Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Holy Galleria, Batman! It's a Flash Mob in Sherman Oaks!

(Note from Hunter Communications: Thursday evening, July 19, the Sherman Oaks Galleria celebrated this summer's Batmania with a rock-em, sock-em, dancing, fun-filled flash mob tribute to Batmen old and new, outside the Galleria's Arclight Cinema.  Originally, a video of this event was scheduled to be released on Friday morning, July 20.  Then came the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado, at a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in the early morning of July 20.  There is a time and place for everything, and so release of the video was delayed out of respect for the victims and their families.

Although we will never forget this horrific event, now it is time to look forward again.  In the spirit of superheroes everywhere, we musn't let the actions of madmen and evildoers stop us from living, smiling, singing, dancing, and celebrating life. We can't let the bad guys win.  That is the true code of the superhero.  This video is dedicated to the Aurora victims, survivors and their families, and to all Batman fans around the world.)

BATMAN Flash Mob is a production of Hunter Communications on behalf of our client, the Sherman Oaks Galleria and stars Billy Blanks Jr. as Batman, Sharon Catherine Blanks as Catwoman, Orly Campbell as the "lady with the purse" and Todd Stroik as "the thug."  Agency principal, Matt Hunter directed the video.

The production begins. The setup to the flash mob is a series of Galleria location shots set to the music of Danny Elfman from the original 1989 movie, "Batman." Next, a thug snatches a woman's purse as she is eating in Center Plaza. Batman comes to the rescue and a fight ensues, set to the music of the 60's TV show. What follows is Batman, a gaggle of Catwomen and a host of Gotham City-types dancing through three more studio-mixed, reimagined Bat-themed soundbites. In the end, Batman returns the purse to its rightful owner.

Monday, July 30, 2012

YSL is First in the Industry with Makeup Palette Just for Facebook "Fans"

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to Article:
Yves Saint Laurent’s Fans-Only Makeup Palette

In a first for the beauty industry, Yves St. Laurent Beauté has introduced a new limited edition makeup palette (in cooperation with Pantone) which is exclusively available via the company's Facebook fan page.

Excerpt: " The “Devoted to Fans” product line, produced in partnership with Facebook, goes live with the “Pantone Facebook” palette, of which only 1650 will be produced for the brand’s fan page.

In an interview with FrenchWeb, marketing and digital director Carla de Préval of Yves Saint Laurent said, 'Before I arrived there’d already been a number of cool productions, and since my arrival we’ve tried to push things a little further, to have a complete and global vision of digital — to separate ourselves from a completely internet-oriented vision and to really digitalize all points of contact.' "

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Dieline Awards 2012: Student, 1st Place, Re-Envisioning Auto Zone

Hunter Communications Recommended Reading from:
The Dieline .com

Link to Article:
Student Spotlight: Auto Zone
Full Awards Page (may be too amazing to read all at once!)

In the Dieline Awards 2012 competition, there was a special category for student designers who were asked to reimagine the design packaging strategy for an existing product or company.  The 1st place winner, Vinh Pho, took the mundane products of Auto Zone and reimagined them in the vein of an expensive designer line of personal care products.  His results are stunning.

Excerpt: "Description: The objective was to rebrand and redesign Auto Zone’s packaging and identity. The rebranding and repackaging of Auto Zone encapsoles a inviting experience with expressions of simplicity and professionalism. The craze of health and nutrition, was the driving force of the packaging concept; allowing Auto Zone to expand their user market through the redesign that encompasses these six key attributes: simple, professional, inviting, established, accessible and mobile."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jennifer Lopez tops Celebrity fragrance sales

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Sky News

Link to Article:
Lopez Tops Celebrity Perfume List

According to the British online fragrance retailer Escentual.com, Jennifer Lopez easily tops the world's celebrities when it comes to sales of her signature perfumes. Her 18 fragrances put her far ahead of runnersup Sarah Jessica Parker, Madonna, Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne, and sales of her fragrances actually are more profitable for Lopez than her music career.

Excerpt: "Jennifer, 42, has made a staggering 50 million from the sales of her perfumes since launching her first one 10 years ago and her success doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

Escentual founder Rakesh Aggarwal said: 'J-Lo remains the queen of the scent industry. I am sure starring on 'American Idol' has helped sales.  'The celebrity perfume market is massive and fashion can change very quickly, sometimes literally overnight. We monitor it very carefully and are always looking for new trends among customers.' "

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Major Players Ready Olympic Marketing Push

Coke's Move to the Beat push

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Ad Age

Link to Article:
What to Expect From Major Marketers' Olympic Push

The 2012 Summer Olympics Games are only a few days away, and the biggest presences in food, soft drinks, electronics, and home care products are putting the final touches on their marketing pushes to this massive audience. Coca Cola, Samsung, GE, Procter & Gamble, McDonald's, Visa and Omega are going to be there in the eyes of Olympic spectators and audiences...

Excerpt: "The 2012 London games kick off July 27 and sponsors are launching or readying major campaigns around the event. Here, what to expect from the biggest consumer marketers hitching themselves to the world's sporting stage.

After a recent drubbing over nutrition, Coca-Cola's "Move to the beat" effort is aimed at teens globally. In the U.S., it will work with an "eight pack" of athletes, featuring them in ads; they will also interact with consumers via social media. There are also interactive athlete quizzes, prizes, sweepstakes and a "cheers" site to upload encouragement to Team USA.

The official timekeeper is running a series of lush commercials, several of which are long, lingering shots of its Olympic Collection London 2012 timepieces. But the signature spot is an anthemic one-minute video set to the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up." It shows athletes warming up for their big moment as a clock ticks softly behind with the tagline, 'Official timekeeper of 25 Olympic Games.'

Visa's program is built around the concept that consumers can make a difference. Its push, running in 70 countries, features triumphant moments in Olympic history, with Morgan Freeman in the voice-over asking viewers to "join our global cheer." Fans also can upload a text, photo or video cheer they've created for the athletes and share via Facebook. "

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wanda Sykes Does Comedy Scent Branding for GAIN

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Brand Channel

Link to Article:
Wanda Sykes Hosts Interactive Gain Scent Matchmaker Studio

P&G's Gain detergent has it both ways.  In offering a wide range of scents matched to consumers' choices and lifestyles, they do some serious scent-based marketing.  Yet enlisting Wanda Sykes to host a range of interactive "questionnaire" clips on the brand's Youtube channel, and also using scent names like Flirty Fresh, Sweet Sizzle, Apple Berry Twist, Lemon Zest and Honeyberry Hula shows that the brand never loses its sense of fun and humor.

Wanda Sykes "hooks you up"
Excerpt: "On the brand's YouTube channel an interactive video questionnaire features Sykes as a virtual matchmaker ('like Cupid, for your nose!'), guiding users through a tongue-in-cheek personality test to determine the Gain variety scent best suited to their likes.

Also targeting the U.S. Hispanic market, the new campaign (now being promoted to its 1.1 million Facebook fans and with a promoted tweet) lets users toggle between English and Spanish language versions via a language selector button featured on the Gain YouTube video.

'We understand that different people have different scent preferences, scent memories and even experience scents in different ways, that's why we created this interactive experience to help consumers find their perfect scent match,' said Edwin Padilla, P&G North American Design Brand Manager for Gain, in a press release. 'At Gain we believe the fun doesn't have to stop when the cleaning starts, especially when you're surrounded by your perfect Gain scent match.' Naturally, P&G is offering a coupon as a call to sample the Gain family of laundry detergent."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ridiculous Smart Watch is Worst Sony Product EVER!?

Hunter Communication required reading from:

Link to Article:
Sony SmartWatch Review: Maybe the Worst Thing Sony Has Ever Made

Sometimes a new genre-busting gadget seems a little geeky at first, maybe even less than useful? Then you try it out and start imagining all the wonderful ways it can change your life, if you only cough up the money to buy one!  With their hilarious, unimaginably scathing review, Gizmodo proves FAR beyond the shadow of a doubt that the new Sony SmartWatch is not that kind of device.  The more you try to use it, the angrier, more frustrated and turned off you get...

Excerpt: " Using It. You'll be startled when you put on the Sony SmartWatch—This isn't nearly as stupid looking or feeling as I imagined it'd be. You expect to hate yourself as soon as you wear it, but somehow, you don't—ten points for you, Sony. This owes largely to how much the "watch"—a roughly inch and a half OLED screen, a third of an inch thick—feels like a watch without scare quotes. Once you charge it, you snap it into a provided band, then press its single button—and there's the time! The time of your life, maybe.

But then you look at it for more than a few seconds or so, maybe try touching it, and a thing you have strapped to your arm suddenly starts to make you unhappy. Unhappy and perplexed. A thing actually on your body confuses your brain, and it's not a tattoo of a Mobius strip or something. The SmartWatch requires a constant Bluetooth connection with an Android phone to do anything smart at all—otherwise it'll just blink errors at you, slackjawed, and show you the time. Similarly, you'll need the Android mothership to load any app you might want onto the thing—simply, it's non-functional without a phone in your bag or pocket, and because of the dinosaur Bluetooth connection, sluggish even when its phone mom is around..."

"Should I Buy It? No. Absolutely not. No one should own this, no matter their lifestyle preferences or moral views. I promise you—you won't like it. The Sony SmartWatch is pathetic, frustrating, and empty. There's no way to justify spending $150 on this—this ripoff of a thing. It's easily gulped down at first under the guise of luxe gadgetry, but spending any more than a few minutes swiping with despair reveals just how much of a bad practical joke this thing is. Were the SmartWatch some Target clearance rack bauble from a Chinese no-name crap dispensary, this wouldn't be worth typing over. But this is Sony. That means something. Right?"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Dieline Awards 2012: Editors' Choice, Spirit No. 13

Hunter Communications Recommended Reading from:
The Dieline .com

Link to Article:
Stranger & Stranger Christmas 2011
Full Awards Page (may be too amazing to read all at once!)

"Easy Sippin! Good Mixin! Made Slow! Acts Fast!" The Stranger & Stranger Company released their Spirit No. 13 holiday special liquor in a package meant to recall the freewheeling claims of 19th-century Wild West snakeoil salesmen.  The label is a charming replica of old "medicinal cure" packaging, and it is wrapped in a brown paper bag reminiscent of old blaring newspaper ads for miracle cures and health quackeries.

Excerpt: "Description: Every year we create a limited edition product to mark Christmas and celebrate success with the people who support us to make it happen. After last year’s Absinthe, we went a bit ‘moonshine’ but more 'snake oil' and lo-fi (we think). Enormous fun was had writing all the ads for the bag as well as about 500 words on the bottle alone. Our favorites are 'for reliable fire lighting and sterilising of wounds'. "

Saturday, July 21, 2012

London Olympics 2012: Team Fashion, the BAD

So you have seen some of the best of what we have been shown so far of the national team uniforms for the 2012 Summer Games. Are you ready now for some of the less successful attempts?

Team Australia has shown us two of their team uniform lines.  The opening ceremony outfits are really sedate, boxy and unfitted, and have given the team the look of what the local Aussie media describes as a local village bowling club:
Meanwhile the competition uniforms WOULD have been ok, but the rouching on the women's track jackets makes it all a bit unfortunate:

The UK home team has recruited star progeny Stella McCartney to design their competition uniforms, who went a bit random in using bits of the Union Jack in an odd dull gray-blue palette.  The design for the opening ceremony outfits have been described but not yet publicly shown, and are said to be gold Elvis jackets with tight white pants. We'll see if they live up to that billing!
But the prize for the most bizarre team uniforms so far goes to the team from cash-strapped Spain. Their uniform design was donated free of charge by Russian design house BoscoSport.  Unfortunately, sometimes you really DO get what you pay for:
So we really DO have a lot to both look forward to and dread in Olympic fashion this summer. And we can only imagine what delights have yet to be revealed on July 27th--see you there?!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Master Plan or Marketing Misfire? Did Microsoft Know What They Created with Kinect?

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The New York Times

Link to Article:
Freaks, Geeks and Microsoft: How Kinect Spawned a Commercial Ecosystem

When Microsoft introduced the Kinect motion sensing peripheral for its XBox game console, were they clueless to its possibilities? Or did they secretly know they would set off a wave of off-label innovation by inspired inventors? We are seeing the device morph into a tool for drone navigation, animation filmmaking, robotics and computer control by body movements. This "Guinness world record-holder for fastest selling consumer device of all time" has taken on a life of its own. Was that part of the master plan all along?

Excerpt: "At the International Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, used his keynote presentation to announce that the company would release a version specifically meant for use outside the Xbox context and to indicate that the company would lay down formal rules permitting commercial uses for the device. A result has been a fresh wave of Kinect-centric experiments aimed squarely at the marketplace: helping Bloomingdale’s shoppers find the right size of clothing; enabling a “smart” shopping cart to scan Whole Foods customers’ purchases in real time; making you better at parallel parking.

An object that spawns its own commercial ecosystem is a thing to take seriously. Think of what Apple’s app store did for the iPhone, or for that matter how software continuously expanded the possibilities of the personal computer. Patent-watching sites report that in recent months, Sony, Apple and Google have all registered plans for gesture-control technologies like the Kinect. But there is disagreement about exactly how the Kinect evolved into an object with such potential. Did Microsoft intentionally create a versatile platform analogous to the app store? Or did outsider tech-artists and hobbyists take what the company thought of as a gaming device and redefine its potential?"  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making of a Flashmob Event (from Somewhere Inside the Batcave)

The Sherman Oaks Galleria needs Batmen
Now I could watch a flashmob that suddenly appeared before my eyes and enjoy it as much as the next guy.  Granted, I might be watching the dancer-performers and thinking "There but for the grace of God..."  But then, I wouldn't be taking the floor to join a country line dance at a shitkicker bar, either, and that is what a flashmob sometimes reminds me of.

So when Hunter Communication invited me to covertly get into the mind of a flashmobber by following the steps a volunteer might take to join the "party", I felt like something between a spy and a Mean Girl.  But hey, people LOVE these flashmob thingies, so SOMEBODY has to be there in the trenches.

The process started with an announcement to the VIP mailing list of the Sherman Oaks Galleria:
 "BATMAN Flash Mob at the Sherman Oaks Galleria!
Thursday, July 19

Arrival: 6:30pm
Performances: 7:30pm and 7:45pm

Have you always wanted to be part of a Flash Mob? Well, now is your chance!
To celebrate the final installment of Christopher Nolan's epic Batman trilogy, we've teamed up with Billy Blanks Jr. and Sharon Catherine Blanks to put on a BATMAN themed flash mob like no other at the Sherman Oaks Galleria"

Prospective volunteers were invited to email and await further instructions. Then, organizers answered their emails and grouped them according to possible dance ability.  The next communication greeted them with a cheery:

"Thank you for committing to the Batman Flash Mob on Thursday July 19th at the Sherman Oaks Galleria with Billy Blanks Jr. and Sharon Catherine Blanks. If you are receiving this email, you are officially signed up to participate. Please arrive at the Galleria at 6:30pm (July 19th) to practice."

And then they were directed to a page of practice videos demonstrating the choreography aimed at their group number, and the downloadable music to practice along with. 

Granted, this is no simple 8-bar shuffle.  The dance practice page shows Billy Blank in NINE different choreography clips, with a specific combination of clips that you should follow as a member of your numbered group. Volunteers are directed:

"Please watch the entire video below so you see the sequence and then review and practice the videos under your GROUP #.
LEARN VIDEOS 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9

LEARN VIDEOS 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
LEARN VIDEOS 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

LEARN VIDEOS 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
LEARN VIDEOS 6, 7, 8, 9


ATTENTION: Be sure to reverse the steps since the video is facing you."

 It reminds me of what Miss America contestants must be faced with before coming to Las Vegas for the big pageant week (without the evening gowns and high heels, of course).

How does this all fall magically into place on the evening of the 19th?  Stay tuned--you will be as interested as I am (now that I have seen how much work goes into this).
And do I even need to add, "same Bat-time, same Bat-channel"?..

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Surprise! Buyers Like Boring Car colors...

Hunter Communications Recommended Reading from:
The Washington Post

Link to Article:
Today’s popular car colors rev no engines 

You may be surprised to find that American car buyers prefer the most boring shades imaginable. White, silver, black and grey are the top colors for the North American paint market, cementing a trend that started 20 years ago away from bright, saturated auto paint colors and into monochromatic colorless paints.

Excerpt: " DuPont, a maker of automotive coatings, has been tracking vehicle color popularity since 1953. On the company’s 2011 color popularity survey, the top four most common colors of North American vehicles were white (23 percent), black (18 percent), silver (16 percent) and gray (13 percent).


It hasn’t always been this way. “In the ’50s, there was more color,” said Nancy Lockhart, DuPont’s color marketing manager. “There was a lot of green, teals, aquas, blues, those types of colors. . . . Silver and white were not popular colors back then. Of course, today is the complete opposite.”

DuPont’s surveys, based on vehicle build data, show that the 1970s saw the rise of brown, yellow and orange as top colors. The 1980s added beige to the mix, along with blue. White started its ascendancy in the 1990s. (Red was popular for a while, too, and green had a brief run at the charts.) In the 2000s, white and silver started their domination."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Mob of Flash Mob Articles

Flash mobs as an impromptu performance "art event" are a phenomenon whose wave has come and gone, but as a marketing tool, they continue to attract attention, amaze and delight jaded shoppers.  Here are some recent internet articles that examine the use of flash mobs to promote brand or product awareness.

Original 2003 flash mob marketing event at Macy's
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Keyboard Gorilla

Link to Article:
Congregate-Flash-Disperse: Flash Mob Marketing

Since 2003, when Bill Wasik, Senior Editor at Harper’s Magazine, directed a supposedly random "mob" of more than 100 shoppers to gather and stare at one particular expensive rug on display at New York's Herald Square flagship Macy's department store, clever marketers have organized these unheralded mini-events to attract awareness and attention.

Excerpt: "When it comes to guerrilla marketing, Flash Mob Marketing may just be one of the most budget-friendly, high-impact tactics to alert your consumers to the existence of your business.

A business goes through five steps in their marketing strategy starting at the introduction and hopefully ending at the loyal client... Flash Mob marketing is used mostly for the first stage, the Awareness stage. Simply put, Awareness is introducing your brand to your market. The biggest challenge in this stage is standing out from all the other brands trying to steal your audience’s attention.

This challenge has led to some of the most creative, bizarre and ingenious marketing campaigns we have today. It has also resulted in the jaded consumer who, frankly, is sick and tired of being sold to. It’s a catch 22 relationship: Consumer is bombarded with marketing messages -they tune out – marketer finds new ways to create awareness – consumer is interested for a second – is overexposed – feels bombarded – marketer goes back to the drawing board to cook up new ways to create awareness…."

"Worst breath" claims victims in Tic Tac flash mob
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Kambio Group

Link to Article:
The Flash Mob Marketing Hybrid

Recent flash mob events from companies like Nike and Tic Tac have breathed new impetus and life into the flash mob concept.

Excerpt: "While the initial idea of a flash mob was clever, spontaneous, and whimsical it can’t help but be said that if you have seen one you have seen them all. The idea, in a marketing aspect, is quite genius though. I can’t help but ask myself what is next? Will there be a new mutant form of “mobbing” that will throw us all for a loop? The answer, quite frankly, is yes. Companies such as Nike, Tic Tac, and The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, amongst others, have taken their marketing strategy to the next level. Each has taken a unique aspect of its predecessor and has evolutionized into the new hybrid."

Atlanta airport concourse becomes flash mob venue
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
International Business Times

Link to Article:
Southwest & Delta's New Marketing Strategy: Flash Mobs

Waiting airport passengers are just about the ideal captive audience for ANYTHING that will cheer them and relieve the boredom of an enforced wait at the terminal.  Airlines have taken advantage of this to build brand awareness and loyalty, and get a Youtube viral marketing boost in the bargain.

Excerpt: "The next time you go to the airport, wander the terminal and get on a plane, be forewarned that you are walking into flash mob territory. This week, Southwest and Delta Airlines became the latest carriers to join the marketing craze of posting flash mob videos on YouTube.

A flash mob, by definition, is 'a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place to perform an unusual and seemly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire and artistic expression.' It's also increasingly one of the cheapest ways for a company to get brand recognition out to the masses by making a video that's sure to go viral.  What are the key ingredients? Amateur dancers, company uniforms, a dance song and a video camera. Corporate flash mobs are no spontaneous eruption, but a carefully planned marketing scheme."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bieber wins Oscar of the Fragrance Marketing World

Hunter Communications Recommended Reading from:
The Daily Mail

Link to Article:
Justin Bieber's SOMEDAY Wins Best Celebrity Fragrance

There's no accounting for tastes, and I guess that applies to the olfactory world as well.  18-year old Canadian heartthrob Justin Bieber recently amazed the world of celebrity fragrance by beating such luminaries as David Beckham and Kim Kardashian with his women's perfume "Someday".

Excerpt: "The Canadian will also be receiving the highly coveted Elizabeth Taylor award at the 40th annual FiFi event held in New York next week, which honours those who have helped promote the world of perfumery.

His female scent described as 'playful, fresh yet flirty and anything but ordinary', smashed records back in June 2011, raking in $3 million in just three weeks at Macy’s in U.S.  And this month in the UK it sold out instantly, after the star himself deemed it 'irresistible'.

Commenting on his cluster of awards, Bieber said: 'I am honoured to be named Elizabeth Taylor Fragrance Celebrity of the Year. It means a lot to me that my fans and The Fragrance Foundation support all my accomplishments.  The best part is that my favorite charities are sharing in the success; it is important to pay it forward. Plus, I have the girls smelling great!'

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Dieline Awards 2012: Food Packaging, 3rd place, Thai Pomelo

(Part two of a weekly series of award-winning packaging design)

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Dieline .com

Link to Article 
Eco & Sustainable Premium Thai Pomelo Packaging
Full Awards Page (warning:  may be too amazing to read all at once!)

The next product singled out by the 2012 Dieline Awards for innovations in packaging design only achieved a 3rd place finish in the food category, but its unique use of materials makes it noteworthy.  The package is a biodegradable sling made from the leaves of the invasive weed known as water hyacinth. The designers use this waste material to fashion something both useful, beautiful and eco-friendly to wrap and sell the Asian grapefruit relative known as pomelo.

Excerpt: "From world’s worst aquatic plant to unique designed package promoting Thai agricultural products.

This package is designed for a famous Thai pomelo of Chainat province, made of water hyacinth. This environmentally friendly package can draw consumers in, uplift high quality Thai fruits to premium or gift markets, and decompose easily within 3 months by burying it. Pomelo’s packaging design is inspired by The King of Thailand’s philosophy of sufficiency economy, highlights sustainability and self-reliance."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Neologisms 2012: Is BFD the New LOL?

Health reform still a BFD.Courtesy of barackobama.com

Vice President Joe Biden sent Americans a-Twitter when he referred to health care reform as a "BFD".  Now the  expression itself has sent linguists to work deciding whether the salty abbreviation will have a continued life in the English language.

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to Article:
Is BFD the Next LOL? NFW.

Excerpt: "Scholars are still working out why some abbreviations fizzle while others make a transition from insiders’ jargon to broad acceptance. Linguist Allan Metcalf has developed a handy scale to forecast a neologism’s chances of becoming a long-term part of the language. He assigns the expression a score of 0, 1, or 2 in each of five categories: frequency of use, unobtrusiveness, diversity of users, ability to generate related neologisms, and endurance of the concept it describes. (The chat room favorite RTFM—read the f*cking manual—has withered largely because electronics no longer come with thick instruction manuals.)"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Olympic Fashion Update: Patriotism vs. Pride in US Team

Team USA uniforms made in China
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Washington Post

Link to Article:
Burn 'Em: Lawmakers Outraged US Uniforms Made in China

So the Team USA Olympic fashion looks from Polo Ralph Lauren got raves from fashion insiders.  Now that word is out that our team fashions are manufactured in China, politicians don't find them so appealing!

Excerpt: "Uniforms for U.S. Olympic athletes are American red, white and blue — but made in China. That has members of Congress fuming.

Republicans and Democrats railed Thursday about the U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision to dress the U.S. team in Chinese manufactured berets, blazers and pants while the American textile industry struggles economically with many U.S. workers desperate for jobs. 'I am so upset. I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again,' Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference on taxes.

'If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, then that’s what they should wear,' he said, referring to an athletic jersey."

London Olympics 2012: Team Fashions, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly! Part 1: The Good!

The Summer Olympics start Friday, July 27th, and the opening ceremonies bring a world of eyes to the national team uniforms. Designers famous and struggling use the occasion to make their mark and define the tone of their countries' teams. Some bring the best of fashion, some a staid sameness, and some... is bizarre too strong a word?

Polo Ralph Lauren for the US Olympic team

Ralph Lauren makes his mark on the U.S. team, and imparts a note of casual, classic elegance.  His designs look ready for the marketplace, and indeed they are already available for sale to the general public.

Likewise, the Italian Olympic team is graced with the effortless class and style of two stellar designers from their home country.  The team uniforms for the ceremonies are by Giorgio Armani's Emporio Armani line:

Italy's Olympic sailors in Prada

Meanwhile, the sailing team for Italy is outfitted by Miuccia Prada, the world's foremost name in elegant simplicity:

Team Jamaica by Cedella Marley

Team Jamaica will be presented in outfits from Puma, designed by Bob Marley's designer daughter Cedella:

Bogner for Team Germany

The members of Team Germany are clad by local sportswear company Bogner, and present a dapper look in white pants set off with baby pink and sky blue jackets that bring a springlike coolness to the Summer Games.

Not all countries rely on homegrown design talent.  Azerbaijan has been known in the pop music world for picking and choosing the best international writers, producers and choreographers for their Eurovision entries, and they have applied the same approach to their Olympic team fashion. The Azeris have recruited Italian luxury designer Ermanno Scervino to give their 2012 team a sleek, posh look in the colors of their national flag.

Next week we'll take a look at the LESS successful national team uniform fashions.  Some are just boring and sedate, others a bit more of a question mark(?!)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Neuro Drinks take "Smart Water" One Step Beyond

Neuro sells psychoactive drinks to boost mood
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Discover Magazine

Link to Article:
Bottles Full of Brain-Boosters

After sport- and energy drinks, companies are now taking things a step further with "neuro drinks" that makers insinuate can boost mood, intelligence and memory with advanced neurotransmitter ingredients.  Do they work?  Maybe the kind of consumers that buy into the hype need any boost they can get in those areas...

Excerpt: "The drink, called NeuroSonic, is labeled with a cartoon silhouette of a head, with a red circle where its brain should be. A jagged line—presumably the trace of an EKG—crosses the circle. And down at the very bottom of the bottle, it reads, 'Mental performance in every bottle.'

My office is full of similar boxes: Dream Water (“Dream Responsibly”), Brain Toniq (“The clean and intelligent think drink”), iChill (“helps you relax, reduce stress, sleep better”), and Nawgan (“What to Drink When You Want to Think”). These products contain mixtures of neurotransmitters, hormones, and neuroactive amino acids, but you don’t need a prescription to buy them. I ordered mine on Amazon, and you can even find them in many convenience stores.

I unscrew the cap from one of them and take a gulp. NeuroSonic tastes like cherry and aluminum. I wait for my neurons to light up.

 While I wait I call nutrition scientist Chris Noonan, who serves as adviser to Neuro, the company that makes NeuroSonic and a line of other elixirs for the brain. The inspiration for NeuroSonic came from the huge success of energy drinks, the caffeine-loaded potions now earning over $6 billion a year in the United States. The company’s founder, Diana Jenkins, posed a question: 'Instead of just having a regular caffeinated energy drink, could we also include nutrients for cognitive enhancement and cognitive health?' Her team searched the scientific literature for compounds, eventually zeroing in on L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Trendy Re-Branding FAIL! US Military Waves White Flag for Digital Camouflage

Hunter Communications recommended reading from: 

Link to Article:
Camouflage Problems in the Army: UCP and the Future of Digital Camouflage

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  In 2005 the US Military switched to UCP, a trendy new digital pixelated camouflage pattern, in its uniforms.  Now that it turns out that the pattern doesn't (and never did) perform well in actual field use, the military is forced to lay down its experiment in modernity.  Did they gin up the research to rebrand the Army and appeal to a young, cool-conscious crowd?

Excerpt: "Seen with civilian eyes, the rise and fall of the UCP—and the family of rectilinear camouflage patterns to which it belongs—reads like a parable of irrational exuberance. Pixelated camouflage started to catch on in the technophilic years of the late-1990s, a digital pattern for a dot-com world. By taking the flowing shapes of the old woodland prints and deconstructing them into tiny squares, military engineers applied a computer logic to nature: They made over the science of camouflage, once inspired by the evolution of peppered moths and other animals, into a kind of digital screen-print that could spread through the networked military as a piece of viral media.

 The pixel print started (like its analogues in high fashion) as a look-book style for the warrior set. U.S. troops had worn the classic, four-colored Battle Dress Uniform and then a three-color NATO design for decades, but in the early 2000s, the Marine Corps pushed into the avant-garde by donning a digital print borrowed from the Canadians. (That one was first tested in 1998.) When it came time for the Army to update its own uniforms a few years later, the Marines' pixelated "MARPAT" scheme served as the model. "It was trendy," one military textile engineer told the Daily. 'If it's good enough for the Marines, why shouldn't the Army have that same cool, new look?' "

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sweden Won Eurovision, and Why Americans Should Care

ESC Made Easy for Americans:
An American Fan of Eurovision Song Contest Blog
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
American Fan of Eurovision

Link to Article:
Sweden Won ESC, and Why Americans Should Care

There are two reasons:  first is that as the Eurovision Song Contest crowned its 56th winner in May, and Sweden scored an overwhelming victory that went on to slay the European pop charts, it marked another inroad into the Swedes' invasion of the world's (and America's) pop music culture.

The second is that Americans rarely notice the massive pop music event, and now there is not only good reason to start, but a place as well:  a new blog written specifically for Americans -- it's educational, detailed and most importantly, fun --  ideal for a neophyte fan.

Excerpt: "Swedish pop music is now as much a part of America as (German) hotdogs, (Italian) pizza, and (Mexican) tacos. American artists like Britney Spears (“Baby One More Time”), Kelly Clarkson (“Since U Been Gone”), Pink (“So What”), Katy Perry (“I Kissed A Girl”) and Lady Gaga (“Just Dance”, “Poker Face”) owe some of their greatest hits to Swedish producers and composers.

Sweden’s victory in the latest Eurovision is like a coronation. The rest of Europe, via their much-derided Song Contest, has acknowledged that the style of instantly accessible and unforgettable pop music that has its roots in Scandinavia is the gold standard the rest of the world now aspires to. In that light, the most remarkable Eurovision achievement this year is the fact that of the 42 national entries, a full 10 songs were written or co-written by Swedes. And every single one of those entries made it through the semis to the ESC grand final."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Procter & Gamble Olympic Marketing Takes the Gold

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Network for Good

Link to Article:
4 Reasons P & G Takes the Olympic Marketing Gold

Procter & Gamble, the "proud sponsor of moms", has taken its marketing slant into the Olympic arena with last year's Special Olympics campaign and now its foray into the crowded London 2012 derby. By focusing on the moms of Olympic athletes, the conglomerate reinforces its own branding identity and brings attention to the human element of the Games.

Excerpt: "P&G calls itself a ‘proud sponsor of moms’ and much of its brand portfolio (Pampers, Bounty, Tide, Dawn) marketing efforts are targeted to the mom demographic. It makes organic sense to create an Olympic marketing campaign around moms and celebrate the moms of Olympic athletes and hopefuls. P&G seeks to use its voice as an Olympics sponsor to thank every mom in the world.

This year’s ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign builds on the foundation of the 2011 version of the campaign leading up to the Special Olympics. P&G thanked the moms of Special Olympics athletes and made a donation to support Special Olympics Team USA reach the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. There was also a digital engagement component where a ‘like’ on P&G’s Facebook page unlocked a $1 donation to the Special Olympics. "

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2012 Dielines: Spirits, 1st place, Smirnoff Caipiroska

(Part One of a weekly series of award-winning packaging)
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Dieline .com

Link to Article 
Smirnoff Caipiroska Peelable Bottle
Full 2012 Awards Page (warning:  may be too amazing to view all at once!)

The Dieline Awards are an annual competition in the field of commercial packaging design.  "This worldwide competition devoted exclusively to the art of brand packaging awarded 38 winners across 12 different categories including Best of Show and Editor's Choice titles".

In the category of Spirits packaging, the 1st place winner, Brazil's Smirnoff Caipiroska range of fruity infusions, interpreted their product quite literally, turning the bottle into a piece of peelable fruit.  What a way to start a party!

Excerpt: ""To launch the new formula of the flavors of Smirnoff Caipiroska, the Brazilian drink that is popular worldwide, we created bottles with the texture of the fruit for the flavors lemon, passion fruit and berries and a diagonal perforation, so that consumers could feel the unique experience of peeling a drink made of fruit. And we even sent the bottles in wooden crates to a select mailing list, just like the fruits are transported in large produce markets in Brazil."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Photo of the Week

"Puttin' on the Ritz" at the Sherman Oaks Galleria

This photo was taken at the Sherman Oaks Galleria as Irving Berlin’s 1929 classic was reborn as a dance performance by students and staff of Arthur Murray Sherman Oaks (see finished video below – the photo appears at the end during the credits).

The performance was part of  “Dancing Under the Stars” a free dance party on the first Friday of every month at the Sherman Oaks Galleria, in Sherman Oaks, California.  It’s part of Galleria LIVE!, the Sherman Oaks Galleria’s free community events program, now in its seventh year.  Galleria LIVE! encompasses all types of live performances including music, dance, kids club, holiday celebrations and more.

Hunter Communications handles marketing at the Sherman Oaks Galleria.

Note:  The title "Puttin' on the Ritz" derives from the slang expression "putting on the Ritz," meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the swanky Ritz Hotel in London.  The song became associated with Fred Astaire who gave an amazing performance in the 1946 movie Blue Skies.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pantone Color of the Year brightens 2012 with Tangerine Tango

Pantone Corporation, of Carlstadt, New Jersey, has taken on, as part of its mission, congregating an international panel of experts twice a year to choose the "color of the year".

Wikipedia describes the process: "Annually Pantone declares a particular color "Color of the Year". Twice a year the company hosts, in a European capital, a secret meeting of representatives from various nations' color standards groups. After two days of presentations and debate, they choose a color for the following year; for example, the color for summer 2013 was chosen in London in the spring of 2012.

LAMPS PLUS markets their latest products in 2012's hot color!

The color purportedly connects with the zeitgeist; for example the press release declaring Honeysuckle the color of 2011 said 'In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues.'

The results of the meeting are published in Pantone View ($750), which fashion designers, florists, and many other consumer-oriented companies purchase to help guide their designs and planning for future products."

This year's panel chose TANGERINE TANGO as the official color for 2012, and describes how the color invigorates and brightens today's world: “Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New "Companionable" Font Inspires Graphics World

New IDLEWILD typeface

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Now arriving: Idlewild

Who knew graphic artist-types could be so... poetic?  Typography.com waxes positively rhapsodic about the virtues of new IDLEWILD typeface, and demonstrates how the synergy of font "companionability" brings out new unexpected qualities in other run-of-the mill typefaces.

Excerpt: "For the longest time, we've been reaching for a typeface that wasn't there. We knew it was something spare and tranquil, its letterforms reaching ambitiously outward, and we could hear it speaking in hushed but captivating tones. We imagined it as industrious, combining space-age optimism with the confidence and composure of a master craftsman. We could see the typeface among the realm of satisfying things, objects designed not merely to be used but to be enjoyed: a well-balanced knife, a performance engine; the tool that fits the hand just so.

As the design took shape, we were happy to see it take on these qualities and more. Growing to five weights, from a precise Thin to a resolute Bold, Idlewild developed into a family of typefaces with poise and determination. What we never expected was how companionable it would be for so many of our other fonts, and how many different temperaments could be coaxed out of it."
CLAIM CHECK becomes "chic" paired with IDLEWILD

IDLEWILD brings out the "timeless" side of GOTHAM

IDLEWILD plus TUNGSTEN = "vintage"