Thursday, April 2, 2009

GaGa over Lady GaGa?

I have a friend that fuckin loves this woman. He told me that she is so talented and backed that statement up by saying that she is one of the few stars who had "2 songs go straight to number one".

I don't deny that this woman is talented, but her singles reaching number one isn't just based on her talent. Culture was ready to embrace the techno fuck style of music, she was producing. Without culture craving her style, she would have no hope of having a number one song.

I think it's important to realize that culture in general has an effect on EVERYTHING! We can't ignore it, we need to adapt and embrace it in order to be successful in anything.

MTV, please stop sucking!

So, MTV's ratings have been declining. I must say I am not surprised.

I agree that it was smart to adapt and create a new image away from music videos, since the need for constant videos on TV has lessened due to On Demand, Launch and Youtube. However, the network that had once prided itself on being the young voice of America, is loosing that nitch. Networks like "The N" and "Teen Nick", which are ironically also under the Viacom umbrella, create a more compelling world for young Americans to enjoy.

MTV has become so obsessed with being current and new that its constant updates and changing schedules has made the programs that may be well received, fall to the shadows...

I don't deny that MTV has potential to come back, but I think they need to go back to their "rebel" roots and shock people. Maybe go dry for a while and then come back with a vengeance.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Target vs. Walmart

This is a no brainier... Who doesn't prefer Target over Walmart?

I was watching TV the other day, and Walmart's and Target's commercials were nearly back to back. I found it interesting that both commercials are executing a similar message, "you can still have an awesome life while saving money."

However, Walmart's commercials blatantly come out and say that, where as Target showcases examples and allows consumers to make their own decisions.

I think Target's ads are much better. Allowing people to make up their own minds and be invloved in the process is always a nice idea.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why Strarbucks?

Remember when Starbucks was cool? I do. I remember when that was the "Weekend spot". When it was referred to as the "New" singles bar...

I feel Starbucks major branding problem is due to it's loss of exclusivity. There was a time when carrying a Starbucks cup was a status symbol... No surprise that this feeling was lost considering, among many other things, that Starbucks went into grocery stores. Going into grocery stores!? What a BAD idea!

People are loosing faith in the company, claiming its becoming too much like McDonald's.
To make things worse, Starbucks recently begun a value meal system... Not the best way to destroy the McDonald's association...

I feel that if the company would have created a sub brand for the grocery store expansion or grew a little smarter, they may be in better shape...

This isn't over... I will think more and bring up more discussion points soon.

Poor Tropicana!

The Tropicana issues have been "the talk" lately, so I thought I should open the issues for discussion...

Consumers hate it and I'm not surprised.

If you think about it, the new packaging makes visual scene. It looks clean, fresh and pure... three concepts that an OJ company wants to be associated with.

However, I don't think it was considered how much of a staple in culture Tropicana already was. Consumers already liked the packaging. This is the perfect example of changing something without considering culture first.

If I were assigned to change Tropicana's Corporate ID, the first thing I would do is go to a random coffee shop, sit down with a glass of OJ, and find out what random people think.

This all leads me to ask... Why change what's good? Stop fucking with what works!

Fossil this

I was at the Fossil store the other day looking at all the watches... I began asking the store Clerk how the company was doing with the recent economy and she said they were still "goin strong".

This, or course, was a bit surprising considering the decline of watches in general. It then occurred to me that the secret to being a successful watch company is to adapt and position watches as 'awesome' accessories and not as time pieces.

Maybe Rolex, with it's expected decline in 2010, could take a lesson from fossil.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I was talking to a group of people the other day. Some in the Ad world, some not. At one point an individual not in the ad world made a comment about an ad, and an individual in the ad world responded by stating "What would you know, you're just a consumer."


Consumers responses dictate our industry jackass!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's in a Brand?

Have you ever thought long and hard about branding? I have... Having a Graphic Arts background, I used to be one of the many who thought that a brand was just the name a logo.
How UNTRUE is that?

A brand is everything around and about the company.

It's way you praise or tell the company to "fuck off"!

It's the logo, letter heads, font

It's how you feel and how the company wants you to feel when you think or interact with the company

It's how the company interacts with other company's

It's the PR, Press releases around the company
So, when people say branding is boring, I think they just don't bother to understand it

I know this sounds a bit "lofty" but, it's true isn't it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lets do the Time Warp Again!

It's Just a Jump to the Left!

So I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show live last weekend. Besides being SO MUCH FUN, I had the opportunity to witness something culturally relevant.

As you may know, RHPS is the longest running audience participation show, which means that people dance, throw stuff, and shout out random responses to the movie.

There was one part in the show when doctor Frankin Furter's rubber gloves were stained from blood. At this point, the audience yelled "where did you get Chris Brown's Gloves?" or something of that nature (referring to the tragic abuse to Rhianna done by Chris Brown.) While it's not tasteful, it also was not what was supposed to be shouted at that point in the movie.

My point here is that the shouts to the screen changed in response to current events and culture.

This made me realise what a strong brand the RHPS is! A brand that is consistently adapting and updating itself with time and culture... No wonder its still popular and has the largest audience participation in the world!

Compost Modern = Awesome Post 4

A few last lecture tidbits

1. "We have too much stuff around that we don't want, but are stuck with..."

I don't agree with this.
As a planner/strategist I feel that we can use take almost anything, and somehow use it to our advantage. It's our job to take useless "stuck with" stuff, and create something desirable with it. Anything is undesirable, until we have a use for it.

I think liquor is a good example. Unless I have a use for it, for a party, it's useless and I'm stuck with it. Maybe this is why smart phones are becoming SO popular... It sucks having to carry something around ALL day for one purpose... Creating many uses makes it a bit more desirable.

On the other hand, I have a lot of friends who HATE the iPhone because it is so multi faceted. They want a phone to call, and that's it. It would be interesting to market the anti smart phone...
These is potential to isolate 2 completely different markets for a similar device.

2. Replacement is happening... Get on the wave!

How true is this? If we ignore this fact, we have no way of being successful. A good example is watches becoming obsolete... Now that everyone has a cell phone, it is so rare to see someone wearing a watch. Another example is paper. More and more offices are going paperless because it gives props to the environment and it is WAY cheaper.

As advertisers, if we don't realise these replacements and how they can effect ads, what chance do we have of surviving?

3. Localization is the wave of the future!

It's true! People are getting serviced more locally. Not only is it cheaper, but it helps build yourself through building your community...

Compost Modern = Awesome Post 3

Why change what works?

Hello All! Anther good point brought up at a compost modern lecture that needs its own space.

How often have you seen this happen? Something works just fine, but its changed. This happens consistently in everyday situations. I've noticed this happening especially while working in past part time jobs. More often than not something that works really well is changed, to help change something else that doesn't work well... WHY? It seems very illogical to me.
We should value what we currently have. Fix whats broken, not what works.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Is this Ad gone wrong possibly right?

Brook Shields + VW = Bad? Why?

I've talked to SO many people about this Campaign, and all except one hate it. But why?

I thought this was an interesting way of reversing the stigma on the "mini van". The Mini-van is always the car that's made fun of. Being called the Soccer Mom/house wife car... who whats to drive something like that? This campaign took back that negative connotation by creating a story where people were going to extreme lengths to have an excuse to buy this car.

I thought it was a fun way to take back the stigma, and it could have worked but I don't think that the culture of the US was ready for something like this.

I think that Brook Shields took too much attention away from the story/concept of the ad. Kind of like what Katie Holmes drama with Tom Cruise did to the Batman movie. With someone else fore fronting the ads, this may have been a successful campaign.

Referring to the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes thing, maybe reading and learning from the tabloids every once in a while may not be a bad idea. :)

Compost Modern = Awesome Post 2

"Why branding? There is so much of it out there, why do we need more?"

This was a very interesting point one of the speakers brought up at compost modern. He was referencing the worlds need to communicate who they are, through ones self image and through branding.

Excuse me if I get a bit "philosophical" here, but I think there is an innate desire for people (and companies) to brand themselves. To create an overall image, impression, feeling that will be intercepted and interpreted by others... Pretty deap, huh :).

Above all, the most important thing this speaker said involving branding is that "if you don't make something meaningful or compelling, someone else will."

This helps remind me that no branding or adverting strategy assighment is boring. As long as I focus on making this thing (dull or cool) compelling and meaningful, how could I be bored?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It dosen't make sence to me...

Branding isn't just a "logo", its the overall ambiance of the company... That being said, let's talk about this random salon I found (pictured above).

I saw this salon on the way to the gym. The next day, I went in and asked the receptionist, in a really cool, nice way, what this salon offers over others. She told me that it's best quality is it's uniqueness and respect for individual style...
Here's what doesn't make seance.... The salon looks like something out of "photo hunt". Every station looks the same, except for little, itty bitty differences...

She said the salon is all about Individuality and Uniqueness. There is NOTHING unique or individual about this. Weird huh?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Payless Vs. Porn

It's Porn Monday here on Raisin Brand, where we explore advertising and branding as it relates to the porn world. Our topic today is Payless (yes the shoe store) vs. Porn.

While contemplating various ads. today, I realized that Payless and Porn work on similar principles. Both 'put their good points right out there'. People who are looking for porn know exacticaly what they are getting. This is also true with payless. If you go to payless, you will get cheap shoes. That is evidant with the name and branding.

I love when branding tells a compelling story, but there is something to be said about brands that just put it all out there. It's almost poetic.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another Basic, Simple Ad

I was wondering downtown the other day and saw this little Gem. The arrow is pointing to some clothing on sale at the local "H and M" store.

It is another very basic form of advertising. This is using a basic, almost universal symbol to communicate a message. "look here for a great deal"

This is SOOOO much more effective than a big ass sign saying "Look here for a great deal" or "Sale". This simple arrow is a catalyst for curiosity and intern provides motivation for the customer to take a look and explore whats there.

I wish more ads were like this... Just offering a little piece of the story, and letting the consumer complete it in their own way. BRILLIANT!

To Helvetia and Beyond!

My lovely friend sent me this one. Being a big fan of Helvetica, I don't know if I agree with it, but I must say that it seems to hold some truth.

When I was at a book release party this past weekend, I began randomly talking to a woman who happend to be a local designer. I asked her what she thought of Helvetica, and she gave a very insightful answer.

She told me that it doesn't matter what font you use, as long as it communicates the message properly. She went on to say that she uses Helvetica, but only when it is appropriate. I think we can all learn something from this insight. It's so easy to get wraped up in your personal opinion of whats good and whats not. If we all focused on telling the right story and conveying the proper message, image how much less shit would be out there.

Compost Modern = Awesome

This past weekend I volunteered at an AIGA sponsored event entitled Compost Modern. Believe me when I say that it was so beyond amazing. The event explored ways to make design, branding and adverting more environmentally friendly.

From a planning perspective, it was amazing to see all of the strategic work involved in advertising green. There is SOOOO much to discuss involving this event, so I will be making a bunch of posts pertaining to it in the following week.

One of my favorite things that I had the pleasure of hearing was a revamped definition for Sustainability, and I almost directly quote... "What you do now, that won't fu*k up stuff later." This is something that EVERYONE in the advertising field should apply to their work. Imagine how much better campaigns and branding would be if a bit more of a futuristic approach was taken.

If you are curious on exploring the lectures and workshops from this event yourself, take a gander at the event website, It's full of goodies from this past weekend.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Refresh this, Bisnatch!

From the new logo created by the Arnell Group, to the generation-refreshing ambiance created by TBWA-LA, its hard not to notice Pepsi's rebirth into culture. Even though I have mixed feeling about the campaign, its awesome to see a brand brave enough to make all these changes.

While in the subway I noticed some graffiti sticker art posted on the Ads.(above) It occurred to me that TBWA could turn this negative defacement into positive reinforcement. The campaign exudes individuality and expression self. This defacement does the same thing. It's an awesome way for this ad, which works to express individuality, to directly show and enforce it.

Think about it :).

What were they thinking?

Hello Everyone!

Today is Identity gone bad Tuesday, where I will point out and rant about awful Corporate ID in all its glory.

This is the "Red Mango" In NYC... What I hate about this logo is that is makes absolutely no scene. Logos should visually express the ambiance and feeling of what they are representing.

The restaurant itself attempts to be healthy, relaxing, yet still fast-foodish. I ask you, what is fast, healthy or easy looking about this logo? It looks fat ass, not fast, fat and lazy, not healthy, and fails to create a lasting impression.
This logo honestly pisses me off! WTF. The best way to advertise a business, is though its branding. If a business can't sucessfully express who they, how can advertising? This branding is advertising shit.

Overall, its the best example of creating a logo that "looks good", and I use that term loosly, but fails to be conceptual, expressive or functional.

Monday, February 16, 2009


If you don't know, I think that Papyrus is the WORST FONT IN THE WORLD! Despite this, many people love to use it and embrace it's uglyness.

As many of you know, there is a paper store called Papyrus. After I cringed at the name, I began wondering the store had the name it did. The font of the logo wasn't Papyrus, thank god, so what reason did they have for this awful name?

Today I went in and asked. After getting a crazy look from the clerk, she explained that papyrus is also the name of a organic Egyptian paper.

Even thought that doesn't sound like the best thing to name a store after, at least the naming has nothing to do with the font. :)

Oh Facebook!

Have any of you ever looked at the ads on facebook? I sure have. Something I've always noticed isthat every ad on my page was gay friendly. This got me wondering if this was purely coincidence or if it was planned...

To explore this further, I changed my sexual preference from Gay to Straight... Sure enough the ads changed focus from stereotypical gay interests (hooking up with other dudes, sexy underwear) , to stereotypical young straight guy interests (hooking up with 'hot chicks', getting wasted').

Once I got passed the whole "being offended by gay sterotypes thing", I realised that with a little twearking, this demographically focused form of advertising is a really neato idea.

Porn Monday!

Hey Everyone...

It's porn Monday here on Raisin Brand. Every Monday I will explore an "adult store" and discuss an advertisement, branding or cultural aspect that stands out to me.

For those of you who may be offended by this, Stop it! If you want to be a good advertiser, you can't ignore ANY aspects of the field...

Upon entering the adult store of the week "Rock Hard" located in the Castro of San Francisco, I asked the lovely clerk to direct me to the most popular section.

At the "popular" section I noticed a complete lack of creativity. None of the ads or video covers in the section were designed well. It was beyond obvious that there was no strategy or thought behind anything. The only thing that these various pornographic titles did was offer precisely what people wanted...

It's really quite interesting if you think about it... Not skill or thought, not guess work. The section simply focused on putting what people want right out there. I think a lot of us can learn from this.

It's a no Bullshit, purely honest technique of advertising.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A very basic ad.

Hello Everyone!
Thank you for partaking in this delicious first post of Raisin Brand.

Very recently I took a trip to NYC to attend a job fair and discuss a freelance project I had been working on. While on the subway I encountered this delectable piece of work

I love this! This is a very basic form of advertisement that uses universally understood symbols to communicate a very important message. Who wouldn't see this and not know what not to do? (besides the crazy's!)

I love that this type of ad can breech various cultural and language barriers...

I see so many ads that attempt to reach a diverse audience, but don't conciser how other cultures will react to the story or massage they are expressing.

Maybe they should have taken a lesson from this subway ad. When all else fails... keep it basic :).

by the by, the "Please" is in helvetica.. :)