Author Archives: Kirk

BrandSTOKE says goodbye

After five years and nearly 300 posts, I am moving on from BrandSTOKE. As a platform for contemplating and expounding upon the influence of branding, BrandSTOKE has likely been of greater value to me than you. Regardless, I hope you found at least a few of the posts useful if not entertaining. Although marketing channels continue to evolve rapidly, I believe the basic principles for building brand loyalty remain unchanged. As I outlined in 9 Criteria for Brand Essence, uniqueness, relevance and consistency of experience still drive connectedness with brands. Writing a weekly post helped me solidify and articulate my own … Continue reading

Posted in administrative | 1 Comment

The Hangover Part IV: Bud Light and Droid Maxx

Henry David Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry never met Ian Rappaport. Ian is the unknowing pigeon who parties all night with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Minka Kelly, OneRepublic, Don Cheadle, some twins and a llama, before realizing he is the star of a Super Bowl TV spot for Bud Light. The spot plays to our desires for stimulation and immediate gratification. If we are “up for whatever,” fantastic adventures, we are told, can occur. Wanting to believe that anything might happen at any moment drives the success of movies such as The Hangover and its sequels. … Continue reading

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Pringles: when the packaging is the brand

How bad must a product be when the marketing focuses instead on its package? Of course, Pringles was never about the chips. P&G developed Pringles in the late 1950s with good intentions — to address consumer complaints about broken, greasy, stale potato chips. To solve the problem, a chemist, Fredric Baur, invented both Pringles’ distinctive stackable saddle shape and the resealable cannister. From the beginning, Pringles’ marketing focused on the benefits of the shape of the chips vs. conventional brands. Of uniform size, the chips stack neatly, thus preventing breakage. In fact, the shape of the chips should be considered … Continue reading

Posted in advertising, packaging | 1 Comment

Squirrel is the new chimp

An advertiser without an original idea used to be able to count on chimps. Dress a chimp in a suit and–voilà!–you’ve got a TV commercial. Writer’s block solved. Remember CareerBuilder’s award-winning series of Super Bowl spots featuring chimps as difficult work colleagues? Now, the chimps have been “retired.” Due to recent pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal-rights groups, many ad agencies and their clients have agreed to stop using great apes in the commercials they produce. The case against using chimps in advertising is based upon the cruelty of their procurement, training and … Continue reading

Posted in advertising, copywriting | 1 Comment

Top posts of 2013

Five years and nearly 300 posts ago this month, BrandSTOKE launched. Thank you for continuing to subscribe, read and comment. If you have any suggestions for improvement, please let me know. In celebration of BrandSTOKE’s five-year anniversary, here is a list of the most popular posts of 2013 as well as a few personal favorites: 10 most popular posts of 2013: Heineken: a brand that parties Smartphone brand positioning gets smarter Presidential campaign slogans: winners and losers Dasani water + Dasani drops = Diet Coke? “Lightning” strikes Gatorade Time for Nike to drop ties with all celebrities? How many Target … Continue reading

Posted in advertising, art direction & design, authenticity, brand essence, copywriting, loyalty, packaging, promotion, research, retail, simplicity, strategy | Comments Off

Tullamore Dew: finally, an alcohol brand with taste

Last week, I bemoaned the me-too branding strategies of New Amsterdam, Heineken and Budweiser Black Crown. Their ads all feature hipsters at impossibly chic, look-alike parties and the same clichéd claim, “Drink our alcohol and you’ll be popular.” How refreshing, then, to see a brand in the same category break from the pack and position itself uniquely. Tullamore Dew is a brand of blended Irish whiskey, first distilled in 1829 in Tullamore, County Offaly. It is now produced by a Scottish company, William Grant & Sons, although the primary ingredients are from County Cork. The company maintains a visitor center … Continue reading

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