about this story in Adweek is that I didn't realize Benihana was still around.

Well, maybe I did because it was used as a punchline on The Office a few seasons ago, but I figured that was just the nail in the coffin for the brand.

The writers of The Office have a keen sense of which brands will show Michael and his minions to be significantly behind the pop culture curve. Exhibit #1 is Michael's favorite car, the PT Cruiser.

Reviving the Benihana brand won't be easy. It's a relic from the '80s, an era before the Food Network when American's were just starting to discover the vastness of the culinary universe. As such, it feels too Americanized at a time when people are searching for authentic experiences.

Can it be turned around? Maybe. But not as long as Michael Scott eats there.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Back to the future

When the Green Bay Packers were formed in 1919 they were known as the Acme Packers because the team was sponsored by the Acme Meat Packing Company. For their $500 investment, the company placed their name on the front of the team jerseys.

Now word comes that the NFL and other pro sports leagues are looking into adding corporate sponsorships to their jerseys as the current English Premier League does. With the potential for upwards of ten million dollars a year in additional revenue, much like the 18-game regular season, the question is not if this is going to happen, but when.

The key is making sure you have the brand that fits the team, so here are thoughts on title sponsors for the teams in my home division, the NFC North:
  1. Green Bay Packers – Slim Fast, if you've ever tried to squeeze into a seat in Lambeau Field, you'll know why.
  2. Chicago Bears – AIG, because both seem ready to collapse at any moment.
  3. Detroit Lions – Chrysler, no matter how many management changes they make, they still can't seem to get it right.
  4. Minnesota Vikings – AARP, a group that Brett Favre should be joining by the end of the season.
Any thoughts for your favorite team?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't even ask why

When I was a kid, I had a toy Batmobile.

Today, if I were so inclined, I could own the real thing thanks to Fiberglass Freaks of Logansport, Indiana.

Damn. If only I'd seen this before I bought my Audi.