Monthly Archives: March 2016

Emirates got game!

emerites soccer game

Uber-luxury airline Emirates had a bit of fun at a recent soccer match in Lisbon. Welcoming fans “aboard” the game poked fun at the usual airline safety instructions, while showing that the brand’s key ambassadors–flight attendants–have more skill than they get to show in flight.

Give the short video a watch and, keeping in mind the industry category, context and cultures involved answer the question: does this brand communication work? Why or why not?


Now you can do bicep curls while eating chips and watching TV!

Pepsi dumbell

Pepsi is gearing up for summer with a new bottle shape to help consumers get in shape. “Inspired by healthy habits and exercise, the standard 2 liter bottle has transformed into a 2 kilogram dumbbell perfect for light weightlifting.”

Since I don’t know of many folks who drink Pepsi in the gym, and I can’t picture anyone doing bicep curls while binge watching Netflix, who/what is this for? Showing off at the beach? And is it clever, or trying too hard?

In the overview, it says that Pepsi wanted “an irreverent way to show Pepsi Light’s benefits.”

Does it work?

More here:


Running at the Speed of Life


One of the best ways to get consumers engaged with a brand is to have them experience its benefits. And isn’t free stuff beneficial?

Reebok has passersby in Stockholm sprinting past an accelerometer to see how fast they can run. The speedy unlock a glass cabinet holding a new pair of ZPump 2.0 shoes. Meanwhile, those watching have stopped to take in the brand and its message – this shoe is for anyone willing to try.

Does a chance encounter with a brand intrigue, or is it easily forgotten?

Does the campaign work, and, importantly, does it work differently for those who win the shoes, those who lose, and those who just watch?

Reebok Lets You Win Free Shoes…If You’re Fast Enough

Tokenism or Equity? Hint: It’s Tokenism










International Women’s Day (IWD) is an admirable concept. But should it also be a brandable moment?

When brands like Brawny Paper Towels produce mini-campaigns like the image above (#strengthhasnogender), it’s tempting to let the feel-good testimonials to women’s abilities wash over you like a soft, cozy, pink blanket (cough…choke…sputter).

But here’s how you know women still don’t “count” for messages that aren’t congruent with shopper, mother, homemaker, heroic multi-tasker….from Marketing Magazine’s descriptions of some of the special IWD campaigns:

“Brawny has swapped out its iconic “Brawny Man” in favour of four successful women, whose images will appear across the brand’s social media channels throughout March in honour of Women’s History Month.”

See what they did there? But if strength has no gender, there’s no reason to “swap” the women’s images out at the end of March.

Because this is how Brawny is usually marketed:











See how our heroine, home from a long day of work (in heels!), gets to come home to chaos and needs a product with a “man’s strength” to clean it up? Even better, the brawny man’s voice in her head taunts her for wanting a dog…because he was “such a cute little thing!” (spoken with a baby-talk voice).

Unless… the errant dog, Jack, symbolically represents all the men in her life who create messes for her to clean up just because they don’t get enough attention. That’s the interpretation I’m going with, anyway.

International Women’s Day can remind us of women’s still-unequal status, give voice to the powerless and provoke real action and change. Or, it can give ad agencies an extra bit of seasonal creative work each year, along with a reason to pull out their thesaurus to find synonyms for “strong” and “empowered.”

Consumers are skeptical about “green washing” (companies that talk about environmental sustainability for marketing spin, but don’t live it); why isn’t brand communications work like this seen as “woman washing”?

(…and please don’t tell me it’s because they’re already the one’s doing the washing…sigh.)


The Most Interesting Man…on Mars


In a timely prelude to our “managing brands over time” discussion, Dos Equis has decided to retire the Most Interesting Man in the World–a character it has used since 2006–by sending him on a one-way trip to Mars.

Is it time? Is it too late? When is the ideal moment to wrap up a brand-defining campaign?


Sam Who?


Via your classmate Emily–and a great lead in to our future discussion on global branding– this story about Samsung “debadging” (removing its logo) from its devices in specific international markets. Emily writes:

“[The article] talks about the company removing the “Samsung” logo from the front of the devices in the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean markets but leaving it for other markets such as the U.S.
There is no explanation so far from the company regarding this decision but I found this article’s proposed reasoning interesting. One explanation being that Samsung is attempting to replicate Apple’s iPhone prestige look, having the design speak for itself. On the flip side, another explanation was that Samsung is trying to remove negative associations of the brand (backed by sales decline) with their devices – perhaps more people will give the S7 a chance if they did not know it was a Samsung device.
However, in the other markets, the Samsung brand is necessary to drive sales as it provides the “halo effect” for all of its devices.
In conclusion after reading this article, my question is why did Samsung decide to remove its logo from the front of the device for these Asian markets and will this actually prove to make a difference in driving sales growth?”
What do you think – how would you answer Emily’s question?