Category Archives: Branding

Seeing Red


That’s some tempest in a teapot…er, Starbucks cup…brewing through the newsphere today. Before you could say “Is it Christmas yet?” the entire holiday blew up for the good, simple folks based in Seattle. Did they really think they could go minimalist this season?

All it took was one irate, self-described social media personality to upload a clever, gotcha You Tube video, and Donald Trump weighing in at a pit stop in Illinois to completely upend their Christmas packaging and put them on the defensive. “Maybe we should boycott them,” he said, even though he claims to have “one of the most successful Starbucks in Trump Tower.”

Can you imagine how many meetings were held and how much money was spent for the company to go all PC on us? “We’re embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it. It’s a more open way to usher in the holiday,” said Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of design and content. In a statement the coffee giant said the red cup allows for customers to put their own drawings and messages on it.

Really? How’s this message: “Nice try, Starbucks! Can’t wait to see what happens next year!”


Leave a comment

Filed under Branding, PR Problem

Volkswagen, Why?

For the past six+ years, I have driven a Volkswagen.

First, the Eos, a fabulous hardtop convertible with a beautiful design and a powerful engine. It broke my heart to exchange it for a bigger car, the Toureg, which ended up being too big for me, and then I switched to the smaller but very reliable Tighuan.

My husband drives a VW Passat. Obviously, we were drawn both to the styling and drivability of the brand, not to mention the automaker’s value pricing and easy-breezy service department.

I probably could have been a customer for a long, long time. But now, with today’s news that the EPA says Volkswagen cheated a second time on pollution tests, I feel polluted myself. Will the brand recover?

I’m not sure, but one thing I know: it’s time to pull out the stops for your loyal supporters. We are your most likely future customers. We are already family. We are already believers. But there’s only so long we’ll stick around.

VW Tighuan

Leave a comment

Filed under Branding

In Brief: Ring-a-ding-ding Joe Boxer, You Certainly Caught My Eye

I’m feeling a bit like Congressman Francis Underwood, Kevin Spacey’s character in “House of Cards,” when he pauses in the middle of a plot point and turns toward the camera, deadpanning, “I’m surprised it took this long.”

I noticed Joe Boxer’s new commercial for Kmart last night and did a double-take. Are those guys in boxers grinding their hips to the bell chimes of “Jingle Bells?” Wow, now that is one heck of an out-of-boxer Christmas commercial.

By this morning the nay-sayers started coming out of the woodwork (they may have started last night, but I was too busy dreaming of a JB Christmas). The Parents Television Network is outraged. Joe Boxer’s Facebook page is predictably lighting up with lots of tsk-tsks. But Kmart is standing firm, and according to the online poll on AOL, the fans were ahead 64% – 36%.

Take it from Professor PR, that’s what’s called creating a buzz. I hope we’ll see Bobby, Seth and Kenan in their Joes this Saturday night, with a guest appearance by Seth and Justin. Would that be fun?

Why stop at Xmas? How about a little something for the eight nights of Hanukkah? Imagine Halloween next year.  Can’t wait to watch this #ShowYourJoes snowball pick up speed.

Leave a comment

November 19, 2013 · 12:18 pm

Check out the branding we created for a client. Doesn’t this look yummy?

Leave a comment

Filed under Branding

Don’t Wear Our Clothes

This Jersey girl is not happy with the situation. No, not that Situation. The Abercrombie & Fitch situation. Isn’t it just a tad bit, um, racist, to tell a nice Italian boy from New Jersey NOT to wear your clothes?

Or, is this a PR stunt gone terribly wrong? I’m referring to their stock going south on the news today.

So, let me see if I get the strategy: you announce to the world that you are going to pay a celebrity to toss the t’s just to get a little media attention? The media bites, of course, and you have press hits all over the globe.

Negativity builds the brand. Is that what squeaky clean Abercrombie has become?

Professor PR needs a glass of good Italian Chianti to mull over today’s grade. How would you score it?



Leave a comment

Filed under Branding

Seeing Red

The judge has ruled: a brand based on color will not fly. The crayon box is for all to share. Didn’t we learn this in kindergarten?

Shoe designer Christian Louboutin – he of the red sole shoes – lost his bid to trademark the color when Judge Victor Marrero of Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that it was “overly broad.” The sharing of colors in the fashion industry promotes “robust competition” and thus, if Yves Saint Laurent was to continue making red shoes, he has every right to do so.

What this legal ruling makes clear is that brand decisions must go beyond design and color, which although paramount to identity, can’t be the sole focus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Branding