Branding in the Toilet

Here’s a video clip hosted by Ad Age magazine about a Charmin toilet paper sponsored bathroom in NYC during the holidays. As anyone who has spent any time in New York, public restrooms either don’t exist or you just don’t want to go in them. Nearly every restaurant has a sign that says “Restrooms for Customers Only.” I remember when I was looking for job in New York I would seek out the rare, usable public restrooms and arrange my day so I could be near one during the course of the day. A clean, branded, nicely scented bathroom with a variety of kinds of toilet paper to try would have been a real treat.

Video Link
(Note there is a commercial before it starts)

Words at Holiday Inn Express

Holiday Inn Express has a tagline on all their unbranded toiletries that says simplySmart. Every item carries a one word description of what you do with that item. SimplySmart means that their creatives are smart enough to come up with a single verb for each item, and the hotel’s guests are smart enough to understand it. Simple, right?

Here are the list of words:
Cleanse
Wash
Tame
Soften
Freshen
Groom
Remove

Here is what they are on:
Soap
Shampoo
Conditioner
Lotion
Mouthwash
Vanity Kit (cotton, nail file, qtips)
Make-up Remover

And the towels have simplySmart embroidered on them. Shouldn’t they say Dry.

Brand Extensions in 2007, Bad and Good

Brandweek magazine published the results of an online survey of its readers to determine the best and worst brand extensions (when companies create new branded products that extend their core products).

Here are the worst overall:
Precious Moments coffins
Humane Society Dog Lovers Wine Club
Girls Gone Wild apparel

The worst food brand extensions:
Hooters energy drink
Bumble Bee Prime Fillet chicken breasts
Trump steaks

The best overall were:
PetSmart PetsHotel
Huggies Little Swimmers sunscreen
Disney’s Fairy Tale wedding gowns
American Idol camp

Click here for the complete article.

The Business of LeBron James

Here’s an article from Fortune Magazine about the development of the business side of LeBron James. He has changed the rules of superstar athlete endorsement deals. He owns the company with childhood friends and conducts market research to test the pulse of his brand. According to the article, following last season’s playoff performance, especially Game 5 against the Pistons, Nike restructured their basketball division to increase the number of Nike staffers working on LeBron’s brand from 4 to 150.

Read the article here.

Fun with Food Part 2

I bought a pack of “Take and Bake” French baguettes and they have the following Baking Instructions with cheeky parenthetical comments:

1. Pre-heat your over (conventional) to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (not Celsius please).
2. Take the bread out of the freezer and place on a rack in the middle of the oven (no need to thaw, but for Pete’s sake, take it out of the bag first).
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown (you can’t go wrong here, so relax).
4. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool for about 15 minutes (or eat it hot, it’s now your bread after all).

How Great is the Taste?

One of the things I buy on occasion is Dannon drinkable yogurt. A couple months ago, the package proclaimed, “Great New Taste!” in bright yellow starburst. Most consumer products must modify their packaging on a regular basis so shoppers will notice it. Cereal boxes are probably the ones modifying most often, but many others do also.

I just bought this yogurt again and the yellow starburst said, “Great Original Taste is Back!”

A Disturbing Food Trend

I have noticed several products recently in the grocery store that look kind of like off-brand items, like cereal, snacks, ice cream, but upon closer inspection, what appears to be a dog mascot actually indicates that these are items for dogs. I wasn’t fooled by the cereal or snacks, as it was pretty clear that they were for dogs, but I almost bought the ice cream sandwiches. Who would have thought they make ice cream for dogs?

Blade Escalation

I recently received a free razor in the mail. It has 5 blades and really looks ridiculous. Can all these blades really make a difference? Actually, they do. Am I going to use this new razor? Not a chance.

Sure the razor was free, but blades are expensive. An 8-pack of blades is $25. Even with the $2 off coupon included with the razor, these are $3 per blade. This is a standard marketing tactic to give away the base part for little or no money and charge a high price for the additional or replacement parts. Remember those cheap halogen floor lamps that everyone bought for $30-$40 and found out the replacement bulbs were $15?

A closer shave may be important to some people, but not to me at this cost.