Logos Made Simple!

I came across this interesting logo study presented on Graham Smith’s blog. He showed several well known logos “unevolved” into basic shapes and colors. It amazed me to see how many of the logos shown were still instantly recognizable, retaining so much of their defining equities, even boiled down to just colored circles. Like small studies in pointillism, I wondered how much more could be taken away and still leave the logos recognizable. Here’s a few examples from his blog:

Smith’s study was an experiment reflecting, albeit in the extreme, what is presently going on in logo design. Simplification.

Up until recently, the trend in logo design emphasized dimension, moving towards a 3D effect. Classic, timeless logos were being doused in shadows, bevels – anything that would make the logo appear to have dimension. This trend didn’t last long and there has been a shift back to clean forms and uncluttered branding. Take a look at the Post logo evolution below:

This shift back seems to be mirroring the decrease in the average attention span of a text-messaging, Facebooking, Twitterfied society. As over-stimulated consumers navigate an increasingly oversaturated media environment, the need for iconic branding to connect as fast as possible continues to grow. Uncluttered and timelessness are back in vogue. The consumer simply doesn’t have the time or attention span to decipher complicated logos. Bold, simple logos can cleanly cut through the noise and be remembered. The eye has become trained to ignore a complex logo as just another busy distraction.

I’ve pulled a few examples of logos that have recently undergone simplification. Some logos have beautifully even lost their words becoming purely icons:

Graphic movement toward brand-focused simplicity can cut through the clutter and resonate with the consumer. Lose any unnecessary elements from your logo design focusing on its core proprietary elements and get noticed.

KeithManzella.com

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Making Honeycomb Rock with Tweens

Honeycomb’s core target is the oldest in the Post kids portfolio. Connecting in a relevant way with these brand fickle tweens is challenging to say the least. Looking to separate themselves from their younger peers, tweens value access to what’s cool. Establishing Honeycomb as a portal for access to the hottest music was a clear choice. Working with agency partner TMPG, a promotion was created tying in with the popular band, We The Kings.

Kids could use codes printed inside specially-marked boxes of Honeycomb to attend an online VIP concert at HoneycombConcert.com. The code also granted access to live chats with the band, exclusive webisodes as well as a free exclusive song track download. Kids entering an overlay sweeps could win a meet and greet with the band and autographed merchandise. The band did their part to promote the event by posting that a “big secret” was coming on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Visitors posting comments on the band’s Facebook wall had their profile icon added to a mystery mosaic. As buzz built and the concert date neared more of the mystery picture was filled in revealing the face panel of the promotional package.

Moving forward, the Honeycomb Concert template can be used to feature whatever band is in the spotlight keeping the brand relevant while providing exclusive content that meaningfully resonates with Honeycomb’s target.

Keith Manzella is a Creative Director at Eastwest Marketing Group in NYC.
For more, visit EastwestMG.com or KeithManzella.com

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The WWE Feud That Made Pebbles a Sales Superstar!

I never thought that a WWE Superstar feud could help to sell Fruity Pebbles, but it did just that. When Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson compared fellow WWE Superstar John Cena’s brightly colored wardrobe to a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, the feud was on.  You can see a bit of that exchange here:

The “insult” became an ongoing joke, spurring on-air comedy bits by The Rock, chants of “Fruity Pebbles” at WWE matches and a Twitter topic trend. Turning a negative into a positive, Cena embraced the nickname, eating the cereal on camera and declaring himself “Yabba, dabba delicious” during an interview.

Making this work for Post, an instant win promotion starring Cena was quickly created to leverage this pop culture event while it was still hot.

Winners receive a VIP Cena meet-and-greet, premium seating at a WWE event, plus autographed Cena gear. Consumers can enter online via codes found inside specially-marked packages of Family Size Fruity Pebbles. “It’s great when you can take a negative like the Rock’s comments and turn it into a chance to be on a box of cereal,” Cena stated. Boxes also include “Make-a-Wish” Foundation information as Cena has granted over 250 wishes for the organization.

See the whole Pebbles Cena story here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYg2jJ0BXRI

See more exciting CPG promotions at KeithManzella.com

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Tune in and Turn On Creative Directors!

As a Creative Director, do I really need to know technology? Isn’t it my job to think up the very coolest of ideas and leave the egghead tech stuff to the coders?

Yes.*

*BUT without some basic knowledge of digital technology, social media, augmented reality, location based apps, HTML5, etc., you just won’t be able to think up the very coolest of ideas.

As a creative I draw on all of my experiences, past and present, to inspire me to come up with the really cool ideas. How can I be inspired by, and push the boundaries of, things that I don’t even know exist?

A simple example of how tech knowledge inspired creative execution is demonstrated in this clever anti-fur ad within a digital magazine. A fake ad for a fur coat appeared in the digital magazine. As the reader swiped his or her finger across the ad to turn the digital page, a smear of blood appeared across the fur. After a few swipes the real anti-fur ad revealed itself. Do you think the Creative Director could have come up with this concept if he didn’t know how readers swipe a page in a digital magazine? Knowledge of how users interfaced with the iPad magazine app enabled the CD to exploit that behavior, turning it on its head.

Now don’t run out and sign up for coding classes, that’s not what I’m suggesting. It’s not about knowing exactly how to build something but about knowing how something works and what’s achievable. That knowledge will yield the coolest ideas.

I recently worked on an Augmented Reality promotion for a client. Without a working knowledge of AR and what was possible, there’s no way I could have designed a promotion fully leveraging all that AR could do. I had to first know the boundaries in order to push them.

Also, I made sure not to think in a vacuum. During the earliest stages of the project I brainstormed with our digital partners in the promotion. Collaboration with those in the know was key.

The Idea to Adopt: When thinking digital, a little knowledge is a wonderful thing.

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Hey, Kids, This is Advertising!

“Like the gravitic pull of the moon on the tides of the Earth, we never escape what was done to us, what we did, what we learned, what we didn’t learn, where we went, and what we ate when we were children.”
– Harlan Ellison

The federal government has recently proposed new guidelines that require the food industry to rethink how it markets products to kids, including cereal, soda, snacks, fast foods, and the other usual suspects.

By suggesting that advertising to kids is directly linked to childhood obesity, the government is hinting that spokesfigures like Ronald McDonald and Cap’n Crunch should be held personally responsible. It also raises the question of whether they should be speaking to kids at all.

The general attitude towards marketing directly to children is turning increasingly negative with some going as far as to say that kid-targeted ads are destroying our kids’ childhoods. And if we were to just shield as much advertising from them as possible, they’d get their childhoods back!

I have one thing to say to this growing notion: “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!”

My friends and I used to love saying that back and forth to each other as fast as we could…trying not to mess up first.

“Slinky walks down stairs, alone or in pairs!” “Honeycomb’s big, yeah yeah, yeah!” “Mister Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” All of these catchphrases were part of my generation’s childhood, as we sat on the floor in front of the TV on Saturday mornings with a bowl of Super Sugar Crisp, fixated on the glorious, magical images passing before our eyes. The kid-targeted commercials were some of our favorite parts of the shows. They have been woven into our DNA and make up the tapestry of who we were then and who we are now. They’re MINE and you’re not taking them from me without a fight! I would feel incomplete without those memories of my generation’s window on the pop culture memes of the time. I would be a different person, and you can’t convince me I’d be a better one.

Let today’s kids have their “Respect the Pouch” commercials just as I had my “Kool-Aid, Oh Yeah!” commercials back when I viewed the world through child’s eyes.

In an effort to make parents and nutritionists feel better about future decisions to feed kids Happy Meals, McDonald’s has pledged to reduce the amount of fat, sodium and calories in the world’s most famous kids meal.

By January, McDonald’s says it will add apples slices, carrots, pineapple slices or mandarin oranges to all of its Happy Meals and cut the amount of fries served by half, unless request otherwise by parents.
Healthier products for kids? That’s a no-brainer, but let’s remember that advertising isn’t the problem. There’s one thing that’s more powerful than any advertising slogan, bouncy cereal mascot or flashy TV spot: It’s the word “No” passing through a responsible parent’s lips.

When will we stop looking to the government to fix our inability to say the “No” word to our children? I don’t care how many McDonald’s commercials are aimed at kids, because one Happy Meal is not going to make a kid obese. That said, marketing them to kids is not inherently immoral.

So think back to the TV commercials you watched when you were a kid. Do you remember them fondly, or do you believe they ruined your life? How would you feel if I said all of those memories would suddenly go away? Every toy commercial you saw or comic book ad you sent away for… Would you miss them?

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Something Old, Something New & Something Blue.

The Smurfs will make their first 3D trip to the big screen this July and in celebration, Post Foods is releasing a limited edition blue and white breakfast cereal that’s sure to make mornings Smurftastic!

A fan of the 80’s Smurf Berry Crunch, Eastwest’s VP, Group Creative Director, Keith Manzella jumped at the chance to bring a new Smurf cereal to life.

“I wanted to create a package that would  show off Sony’s dazzling new CGI depictions of the Smurf characters yet one that would also appeal to Moms and fans who remember the original 80’s cartoon series and cereal,” stated Keith.

The solution? Create a collector’s box featuring two face panels: One leveraging Sony’s 3D movie graphics on one side and classic Smurfs cartoon art on the flip side!

The result is nothing short of Smurfy!

The idea to adopt: When reviving an iconic brand it’s important to not lose sight of what made it original in the first place. Incorporate those core equities into the redesign and you will attract new consumers without alienating your true blue fans.

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Post’s Pebbles Rocks a Fresh 3D Look & New Treats Line

Post Foods, LLC has given the Pebbles brand a lot to “Yabba Dabba Doo” about…starting with a cool new 3D look to contemporize its “modern stone-age family” of spokes-characters from The Flintstones.

Keith Manzella, VP, Group Creative Director at Eastwest Marketing Group, re-envisioned Pebbles Cereal’s core packaging to keep its style consistent with the brand’s new 3D look which debuted in the latest TV campaign, website, and other communications. In addition to showcasing Fred Flintstone as Bedrock’s breakfast ambassador in a fresh 3D style, Keith and his team used the cereal imagery in an exciting new way, freeing it from the standard bowl shot. Box fronts feature explosions of tasty cereal that reinforce the Pebbles’ “Rocks Your Whole Mouth!” positioning.

On another front, the brand has begun to rock the cereal bar section, too, with the launch of new Pebbles Treats – a spin-off that leverages the brand’s fun, wholesomeness, and taste appeal. Eastwest was challenged to take the fun Bedrockian equity of the core pebbles packaging and translate it to the new category extension. The 90-calorie, gluten-free snacks are already a mammoth hit with kids and moms alike!

About Ralcorp
Post Foods, LLC is owned by Ralcorp Holdings, Incorporated. Products include packaged foods, food, and cold cereals and favorite Brands such as Honey Bunches of Oats, Post Selects, Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Honey-Comb, and Pebbles. For more information about Post Foods, visit the company’s website at http://www.postcereals.com.

See the TV spot here by BurnsGroup:

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Can’t Get Enough of that Golden Crisp!

Post Foods, LLC has rolled out a cool new look for Golden Crisp and its iconic spokes-mascot, Sugar Bear, in celebration of its 60th Anniversary. Golden Crisp, a sweetened puffed wheat cereal, was introduced in 1949 as Sugar Crisp, the first cereal with sugar already added. Though the cereal has changed names over the years from Sugar Crisp to Super Sugar Crisp to Super Golden Crisp to finally just Golden Crisp, the Sugar Bear character has remained a beloved figure throughout, appealing to both kids and adults alike.

Keith Manzella, VP, Group Creative Director at Eastwest Marketing Group, who re- envisioned the new, Golden Crisp brand wanted to be able to celebrate the brand’s long, rich history while pushing the design envelope to contemporize the look for the 21st century. He redesigned the Golden Crisp logo, re-animated Sugar Bear’s cool, wise-cracking persona in a modern way, overhauled the packaging with a new face panel and told the brand’s story via “Sugar Bear Trivia” on the back panel. The box is already becoming a collector’s item.

The 60th Anniversary Box first hit the shelves in the Northeast earlier this summer and is already spreading across the Internet, with rave reviews from Golden Crisp fans and cereal bloggers on sites such as flickr, waffle-whiffer, and lavasurfer. The new packaging will be available nationally by year’s end.

About Ralcorp
Post Foods, LLC is owned by Ralcorp Holdings, Incorporated. Products made include: packaged foods, food, and cold cereals and favorite Brands such as Honey Bunches of Oats, Post Selects, Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, Honey-Comb, and Pebbles. For more information about Post Foods, visit the company’s website at http://www.postcereals.com.

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P.T. Barnum was a Social Media Genius!

By Keith M. Manzella

Could P.T. Barnum possibly have known how prophetic he was when stating, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”?

Recently more brands seem to be embracing negative comments posted onto their owned and earned media. Why embrace or even welcome negative comments about your brand? Have marketers gone insane?

Hardly. Smart marketers know these two things:
-Social Media is a conversation.
-Negative comments are an opportunity.

We know that Social Media is about being transparent with your consumers and true transparency means hearing from everybody, even those who have less than positive feelings about your brand.

And what better place to welcome negative comments than a venue that allows you to respond to those comments. Negative and positive posters can see how you addressed a problem in a tactical and timely way. Also acknowledging that a problem existed shows that you are a truthful brand that can be trusted furthering the emotional connection between you and your consumer. Censoring negative comments from the conversation only creates an unrealistic dialogue that consumers will quickly see through and possibly expose by taking their negative comments to other sites that you can’t control.

Two examples of companies that have embraced negative comments as part of their Social Media strategies are Domino’s Pizza and Kraft.
Domino’s Pizza made negative comments the core of their “Pizza Turnaround” campaign that invited Tweets such as, “Your crust tastes like cardboard” and delivery mishap pictures submitted by disappointed customers. CEO Patrick Doyle personally acknowledged these faults in the campaign vowing, “We are better than this.” and showed what steps they had taken to make it right.

Kraft’s “Are You Miracle Whip?” campaign also leverages negative comments to garner non-user interest and reinforce the brand’s “We’re not for everyone” positioning. Users are given 70 characters or less on Miracle Whip’s Facebook page to share why they either love or hate the product. The brands Youtube channel features a running counter of “Loves” and “Hates”. What a brilliant way to get self proclaimed haters of your product to engage with the brand. As a result of the campaign, Miracle Whip has gained over 14,000 new fans on Facebook.

The Idea to Adopt: No conversation with your consumer can ring true if negative comments are censored out. Treat each negative comment as an opportunity to listen and address and you’ll keep your brand in positive territory!

KeithManzellaCD.com

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Will You Two Get Married Already?

By Keith M. Manzella

One thing I often hear when planning a marketing campaign is “where to fit in the social media component?”

Wait, what? This just in… social media has become a traditional channel especially if you are talking to the youth market. So let’s stop thinking about social media as an add-on or plus up and marry it with more traditional channels.

A campaign’s social elements need to be seamlessly infused into its DNA from its conception, at every point of engagement, allowing consumers to join the conversation and enter into a relationship with the campaign and the brand.

One campaign that featured a perfect marriage between traditional and social channels was Mattel’s effort aiming to reunite one of America’s most famous couples — Barbie & Ken.

The campaign ended Valentine’s Day and married multiple social channels including, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, Hulu with print, out of home and packaging to spread its message.

The campaign’s hub, barbieandken.com, allowed visitors to vote on whether Barbie should take Ken back using the site’s “Love-O-Meter.”

To ensure users voted in his favor, Ken embarked on an ambitious social media blitz employing all of the tools at his disposal with the hopes of wooing Barbie back into his plastic arms.

He created a Facebook page where he filled his wall with photos, YouTube videos and mentions of the cool things he was doing, like attending Fashion Week in NYC, all in an attempt to get Barbie’s attention.

On Twitter, fans followed his tweets such as, “Barbie, you are the only doll for me.” and were asked to participate in a mobile campaign, where they could text THUMBS UP or THUMBS DOWN to 51684 and help decide his romantic fate.

On Foursquare, Ken left tips at romantic places he and Barbie used to visit. One tip left at the Metropolitan Museum of Art read, “Barbie could spend hours looking at the timeless art, and I could spend hours looking at Barbie.”
Importantly, Ken’s social updates were written in the first person inviting followers to join in the conversation as if he were a newly found or trusted friend.

Offline, billboards in New York and Los Angeles prompted people to vote via QR codes that when scanned, took users to barbieandken.com.

Most notably, Mattel created a web series on Hulu called Genuine Ken. Hosted by Whitney Port, eight “Ken-testants” competed in the online episodes to be named “Greatest American Boyfriend.”

Ken’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by Barbie! Her Twitter and Facebook pages were filled with her real-time comments on what she thought of Ken’s latest attempts to win her back.

How did all of this translate to sales? On February 14th the news was announced that Barbie had taken Ken back! Followers could show their appreciation of the couples reuniting by snapping up their own limited edition “She said Yes!” double doll set right on Barbie’s pop up store on Facebook.

The Idea to Adopt: Truly out of the box campaigns blend and integrate social media organically into the marketing mix right from the start.

It’s time for these two lovers to stop bickering because traditional and social media are better together… just like Barbie and Ken.

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