These KAWS’ signature light bulbs are definitely a cool bulb. Only available at The Standard Hotel retail shops. If anyones going to one of the Standard hotels soon, please could you pick me up a box. Be much appreciated! Kaws’ has changed the look of the casual lightbulb into an ‘XX’ mark which is recognised as the KAWS’ signature.
Archive for February, 2011
Last week top fashion model Erin O’Connor launched an attack on what she called “the dominance of a singular aesthetic” in the fashion industry. While her broader target was fashion’s obsession with youth, perfection and size zero, her fire and her ire were trained on a very specific aspect of the fashion industry: the use of photoshop -which even some fashion editors admit is getting a little out of control.
Whether it‘s airbrushing a complexion, removing orange peel from a leg, clipping some bingo wings or making a waist that little bit more pinched, it’s hard to construe it as anything other than lying to consumers.
Not only does it misrepresent reality while claiming to be straight reportage, it creates false expectations amongst all of us about the nature of beauty and the human form. It fuels an insatiable but impossible to fulfill desire for perfection setting up gullible consumers for dissatisfaction, dysmorphia and some say, depression. (more…)
I’ve recently stumbled upon (thanks to cool hunter) the amazing art work of Berlin based artist Theo Altenberg, I adore all the colour, drama and spontaneity.
I was at home at my Mum’s recently and needed her help with a loose button on my coat (as you do). She obliges by delving into the cupboard under the stairs, pulling out her ‘sewing tin’. Imagine my delight upon seeing this retro beauty! I’m far too young to remember it being new, of course, but I have to say I think it is high time Quality Street revived their soldier/sweetheart equity. I love all things vintage and this is a great example of some 1970′s packaging design. My request for it as a gift was politely, but firmly declined. Got my button sorted though.
Have you seen the new Yellow Pages ad – excuse me, the new Yell ad – that follows a man looking for an old trance mix by ‘Day V. Lately’. (Didn’t he play with Fur Q?) We see him visit numerous record shops and meet disappointment at every turn. He returns home dejected when his helpful teenage daughter hands him her Smartphone with a Yell App. Within moments he’s found what he’s been looking for. The last thing he needs to do is leave his name. Day V. Lately.
Even if you haven’t seen it, it should sound familiar because it’s the modern version of ‘J.R. Hartley’ the 1980’s Yellow Pages classic that was so successful they even released two books by the fictitious author. In fairness there are changes – for instance its seems that dads no longer look like kindly old gents; they look like old junkies.
But the Yell ad is just one of a spate of recent TV commercials that hark back to the past in a very deliberate and self conscious manner. A number of brands have been using vintage footage, re-purposing old films (think EDF Energy) and in some cases re-telling old stories for a new generation. In an industry that usually places a premium on novelty and currency you have to wonder why are brands leveraging nostalgia in this way? Is it to pull at our heart strings and make us feel all warm and fuzzy towards them? Is it to save money, or to display their green credentials? And more importantly, is it successful?
As I say, Yell isn’t the only brand that’s doing it. Last year Fairy Liquid launched an advert that used historical footage to persuade us that Fairy’s cleaning power is as good today as it’s always been, with the reassuring tones of Nanette Newman, the recognised face of Fairy, who informed us that it even goes 50% further, so you hardly ever have to buy it.
This served to support the launch of a retro pack as well as help the brand celebrate its 50th Anniversary. So having a nostalgic tone seems to logically fit the strategy and reassert the brand as the leader of the category for another 50 years.
Another household brand, Tetley, has used a similar tack. It has looked back in order to go forward by reinstating their old cartoon characters to star in two subsequent adverts that allows the brand to showcase how it has progressed with new blends, like Redbush and Green Tea, whilst also demonstrating that the brand is still better than the competition.
And you must remember the epic Hovis advert? Running for 122 seconds to mark each year that it was celebrating, it harked back to the original 1973 ‘Biker’ advert shot by Ridley Scott that cleverly follows a young boy through momentous events of the past. Virgin Atlantic and Sainsbury’s have also both used similar story telling to celebrate their respective anniversaries too. So it appears that brand heritage and length of service are motivating to their customer base, offering us reassurance in these troubled times.
The other tack being depolyed is where branda are literally recycling an old advert. Halls Soothers, Milky Way and Aquafresh have all done it recently. About the only thing that has been changed is the end frame.
For these brands it appears that they are cloaking cost saving by simply re-hashing the old in the absence of the new. It smacks of the marketing department realising that their budget has been slashed in the economic downturn. So in order to maintain share of voice, and avoid costly production costs, have dug into their archives to find a commercial that will remind people to keep buying their products.
Personally, I have no problem with this. I’ve always been amazed that marketers are prepared to splash out hundreds of thousands of pounds on film that is used for less than a year before consigning it to the archives, never to see the light of day again.
Perhaps, just like consumers, marketers are learning that it is irresponsible to use things a couple of times and then dump them. It’s true of clothes, furniture, electrical goods and now ‘advertising collateral’. Second-hand has been re-branded as ‘vintage’ and as we know vintage is in.
But nostalgia is by no means a new theme. Brands have often relied on imparting heritage stories in times of economic trouble. It’s like they are presenting themselves as the trusted companion to see you through the hard times, so that when you become more price sensitive, their brand will be the one that you retain.
This week it was reported in the Financial Times that Coley Porter Bell has redesigned the French Pastis brand Ricard, for the first time in its 78 year history.
To the eyes of un Rosbif, the changes may not seem particularly significant. It’s got higher, squarer shoulders. The base of the bottle now mimics the Ricard cartouche, the sun device which was embossed on the bottle has been moved to the neck and the name Ricard is now embossed down the length of the bottle.
Graphically the label has been cleaned up, a gold key line has been removed and the signature of the brand’s creator Paul Ricard separated from the main label to make it stand out more.
The man on the Clapham omnibus probably wouldn’t even notice the changes. So why did Philippe Savinel chairman of Ricard describe them as ‘a daring metamorphosis’?
The answer is that Ricard may be another funny holiday drink to you. But to us French, Ricard isn’t just a much loved old brand, it is an important symbol of our culture, occupying a space that doesn’t even exist in the UK.
You’re sitting there, watching the box with the missus, when an intriguing new programme comes on. The People’s Supermarket. What a great concept. You become a paid up member in order to get 10% off the provisions that you buy there. All you have to do in return is contribute 4 hours of your time every 4 weeks. Then I got annoyed. Then I started shouting (at the TV, not my wife). What seemed great on paper appeared to be failing at the first hurdle. In his bid to achieve this utopian ideal of a supermarket for the people by the people, Chef Arthur Potts Dawson had failed at the fundamentals. He’d hadn’t actually asked what the people wanted to buy from a Supermarket (nor for that matter had he identified which people either). And it only seemed to dawn on him when he’d already opened the doors. If you’re going to go head-to-head with giants likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s, you’re really need to have a comprehensive understanding about your shopper and consult them on their needs and wants. It’s branding 101. Forget that and you’re a Supermarket short on custom.