Archive for the 'Branding' Category

The SXSW Schwag Bags

Now that the festival is finally over, I got a chance to check out my schwag bags in more detail. I got one from Interactive, Film and Music.

Now, from my experience as an art director, I can’t think of many worse projects than designing a piece of free ephemera to go into a trade show bag. There’s no real budget, it’s getting shoved in with a ton of other pieces and the bag might end up in the hands of some idiot like me who doesn’t even look at it until after the festival is done.

Overall, the bags were full of the things you’d expect…postcard-sized artwork, coasters, small branded pads of paper. Each canvas bag was branded with a sponsorship company. For Interactive, it was Adobe. There were lots of trade-specific flyers, a Sharpie key chain (I thought this was cool), different magazines including the most recent How Magazine.

The Film bag was sponsored by the new Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez movie Grindhouse. Again, tons of flyers for different movies playing during the festival, various trade magazines, and super thick brochure about making films in Georgia.

The Music bag was sponsored by The Duke, which is actually the government-backed, official organizitation representing bands from the UK. This was an interesting piece of branding. A lot of foreign countries will have specific events (Japan Nite and the New Zealand BBQ are among the better known), but only the UK has wrapped itself around a brand identity, in this case a comic book-styled, pipe smoking “superhero.” It’s not a bad idea to package the UK bands as simply as possible. The comic/brochure that came in the bag was beautifully produced. I question its overall effectivness, mainly because UK bands in general are so popular and influential right now. As for “The Duke” himself, he doesn’t really resonate with me. I see the comic book style as a disconnect, but I also understand that it’s a very different look than what’s expected…basically the entire lexicon of British rock iconography (the mod target, punk, scooters, the Beatles, etc).

The Music bag also had a hangover kit: aspirin, liquid coffee, mouthwash and a band-aid, all in a little plastic tube. The label states “distribution by Navarre,” which I’m assuming are these guys. There’s no branding whatsoever, not even a website. This is definitely one of the more clever items in the bag, but I think a missed opportunity for branding.

Also interesting to note is that each bag had a free sample of Nicogel, a cigarette replacement product you wipe on your hands. Perhaps Nicogel heard about the controversial smoking ban that passed in Austin a year and a half ago.

And finally, the Music bag had two condom samples. One was a Trojan brand. Trojan also had street teams handing out condoms the whole week. There’s nothing more awkward than walking down 6th street at 2am and having some dude hand you a condom. And the other was a generic one, but branded by Nail Distribution, with a headline that states “Get Nailed.” (get it?). For some reason, both the Interactive and the Film bags were condom-free, but the implication here can speak for itself.

posted by Bryan Keplesky

Advertisements

Flatstock

Toyota has been a huge SXSW sponsor this year with their Yaris car. Every official SXSW banner has the Yaris logo on it. The Yaris is an under-$15,ooo car, featured as a hatchback or sedan, and the price is a sweet spot for young professionals. Yaris also was the official sponsor of Flatstock, the hugely popular rock poster convention featuring some of the best poster artists in the country, many of which have a presence on Gigposters.com.

_flatstock.jpg

_flatstock1.jpg

It’s a snazzy little car and it was prominently on display. I also liked how there were little “pop up” posters all over the vehicle calling out particular features, and that the design style of these displays looked like mini-gigposters.

posted by Bryan Keplesky

Music: Steaming Wolf Penis

jblive2.jpg
The votes are in. Congratulations to Steaming Wolf Penis for winning Door Number 3’s 2007 Best SXSW Band Name award. From a marketer’s perspective, nothing spells success more than a name evoking a wild animal’s genitals on a humid and misty morning. Rock on, Steaming Wolf Penis. Rock on.

Check out Seattle’s garage-punk trio at Beerland on Sunday, March 18 at 11PM.

posted by Prentice Howe

Good Cards

goodcards.jpg

This little promotion from Good Magazine caught my eye: Mogul Trading cards. The magazine is a hip take on society, politics and culture and the cards feature different moguls with baseball-like stats on the back. What surprised me even more is that the rocker friends I was with put down their tall cans to start trading these. The cards are hip, ironic and fleeting. Obviously no one will keep them, but they did make me want to check out Good.

posted by Bryan Keplesky

The Imago Effect: Avatar Psychology

I am becoming more and more interested in avatars, the online, graphical representations users create as their identity. The avatar can be as simple as finding a photo of your favorite movie character or, in massive online games that implements a character creation system, a fully fleshed out character. No matter which end of the spectrum a user is on, one thing holds true: people love self-expression.

Game designer and panelist Harvey Smith of Midway put together a thoughtful presentation. He said that the avatar phenomenon is part of the larger modern trend of participatory culture. There is a greater desire (and, thanks to the web, outlet) for self-expression and asserting one’s will, views and identity.

Despite this, an avatar is still a mask and only so much information can be gleaned from them. The reasons people choose their particular avatar is a combination of an individual’s self perception and state of mood. Images across the web are appropriated with personal meaning. The state of mood is important, because it always changes, and so can the avatar. The avatar is the pulse-check into a person’s state of mind, and as more and more people sign on to instant messengers, social networking sites, forums, blogs and massive online games, the use of the avatar will only continue to increase.

posted by Bryan Keplesky 

Emerging Social & Technology Trends

Where is the intersection of social trends and technology trends?

This was the question posed by the first Interactive panel of the morning. The consensus was that, right now, users of technology are driving social trends. The internet is the key force, and more specifically e-mail, instant messaging, blogging and personal networking sites.

An important thing to keep in mind is that this is a generational trend, specifically post-boomer generations, but particularly those under 25 years old. Slowly but surely the boomer generation, which prided itself on shaping American culture, is seeing its influence diminish.

The post-boomers are part of a larger macrotrend dealing with the perception of privacy. Through blogging and other online technology, the younger generations are much less private, and instead are very comfortable broadcasting even the most mundane aspects of their lives over the internet. This is an example of how social trends and technology feed off each other. Tools such as e-mail and social networking sites offer a “pulse check” on one’s social identity.

The internet also has provided a strong sense of community. Niche interests, through the internet, become huge online communities, with their own voices and leaders. With all of the political, social and environmental anxiety in the world today, younger generations are turning away from established authoritarian figures.

An interesting theory posed by one of the panelists is that at some point there will be a subcultural backlash against the technologically driven, very-public, personal identity prevalent in today’s younger generations. This would probably involve people who are right now not even born, or just barely, and more than likely will not be a mass rejection (much like there has never been a mass rejection of television). But it’s logical to think that given how mainstream the public persona is for the post-boomer generations, some within a future generation will want nothing to do with it.

posted by Bryan Keplesky

Initial Thoughts on SXSW ’07

In a little more than a week Austin becomes a completely different city. Actually I’d go further and say that Austin becomes sort of its own parallel universe, where watching hundreds of bands or movies, drinking beer at 11 in the morning or seeing Dan Rather hanging out with Leslie on 6th Street will be considered normal activities.

Austin will also host thousands upon thousands of advertising messages. The first half of the festival, the Interactive and Film, did a great job this year by providing a lot of panels dealing with different forms of advertising, particularly with new and experimental media. And when the Music starts on March 14 the real advertising blitz begins, right on 6th Street. Every year I’ve seen some pretty unique and successful marketing campaigns, but I’ve seen just as many bad ones. I’m not going to pre-judge or slam the industry. I just want to be surprised. Austin has a great cross-section of demographics, and all the major media outlets and publications will be in town. In a way Austin becomes a great testing ground to see what trends will stick and which ones will fall flat for the next year.

posted by Bryan Keplesky 


What’s Behind the Door?

SXSW is an Austin event. And Door Number 3 is an Austin advertising agency. We're interested in how new ideas in advertising, media and branding will be presented during these 9 quick days. From inside the lecture halls where top specialists present their thoughts, to out on the streets where advertising is put to the test on tens of thousands of festival-goers. We'll be there with the complete coverage, reports, photos, editorials, and perhaps some tricks on how to sneak into a few sweet afterparties.

RSS Subscribe