Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rise and Shine

Tomorrow Starbucks is giving away a free coffee to anyone who brings in a reusable container. I was thinking of bringing in an empty milk-jug just to see how they react. Anyway, props to StarCo for making people environmentally aware by giving them free coffee. If I liked plain Starbucks, I'd be there, but without milk, syrup and sprinkles, this free offer is tantamount to offering me a shirt with no sleeves or collar, in a fashionable white. Sure it's a free "shirt", but am I excited about it?

As I commute to work, I've noticed that there are more and more ads for breakfast options. 7-11 has a breakfast sausage quesadilla that they claim is "flat and easy to eat." Boy is this country getting lazy… elongated holding and over-chewing of foods is just too much trouble. Forget cereal! For the more flavor-conscious (and wealthy) breakfaster, Panera, to keep with our "Mexi-fast" theme, now offers a jalapeƱo & cheddar bagel breakfast sandwich. You think the title has enough words, but they've left out some key ingredients: a sheared (like a sheep?) egg and smoked ham. And let's not forget our favorite creepy mascot's, Burger King's king, recent theft of a McDonald's classic, the sausage McMuffin. They've copied it (can you patent a sandwich?) and are selling it for less. I couldn't care less about this sandwich (why would I eat an English muffin when the establishment is dripping with biscuits?), but I am curious about the fallout. Blogs are asking, "Should McDonald's strike back?!" I suppose they are suggesting that MD steal a BK item and do the same. Grimace speeds away with a Whopper Jr. under his arm…

Funnel cake sticks are an item that should be more widely available to the public, but what I really want from McDonald's is for them to mix breakfast in with the rest of the daily menu. I want a Big Mac with biscuits for buns, orange juice and fries that are battered in the crust of the hashbrowns. Is that too much to ask?! They could also toss a banana into one of those McFlurries and call it a "morning dessert." Thank you for your applause; I've always been a marketing wizard.

Speaking of marketing, over the years I have realized that often times, departments, clients, etc. are apt to want new and glorious designs for everything, even when the pieces are in the same campaign. It can be hard to steer people away from the notion that recognizable may be more communicative than shiny. Audiences are too busy to take the time to inspect all aspects of a marketing message, but if they receive something and recognize the brand, they will most likely react by saying. "Oh yeah, I remember that X is offering Y. I'll sign up…"

This technique also makes things easier for the project manager, the writer and the designer. When things need to be changed to fit target audiences, communicate another set of information or catch attention, the work is minimized, and delivery can be more timely. At NACAC, I wrote and designed a membership piece with elements that can be changed/moved when needed without much effort for those involved:

Attention-grabbing headline

Photos that relate to audience

Header that applies to them



Contact info

If BK can repurpose a sandwich, we can certainly repurpose elements of a campaign… I'm getting hungry.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Okay Okay

I guess I can't use the excuse that I'm busy with the play anymore––it went off very well, by the way, we raised about $2500 for our charity. The Firm is considering our next project, thinking along the lines of the 3-Day or something similar.

Meanwhile… design-land is wonderful and I'm happy to have a new freelance job with My College Guide, a magazine for students. I've written for them before. The day-job is rolling along… just finished some logos for the national conference in NO:

What I've Learned About New Orleans so far:
  • They are very into St. Louis, which is confusing because our conference this year is in St. Louis. Which city gets to claim ownership of this 796-year-old (wish him a happy birthday on the 25th!) crusader and patron of the arts? (Where's my king-patron?!!)
  • The ingredients to gumbo are depicted in the food logo, sans one main ingredient: sausage. I hope you can understand why I left out the sausage without me going into a lengthy explanation… and while we're on the food theme, may I say it's difficult to make a beignet look like anything but a small, yellow-white pillow.
  • The population in general has an aversion to water… strange! Seriously though, I was told explicitly not to use a "rebuilding theme." As if I would submit something like this:

  • They think the Fleur-de-lis is all theirs. This may be true in the US, but anywhere else in the world it summons images of French monarchs with really big, white wigs.
I'm looking forward to visiting the area in 2011––I've never been, but I tend to enjoy cities that allow me to drink in the street.