Browsing Tag


And This Is How You Do Creative Branding: Featuring Gary Numan and Cars

As many readers of this blog know by now, I am a HUGE proponent of creative branding. I definitely touched on this on the Authenticity & Pop Culture post this Spring when I brought up a simple-yet-genius Pedigree internet ad. The time has come once again to talk about creativity.

Ok. Let’s say you have a product that, unlike wine, is completely un-sexy. Let’s say for example your product is a car battery.

die hard battery

I mean, your name is Die Hard – that’s cool – but you’re a car battery. There’s not a whole lot you can do with that.

Unless of course, you are a marketing genius. Then you might think about how you can combine the insane potential of a creative interned vid with the current DIY zeitgeist that is fascinating people today. In fact you might look at the following video and say “I want that for my car battery.”

This OK GO music video from March 1st of this year has over 15 MILLION views. And that’s just from the official posting.

And if you’re truly a marketing genius, you might call up the company that made that video for OK GO and say again, “I want that for my car battery.”

And if you did that, this is what you would get:

And then you would be my personal hero. I find this ad brilliant and awesome on about a ba-zillion different levels. I will not wax poetic here, but if you want to hear why I think this is such a big deal just call me and carve out about an hour of your time.

WARNING: I’m about to get cranky, so if you don’t want to hear me cranky on a Friday, I bid you a happy weekend.

<rant>If you’re still with me, here’s my beef. I’m SO TIRED of people in EVERY ASPECT of the wine industry automatically handcuffing wine to media and branding that has been used for the last 40 YEARS. If you want new consumers then you have to do something new. PERIOD. DONE. Don’t tell me that wine can’t be awesome and fun and hip and irreverent when a CAR BATTERY can.</rant>

Go be creative and awesome. If you’re not creative and awesome, find someone who is. A few months from now I want to be writing about a video like this for a wine. And you know what? I will. Maybe I’ll just make it myself. If you want in, let me know.


Get in the Garage: Innovate by Embracing Limitations

Back in November of 2008 Wired magazine had a short but incredibly sweet article/essay on something they dubbed the “Garage Economy.” (Back to the Garage: How Economic Turmoil Breeds Innovation written by senior writer Daniel Roth – I highly recommend taking a look at it.)

In the article, Roth brings up an incredibly simple but overlooked point – tough economic times are the perfect breeding ground for fearless genius, but most industry leaders focus on cutting back rather than taking chances and moving forward.

In periods of economic turmoil, people are hungry and work cheap, and entrenched companies often concentrate on in-house cost-cutting instead of exploring new markets, which can explode with the next turn of the business cycle.

-Daniel Roth, “Back to the Garage…” Wired issue 16.12

For those that know me, my love affair with this concept is not surprising – it echoes one of my most firm beliefs: OUT OF STRUCTURE COMES GENIUS. Meaning that the more limitations one is given, the more creative that person must be to succeed. Structure forces us to take a look at what we want to accomplish, distill it down, take stock of all our resources, and find a more effective way to reach our goals. This “structure” can be anything from the number of hours in a day, budget limitations, non-traditional resources, or in this case, an international recession.

Welcome to Your New Office

Social media is a widespread example of this, both within the wine industry and beyond. Even as large companies cut back their advertising costs (sorry print & tv), they need brand awareness and sales more than ever. What’s the solution? Free social networks. Resources are re-directed to educate employees about social media (ideally, otherwise see this post), and instead of spending millions of dollars a year purchasing magazine ads, companies spend a fraction of that actually interacting directly with their target consumers. (One of the most incredible side effects of this is that the tiny 1200 case winery has the same chance of succeeding in this medium as the behemoth.) The question is, if all these companies weren’t being forced to cut back due to the economy, would they have made the same decisions to invest their energies in social media? Or would they have continued down the familiar path of traditional advertising?

Because of a seemingly perfect storm of economic restriction, there is a petri dish atmosphere for growing new ideas. For wineries, maybe it’s finding a way to boost direct sales when the Three-Tier System is failing them. Maybe it’s going out into the community and giving back and building a cult following. Maybe it’s forgoing glass bottles in favor of reusable metal containers/kegs for On-Site accounts. No matter what solutions companies come up with, it’s important to remember that these ideas are born out of structure and limitations. Companies that put their heads in the sand and ignore these conditions, or companies that are boarding up the windows to weather the storm, will never put themselves in the position of innovating.

Let’s admit it, the outlook is bleak when you maintain the status quo. Embrace all the limitations facing you – decrease in wine club membership, loss of a distributor, drooping sales, old-fashioned branding – gather them all up, find the smartest people you know, and GET IN THE GARAGE.