How long do new brands have to create an impact? I'm not talking about how long a company will give a new brand in market. I am talking about how much of a consumer's time can a new brand expect to attract? Let's not forget that simply getting a new product into a store is an achievement in itself and even if you're only able to command a consumer's attention for a second, there's a lot that can be said in that fragment of time. These beautiful 1 second films, courtesy of a competition run by Mont Blanc watches prove it in spades.
I'm not really a Smart Car kind of guy but I love how they are still so far ahead of the industry. And while we've been "skinning" our phones and Twitter pages for quite some time, you sure don't see many car manufacturers giving this kind of customization. Check this out to see how they sell it. Amazingly affordable too.
I learned about Robin of Shoreditch a few weeks back at Faris' blog and fell in love with it immediately. The 100 Brands Project is a wonderful idea and truly inspirational. Even though I'm not the first to talk about this, I simply feel duty bound to put it out there and try to generate even more support.
I don't think there needs to be much else said, other than to watch the intro video, then spend a little bit of time checking out some of the amazing ideas for big brands contained within. If you do any work for any of these clients, make sure they see this and then encourage them to participate. For what is essentially pocket change to any of the world's top 100 brands they could get immense publicity from supporting a cause like this. Go Robin! (and Little John too).
We have a lot of runners at Egg. A couple of us have experimented with the "freerunning" movement. In short, minimalist footwear to produce close-to-natural footstrike. While still within the minority, this freerunning movement is gaining traction (sorry, had to do it) and is proving to be a cost-of-entry innovation for most mainstream footwear companies. New Balance, Adidas and Nike have joined the race (there we go again).
These races against similar products inevitably produce a battle of differentiation (messaging, colorways, sponsors). Ultimately, the winner will harness an element of distinction its competition can't match. I'll propose Nike's getting there with the below video. Always attentive to its ownership of the convergence between athletics and pop culture, Nike produced a video with the help of a couple Japanese DJ's (not going to pretend I have the street cred to elaborate) that while absurd, highlighted the core attribute of its Nike Free shoe (next-to-natural flexibility) in a way that resonates with runners and peaks the interest of those profitable fashion-forward sneakerfreaks.
This is a challenge to rethink the way we communicate our most important attributes. Re-imagine how our targets experience the benefits we shout from the rooftops. Turn a simple function into art and in one down-beat, beat down the competition.
The internet as we know it is 40 years old next week. October 29th 1969 was when the first two computers (one at Stanford, the other at UCLA) connected to each other. They were the first two "hosts". At the end of the following year, there were 13 computers talking to each other and so it goes. The Guardian has a brilliant internet timeline, with milestones of each of the last 40 years. Glancing through it, it struck me how significant the pace of change has been in the last 10 or so years. Each year, something arguably massive emerges (1997 blogging, 1999 Napster, 2001, Wikipedia, 2004, Facebook, 2005, You Tube, 2006 Twitter). This brings us up to today and a story in AdAge announcing VW's launch of the new Golf GTI - a car I once owned and absolutely loved. When the last version of the GTI was launched in 2006, VW spend $60 million on TV advertising. In 2009, they are launching the new GTI with an app only available on the iPhone, costing them about $500,000 to do it. I love this for a couple of reasons:
1. I'm guessing the correlation between iPhone ownership and VW brand love is pretty strong...so a decent partnership
2. Driving a GTI is like driving a toy car on steroids...a neat creative spin to promote the launch with a driving game
I also just want to see how it works out...what a brilliant case study if it does and a ballsy move by VW.
Ok this is really cool.
I always thought Dyson would be one of those one-hit-wonder kind of guys who had a great revolutionary idea that changed a category that no one had thought about in a long time. I figured he would have this splash and retreat to count his millions on the tropical island of his choice. But he has done it again folks, this time re-inventing the humble fan.
So for the twist on this one…no blades…sublime. He now goes on the list of people I want to have a drink with before I die. To be able to re-think the mundane and turn it into inspired innovation (which sells at a premium, mind you) is truly a gift.
Kanye West's brand took a big hit when he misbehaved at the MTV VMAs a few weeks back and he's been keeping his head down since, even going so far as to cancel a proposed tour with Lady Gaga. But perhaps in a surprisingly frank move today, he released a copy of a short film made by director Spike Jonze, which got a ton of online coverage. The film, called "We Were Once a Fairytale", is about 7 minutes of Kanye acting like a drunken moron in a club (thereby reinforcing all the things we're coming to associate with him), then a bizarre bathroom scene where he cuts open his stomach and removes a little troll/goblin/demon mouse character, which promptly kills itself and Kanye sobers up sharpish. It's definitely a self indulgent piece, but its frank depiction of a drunk and unattractive Kanye must have been some kind of catharsis for the man and surely the exorcism of "his demon" has to be taken at face value. By way of an apology (even if the film was made prior to his MTV shenanigans), it's a pretty interesting new layer to his brand.
Interestingly enough, as I went to find the video to post, I discovered that it has been removed from the web from all the sites that were hosting it. At Kanye's blog, he says "sorry I had to take it down:(".
Any good brand has layers for its consumers to discover - I wonder this most recent one of Kanye's was a little too much to bear. It's a shame he didn't leave that one out there for longer...but perhaps that was the point.
UPDATE: Here it is...back online this morning:
I love the Evian couture bottle program. With the proliferation of bottled water brands that span the market from packaged tap water to luxury designer water, there is a natural comparison between bottled water and fashion.
Fashion sells textiles at extreme markup through design. Doesn’t Voss, Bling2O, Antipodes and other ‘Fine Waters’ do the same thing? Evian is clearly keeping a foot in this trend.
Here are some of the Evian designs so far. The latest one by Paul Smith is definitely my favorite.
I’m inspired by my friend Mike’s new renegade promotional efforts to stir up some commotion over his client/friend Rachel Nasvik’s handbag line. Inspired by the book The Pirate’s Dilemma, Mike decided to subvert the New York City street stand piracy game by beating those vendors to the punch. Using Twitter, he alerted fans when a limited number of genuine Rachel Nasvik bags (normally sold at high end department stores) would be available at those ubiquitous street stands for a discounted amount – then sat back and let the excitement build. Fans were delighted to be let in on the deal, and Mike strengthened the Rachel Nasvik community by giving loyalists a reason to stay tuned in. Plus, by accessing an irreverent and fun new “channel,” the brand made a statement about its personality and, I’ll say it, joie de vivre. Sounds like a brand worth staying in touch with. More here.
Our Chicago office founder and MD recently turned 39 again, and in honor of his birthday, his loyal troops wanted to find a cool little t-shirt store and print up a customized tee ("39 4Eva"). It's not too hard in Chicago (or any big city) to find these niche type boutiques, and none really seemed to stand out until they found the T-Shirt Deli.
One thing that inspires us at Egg is finding brands that really pay attention to their story. In order to be able to do that, they have to be obsessive about the details. The T-Shirt Deli's story is about mimicking the best delis, offering t-shirt aficionados as many fonts as cheeses as well as the promise of something fresh and totally unique.
There are two elements of the story that they deliver so well. One virtual, one real world.
First their T-Shirts are served up wrapped sugmarine/hoagie/hero style in butcher's paper with the packaging held together with ironically contradictory stickers like "lean ham and kosher meat". Great little details that show they care. Second, on their website the navigation looks like an old plastic deli board complete with miscolored letters and their mailing list invitation is a deli "take a ticket" stub. Nice little touches like this make a difference and suggest that if they care enough about these details, then their product will be similarly high quality.