The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

A World Of Cardboard People …
February 24, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Comment

It’s all very well having ‘mascots’ to represent your brand, but like the Michelin man and Ronald McDonald, it can quickly become tired and/or irrelevant, especially when they are nothing more than an image rather than a representation of what a brand stands for.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many brands are re-doing their logos.

Apart from the fact they all seem to have ‘happy faces’ [because a packet of KRAFT plastic cheese with a manic smile on it is bound to make a financially challenged community feel better about themselves] you can tell they believe this is a cheap and viable alternative to mainstream advertising – not because they can justify it as ‘new news’, but because they think their customers are so bloody obsessed with them, that any change in look will induce the same level of excitement and pandamonium as a 5 year old kid on Christmas eve.

Iconography is incredibly important, but if you [1] don’t give it specific meaning [preferably backed up through the actions of your company] and [2] have an entire category that has copied your look and service to the nth degree without you progressing to any meaningful level, it’s about as useful as asking Steven Segal for acting tips.

13 Comments so far
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how did you get billys girlfriends all together for this photo?

youre right about the fucking “happy logo” fmcg trend going on. you can tell the fuckers think it is the secret and fucking codt effective weapon in the war against financially concious and depressed shoppers but even julia roberts fucking mile wide grin wouldnt make someone feel good about paying a premium for a tin of fucking pineapple rings. cocks.

have you seen the wank arnell put forward for pepsi for a logo redesign? they talk about “gravitational pull” for fucks sake. and art through the ages. and all they do in the end is make the pepsi logo look like a fucking smiley. makes planners look almost sensible. wankers

Comment by andy@cynic

It’s similar to the approach many companies have towards sponsorship, regarding it as a cheap advertising vehicle rather than a communication method that requires more than just your brand name being attached to ensure optimum value.

And Andy you’re right, that Pepsi document is terrible but their pain was our gain right? 🙂

Comment by Pete

You’ve inspired me Andy [for once] so you’ll like [for once] my post tomorrow, ha!

You’re right Pete, but don’t you think it indicates clients don’t believe the majority of their current advertising works … which makes me even angrier that they are reluctant to try fresher communication/business ideas despite them going on and on about how they want their agencies to be more financially accountable.

At the end of the day – and this is a huuuuuuge generalisation – too many clients just want their name/logo everywhere because their ego dictates that is enough for people to part with their cash. Sure that might work for some fashion brands etc, but it’s rare it’s going to have too much pull for a brand – as Andy puts it – that sells tins of fucking pinapple rings. 🙂

Comment by Rob

Why is the bird at the back holding a big phalic bastard plane in her arms? Is she saying she works for the airline that services big swinging dicks?



Sounds like my kind of airline.

Comment by Billy Whizz

if you push the klm lady over, does she start a domino chain? in that case, put more in there! i want a whole swag of cardboard airline welcome people – break the world record for the largest domino chain of cardboard cutouts, right through changi terminal 3. or wherever that is.

Comment by lauren

bet it looks more interesting from the other side.


Comment by Marcus

If they run out of cardboard people Lauren, you could always shove in a few bag-carrying Account Service folk … the kind that have ‘corporate laughs’ and only suggest what wine to have, rather than add a comment that has some genuine value for the task in hand.

And Marcus, would it surprise you to learn that a long time ago, Andy felt the same way which is why he drew a bottom with a penis going out of it on a United Airlines cardboard hostess. Judging by the food I ate on their plane a couple of weeks ago, I think they chopped ‘her’ up and served it as their inflight meal.

And hello Billy … nice to see Crispin’s hasn’t changed you. Bet you’ve changed them though, ha!

Comment by Rob

That Pepsi document was the most convoluted piece of fee justifying wank I’ve ever seen.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

hey rob m, i am with you on the pepsi doc. and i don t think i would even recognise the logo as a smile without reading the document before! the ones who came up with the smile idea, probably read the wiki entry about romanticism. and it s all so cyclical, like julie roehm confirmed recently, too. that might explain all the circles in the doc… and actually, i think people have an urge to feel happy. in difficult times even more. but i doubt they get that feeling from smiling happy cardboard people and strange logos. actually it could make them very very angry and aggressive. i suggest punching bags haha

Comment by peggy

seems every fucker has seen the arnell wank which means campbells post tomorrow is going to be even more pointless than usual.

escapism is a trait people feel whether the economy resembles a pile of turd or not but we are subjected to it more at times like now because every sad brand manager thinks it is what people are looking for because their savings are going down the shitter. that approach might of worked for shows like dallas in the 80s and it might work for shows in the 00s but it sure as fuck isnt going to work for brands just because they have put an obnoxious smiling fucking logo all over their packet. fallon will probably claim different but even if they spunked billions on a 3 hour film of all their ads it still wouldnt give a chick as much pleasure as a dairy milk being shoved down their gobs in the blink of an eye.

design, packaging, iconography are fucking important and borrowed interest can make a big impression but all this shit going on just shows how fucking far removed most ad and design people are from reality.

the end

Comment by andy@cynic

I always knew Andy was a planner in disguise.

Comment by John

Reminds me of the Campaign for real beauty’ Which tanked in Thailand and had to be pulled because the superficial ‘beauties’ in focus groups are skin deep apparently. Dove lost their nerve. But if they had stood for something their long term brand prospects would mean something.

Its the meaning management business we are in.

Not meaningless.

Comment by Charles

if you ever say something like that to me again dodds youre in big fucking shit

Comment by andy@cynic

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