Interviews

Business Strategy Behind Newell Rubbermaid’s New Design Center

Newell Rubbermaid’s new Design Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, marks a monumental shift in the company’s design thinking and practices. This consolidation of design functions in a single location addresses how design in the 21st century has become a team activity that pulls in disciplines beyond design.

Chuck_Jones
In 2012, after Newell Rubbermaid adopted its Growth Game Plan strategy focused on four winning capabilities, including design and R&D, it brought in acclaimed designer Chuck Jones as its first Chief Design and Research & Development Officer to make the company more agile and responsive to consumers through design. Jones’ reputation preceded him, having successfully built global design and development teams that boosted sales and won awards for innovation at companies including Whirlpool and Xerox. Here, Jones talks about how Newell Rubbermaid is creating a brand-and-innovation-led company that is famous for design and product performance.
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Advertising

Pizza Cats – Lost in Translation or Just Lost; Editor’s Mea Culpa Revisions

Pizza_Cats2

Editor’s excuse: Let me be frank; mistakes were made. In my defense I think that the misunderstanding proves my main point — i.e., this Pizza Hut ad campaign is very much aimed at consumers in Japan. However, according to my Japanese authority whose credentials are that she grew up in Tokyo and is Japanese, the concept is based on a well-known Japanese idiom, “I’m so busy there are not enough hours in a day. I’d even ask a cat to lend me a hand.” Neko no te mo karetai. Of course, cats are notorious for not doing your bidding. You know the American saying: “Dogs have owners; cats have staff.” Another translation error is that “Pizza Boss” Tencho was born on a riverbank, not under a bridge, and he wasn’t adopted by a poor loving family, but is now part of a poor but loving family. My authority also advised me that as a rule, advertising marketing messages in Japan are less direct than in the U.S., and the Pizza Cat-o commercials are very well conceived, very funny, and everyone in Japan gets it. Below is the post as I first wrote it:

“Aim global, market local” is probably this Japanese Pizza Hut campaign’s takeaway lesson to ad creatives everywhere. Those of us outside of Japan find that not only is the text in a foreign language, so is the humor. Cats dressed in Pizza Hut uniforms are cute, but the link to pizza is baffling. The cats in the commercials were not given people-like traits nor were their movements animated with motion graphics. They just did catlike things, and mostly seemed bored and oblivious to being in a pizza kitchen.

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Advertising

OPI: Made You Watch!

Oh, how marketing has changed since YouTube came into being in 2005. On the whole, online commercials are more entertaining and longer in length than the 30 and 60 second spots shown on television. This video for OPI fingernail polish titled “Instinct of Color” is like viewing a mini stage performance. Sensuous and mesmerizing, this video features a dance challenge between a beautiful thoroughbred named “Lady in Black” and four talented dancers – all to promote fingernail polish. Created by DAN Paris using music “Down the Road” by French DJ’s C2C, the 2 ½ minute video ad doesn’t display the actual OPI nail polish bottles until the end and mostly shows the best-selling colors in the OPI line on the hooves of the horse and the dancers’ apparel. The commercial is without voiceover or marketing spiel. You watch it for pure enjoyment. This is the push-pull difference between TV and Internet. TV ads push their message in front of viewers by ”barging” into hit TV shows. Online advertising videos have to pull viewers to their site by offering the promise of fun and amusement. They need to give viewers a reason to seek them out and tell their friends so their message will go viral.

Viral Marketing

“Cold Call” Marketing

With a wide swath of North America buried in snow and ice, Wax creative agency in Calgary, Canada, adopted a different medium for outdoor advertising — frost. To promote Mucho Burrito restaurants as the place to go for sizzling hot food, Wax created a block stamp that left a message melted into ice-coated car windows. It’s eco-friendly and beats sticking soggy paper flyers under windshield wipers.

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Advertising

Day of the Dead – Canadian Style, eh!

Corona Canada is going all out to celebrate the Day of the Dead (Dias de los Muertos), an annual Mexican holiday (November 1 and 2) commemorating the lives of loved ones who have passed away. It has just issued special limited edition designs for its tall-boy cans, further extending its “Live Mas Fina” (Live the good life) campaign launched in March. Toronto-based design agency, Zulu Alpha Kilo, created the concept and design for the marketing promotion, which features artwork inspired by Day of the Dead sugar skull candy treats. Illustrated by Jenny Luong, the decorative skull artwork integrates a line of text that urges people to live life to the fullest.

The Canadian Day of the Dead campaign encompasses more than special packaging. Zulu is promoting the Day of the Dead design in out-of-home and print ads, magazine inserts and on social media. In addition to giving out tear-away posters at select locations across Canada, Corona is staging a social media contest that offers fans the chance to win a numbered, limited edition silkscreened print of the sugar skull posters. The Day of the Dead Corona cans are available in stores across Canada for one month only.

Humor

Co-Branding from Middle Earth

Co-branded marketing has long been a part of the film business. Tacit endorsements – a star holding a brand label-legible soft drink can or a box of cereal sitting prominently on the kitchen table as the TV family eats breakfast – register subliminally in the viewer’s mind. Better yet, aligning your brand identity with a sexy, daring superhero raises desire. Lately, video shorts and YouTube have brought another type of co-branded marketing to the forefront. The one above is timed to the release of Peter Jackson’s new “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” filmed in New Zealand. It’s a concept that works beautifully, from its tie-in with the title “Unexpected Journey,” to the on-board safety instruction for Hobbit passengers heading to Middle Earth, to its plug for Air New Zealand. The airline is also offering a global sweepstakes. Count the Elvish codes in the original safety video, visit the website to unlock the code, and you’re entered to win a round-trip ticket for two to attend the world premiere in New Zealand, along with other Middle Earth prizes. It all works – and travelers may even pay attention to the safety video rather than take a snooze.

Viral Marketing

Experiential Marketing Unlocks 007 in Commuters

For Coke Zero’s joint promotion of the new James Bond film “Skyfall,” Belgian ad agency Duval Guillaume Modern set up an elaborate stunt in the Antwerp central train station. It began when unsuspecting commuters walked up to a Coke vending machine, which displayed a promotional offer that came with a hitch. They could win two free tickets to a special screening of “Skyfall,” if they could get to the vending machine on Platform Six within 70 seconds.

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Industrial Design

VW’s Transparent Factory

VW’s Phaeton transparent factory in the heart of downtown Dresden runs counter to the traditional impressions of a car assembly plant. Instead of blue-collar workers, there are white-gloved technicians. Instead of deafening noises, there is the hushed atmosphere of a research lab. The floors are lovely Canadian maple, and the walls are clear glass, which is why a loudspeaker outside imitates territorial bird sounds to keep birds from flying into the glass. There are no smokestacks, shrill sounds or noxious fumes. The grungier stamping, welding and painting of steel bodies take place elsewhere. VW’s transparent factory, designed by architect Gunter Henn and opened in 2002, showcases the final assembly of the luxury Phaeton sedan. Futuristic, exacting, open, and pristine, the Dresden facility is as much a marketing device as a working production plant, drawing thousands of visitors for tours each year. This video is from Megaworld Germany.

Announcements

“Return on Design” Conference held in Vegas

Pssst! Need a legitimate business reason to go to Las Vegas? Come to the AIGA Las Vegas “Return on Design: Business + Design Conference on November 17-18.

According to Patty Mar Simmons, event co-chair and president of AIGA Las Vegas, “We are uniting designers and business leaders to foster a better understanding of how good design can help drive tangible results for any size company.”

On the business/marketing side, speakers include Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts International; Jamie Naughton, Zappos.com; Richard Worthington, Molasky Group of Companies; Vince Alberta, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; Christina Barr, Nevada Humanities; Brian Gordon, Applied Analysis, and Luke Heffron, Shutterlfy. Design side speakers include Debbie Millman, Sterling Brands and AIGA National board member; Andrew Naudin, ExhibitForce, and yours truly – Kit Hinrichs, Studio Hinrichs and design director, @Issue, and Delphine Hirasuna, editor, @Issue.

The cost to attend is $175 per person and includes a reception on Thursday evening, plus the conference sessions, breakfast and lunch on Friday. Come early, spend the weekend. Support the Las Vegas economy. For more information, visit returnondesignvegas.com.

Humor

Do You Tweet After Sex?

iPhone in Bed

Lately it seems that every webinar, workshop, conference and business publication includes advice on optimizing social media marketing, which is why we thought this study on Twitter and Facebook use would be of interest to our readers. Part of the Gadgetology Report produced by Retrevo, a consumer electronics shopping site, the online independent survey sampled 771 respondents from across the United States (so we can’t tell you how the answers compare with people in other countries.) The Retrevo survey also reveals that men are more than twice as likely to use Facebook or Twitter after sex than women, and iPhone users are three times more likely than Blackberry owners (no surprise there). We don’t have any suggestions on how to calculate this into your social media marketing strategy, but some savvy marketers will understand the ramifications.

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Advertising

Honda Insight: “Let It Shine”

This TV commercial for the new Honda hybrid, the Insight, is being aired in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia where the environmentally friendly car is being sold. Made by Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, the TV spot appears to synchronize hundreds of Insight LED headlights, turning them into “pixels” to create animated images set to the tune of “Let It Shine” by Berend Dubbe.

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