Retail Marketing

Retail Hang Tags Gain Importance

Until very recently, it was common to see people carrying shopping bags boldly printed with the name of the store where they made their purchase.  These branded bags were like walking endorsements, broadcasting where the person liked to shop. 

That’s becoming less the case now. More people are shopping online and receiving their orders by mail in plain padded envelopes stamped UPS or FedEx or with an Amazon arrow.    More importantly, many municipalities are trying to cut down on litter, conserve resources and keep plastic pollutants out of waterways by charging for single-use shopping bags.  In cities like San Francisco, responsible shoppers never enter a store without bringing their own reusable cloth sack. This is much to the chagrin of marketing pros who long considered shopping bags a handy surface to plug their brand. 

Now it looks like the only marketing opportunity left is the humble hang tag.  Not worthy of much design effort, hang tags have been a place to relate facts like size, price, care instructions, manufacturing materials, website, UPC code, etc.  Display of the brand name and logo is often perfunctory, with the expectation that the buyer will immediately cut off the tag and toss it out.  But what if serious effort went into designing the hang tag?  What if it exuded style and brand personality?  What if it was printed with special effects like embossing, fluorescent inks, and foil stamps?  What if the text was interesting to read? Maybe then shoppers would take a moment to appreciate the marketing effort – and remember the brand.

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Studio Hinrichs 2020 365 Calendar

Designed by acclaimed graphic designer, Kit Hinrichs, an AIGA medalist whose work is included in the permanent collection of MoMA, LACMA, and the Denver Art Museum, has created the 2020 365 Typographic Calendar. It features 12 unique type faces each designed within the 21st century. The calendar also includes descriptions about the typeface, a biography of each type designer and every major United States and Canadian Holiday.

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Gun Violence PSA

Loss of Innocence Gun Control PSA

via SandyHookPromise.org

At the start of the school year, kids used to worry about fitting in, looking and acting cool, becoming one of the “popular” kids, and, oh yes, their grades.  But with the increasing number of shootings on school campuses, those worries are overshadowed by larger fears.  Just since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School seven years ago, which took the lives of 20 children as young as six and seven, more than 400 people have been shot on U.S. school campuses, and many more at public venues like concerts, shopping malls and local fairs.  

So along with the usual back-to-school product pitches, this public service ad was timed for release at the start of the school year.  Sponsored by the gun-safety group, Sandy Hook Promise, and produced by BBDO ad agency, the PSA has no voiceovers on gun control or violence, but leaves a powerful message on why something must be done NOW. 

Looking back, the days when school kids practiced getting under their desks and covering their heads in the event of a nuclear bomb attack seem so innocent.  All we had to worry about was the bomb, not an active shooter on campus.

Advertising Strategy

Double-Take Guerrilla Marketing

Experiential street ads are the “sneak” attacks of advertising.  They invariably occur in unexpected places and times, and they usually cause viewers to do a double-take and chuckle. Relative to major ad campaigns, guerrilla marketing is much less expensive, but its reach is also narrower, mostly limited to people in that proximity.  But such targeted sight gags and visual puns enliven passersby experiences and generate goodwill toward the business, although it also disallows lengthy sales messages. You either get it or you don’t.

 Still, guerrilla advertising is catching on with major brands who are discovering that you don’t have to be there to enjoy it.  Really clever spots are being captured on smart phones and spread virally on social media, and some brand marketers are starting the buzz themselves by posting a photo of the “street art” on social media.

via Marketopedia (Top) + via LoveCreativeMarketing (Bottom)

After El Paso and Dayton

Words When Pictures Fail

Cover Art via time.com

A constant struggle for editorial artists is the search for a way to capture the essence of a story in a single powerful image.  Unfortunately, picturing a semiautomatic assault weapon, as sinister as it looks, no longer shocks readers.  In fact, guns and even images of crying survivors of mass killings feel cynically banal.  That’s why this week’s Time Magazine cover stopped us in our tracks. San Francisco Bay Area artist John Mavroudis simply hand-lettered the 253 locations of mass shootings in America so far this year and added the word “ENOUGH.”  The crude lettering is crammed onto the page with city names shown vertically, sideways and at a slant in large letters and small, filling every nook and cranny. Mavroudis calls his drawing “a frightening portrait of a country drowning in gun violence.”  Indeed, the effect is chilling and memorable and gives perspective to our epidemic of domestic terrorism.