Keeping the Hamster Cage Smelling Fresh

The new Kia Soul commercial featuring their hamster mascots has one up’ed their last spot featuring the characters. The new commercial, featuring LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem is funny, fresh, and works overall. This is one of the rare cases where a car company trying way too hard to communicate with a younger demo may actually be getting their point across. I’ll be interested to see whether we see more hipsters driving around in the Kia Soul or whether it becomes a mid-life crisis mobile for their parents.

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A look into IDEO’s innovation process

This example of how IDEO used their innovation process is a little outdated, but the process itself hasn’t changed. Given one week to design a new shopping cart, the team observed and talked with people in super markets and came up with several quirky ideas on how to improve the cart. The video discusses a bit about the corporate structure of IDEO and how lack of hierarchy and focus on talent allows for more productive collaboration and creativity. Take a look at how their emphasis on wild ideas and outside the box thinking led them to a really interesting new design.

Brand partnerships that make sense

Originally aired during a episode of Glee, Google Chrome’s “It Gets Better” campaign is a great example of a partnership that works. The Google marketing campaign partnered with a great cause, the It Get’s Better Project, which provides support for bullied gay youth, in order to promote it’s Chrome browser. The spot showcases all the capabilities of the browser as well as the integration of Google’s services (Youtube, Blogger) while simultaneously delivering a very powerful and inspiring message about the It Get’s Better Project. The campaign should generate great press for Google, which as a company is frequently portrayed by the media as big brother, hoarding personal information for evil bidding (Google’s motto of course is “Don’t be evil”). This is just another initiative in Google’s history of support of positive social change.

Check out the Google Chrome and Itgetsbetter.org’s ad:

On a less impactful note, but similarly using marketing for the power of good, I noticed a great brand partnership while sitting at a local pub this weekend. On my coaster, I found a co-branded ad for Heineken and Taxi Magic. The two companies have partnered to help promote Heineken’s responsible drinking initiative. The promotion works great for both brands, getting word out for the Taxi Magic mobile app (for which I am a brand advocate) while positioning the Heineken brand as responsible and savvy. Hopefully anyone who had one too many this weekend also had access to a smart phone . . .

Extreme Brand Truth

I’ve mentioned finding your brand truth in previous posts as the process of uncovering what your company truly stands for. Well what if you took this process to the extreme? Would Facebook just be honest and rebrand itself as “Procrastination”? Would McDonalds rebrand itself as “McDiabetes”? Take a look at some of these creative examples of honest logos.

Morgan Spurlock: Selling Risk

Morgan Spurlock’s new TED talk discusses transparency in companies and their marketing, as well as how taking risks can lead to big reward. His presentation style is entertaining and engaging. Watch this talk and think about how you might be able to take bigger risks with your brand while at the same time remaining aligned with your “brand truth.”

Simple Communication Applied

Along the same lines as my last post, imagine if some of the brands that develop the products you use everyday were to simplify their product design. One of my favorite cleaning product companies, for example, is Method. Their cleaning solutions are not so different from some their direct competitors, but were they really shine is in their product design. The bottles and dispensers use simplified, elegant design. When people choose to buy method for their washroom, it’s not for their less harsh chemicals or fancy scents (that seemingly always include cucumber), it’s because their product is a fashion statement. Their design is meaningful.

The design consultancy Antrepo applied that same thought to various well known brands. They took the current design of products and widdled their cluttered product design to its most base form. Fuel Your Creativity’s blog post on Antrepo aggregates some of the best examples of the project.

Mr. Muscle

We’ve trained our mind to avoid advertising and clutter. In website design, users will subconsciously avoid any button or page element that looks like advertising. Maybe it’s time brands removed the 1950’s style advertising from their product labels. It could give them the design advantage that differenties their product. It could also save them some money on color sticker printing.