.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The right way to spice up a tag line

With all the carping I do about tag lines, it’s nice to be able to say something good about one for a change. In this case it’s the new Spice Islands tag line used in their recent TV spots:

"What the World Tastes Like"

Established in 1941, the Spice Islands brand has always held the high ground on supermarket shelves. According to the Spice Islands Web site, they travel to exotic locales around the globe to find the best growing regions for the spices they sell. Rather than pack their spices in opaque tins, Spice Islands uses clear bottles so consumers can see the contents. Add to that an engaging illustrated label and you know on sight that Spice Islands is the leading brand.

So why do I like their tag line so much? First, it elevates the Spice Islands brand position, differentiating Spice Island spices from commodity spice brands. Second, it delivers the Spice Islands brand promise in a smart way. Third, and perhaps most important, the tag line is clever without being corny or awkward.

Just so you know, Spice Islands is one of many brands owned by Tone Brothers, Inc. Tone also owns Durkee, French's and DecACake, which occupy a Web site with Spice Islands. Unfortunately, nowhere on the site do the words “What the World Tastes Like” appear. That’s funny. Why would Tone mount an expensive broadcast campaign yet give no thought to integrating its message on their Web site?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Atlanta's new tag line doesn't make sense

Why do so many state and municipal branding efforts fail to catch on? For one thing, they’re stupid. Take what’s happening in my hometown. Back in February, Atlanta launched The Brand Atlanta Campaign. Public and private forces immediately jumped on board. What came out of it? Three ground-shaking words: Opportunity, Optimism and Openness.
“We conducted extensive research and what came back to us were the three values of Opportunity, Optimism and Openness.

"Atlantans truly feel this way about their city," said Vicki Escarra, chair of Brand Atlanta's Marketing Strategy Committee. Brand Atlanta is so proud of their words that they’ve put them on banners hung from lampposts throughout the city, along with a new city logo. And to sweeten the deal, The Brand Atlanta people also threw in an anthem, "The ATL," interpreted by R&B artist Sammie at its inauguration. But that’s not all. If you order now, Cingular Wireless (headquartered in Atlanta) will let you download an exclusive 30-second ringtone from "The ATL" for only $2.49. Clearly, we’re dealing with people who like to talk to themselves.

Now for the tag line>>>
ATLANTA: every day is an opening day

Wow, that sure grabbed my attention. It looks like they couldn’t decide where the research ended and the tag line began. For a more in-depth commentary of Atlanta’s new tag line, visit Decent Marketing

Our tag line story doesn’t end here, however. Because stupidity, alone, isn’t enough to sink a brand. But reach and frequency are, especially the latter. Consider Enterprise rent-a-car’s “We’ll pick you up” and Kyocera’s “People friendly.” On the face of it, neither is a clever, compelling tag line. Yet they’ve been repeated long and often enough to become an integral part of their respective brands. I don’t see this happening with Atlanta’s new tag line. It will just fade into the background. Hopefully, along with our song.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

LEGO unpackaged -- Playing at a mall near you

Those funny folks from LEGO are in the news again. This time, however, it might be good news. In the article "Why Some Brands Can Stand Alone" (Business 2.0 October, 2005) Paul Sloan writes that LEGO is opening LEGO Stores in malls and tony suburbs across the United States. Actually, that’s old news. LEGO has been opening LEGO Stores for a couple of years now, not just in the United States, but also in Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

According to Sloan, “LEGO stores don't look like other toy stores. Rather they're LEGO-packed playrooms, where kids (and often adults) spend hours building, dismantling, and getting to know all things LEGO. With customers able to assemble their own creations from as many as 240 bins of pieces, each store is an opportunity to get customers interacting with the brand in a way that's not possible in the aisles of Wal-Mart or Target.”

The strategy behind standalone LEGO stores appears to be: “if it worked for Apple, It will work for us.” It seems to be working. The stores beckon to children like Sirens on the rocks. Will Duquette, in his post The Dread House of LEGO , calls them “the Perilous Pit of Plastic Temptation.”

In its review of the Chicago LEGO Store, VisualStore, Complete Retail Design and Visual Merchandising Magazine, states that the LEGO store was designed to convey three things: brand, location and creation. Something it does very well. The folks at LEGO.com explain that the LEGO Store is your local store to receive expert advice, shop a large assortment of LEGO products and play at one of our play tables—not a very exciting description.

LEGO.com That’s always the weakest link in the LEGO marketing chain for me. For example, information about the LEGO store is on the third tier of navigation. And when you get there, it’s basically just a store locator.

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