Liquid Assets: How the Business of Bottled Water Went Mad by Sophie Elmhirst [The Guardian] “Water is no longer simply water – it has become a commercial blank slate, a word on to which any possible ingredient or fantastical, life-enhancing promise can be attached. And it’s working. Over the past two decades, bottled water has become the fastest-growing drinks market in the world. The global market was valued at $157bn in 2013, and is expected to reach $280bn by 2020. Last year, in the UK alone, consumption of water drinks grew by 8.2%, equating to a retail value of more than £2.5bn. Sales of water are 100 times higher than in 1980. Of water: a substance that, in developed countries, can be drunk for free from a tap without fear of contracting cholera. What is going on?”
Microsoft Branding Generator [warning: autoplaying audio]
Electric & Musical Industries was formed in 1931, initially releasing classical music, but went on to launch the Beatles, who changed the record label's operations and funded the company for years and years. The label's recording rules were further broadened by Queen and Pink Floyd. EMI ushered punk into the mainstream with Sex Pistols, and then embraced the New Romanticism and the polished excesses of Duran Duran. They made music videos big with Pet Shop Boys and made Brit Pop a thing with Blur, and were home to Radiohead. This is the inside story of EMI, one of the greatest British brands in recording history, as told by people involved with the record label's storied history, augmented by company and performance footage. [more inside]
Publishing giant Tribune is changing its name to... tronc. Originally incorporated in 1847 with the founding of the Chicago Tribune, Tribune owns both the Chicago Tribune as well as the LA Times and numerous newspapers across the US.
In the '70s, NASA commissioned a redesign of their "meatball" logo. They wanted something to make it more modern and better designed, so eventually the "worm" logo was unveiled. Unfortunately a lot of NASA engineers hated it.
"Everybody kind of gravitated towards this idea of a TV turning on, and out of this static comes this resolved HBO logo that lifts itself out of normal television series.” (via Playboy) [more inside]
World-renowned British graphic designer Neville Brody rebrands his studio "Research Studios" as "Brody Associates" after around 20 years of doing business. Reason? Clients misunderstood the services of the studio under its old name. [more inside]
"The work speaks volumes: She is her own best creation, a businesswoman, a brand, a socialite, a TV star, a wife, a mother, and the essential member of a sprawling family who are all getting rich under the umbrella of her fame. But most important, Kim Kardashian works full-time as professional metaphor. " - Rachel Syme on why Kim Kardashian's Hollywood was the most important game of 2014
Producer Michael Shamberg Wants to 'Invent the Future' With BuzzFeed Motion Pictures - "I don't think there's ever been a Hollywood R&D model like we have here." (previously 1,2,3) [more inside]
The NYT Style section reports that "image-conscious digital natives" are paying for expensive and elaborate portrait sessions to get one-of-a-kind shots to use in social media profiles and on professional websites. These photos (which the Times incorrectly calls "glamour selfies") are not your professional headshots; instead the subjects are depicted in a warehouse, in a field, in a pickup truck, etc. The motivations? Enhancing a personal brand, celebrating a milestone birthday... and, of course, getting lots of "likes" on Facebook. Slate's XX Factor blog defends the trend (if you can call it a trend) by suggesting that the portrait subjects are trying to avoid age discrimination.
"Knowing we are watching something that doesn't fit in today's world and being completely self-conscious about our enjoyment of it is the essence of Nick-At-Nites's appeal." Fascinating memo from 1987 about Nick at Nite's brand and positioning. [more inside]
"Life-long Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested changing his country's name to make it friendlier to investors and tourists. It's obviously a little silly to change your country's name for marketing purposes. But there may be more meaningful reasons for the country to change its name..." An interesting perspective from Max Fisher at the Washington Post.
From the depths of the old internet (Deuce of Clubs), here is a prank call to the Monticello Drug Company about their "666" Cough Preparation, which was followed up by a cease-and-desist letter to the site, and explained the source of the "666" branding. DoC replied, and received letters of support from folks, including the CEO of Montiecello, who found the whole thing to be a laugh. The CEO also sent weird labels to the Deuce of Clubs, including a box of/for "Ghost Scent," a re-labeled version of a body odor eliminator that was initially intended for older individuals, but found a following with hunters. To finish this journey into the internet past, DoC collected images of products, and a painting of a rural scene, complete with a "666 Cold Tablets" sign on a tree. [more inside]
Yahoo! is getting a new logo—in a month. Until then, it's showing off a new logo every day. You can see the first five days' photos on their blog.
Game of Brands: The Game of Thrones Houses as Modern Corporations (Article contains spoilers if you're not up on the end of the current season of the series.) Ads, logos, the whole thing, for such companies as Air Targaeryen, the Lannister Investment Group... [more inside]
Steve Lovelace created a map that shows the corporation that best represents each state of the US.
One man's attempt to rebrand Abercrombie & Fitch as "The World's Number One Brand of Homeless Apparel". SLYT
Back in the day, Ken Segall helped create Apple's Think Different campaign and helped name the iMac. More recently he worked on JC Penney's Yours Truly, commercial, before JCP ousted Ron Johnson as its CEO. He writes a sharp, entertaining blog called Ken Segall's Observatory, where he offers opinions on advertising and design geekery. His take on Ron Johnson's failure is interesting, as is this post on what it takes for an advertisement to stand out in a crowd. He calls attention to surprisingly decent ads from Microsoft and Dell, critiques terrible ads (from Microsoft and JC Penney and even Apple, and comments on whether skeuomorphism has its advantages. He's also fond of discussing product names. Give this one a skip if advertising gives you hives, but for those of you who're interested in things like this Segall's blog is especially choice stuff.
Branded Superheroes: sponsorships and marketing deals.
What It Takes to Build a Lego Hobbit [cached version] - How Lego's An Unexpected Gathering was designed from the 2,700 pieces of the modern Lego "system of play", which remains compatible with a brick design that goes back to 1958. Despite worries that the stacking brick system has become less creative, a persistant series of complaints that have spawned their own bingo card, it remains hugely popular, in part through quality control and clever licensing. The Lego Bag-End house also comes in a life size version.
What really concerns librarians; what do they discuss when they self-organise and decide for themselves? After the inaugural UK event, the second UK Librarycamp, with around 200 attendees, was recently held; reflections by Frank Norman, Carolin Schneider  , Sarah Wolfenden, Amy Faye Finnegan, Shambrarian Knights, Michelle, Jennifer Yellin, Jenni Hughes, Bookshelf Guardian, Amy Cross-Menzies and Simon Barron, and by one of the organisers. [more inside]
Teenage girls try to navigate the minefields of desirability, attractiveness, and self-objectification in the age of Facebook. [more inside]
"We thought we were hosts like the queen is at a posh garden party, when actually we're hosts in the way that John Hurt is in Alien." As the Olympics approach, the scandals, inconveniences, mistakes and problems keep mounting, ranging from the frustrating through the comic to the tragic. For your appreciation, a picture of the London Olympics 2012. [more inside]
The gas station of the future? With ten million in venture capital and more that twenty million in dollars in grants, the fueling station of the future does not offer electricity or natural gas.
Are you curious how the brand of a large suite of complementary products is developed? It's more interesting than you might think. Adobe describes the decisions that went into the new icons, splash screens, and other brand elements of Creative Suite 6.
Before naming your startup, read this. "This guide is divided into three, independent sections: Why Bad Names Hurt You, Coming Up With Names, and Examples of Strong and Weak Names." [more inside]
How the Brain Reveals Why We Buy. "Most of us know that branding palpably influences our choices and shopping habits, but researchers suspect that branding can also fundamentally change the way we comprehend sense impressions. At least that is the obvious conclusion to be drawn from the only (so far) classic study in neuromarketing, a fascinating study of what can be called the Pepsi paradox. " [more inside]
"Gridiron League is a collection of idealized NFL insignias that pay tribute to each team's history and geography in a period-specific aesthetic that glorifies the Vince Lombardi-era over the Cold-Activated-era. This is not an exercise in nostalgia but an interpretation of the league's founding principles through the symbols that we, as football fans, identify with most." [more inside]
Designer Nicole Meyer intends to create an unique logo for each and one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes. The index makes navigation easier. [more inside]
Laura Wattenberg of The Baby Name Wizard has announced 2011's Name of the Year. And the winner is... Siri. [more inside]
"Tanks Are Mighty Fine Things!" And Other Tales Of Truthiness... At the end of World War II, Chrysler sent small hardbound books to shareholders chronicling ways the company had contributed to the war effort. Two have now been placed online at the Chrysler Imperial Club's website: "Tanks are Mighty Fine Things" and "A War Job 'Thought Impossible' (The story of the Chrysler-Sperry Gyro-Compass)" (Via) [more inside]
Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game. As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert -- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon. Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire. Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat." But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and All That. To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
You've probably heard of Ed Hardy clothing, but did you know that there is also a full range of Ed Hardy beverages? [more inside]
Back on November 23rd, TPMMuckraker ran an article titled “‘Eager Beaver’ FBI Agent’s Attempt To Flip Witness Exposed Feds’ Big Insider Trading Case.” That article (about a prematurely blown, ongoing investigation of allegations of insider trading centered on Goldman Sachs) was illustrated with a photograph of the New York Stock Exchange. Yesterday, TPM Media LLC (dba TPMMuckraker) received a cease and desist letter regarding that photo. [more inside]
Public servants from four different departments have confirmed to The Canadian Press that they received a directive late last year that the words "Government of Canada" in federal communications be replaced with "Harper Government." [more inside]
On the heels of the Comcast/NBC merger, NBCUniversal have unveiled their new logo. Astute viewers will note that there's something missing from it.
"The key learning from this was that *Santa* IS brand. PARTLY literally and TOTALLY metaphorically."
*Santa* is a Concept, not an idea. It's an Emotion, not a feeling. It's both Yesterday and Today. And it's Tomorrow as well. Santa winds infinite Possibilities around finite Limitations to evoke the essence of invention and the Odour of Nostalgia. It has the complexity of Simpleness and the Simplicity of complexitiveness. It begins with the Hiss of Power and ends with the Ah of Surprise. *Santa* is.
William Gibson offers interesting perceptions of our world The insight on the connection between the perceived threat from terrorism (not his term) and the attraction of lottery tickets (about half-way down) pushed me over to post this, but the rest of it is worth your time, too.
Unevolved Brands. Taking well known corporate logos and simplifying them into colored circles. How many can you still recognize? [more inside]
"What was lost in the realm of economic exchange is reclaimed in the realm of cultural/semiotic performance. Branding also identifies the product relative to the chain of signifiers constituting its brand “family,” in the same way that ranchers brand livestock with the sign of their ranch." [via]