A Better Course

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September 28th, 2007 · No Comments

Despite my respect for it as an excellent piece of business development, I’ve remained slightly unconvinced by the Starbucks / iTunes crossover. There’s no clear reason, other than one entirely motivated by marketing (“We appeal to yuppies. Maybe we should talk.”) why the two brands should work together; and whilst I’ve no doubt it will be a successful service, it would have been good to have seen a bit more reasoning behind it on the part of both companies.

Whilst operating in a completely different market (from Apple, Starbucks and each other) Lego and Paul Frank do very well at showing their working in their recent t-shirt lines:

Lego Julius Monkey:

Lego Man Choosing T-Shirts

There are more than these two, but together these do the best job of demonstrating an interaction – in the first, one company’s product builds the other’s main brand symbol, and in the second, one company’s brand symbol chooses the other’s products. It’s a nice visual solution, and consistent with the Paul Frank and the Lego brands, both of which espouse playfulness and, to an extent, childishness, for adults.

Likewise, the Marshall / Pure radio, which is just a brilliant product:

Here, there’s a more obvious reason why the two companies should work together – the obvious association of both radio in general and Marshall with music as well as the similarity of their products (both, essentially, boxes that make sound) mean that it makes sense that there could be a radio to appeal to a single segment of the radio-listening population.

Of course, both the t-shirts and the radios are purely aesthetic products – they’re not providing a useful service, in the way the the Apple and Starbucks’ deal does – but the ideas and reasoning behind both of them feel worked through in a way that deal doesn’t but, I think, could have done.

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