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228. New Gatorade G Campaign.

Maybe the best part of the huge Pepsi brand redesign, is the work for Gatorade. The packaging is looking rather good. Though I’m not totally sold on the font choice for the G, I do like the idea of changing the names of the product lines from weird things like ‘rain’ or ‘x-factor’ to strong call to actions like, “No Excuses” and “Be Tough.” And that’s when the type shines - doing justice to these new mantras. Overall, a logical step for the beverage maker. So the packaging is getting there, but I have a serious issue with the way the G is being used in the advertising launch.

A Teaser Ad in USA Today

Gatorade is (was?) in the rare position of being able to progress past an ordinary logo. They could have used this rebrand as an opportunity to evolve into using a symbol for their brand. Their ‘bolt’ is fairly recognizable and when backed by a heavy media budget, could have entered Apple and Nike territory, needing only a symbol to communicate their message. (Which is a nice progression if a brand can manage taking that step successfully.) Gatorade has experimented with that in past, but seemed a little shy to commit to it. In the new advertising they are finally showing this courage – except for the wrong element. Instead of using the bolt, they are letting this new block G sit out there all on its own – except that it has no real brand equity yet and worse still, they seem to be tossing away the bolt for no good reason. This could be simply a teaser campaign, but even if that's the case - it feels a bit irresponsible.

The New Packaging

And the advertising itself focuses on the G, as if it means something. The spots (below) are not awful, but they’re trying way too hard to be any good and it’s a missed opportunity for Gatorade to reclaim the throne of energy drinks. A couple spots cannot give meaning to a letter overnight, and I’m not sure many years of advertising can either. The company could have easily shot the same footage and using a different voiceover and the bolt symbol, ended up with a more powerful, disruptive launch. Which is what they needed. But the communication itself isn’t that bad – it’s really the design decision concerning the logo that adds a confusing, misguided layer to the work that is completely unnecessary. The only thing I can figure out is that Gatorade’s new agency (TBWA/Chiat/Day – a great agency, to be sure) is trying to be a bit mysterious. Normally, I like a little tease – but not at the expense of a brand that was so close to entering the rarified air of only needing a symbol to mark their brand. I predict in a few years that you’ll be seeing the bolt instead of this lonely letter G. And maybe, when the tease period is over, they’ll at least go to a combination mark that includes the bolt. We’ll see. I'm wondering how you folks out there feel about this. (I see a similar issue with Tropicana dumping it's straw in the orange concept for a more generic look too.)

The Launch Spots


226. Arabic Versions of Global Packaging Logos.

Like I promised, here are a few samples of Arabic packaging logos to compare to their Western counterparts. Most packaging I found had both English and Arabic logos on the same package, but this isn't always the case. (I wasn't as concerned with the packaging per se - but the logos.) Again, some versions are better than others and a few stand out for their attention to detail and type-worthiness. I also added more shots of the retail identities in the previous entry. When I get back to the states I may post a few more design-related things that I found interesting on my trip to the Middle East. Enjoy.

Get the flash player here:


225. Arabic Versions of Global Brand Identities.

So I've been staying in Dubai for the last week and am very excited about sharing photos that I've taken – comparing and contrasting the arabic and english versions of a few global brands. Some are done very well while others are not executed with quite the same craft. Arabic (what little I know about it) is a phonetic language that reads right to left, so some words or company names are inherently more difficult than others to match up with their english conterparts. That being said, a few of them are just outstanding, for instance the Dean & Deluca logo which utilizes a copperplate arabic script, and the Bose which extends the bars(?) of the letter forms to mirror the original. I hope people enjoy viewing these as much as I have taking them. Soon, I will post the arabic versions of packaging-related identities that I've captured. (Most were taken inside the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates - also in Dubai.)

Get the flash player here:


224. Live-Blogging The Super Bowl Ads.

I'm going to try out something new on graphicology – live-blogging. And I figured what better event to try it out on than the Super Bowl? I have a passion for advertising that functions more like a love/hate relationship, and I think I have a unique perspective that is worth sharing and hopefully equally entertaining. So using a service called coveritlive, I'm going to be giving my thoughts on the spots as they are played during the NFL's championship game on February 1, starting around 6:15pm EST. Right here on Graphicology: Graphicology's Super Bowl Live Ad Blog. I'm not sure how it's all going to work out, but I would love to get as many readers as possible to sign up and participate on game day. I'll try to make it a fun and informative way to enjoy the big game / cultural event. Readers will be able to comment and vote on polls while following along, and all you have to do is come to this site. Everything else will be taken care of. Should be a blast. I may try to have a special guest co-blogger - but I'm not sure yet. I'll keep you posted. If you can't make the live blog, you'll be able to view it after the event is over - which I think is a nice little feature.

If you take a gander to the panel on the right, you can sign up for an event reminder. If you have any thoughts or ideas on how to make this more enjoyable - I'm all ears. Or eyes rather. More info as it comes.

Oh, one more thing - if you are planning on logging in, why not let me know so I can get a feel for how much support there is for this event. Use the contact us link on the top right of the blog. Thanks!



223. Greenville Drive Holiday Campaign.

I am not in the habit of posting any personal work on this site - mainly, b/c that's not the purpose of graphicology. However, we've (Hill Holliday's Erwin-Penland) just recently finished producing a humble little campaign for our local minor league baseball team. And I'm proud of the results.

We came up with a twist on an old holiday movie favorite, A Christmas Story. Taking five memorable scenes from the movie and giving them a baseball twist, we are reminding people that they can 'Make it a Baseball Story" this year by buying season tickets and merchandise for the 2009 season. To reference one of my favorite films was a lot of fun, and to do it in a relevant manner for a client that I like, was equally gratifying. People know this movie well and I believe this parody is done intelligently and hopefully with no small measure of wit and charm.

I should also mention we didn't spend very much money and had a lot of help from many talented and gracious folks. (People at a lot of larger agencies would laugh at the pocket change we had as a budget.) I even wrote a few small personal checks to complete the campaign, adding a fifth execution that seemed to complete the set. My CD, Andy Mendelsohn, helped by deciding that we only present this single idea - ala Mad Men. (Very cool and rare these days.) The client played a part in recognizing a good idea and being willing to spend a little money where none was previously budgeted. The talent agency gave us a great deal on the one paid talent we used - our Ralphie ringer. And our photographer, Lon Murdick worked for peanuts. Well, actually a little Cuban lunch of chicken and black bleans with rice. (That's livin' right Lon?) It was a true labor of love. Had we access to a million dollars, the ads might be a little different here and there, though I'm not sure I would like them as much. Special thanks to our inhouse prop guy, Tony Lowe - who fabricated the leg out of a mannequin and a little fiberglass. (The lamp has just a little butt cheek, just like the original. Now, that's attention to detail!)

What's nice from a personal / creative standpoint, is that this project was one of many during a particularly busy time. I ended up concepting late one Sunday night - talking with my writing partner (Julian Levy) over the phone - and having to solve it while working on other larger, maybe more prominent projects. This one could have easily slipped through the cracks. But we saved it. Which is a really good feeling. People seem to be enjoying them. They are even a finalist in the National Sports Forum Adchievement Awards - nothing big in the advertising world, but huge in the sports marketing arena. Our little idea is the only 'minor league' client in the bunch and we're going up against work for the Houston Texans, Milwaukee Brewers, NFL PLAYERS and the Oakland A's among others. Not bad for a little team from Greenville. We'll see how it does come January, and hopefully we'll get a little more pub from other places too. (Our unrelated radio campaign - chatter guy - is a finalist in the radio category. I'm proud of that too - but had nothing to do with it at all.)

HERE are the FINAL ADS, but if you are like me - sometimes the behind-the-scenes stuff is even more interesting. So, I've posted that below. My only regret is not being able to do TV or viral video with this idea. I would have loved to reenact the 'Fuuuuuuudge' scene with peanuts or soda at the game. Alas. (Oh, and you'll need to know that the team mascot is frog.)

Here's the original germ of the idea:

Here are the sketches as presented:


221. Ad of the Week: Mini.

Crispin and now BSSP have done a lot of nice work for Mini, but this creative comes from across the pond in Germany. And it's an interesting mix of print ad and interactive piece that offers a new way to look at a mini from all angles. From AutoBlog, "The specially-designed MINI ad is able to interact with your webcam using technology called Augmented Reality. Simply log onto the URL printed on the ad, follow the instructions (in German), and voila! You have a realistic 3D model of the new MINI Convertible."

To try it yourself, you'll need a decent windows machine and one that's using microsoft explorer. (I think.) I haven't yet made it work, but I'm trying. Here's the ad, which you can print out. And here's the site. It doesn't offer anything new in terms of content, but the delivery is really cool. To move the 3D mini, you simply move the ad and the vehicle responds to your movements using the webcam. The technology limits the users a bit, but well done.

Mac folks can try the technology out here on a different project here. (via Autoblog via thefutureofads) And for more behind the technology visit Metaio.

Here's a video of the Mini Ad in action.

Find more videos like this on AdGabber

220. Announcing a New Contributor to Graphicology.

Over the last 2 years, I've seen this blog take off from a small personal site into a fairly respectable resource for all things design. But I've always hoped to find a few additional colloborators to help me publish more proprietary content - from a different perspective than I might have - and to do so on a more consistent basis. Well, good news readers! I'm pleased to announce that Ross McClain, Associate Professor of Art at Furman University, is joining Graphicology as an additional editor. Ross will no doubt bring a more academic view to the site while increasing the quality and regularity of our publishing. And selfishly, it's more fun than doing this alone. (This is a big step forward to a future where we have a small team of four or five regular editors.) Join me in welcoming Ross to Graphicology.


219. Wacky Packages.

I lived with my grandparents for most of my childhood, and on our modest property sat a shed - that for some reason my grandfather called a ‘shanty’ - which I think is rural speak for a building that is a few steps below a shed on the building code chart. In and around this building was a collection of junk: everything from old encyclopedias and boxes of clothes, to sinks, old appliances and tools. This building represented everything that I hated at the time. Though wishing it would burn down, I was still drawn towards its contents. Once, while rummaging through this shed, I found a few stacks of cards that foreshadowed my career in design and advertising. I didn’t know it then, but I had found a small collection of Wacky Packages.

Wacky Packages are stickers that come in the form of cards – similar to baseball cards – that Topps released from 1967 through 1979, with periodic reruns through the 80’s and 2000’s. They were popular before I was born and when I found them, it seemed to me that they were from the 50’s or something. They felt old to a kid of ten years of age. Mainly, Wacky Paks parodied common household products; changing the logos, packaging and taglines to alter the meaning. Some were simply stupid. Some were gross. Some made political statements. And a few managed to be quite sophisticated in their messages. To a kid growing up in a fairly conservative (and somewhat isolated) environment, it felt like a gold-mine of alternative culture. I would study these cards and notice how the artists altered the names and logos - subtle tweaks in design – that became the framework for their communication. I believe I became interested in advertising at a young age, memorizing the jingles from many commercials (McDonald’s and Vick’s come to mind.) And I also believe I became interested in graphic design by discovering this wacky packaging.

I didn’t have a whole lot growing up, so I was pretty proud of my newfound collection of cards. I decided to take them to school to show them off. Everyone else at the time were collecting Garbage Pail Kids – which began as a single Wacky Pak idea – but I actually had something most of the kids had never seen before. Of course, you know what happened: one of my classmates stole the collection right out of my desk. I know who did it, remember his name and everything, though at the time I didn’t have the forensic evidence to prove it. Alas. (Nate Fails – if you are reading this and are innocent – I’m sorry.)

Fast forward 20+ years, and I finally discovered these cards on the internet by accident. I didn’t even know what they were called, but I remembered a few of them by sight and thought I would pass along this link – a gallery of Wacky Packages and pretty much THE source for any information regarding Wacky Paks. Now you can see where I first picked up on the power of design, packaging and advertising to communicate a brand message – a few decades before the word brand would become overused marketing jargon void of much meaning, and about a decade before I knew that I wanted to be an art director / designer.

What I find most interesting now, is that you can still usually tell which brands are being parodied without even reading the name. The color scheme and design still portrays the modern branding even though most products no longer look much like the original. It's interesting and underscores the point that sticking to a core design language can stand the test of time. They certainly were not taken seriously at the time. Here's an excerpt from the CNN article listed below, "Not that Topps, or more specifically illustrator Art Spiegelman and writer Jay Lynch -- goaded by Topps' Woody Gelman and Len Brown -- knew the import of the work. In the preface to the new book "Wacky Packages" (Abrams), a collection of the first seven series of the Topps cards, Spiegelman -- yes, the same Art Spiegelman who won a Pulitzer Prize for "Maus" -- remembers the creation of Wackies as being "a dream job," but something that would probably be forgotten. It was all done as Part of a Day's Work, much like the way early comic books were made: they certainly weren't made as art, they weren't sold as art, and they weren't thought of as art," he says in the book's introduction. "Wacky Packages just formed an island of subversive underground culture in the surrounding sea of junk."

Also of note, the 'shanty' that i spoke of? It eventually caught on fire and burned to the ground, well after I had left home for college in Virginia. A very late answer to prayer, though I can't help but wonder what other small treasures were caught up in the blaze.

Some background info:

Here’s a 1974 article from the NY Times.

And a 1973 article from The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.

Here’s a 2004 ad for the rerun of the cards. (Which is fairly painful to watch.)

A CNN writer posted this article in August about the new coffee table book.


And a few of my favorites:

Here's one of the newer ones:

They've done a few ads too:

Now, Wacky Packages is also seling t-shirts here, which is a no-brainer given the retro potential.



217. This Looks Promising.

The Typographic Desk Reference, soon to be released by Oak Knoll Press in January, looks to be a promising type guide for students and professionals alike. I will definitely order a copy and write up a review as soon as I go through it - though it appears to already have Ellen Lupton's approval, "The ultimate tool for the type geek." The book's site has a few more page samples for your perusal. Can't wait to order it.

The basics:

Sample page:

A little more info:

Written and designed by Theodore Rosendorf
Typeset in Decatur, Georgia
Edited in New Castle, Delaware
Printed and bound by Sheridan Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Published by Oak Knoll

The principal text is set in Adobe Caslon, designed by Carol Twombly in 1989.

Printed on Sheridan 55# House White
Bound in Arrestox Gunny Sak


216. Europe's Epica Awards.

The 2008 winners of the Epica Creative Awards were announced - ahead of the January 2009 ceremony. Epica is touted as Europe's Premier Creative Awards - and I admit that I'm not sure how it stacks up to others such shows across the pond, but I do very much like this year's Epica d'Or Press (or print category) for Marmite Snacks. (Though we could all do with fewer 'sperm as metaphor for idea germination' themes.) It's just a simple idea, well executed that turns print into something a little bit more. DDB London is the agency responsible, along with illustrator Al Murphy. These are great. (I also like the outdoor winner - very cool execution. But the film winner, though cute, is solidly in cliched gimmick territory.)

Here is the Marmite Snack Work: