Each week, Brand Studio staffers huddle in a remote location (actually, it’s a very stylish conference room) to select our favorite news and stories from the world of branding. These aren’t the stories you couldn’t escape (like Apple announcing the date of the next iPad). Instead, they’re stories you might have missed.
1. Twitter Brand Feuds
Perhaps our favorite story of the week was one from Mashable that documents The 5 Most Notorious Brand Feuds on Twitter. These witty exchanges by brands are mostly good-natured fun, but we chose them because they demonstrate how brands can tell a story, have a voice, and engage with their audiences. Look at this battle for the affection of a chocolate-loving consumer by Kit-Kat and Oreo. After Laura Ellen tweeted that she has revealed her addiction to chocolate by following both brands, Kit-Kat challenged Oreo to a Tic-Tac-Toe duel.
Not to be outdone, Oreo responded.
2. Taco Bell Flirts with SnapChat
If you’ve heard of SnapChat you probably know of its controversial reputation for being a teenager’s preferred mode of sexting. Images captured with the service live for 10 seconds and are then destroyed. But SnapChat launched a new feature: Stories. Here’s how the brand describes it:
Snapchat Stories add Snaps together to create a narrative. When you add a Snap to your Story it lives for 24 hours before it disappears, making room for the new. Your Story always plays forward, because it makes sense to share moments in the order you experience them.
Taco Bell seems to love bold social media plays. As The Verge reported back in May, Taco Bell was one of the first brands to take to SnapChat, which was somewhat controversial.
But as Mashable reported this week, the move may have been a very wise decision because Stories is allowing the Taco Bell brand to engage in some longer-form storytelling that lasts more than 10 seconds.
Stories was the main reason we decided to do it. The fact that posts last more than 10 seconds was huge.
3. Designer Water Bottles
We often cover designer collaborations with brands, but Evian’s limited edition Elie Saab bottle deserves some focus. The Lebanese fashion designer best known for outfitting Halle Berry at the Oscars and royalty from around the world lent his signature style to glass bottles of the French mineral water brand. The bottles will appear at high-end restaurants and luxury hotels. We love it not only because of its beautiful design aesthetic, but also because it uses a chic tweak to its brand identity to justify premium pricing.
4. Gil Sans vs. Helvetica
Nothing can start a rumble faster in the design studio than a debate over typography. Suggest the wrong typeface and our designers divide into the sharks and the jets making Anchorman’s famous news fight seem tame.
But this piece on Grant McCracken’s always insightful culture blog is worth a read if you consider yourself a true type aficionado (also known as a “type nerd”). It traces the origin of Gil Sans in the 1920s and how it fell in favor to the rock star Helvetica in the 50s. And, it provides an interesting analysis of why the typeface seems to be coming back.
5. Flatware You Can Fly (sort of)
If you’ve had the pleasure of flying First Class on Virgin you’ve probably enjoyed the iconic salt & pepper shaker that is so popular a lot of passengers pocket it. Not to be outdone by their British rivals, PSFK reported on new cutlery from Air France that can be assembled into the shape of a model airplane. It’s also eco-friendly and will reduce the carrier’s raw materials usage by 30%, or 40 tons a year.
6. Carrie Stunt
Though not necessarily an act of branding, we had to tip our hat to a clever promotional stunt for the upcoming remake of Stephen King’s Carrie. This YouTube video went viral for good reason. It’s a priceless gotcha.
7. Intel Sponsorship
Finally, last week we shared a poignant piece from Intel that was tied to the evolution of the Intel inside brand campaign. As a follow-up, we loved this photo that we found in Burn magazine. It’s a picture of the Intel Airship Crew. We can’t think of a more brand-appropriate sponsorship. It’s what’s inside that you can’t see that makes this high performance balloon take flight.