Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top brands of 2011

It’s too easy and obvious to celebrate blockbuster brands like Apple and Facebook. Here at Brandsinger we pay attention to the under-appreciated brands of 2011 and take a moment to marvel at their genius.

Greatest brand impact per ounce: the Wasp

A sublimely understated vehicle—light, compact, with limited range—but packing the wallop of a Floyd Mayweather left hook

Brand personality: Aggression, stealth, anger

Tagline: If you want to be called honey, why not get yourself a bee?

Highlight of 2011: Sending Brandsinger to the emergency room covered with itchy red welts

Price: About $800.00 per sting

Most shocking brand: Lightning

A reminder of the primal power of the universe that was here before you and will be here forever after you

Brand personality: Flashiness, bombast, tendency to overdo it

Tagline: Before your silly fireworks, I Am.

Highlight of 2011: Driving Brandsinger under the bed when striking to the heart of a 200-year-old oak

Cost: About $900.00 per tree

Most influential political brand—Liberalism

Despite the rise of the Tea Party and the fall of Obama’s prestige, 2011 was, deceptively, the year of the left. From the daily drumbeat of NPR to the leveraged influence of the Occupiers, liberals mopped the floor with anyone brazen enough to question the brand’s stamina.

Brand personality: Smugness, hypocrisy, snobbery

Brand promise: To protect the status quo in education, manufacturing and mass culture

Tagline: “What? Are you a moron?”

Highlight of 2011: Positioning the Congressional Republicans as defenders of the tax code while assuming the stance of tax-cutters

Cost: About ten trillion dollars per generation

Top brand among organic compounds: Humidity

Where would we be without that subtle hint of waterfront in the air? With practically no marketing budget, humidity had a great year. It gave a slight curl to boring hair, made women’s t-shirts cling, and gave privileged Manhattan office-workers something to whine about.

Brand traits: Ubiquitous, embracing, variable

Tagline: Say adios to static electricity

Highlight of 2011: 100% humidity during the drenching rains that caused roadway flooding and hours of travel delay that kept Brandsinger from making a client workshop on time

Cost: my entire fee

A universe of top brands

Brandsinger salutes these and the other unsung brands of 2011, from the reassuring bubbling of oatmeal to the manly roar of the Maori Haka dancers to the haunting rustle of cottonwood trees, life is filled with the sounds and promise of brands that sing.

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The dangers of over-enthusiasm

Creative urges sometimes get the better of us, and enthusiasm can drive away the very people we're trying to attract. Once—while interviewing for a job—I became very enthusiastic about my personal achievements, got up from the table, and strolled around for a minute while still talking. Turns out, I later learned, the interviewers at the table were alarmed. They asked an intermediary, "Why did he bolt from his chair in mid-sentence and ramble around waving his arms?"

It is with sympathy, therefore, that I think of the eager soul who created this poster for a small clinic in Cheshire, Connecticut.

Instead of enticing customers inside for a flu shot, this emotionally charged sign surely causes them to shudder and walk on. I know that I would rather risk a virulent flu than walk into that clinic, roll up my sleeve, and face the business end of a needle the size of a pine tree.

Next flu season, this enthusiastic artist should take a few deep breaths, pick a number 2 pencil, and practice drawing smiley faces.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

What others say about you

The final guest post from my grad students at NYU is by Emilie Fetterley, who, like Gov. Rick Perry, is no shrinking violet when it comes to expressing her political views.

by Emilie Fetterly

In a Forbes article a few weeks ago, Denise Suttman cites my favorite definition of what it is we do as public relations professionals: “Advertising is what you say about yourself. PR is what you get others to say about you.”

This may be true, but what then qualifies as "good PR" and what qualifies as "bad?"

Rick Perry's campaign video in which he slanders homosexuals and condemns Obama for his "war on religion" has been viewed by over 5 million people around the world. Now, most of the impressions of his ad are coming from mocking rebuttals like this:

Ok, humor aside, what publicist allowed this video to be made? A genius or an idiot? This video is offensive, horribly written and instigating. He may have just lost himself an election, but he did instigate. Isn't that the end goal of any public relations campaign? To succeed in the ever elusive call to action?

My lack of respect for this candidate has fallen no lower than its already subterranean level, but I have spent far more time than I should admit enjoying the responses. Am I one of the many who fell victim to a brilliant attention ploy or on the bandwagon of those laughing at a celebrity's stupidity?

Emilie hails from Seattle and though now a two-year New Yorker maintains her fierce loyalty to all things Starbucks in the land of Dunkin Donuts and Delis. Emilie began her career in London and now works in the healthcare practice of a large public relations firm.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nothing Says Christmas Like...Red Cups!

Our next guest post comes from NYU grad student Gabi Hui, who often smiles but has reason for the downcast look. Read on...

With the cost-efficiency and reach of social media, marketing campaigns are momentary and fleeting. If I didn’t know how much they cost to put together, I would even say they’re a dime a dozen. It’s difficult to capture an audience nowadays, and exponentially more difficult to build a campaign with longevity.

All hail the Starbucks Red Cups!

Starbucks began selling their holiday beverages in their symbolic red cups in 1997. That’s fourteen years! I’m trying to think whether anything I own right now has lasted fourteen years. *Blank* And what’s more impressive is that they have seamlessly integrated these Red Cups into the holiday season. What was the last company to capitalize on the most profitable purchase season of the year to this magnitude? Coca-Cola?

And people are extremely loyal to these Red Cups. There are websites counting down the days until the Red Cups are back. Every year, my Facebook newsfeed is flooded with status updates about their return. There are fan groups dedicated to Red Cups. And why not? For $5, an over-joyful Starbucks barista can place a delightful Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha in a red cup with cheerful little characters into your hands. You deserve it, especially after wrestling with what you should write about in a 250-word entry for your PR Writing class.

What’s more is that this year, Starbucks incorporated an Augmented Reality experience to their infamous Red Cups. Customers can download an app to their iPhones or Android devices. Pointing your camera phone at characters on Red Cups or other merchandise will produce animations on your phone.

Don’t get it? Take a look. Click here for video!

Gaby Hui is a candidate for a master's degree in public relations and corporate communications at NYU. "I dropped my last piece of Red Velvet cupcake during a holiday shopping marathon last year. This is why I look so sad."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grammy honors sales, airplay, success

This guest post comes from Julia Knox, who is proud to share her views on pop music.

The 2012 Grammy nominations were announced last week, honoring the so-called best music of the past year. As with every year, there were snubs (no Kanye West for Album of the Year? ) and surprises (who the heck is Skrillex?).

The Grammys have turned increasingly mainstream in recent years, as seen by nominating perennial singles artists Katy Perry and Rihanna for Albums of the Year. This has caused a debate: Are they really about honoring the best music of the past year, or are they more a celebration of sales and airplay? Do the Grammys still matter?

I say yes. The Grammys still have a bit of prestige that shows such as the American Music Awards lack. The term “Grammy-winning Artist” is still a measure of tremendous success, one that many musicians aspire to. Yes, they’ve gone more mainstream in recent years, but there will be missteps every year (seriously, no Album of the Year for Kanye West, who had the best-reviewed release of the year? I blame Taylor Swift.) At least for now, winning a Grammy is still an honor.

Julia left a lifetime of Southern living to study Public Relations & Corporate Communication in NYC. She loves cooking, running, and Kanye West.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Celebrity Worship Syndrome

Our first guest blogger of the month—Latoya Bess—sees danger in the nation's preoccupation with people famous for being famous.

During the Great Depression, celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Rita Hayworth, and Fred Astaire took millions of Americans away from the troubling thoughts of their financial struggles and into a fantasy realm of Hollywood heaven.

Today, with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the stagnant U.S. economy, Americans have again found an escape through numerous celebrity tales from Kim Kardashian’s quickie wedding to Beyonce’s long-awaited pregnancy. While this may seem to be harmless entertainment, many Americans have fallen to an obsessive-addictive disorder, dubbed by psychologists as Celebrity Worship Syndrome.

With a plethora of media outlets constantly exposing and glamorizing the lives of celebrities, it’s no wonder that people are becoming more obsessed with entertainers, athletes, and political figures. Ever notice the slew of magazines such as People, The National Enquirer, and Star in every grocery store line and newsstand? What about television shows like Entertainment Tonight, The Wendy Williams Show, countless reality shows, and even entire networks like E!, that offer the most personal and sometimes irrelevant details of celebrities’ private lives ?

As if the papers and TV shows aren’t enough, the world of social media has become a gateway for immediate access to your favorite star’s every move, with Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, blogs, and fan sites.

While it is normal to admire celebrities and public figures, we must be careful not to emotionally connect ourselves with people we do not know. We should only use celebrities as inspiration to live our own lives the best way we can.

Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Latoya is obsessed with travel, fashion, and entertainment. She is a recent graduate of Clark Atlanta University and is now pursuing a Master’s in Public Relations Management at NYU.