Archive for June, 2013

Coley Porter Bell helps Royal Salute mark 60th anniversary of the coronation

by Alex Benady

Coley Porter Bell has designed the bottle and secondary packaging for a new Royal Salute Whisky marking the sixtieth anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

The brief for The Diamond Tribute bottle was to develop a permanent expression in the Royal Salute range to commemorate the timeless elegance and dignity displayed by the monarch over the course of her 60 year reign. It also references the origins of the brand -  the first bottles of Royal Salute were produced in June 1953 at the time of the coronation and have since been available in three different glazes denoting the rubies, sapphires and emeralds of the Imperial State Crown. (more…)

Does the lions share of branding and communications lie in the name?

by Alex Benady

A journalist friend of mine met the communications chief of an extremely large organization last week. (By large, I mean the size of small nation state.) After a couple of drinks talk turned to the topic of difficulties this comms chief has been having communicating important messages.

His organization has been having problems with one of its services recently and has received a good kicking in the press for its failure to provide what its customers need.

“It’s a bit unfair,” lamented the comms chief, “because we’ve done everything we possibly could to stop people using this service until it is improved.”

He explained how his organisation has even run campaigns explaining the problem, advising people not to use this service and giving them better alternatives.

But all that happened as a result of his carefully plotted ‘don’t buy’ campaign was that use of the service went up instead of down.

It could still be that the campaign was successful. Maybe not as many people used the service as would have done in its absence.  But the comms chief didn’t think so.

It could be that the campaign was just poorly thought out or poorly executed.  Maybe. But again the comms chief didn’t think so.

Far more likely he thought was that despite all the thought and planning that had gone into creating and targeting a carefully nuanced message, most people, don’t engage with details.

All they hear is the brand name. They don’t pay enough attention to hear any qualifying message. So the message ‘don’t use service x’ merely highlights the existence of service x in people’s minds.

Perhaps that’s why they say “all publicity is good publicity” and “make the logo bigger.” Maybe getting the name/brand name across is the most important thing and doesn’t much matter the context or the thing that is being said about it.

If this is true, the implications for marketing communications would be immense, pointed out my journalist friend. Why bother with costly branding, design, PR and advertising agencies when any chimp could put up a sign with your company’s name on it for free?

Surprisingly the comms chief sprang to the defence of these disciplines.  Yes, name alone may do sixty, seventy or even eighty per cent of the communication work, he conceded. But it is in the other thirty to fourty per cent that branding, design, PR and advertising works its magic and earns its keep.

It is precisely because well thought out branding and communications can help consumers go beyond the top line communication of the brand name alone, that they are worth while.

by Tim Smith

by Tim Smith

News Corp’s new logo fails to convince

by Alex Benady

Possibly the kindest thing you could say of News Corp’s new logo is: “Oooee Rupert, your strategy is showing’.

The new logo consists of the words ‘News Corp’ in a face based on an amalgam of the hand writing of Rupert Murdoch and his father Keith. It’s artfully contrived to look like it has just been dashed off. The very clear implication is that News Corp isn’t some faceless corporation, it’s human, it’s informal, it’s warm. It’s not perfect.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with using a signature for your logo. Far from it. Coley Porter Bell is part of the Ogilvy group and its logo is the signature of founder David Ogilvy. It hints at craft and continuity and personal service.

And we use signatures all the time on packaging. But there are very clear reasons for doing it.

So we used the signature of Beefeater’s founder William Burroughs to locate a new gin in a long tradition of distilling.

We used the signature of master blender Colin Scott on a new bottle for Royal Salute bottle whisky to denote the hand crafted nature of the product and the care that has gone into it.

We might use the signature of an entrepreneur if he or she is the face of the brand.

We even invented our own hand-written type face for Morrison’s own value label range, to show that the products are cared for by human beings.

The problem with the new News Corporation logo is that it does none of those things. It’s not a reflection of a long journalistic tradition. It’s not a mark of the craft that goes into its product.

It seems to be more of an attempt to turn Rupert Murdoch into the face of News Corp. But unlike say David Ogilvy or Paul Smith or even Richard Branson, he brings no useful equities to News Corp. In fact quite the opposite.

Rightly or wrongly Murdoch is widely viewed as the archetypal uncaring global capitalist whose main priority is making money and it doesn’t much matter how.

It doesn’t feel that this logo reflects any deeper truth about News Corp other than it is controlled by Murdoch. It’s perfectly imperfect, artfully artless nature  simply makes News Corp feel more cynical and scary. Not less. Which was evidently not the intention.


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