Branding a la Louboutin

 The word “branding” has become nauseating to many people, and some just can’t see it as anything beyond a logo. Marketing professionals have tried to explain how far branding goes but these days it seems like just another excuse to make good money. I cannot ignore branding as a media and marketing person but one thing I know is: “No two brands can ever be the same”. As a result of this, it only makes sense to search for that unique thing, hold unto it and claim your space (of course with quality).

It took me a while to become a fan of Christian Louboutin (Not even sure I spelt it right). I was still “sucking up” to Manolo Blahnik’s craftsmanship and coveted a lot of Jimmy Choos. But when the red soles began to hunt me down on every web page, event, show etc, I was sold. While so many people were thinking of how to create a good logo, paint their office space in the colors and probably even sponsor some kind of cause, this designer claimed a space that was barely thought of: The sole. It was simply; ‘seen a red sole, seen a Louboutin’. He claimed his space, has a strong identity and even if a fly girl is sleeping, she can recognize those red soles anywhere. Those red soles can be one of the strongest conversation starters anywhere.

For me, this is a great case study for marketing professionals, artists, artistes, and professionals of all kinds. Find that gap, fill it, and claim it. No other identity can be stronger than that. They can copy, but there will always be an original. Now to save money for that one I just saw…..hmmmmn

Groupon’ ad: When does humour in advertising become distasteful?

Groupon have been in the news as one of the startlingly successful startups in recent times. Their business, based on getting deals has seen super success recently.

However, I wonder how many customers they will lose after a major blunder at the super bowl last Sunday.

Advertising during the super bowl guarantees major exposure but when advertising goes wrong, then it can lead to major losses.

In the commercial, images of Tibet are shown as actor Timothy Hutton reads, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their very culture is in jeopardy.”

The image then flips to Hutton inside a restaurant being served food; “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry. And since 200 of us bought at we’re each getting 30 dollars worth of Tibetan food for just 15 dollars at Himalayan restaurant in Chicago.”

The ad has drawn so much criticisms that many people have threatened to close their accounts as they see the ad as insensitive to the situation in Tibet.

As a business person, I’m thinking this may be good time for competitors to grow their market share. But as a media professional, I keep thinking, at what point should humor be considered too much in a media product? Whose fault is it that the ad went out? Many people blame the ad agency but at the same time, how did Groupon feel about the ad before it went on air?

Gropon reps have published statements but PR is so saturating that people know they are being worked on. What then can even be done to repair marketing communications gone wrong?

So many questions…