Archive for September, 2011

Beautiful type… in motion

by Igor Astrologo

Swift on the heels of their Comedy Carpet in Blackpool, Why Not Associates has completed a series of idents for Audi. Each shows a beautifully-crafted animated typographic message relating to function and form, which appears etched or embossed into some of the industrial materials used in Audi’s new Q3 model.

Can Coca-Cola Really Make You Happy?

by Chris Button

While it might not be a recognised cure for depression, a couple of studies by The Economist suggest that there may at least be a correlation between Coca-Cola and happiness.

In 1997, The Economist took a look at the world through a Coca-Cola bottle. The following two charts were a result of this study:

The fact that there was a loose correlation between increased wealth and increased Coca-Cola consumption is not surprising. More interesting is that there was a much tighter correlation between increased HDI (Human Development Index – a measure of life expectancy, access to knowledge and standard of living) levels and increased Coca-Cola consumption. The Economist did not speculate on any possible causes for the correlation.

In 2008, The Economist took another look through the bottom of a Coca-Cola bottle. This time they specifically focused on Africa:

The observation that problems within Coca-Cola’s pervasive distribution network could be used as an indicator of social upheaval well in advance of other measures led to the suggestion that Coca-Cola could be an ‘Index of Happiness’ in Africa. In cruder terms, when Africa is ‘unhappy’, Coca-Cola’s presence declines regardless of consumer purchasing power.

If any unifying conclusion can be drawn from the two Economist studies, it is that Coca-Cola consumption is broadly reflective of social harmony and equality. As Andy Warhol once put it, “A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking”.

There are many ‘happy’ brands at the moment; Coca-Cola is one of them. What can make Coca-Cola distinct is recognition of its role as the world’s greatest brand. Melinda Gates and the ColaLife movement have independently highlighted Coca-Cola’s pervasive distribution network as an example of how to bring aid to those in need. In English, there are two possible interpretations of the ‘Open Happiness’ name given to Coca-Cola’s recent campaign: open as a verb encouraging the consumer to release happiness; open as an adjective describing a kind of free-spirited happiness. The actual campaign is rooted in the former verbal interpretation. By focusing on the latter adjectival interpretation, Coca-Cola can develop from a product that influences to a brand that inspires.

Contact Lens Solution Breaks Category Conventions

by Chris Button

In the sterile world of contact lens solutions, bottles are basically clinical and white while secondary packaging is bluish and functional. That was until Pentagram designed the packaging for Biotrue.

Biotrue is Bausch & Lomb’s category-defining solution that is “inspired by the biology of your eyes” to match the pH of healthy tears.

The primary packaging is available in a nicely textured clear bottle that allows the consumer to see the actual product in much the same way as they would with a bottle of mineral water. It also serves the functional benefit of allowing the consumer to see exactly how much solution is left. The secondary packaging uses blue and green in reference to moisture and nature in a clean and fresh looking design inspired by bio trends in cosmetics. This essence is captured in the logo which breaks the name into a green ‘Bio’ and a blue ‘true’ while the ‘i’ is dotted by a droplet that encapsulates the name in its reflection.

CPB makes a fashion statement at Coutts HQ on the Strand

by Charlotte Newbold
London Fashion Week Window at Coutts on the Strand

London Fashion Week Window at Coutts on the Strand

Coley Porter Bell has transformed the facade of Coutts London HQ on the Strand, into a giant window display proclaiming the bank’s support for London Fashion Week, and the Fashion Forward scheme, which provides support for talented British fashion designers and their businesses.

The design took its inspiration from the world of fashion. Simple letter forms are cut from semi-transparent material in reference to the art of pattern cutting, they spell out the words ‘British by Design’ and create windows to peer through.

Behind the letter forms hang banners containing photographic portraits of the Fashion Forward winners Todd Lynn and design duo Peter Pilotto, and dress maker’s mannequins stand wearing garments designed by them exclusively for Coutts. The images are printed on fabric and the mannequins sit on photographic backdrops, again in reference to the fashion industry.

The promotional campaign also includes banners at Somerset House and a press ad in the Fashion Week Insiders Guide. Together they aim to raise awareness of Coutts connection with the British fashion industry and their support of creative entrepreneurs.

Coutts London Fashion Week Window - from the inside out

Coutts London Fashion Week Window - from the inside out

Designer: Charlotte Newbold

Design Director: Richard Clayton

Beautiful Appetite

by Chris Button

Predicting trends in the cosmetics market is not the easiest of tasks for a brand manager. Nonetheless, the competitive advantage provided to a brand that predicts, or indeed drives, a new trend is immense. Over the past few years, a reliable indicator for the future of cosmetics has emerged in a category traditionally treated as separate: food.

Currently, the global cosmetics market is broadly driven by two consumer needs: personalisation and naturalness. Personalisation used to be solely about basic needs like ‘oily’ or ‘sensitive’, but is now becoming increasingly segmented by gender, ethnicity and lifestage (e.g. age, pregnancy). ‘Natural’ used to have enough meaning to engage the consumer, but now consumer calls for increased specificity are leading to more sophisticated claims like ‘Paraben-free’. However, these further developments in personalisation and naturalness are causing problems for cosmetics brand managers. Disengaged consumers are jaded by naturalness claims while making increasingly individual demands.

The main problem for brands in their attempt to meet these two consumer needs of personalisation and naturalness stems from unresolved tensions within the cosmetics market. At Coley Porter Bell we have identified three tensions: natural versus scientific; minimal versus maximal; functional versus emotional.

The clash between natural and scientific revolves around the twin demands for naturally sourced, herbal treatments and technologically advanced laboratory solutions. Although not necessarily mutually exclusive, they represent very different approaches to the market. The claim of bareMinerals that “it’s make up so pure you can sleep in it” is in stark contrast to Voss Laboratories’ Amatokin that proudly champions its “unique polypeptide compound” based on stem-cell technology.

The distinction between minimal and maximal refers to the use of cosmetics to achieve a flawless natural look or to decorate with colour. This contrast has been particularly pronounced in 2011 with brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein adopting a pared back approach while John Galliano and Louis Vuitton currently favour a more glammed-up approach.

The division between functional and emotional refers to the divergent role of cosmetics as something that treats (e.g. moisturising cream) or something that adorns (e.g. lipstick). As with the tension between natural and scientific, functional and emotional concerns are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Some products currently on the market, such as Bite ‘Natural Food Grade’ lipstick, attempt to do both.

Whether for the mind or the body, the unifying concept that we believe can help address these tensions is nourishment. More specifically, it is ‘outer’ nourishment with its focus on what is applied to the body externally as cosmetics. This may be contrasted with ‘inner’ nourishment with its focus on what is consumed by the body through diet. However, even this distinction is slowly being eroded as food terms like ‘organic’, ‘fair-trade’ and ‘halal’ proliferate on cosmetics packaging. This overarching concept of nourishment has formed such an inextricable bond between cosmetics and food that food trends are now leading the way for personalisation and naturalness in cosmetics.

At Coley Porter Bell, we have identified nine food trends that we believe will feature prominently in cosmetics in the future.

1. Transparency: explicit, quantifiable front of pack ingredients possibly with a nutritional key.

2. Guidance: ‘healthy-aging’ (like ‘healthy-eating’) rather than ‘anti-ageing’.

3. Functionality: multi-purpose products addressing a variety of needs.

4. Convenience: cosmetic ‘snacking’ on-the-go.

5. Sustainability: production quality linked with product quality.

6. Provenance: product source linked with product quality.

7. Nutrition: entrance into ‘nutricosmetics’ (beauty drinks/foods) by major cosmetics players.

8. Revivalism: nostalgia for ‘good old days’ reviving past ideas of glamour.

9. Connectivity: aps/sites following personal recommendations (e.g. MAC ‘Shop Together’).

By carefully using these trends to nourish the consumer needs of personalisation and naturalness, cosmetics brands will not only be able to be on-trend, but will also be able to lead and sculpt the very future of beauty.

Why must chocolate be brown?

by Emma Brock

Delicious but

Last weekend I took my children to the corner shop to enact the weekly ritual of ‘buying the sweeties’. While the kids were agonising over cheap sugar confections (sugar makes your 50p go so much further) I noticed that Mars has just launched Mars triple chocolate (Mars bar with extra chocolate in its nougat and caramel) while Cadbury was keen for me to try its Flake Praline (Flake with soft chocolate base).

As I stood at the till it occurred to me that though they were both new products, you could hardly call them innovations. In fact you could argue that the last genuinely innovative new chocolate confectionery product was Double Decker and that was launched in 1976. Since then there has been precious little in the way of significant genuine, fundamental innovation in the chocolate confectionery market. (more…)

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