Browsing articles in "Branding"
Jun 4, 2012

Miller Punch Top is New Cake Mix


Miller has just introduced a new punch top can “for a smoother pour,” giving men the opportunity to whip out a pocket knife and add an extra hole in the top of the beer can.

I don’t know if they have done some research that says men need something to do with their pocket knives (or can openers) but this is highly reminiscent of the introduction of eggs and oil to cake mixes.
when cake mixes were introduced as a fait accomplis, housewives wouldn’t buy them.  But when the housewife had to add something (eggs and oil = special touch) then cake mixes sold like hot cakes.

The comparison is not exact, but that little extra thing YOU have to do evidently makes things more valuable. Makes you wonder if all cans are punch top, or if Miller actually modified the can instead of improving the beer? Evidently they did.

May 22, 2012

A Brand and The Presidency

Orange’s now famous logo

More than two decaes ago, Hong Kong Company Hutchinson Wampoa (HW) approached British branding firm Wolff-Olin(WO) regarding the introduction of its MicroTel mobile service in Great Britain.  Those were the days when only drug dealers and super rich showoffs had mobile phones, and HW wanted to launch MicroTel as a service for the rest of us.

WO felt strongly that MicroTel was just another tech name, that it would get lost and or be easily forgotten by the masses.  WO was charged with coming up with a name that had legs, and that could be used all over the world.  Combining research and creativity, they came up with the word “Orange” for the HW service.  Crazy, thought HW.

WO  argued that Orange the name was not orange the fruit, but representative of the color of the dawn, the color of energy.  It was a color, they said, which played well the world over.  It was friendly, pleasing and invited and WO was sure the masses would embrace it.  Long story short, by way of proof to HW that it would work, WO conducted research asking “ordinary” people who they would rather sit next to at a dinner party, the CEO of MicroTel or the CEO of Orange.  Easy answer:   Orange won the day.

Even though Orange stood for the service, the company offered black phones with a small orange square on them.  Clever advertising was created .. with people in black and white and the only color a small orange square.  It wasn’t long before people said to one another:  ” I will ring you up on my Orange.”  It had legs, and the immediate, surprising loyalty it built was able to keep subscribers as HW built its services throughout Great Britain.

Changing hands a couple of times, Orange is now the flagship brand of the France Telcom group for mobile, landline and internet businesses, with 226 million customers:  as of December 2011  under the brand Orange Business Services,it  is one of the world leaders in providing telecommunication services to multinational companies.

And what does it have to do with a Presidential Election?  If you’re a democrat, you’ve received opportunities to donate and get a chance to have dinner with Obama, or lunch with Bill Clinton.  Since the odds are definitely against it, I have declined the offers, surely to Barack and Bill’s dismay.

For me,  it begs the question:  If you didn’t know them, and someone asked you, who would you rather have dinner with:  Barack Hussein Obama or Willard Mitt Romney?  Sadly, even by their names, I would wager that this would break along partisan lines, like everything else in our country.  One name is not American, even though its owner embodies the American dream; and the other is very American, even though its owner was born with a silver foot in his mouth, just like that other American-named republican, George Walker Bush.

May 11, 2012

Only Part of One Percent Are Effluential


from Washington with love

When Toyota introduced the Lexus in the United States, it started a separate division and hired a separate ad agency, Team One, to introduce the car.  I had the opportunity to meet and work briefly with Team One because they were pitching the hotels now owned by David Murdoch on Lanai.  I had been recommended by a magazine rep who called on me at Hawai`i’s largest ad agencies.

Team One identified as the Lexus target a group they named the Affluentials, defining them as people who were not only affluent but influential.  They even registered the word.  In my mind it was a typical ad agency trick to thrill a client into thinking that their audience was different, and better.  In essence, they wanted the people who are described in Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point as mavens or connectors, to  love and “sell” the Lexus concept for them.

At the time I made jokes about the “effluentials,” or influential people who are full of shit, with my husband.  Now, I find that I was prescient.  The Effluentials are alive and well in these United States, hiding among the hedges and living lives the rest of us could only imagine.  Luckily, these folks are thrust at us through reality television, the perfect examples being the Kardashians who are famous for being famous, and Donald Trump who is famous for having a fox on his head (thank you Seth Meyers).

All of them can be found among the one percent.  All Effluentials are part of the one percent, but not all of the one percent are Effluentials.  (sillygism)  I am happy to excuse the swell rich, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ray Kurtzweil, Peter Diamandis, Bill Clinton and their ilk.  For a hopeful future these members of the one percent are the equivalent of Team One’s Affluentials.  They made their dough; now they want to put it to work to save the world.

But let’s face it:  Wall Street is rife with effluence as is Washington.  Especially Washington:  because while Wall Street just goes about its business,  Washington sticks our faces in it.  They are the people who want to take away medicare and social security, meals on wheels and child health insurance.

Don’t ask them to give up their pensions, their health insurance.  They deserve it, because they are, after all, the Effluentials, and they don’t give a shit about you, or me.

May 4, 2012

Me and Coke: A Life and A Brand

As you can see from the picture of me when I was five, I was an early coke drinker.  Needless to say, it wasn’t my idea, but I embraced it wholeheartedly.  My favorite food was french fries & coca cola, and the best fries could be obtained at Bonsibs Drive In in Denver where we lived.  The Bonsib twins, Pepper and Johnny, were friends of mine but we did not go to Bonsibs together.  When you finished Bonsibs’ fries there was lots of salt on the bottom of the cardboard it was in — with green and white checks on the outside.

When it was winter time I drank coca cola and ate giant steak-type fries at Denver Athletic club with my Dad after swimming.  Later I added roast beef to my repetoire.  Most vegetables served in my house started out frozen, and were therefore disgusting.  I often snacked on Coke and Mr. Salty Pretzels.

When they took Mr. Salty’s off the market, I wrote to Nabisco and complained bitterly.  They wrote me back that they were sorry, Ms. Garvey, most people do not feel the way that you do about Mr. Salty’s.  To this day, I wonder what is wrong with most people.  On the Mr. Salty’s score as well as many others.

Coke being the real thing that it is has played a part in a lot of the important events in my life.  In the picture on my blog, I am taking a break while fishing for trout in the Rockies.  I drank coke at Red Rock theater, with my parents on the lawn at the YMCA, and was served “coketails” when my parents had their cocktails in the evening… The coketails had a side of Mr. Saltys in a silver bowl.  I should have sent them a picture.

Coke has traveled with me all over the world.  When my best friends and I were on a trip to Europe after our freshman year in college, we played bridge in our hotels rooms instead of visiting the museums, sucking up coca cola or, in France, citron presse.  When I had major surgery at 19 and spent 30 days in Greenwich Hospital, weighing 90 pounds on my departure, it was Coke that brought me back.

Coke was definitely at the big events and celebrations in my life:  it is after all, the real thing.  Everyone knew I was a coke drinker.  My father always muttered about buying me shares in the company, but never did.  My friends always buy coke when they know I will be visiting.

In 1977 I trekked in the Annapurna region of Nepal.  India had barred Coke and blocked it from going into Nepal — much to my dismay.  Good luck came my way at the town of Gandruk, some 13,000 feet above sea level where I had the last coke in Nepal while watching a Scotchman in a kilt pipe up the sun over the peaks beyond.

Coke is MY thing.  To me its the real thing.  Bad, very bad for me.  But it’s my number one brand, and was only surpassed as the number one brand in the world for the first time this year.  Coke is quintessentially American — anyone, rich or poor, can have a coke.

Coke is the real thing.  Coke is it.  I want to buy the world a Coke.  Perhaps, one day, Coke will  bring world peace.





Dec 3, 2011

On Being Civil

It used to be that beginning with Thanksgiving and lasting through December 31st, we all let up on each other a bit. Things slowed down at work, people said thanks and smiled at one another, and acknowledged each other’s existence. Holiday cheer, we called it.

These days that doesn’t happen so often. The launchpad for Christmas greed is now some time in October, and by Thanksgiving, a fury of scarcity has been whipped up by toy makers, tech wizards and big box retailers everywhere. It makes it hard to say “good day” to your neighbor when you are stepping on their head in order to get something for half price that you will probably throw out in less than a year.

It’s not like we don’t know about good manners. George Washington, sometime before the age of 16, transcribed “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation.” The first rule is: “ Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.” There are 109 more. Continue reading »


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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