Archive for the ‘branding’ Tag

The Language of Fried Chicken

Chicken: High Art, Low Calorie is a fresh (or at least still warm) project by Siâron Hughes, showcasing the graphic vernacular of fried chicken vendors in the UK.

chicken_4

Image cred: Mark Batty Publisher.

Hughes, a talented designer and illustrator, did not stop at cataloguing the star-spangled array of signage.

She also interviewed the people behind brands such as Perfect Fried Chicken and Hen Cottage, most notably Morris ‘Mr Chicken’ Cassanova – who claims to be responsible for “90% of the logos that’s been used out there now”.

chicken_2

Image cred: Mark Batty Publisher.

The interview excerpts on Creative Review are juicy and occasionally mysterious:

1. On Origins

“A lot of people who were franchisees say from Kentucky Fried Chicken or something like that, maybe were feeling the squeeze. They feel as though they were working for Kentucky Fried Chicken and y’know Kentucky is so strict, whatever they says goes.”

chicken_1

Image cred: Mark Batty Publisher.

2. On America

“In the past Kentucky usually have a little logo, a little slogan, “American Recipe”… Because they try to pull the wool over people’s eyes, you get your Dallas, it’s American, you get your California, it’s American, you get your Mississippi it’s American …”

chicken_3

Image cred: Mark Batty Publisher.

3. On Logos

“People see them and try to change them around a little bit, and you will see somewhere along the line somebody will have something looking similar to that. It’s not all about the bits and pieces that goes with it, they will automatically try to copy it.”

KFC is still ahead of McDonald’s as the USA’s largest purchaser of chicken (says this site). McD’s have a diverse menu but chicken was never the main attraction.

The Chicken McNugget hit the market in 1983 and only after the McChicken sandwich bombed before it.

The Wire Season 1 – McNuggets by pushmedia1 on YouTube.

Much as I like D’Angelo’s parable in The Wire, it doesn’t seem quite true of the Golden Arched take on product innovation.

The Fillet-O-Fish and Egg McMuffin were both created by enterprising francisees. Herb Patterson broke corporate rank to start serving the McMuffin in McDonald’s Santa Barbara before it was an official item on the franchise menu.

But getting back to chicken.

Chicken is chicken.

And the Kentucky Fried Chicken brand is chicken. Plus ‘American recipe’.

c

Image cred: Creative Review.

What strikes me from the interviews and anecdotes is that KFC weren’t hot on UK franchises trying to innovate – as Mr Cassanova said, “y’know Kentucky is so strict, whatever they says goes”.

If you worked for KFC and wanted to invent, you might have to leave and start your own business – and you might feel you needed to copy key elements of the brand to do it successfully.

So what do you call your new place – that fresh-minted copy of a copy, with new items on the menu?

“Perfect Fried Chicken. Because you can’t be Better Than Perfect Fried Chicken”.

Damn.

Maybe each new chicken joint should just take their founder’s name, like one round my way – Al Ikhwan Fried Chicken.

Or maybe someone should speak to a copywriter.

Previous logo design:

Remixing logos: Luis Vuitton sues charity campaign.

– Designer money: India crowdsources logo for the Rupee.

– How can you find your eggs in the morning? Tropicana vanishes.

Advertisements

Club Tropicana: Drinks -20%

tropicana-new-branding

Failed Tropicana packaging by Arnell Group via Brand New.

Last week AdAge reported that Tropicana’s sales shrank 20% at the start of the year before rebranded packaging was pulled.

Designs by Arnell Group were kicked before they hit the shelves and heartily jeered on their exit.

Although recession squeeze must have played a role, it doesn’t seem to account for the whole story. Sales of refrigerated orange juice across the board only dipped 5% in the same period – 1 January to 22 February 2009.

Peter Arnell Explains Failed Tropicana Package Design on YouTube.

Unsurprising that Peter Arnell’s looked strained, and unfortunate that the Tropicana debacle followed criticism for his Pepsi rebrand.

Some remiss comments to a Newsweek reporter can’t have helped:

“I can’t believe that for the rest of my life I’m going to be known as Peter ‘Tropicana’ Arnell.” He says Tropicana overreacted to complaints. “I have my own perspective on it. But it’s not my brand. It’s not my company. So what the hell? I got paid a lot of money, and I have 30 other projects. You move on.”

pepsi_tropicana_old

Old Tropicana packaging by Sterling Brands via Brand New.

So why did he “move on”? What was wrong with the straw-in-an-orange?

Arnell clearly thought it could be improved.

Watch how animated he grows in the press conference [above] once he gets onto the “interesting little squeeze cap” that “implies squeezing ergonomically”.

Was his best insight executed with too much subtlety?

Strange that in the same week Arnell gets cussed all over the blogosphere there’s massive acclaim for another fruit juice packaging design.

strawberry-juice

Strawberry fruit juice packaging by Naoto Fukasawa via TheDieline.

Naoto Fukasawa’s inspiration for these lovely designs doesn’t sound so different to the revelation that got Arnell’s eyes glinting:

“I imagined that if the surface of the package imitated the colour and texture of the fruit skin, then the object would reproduce the feeling of the real skin.”

bananas-22

Banana fruit juice packaging by Naoto Fukasawa via TheDieline.

For me, Fukasawa’s work is a delight. Hope it’s as tactile as it looks.

And either way, the idea behind the skin is eminently clear.

Consumers didn’t find that with Tropicana. They couldn’t even find their rebranded juice in the supermarket. So they didn’t buy it.

banana

Banana fruit juice packaging by Naoto Fukasawa via Toxel.

Hi-Scores on MySpace

Boomkat, Phonica and RA ranked Los Angeles as one of the albums of the year.

And whatever you make of Flying Lotus’s music, his MySpace is a web design gem.

flying-lotus-1

Love how he’s taken details from the Los Angeles sleeve art (see spreads here) to create his own computer game.

I’ve been lurking on MySpace more than usual of late and it hit me as a true stand-out on first glimpse.

flying-lotus-3

To create a striking icon is one thing. To make it interactive for your fans is a different level. To take it into live performance is a full-on branding assault.

Reminded me of the smart work Zamir and Antoine did for Buraka Som Sistema. They designed the Black Diamond icon then transformed it into a VJing centrepiece:

But what do bands have to do with branding, and vice-versa?

There’s a nice post from Renny Gleeson on ouroborous about brands and fandom. The quote he’s picked from Rob Walker talks of the Facebook/ YouTube era as “fandom without stigma”:

It takes all the things that fans have been doing throughout the 20th century and makes them public, mainstream, commercial…”

So musicians and artists – those with vocal fans before the 2.0 revolution – will up their ante if they want to stay top of the hi-scorers chart.

The gaming will be fierce this year.

Hey! Leave Those Brands Alone

Danish artist Nadia Plesner devised this design to raise money for Darfur.

Louis Vuitton aren’t happy about her fundraising activities (full story here), citing an infringement of “Intellectual Property Rights”.

“Intellectual Property”?

Wow. How contrary. Brands want us to love, cherish, kiss and hug them. Online, they want us to play with them, tickle them, retouch them (I’m thinking sneakers and labels – Beck’s Fusions last year comes to mind).

They want us to remix. Because they know we like to remix. But only if it’s on their terms and, preferably, their microsite.

This attitude’s so retro it’s almost charming. But not quite. And far less charming for its PR stupidity. They could have easily supported the campaign and added buckets to their brand greenwash. Not to mention dirtied dollars to the Darfur appeal.

I’m with Brazilian designer Mario Amaya (see below). Let’s get remixing brands, whether they like it or not. If they want to be in our lives, they need to be taught how the real world shakes today.

Related: Boosh vs. Honey Monster, Round 1.

Essential: The Pirate’s Dilemma – We Invented the Remix.

Previous: Segway Watch – the Future Goes Social.