27Sep/110

Maximum effect with minimum means

Posted by Emily

I’d like to propose a "challenge" to you based on a recent feature on Adweek.com by Mehmet Gozetlik. Gozetlik argues that less is always more when it comes to advertising, especially products’ packaging. Below are variations of the packaging for well-known, international brands. I’d like to know which versions you find most attractive and/or which versions you think would be most effective in selling the product – the original packaging, the simpler packaging or the simplest packaging? Is a minimalist packaging design more aesthetically pleasing or are the "bells and whistles" essential?


23Sep/110

Happy birthday Starbucks?

Posted by Jessica

Would you spend $85 on a t-shirt? Would you spend $85 on a coffee-stained t-shirt? Didn’t think so. In celebration of its 40th birthday, Starbucks asked Vogue Fashion Fund award winners Alexander Wang, Sophie Theallet and Billy Reid to each design a limited edition t-shirt incorporating Starbucks’ famous mermaid logo. Each year, the Vogue Fashion Fund gives grants that support emerging designers, but Alexander Wang is no longer an emerging designer – he’s a well-established and rather successful designer. But, what Starbucks really doesn’t want you to know is that zero proceeds from these ridiculously priced t-shirts go to anything other than the coffee chain.

Now, Alexander Wang does deserve a nod for creativity, the coffee stain idea is great in theory, but who wants to purposely look like a slob who can’t walk and drink coffee at the same time? If you would still like to purchase one of these shirts, you can visit Starbucks.com or select Nordstrom locales. Why anyone would spend $85 to be a walking billboard, I haven’t a clue…if it’s the design you like, may I suggest you brew a cup of Joe and throw it on a shirt you already own?

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20Sep/110

Gamers Break AIDS Enzyme Code

Posted by Roger

Photo from pcmag.com

The astonishing power of the idea. Online gamers around the world combined their efforts and deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus. This problem had stymied scientists for years. The gamers collective effort solved the problem in three weeks. The internet has the power to put all the best minds to work simultaneously on a problem. Mankind no longer has to rely on small groups of "elite" well-funded individuals to progress rapidly. The world has never been a more rich environment for the power of the idea.

Article from Yahoo!

 

8Sep/110

Does Horror Sell?

Posted by Emily

When it comes to advertising, European countries get away with a lot more than the United States. Their ads often push the envelope, and if you’ve ever watched something like TBS’s annual Funniest Commercials, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Shackleton, an advertising agency based in Madrid, produced some really creepy ads for some run-of-the-mill household appliances. The two ads, for a toaster and a set of knives, were specifically created for Calle 13, a European horror channel where black humor and offensive images have the potential to be a hit among viewers.

Another agency, Jung von Matt/Spree GmbH, located in Berlin, created equally “horrifying” ads for the same television channel. This time, the ads were for the channel itself, broadcasting their “Crime Night on 13th Street Sundays.”

There’s no denying that these horror-themed ads are creative, but the question remains: Are these ads darkly humorous and suitable for the particular medium or are they a tad overboard and disturbing? I don’t know about you, but I’m having a difficult time deciding.

 

 

6Sep/110

Only 109 Shopping Days Until Christmas

Posted by Terry

OMG! So, I’m reading an article on anxious retailers and predictions of the ever-encroaching blast of pre-Halloween and earlier Christmas messages expected this year.  Man, I haven’t even bagged my white-tails yet, and they’re already thinking about pitching Christmas to me!

It is still in the 100’s in our state, and the mere thought of a jacket send beads of sweat running everywhere. No doubt we are all concerned about the economy, our very reactionary and shaky stock market, and what is likely to happen in the forthcoming Presidential election.

But, is delivering a very early Christmas buying message going to change consumer behavior and turn us into crazed early purchasers, or will some (like myself) revolt at the idea of such non – seasonal nonsense?

I know many smart shoppers buy for the holidays all year long, and in so doing, manage some really great bargains. But, most of us need a little external coaching – like a couple of blasts of fresh northern cold air – and a timetable that puts the end-of-the-year holiday within a simmering eggnog’s whiff of being at least around the corner.

The 109 days til Christmas is a long way off to get me excited about rushing into shopping madness.

And, if it is the promise of greatly discounted merchandise that retailers are counting on..."forget about it.” I already expect low discounted prices everywhere I shop. After all, I have been well trained to wait only 30 days following new merchandise introductions in department stores for the discounting to begin. Not to mention the outlet malls! Who buys retail like we used to anymore?

So, I’m confused. Will the consumer see a great advantage in shopping early? Do retailers imagine that, by some miracle, the average consumer has been hoarding a big stash of money waiting for the economy to stabilize and government to right itself? Don’t think so – that would be large corporations or other lenders that are neither hiring nor lending, for the most part. The pie will only slice so many ways and it just isn’t any larger than it has been. August was a better retail month. Not a windfall month. And there is no sign of sudden economic improvement on the horizon.

Please, everyone, just take a break. Let’s celebrate the holidays as they occur. Trying to force consumers into perking up sales this early in the season, in this economy, is at best a risky stretch as a solution. If it doesn’t work, advertisers have spent money they either don’t have or eroded normal holiday advertising budgets.

Retailers, please let me get out of my Halloween costume before you start ringing Christmas bells! (Because I know you won’t wait until after Thanksgiving!)

   
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