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How Etch-A-Sketch® Wins the Popular Culture Vote


Legendary brand Etch-A-Sketch®  now has a new legacy that manufacturer OhioArt® (NASDAQ: OART)  didn’t plan for. This children’s toy is now part of 2012 U.S. Presidential history— at least the run for office. Sen. Rick Santorum jibed his opponent Gov. Mitt Romney and the rest is history. For OhioArt, the toy’s maker, the beat is on to buy, enjoy, and engage.

  1. Vote 1: All word-of-mouth is good.

  2. Share

    Thu, Mar 22 2012 20:00:00
  3. The saying goes that any word of mouth — positive or negative — is worth it. It’s all about brand recognition, buzz, and free advertising. People who never heard of this classic boomer product suddenly become aware, interested, and freshly loyal. And not simply as buyers and users, but investors.
  4. Share
    My friends, I don’t know what an Etch-a-Sketch is, but one of my friends owns Ohio Arts.
    Fri, Mar 23 2012 13:22:50
  5. Share
    I should have bought Ohio Art stock. The price tripled since Etch-A-Sketch-Gate.
    Fri, Mar 23 2012 14:08:32
  6. Vote 2: Etch-A-Sketch sales are quickly on the rise.Share

  7. Not sure why, but I have this strange feeling that I should go out and by an Etch-a-Sketch before they are all gone.
    Fri, Mar 23 2012 14:02:21
  8. Share
    Etch a Sketch sales are booming because the Republican candidates are entertainers…? What does an etch a sketch have to do with your vision for the country?
    Fri, Mar 23 2012 14:01:26
  9. And then there’s culture. The brand’s culture — two-handed sketching from knobs that resembled a TV screen — lived on in our collective. That’s what makes it a natural fit for political banter where you see talking heads of politicos on every screen in front of you.
  10. Share
    Etch a sketch …We have a left knob and a right knob so we naturally appeal to both parties.Appeals to all politicians. They just shake it up and whoever pays for the next sketch so turns the knobs.
    Fri, Mar 23 2012 13:22:56
  11. Vote 3: The earned media is intense!Share

  12. Maddow Explains Why An ” Etch A Sketch ” Is A Perfect Analogy For Mitt Romney
    Thu, Mar 22 2012 21:59:31
  13. The more you try to distance yourself from this crazy metaphor, the more you recall the product’s best features. You could “erase” a line simply by rolling back your knob.
  14. Share
    Santorum tries to erase Romney Etch A Sketch comment: First Read: Rick Santorum is walking back his Romney Etch A Sketch comment sayi…
    Fri, Mar 23 2012 14:27:32
  15. Share

    Thu, Mar 22 2012 20:00:00
  16. Vote 4: There’s brand culture coming from every corner.

  17. What’s fascinating is that Etch-A-Sketch struck a cord with late boomers in the ’60s. Like Lego, there was always room for creativity and people could bring their own life lessons, experience, and wisdom. It’s even become a great medium for timely folk art. Jane Labowitch, for example, sketched this portrait© of Rick Santorum and posted the result to
  18. Share
    Life is like an Etch-A-Sketch…if you mess up, shake it off
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 17:32:32
  19. Who could ask for more than this – a free instructor’s guide, published by venerable
  20. Vote 5: Brand culture opens doors to very interesting places.

  21. Etch-A-Sketch even strikes a cord with iPad users, if you look at this interesting sleeve posted to Pinterest. Something visually interesting about the sketcher and the technology achieving the same from significantly different price points. These nostalgic knock-offs, reintepretations, or folk artistries vett the childlike wonder of creativity and free expression. Who doesn’t want a share of that?
  22. Share

    Wed, Mar 21 2012 18:11:17
  23. Not to be outdone, there’s even an app for that when all the rhetorical dust settles. The brand will live on and the experience will never end. Just shake and start over. Can’t wait to see an etched Justin Bieber portrait.
  24. What are your thoughts about brand culture?

  25. While brand identity is a sure thing, what is it about brand culture that makes it a hit or miss. Can you truly create a culture or simply plant a seed and see what develops. Is culture enough to sustain a brand? Log on to add your comments. Also share the link with a friend.

Branded relationships in five easy lessons : Whole Foods


Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Here’s the lesson behind these five easy lessons of branded relationships: Identity is just the beginning. Experience matters and culture makes you a brand rock star. Whole Foods Market ® (NASDAQ: WFM) clearly gets it. Even check-out is gamified, offering color, lights, and sound that prompt intrigue in anticipating the next available checkout. It’s not about time passed, but quality time lived zestfully.

1. State your promise clearly.

Around here, we often talk about our mission in terms of Whole Foods – Whole People – Whole Planet. Basically, we think these elements all play a huge role in our success.

About the Company, Whole Foods

Whole Foods has clearly completed business boot camp and drilled down to a core mission statement which promises 360 integrity. Building the company out from the single word “Whole” has created a total experience for:

  • the food retailer’s enterprise of “62,000 team members” (that phrase alone tells you something),
  • curious shoppers who come to find out what others cheer about, and
  • passionate members of the brand’s community.

2. Engage the whole customer from the get-go.

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

This Whole Foods Market in Oakland, CA clearly gets the local culture and the brand essence to serve up a total experience. Note the palm trees, bike stations, and lawn table. People come to shop, live and share all in one. Part rest-stop and zest-stop, customers know their foodie soul will be well fed at every step. Note too, the impeccable cleanliness.

Related article:  Whole Foods Market, Oakland Magazine (April 2008)

3. Leave no engagement unbranded.

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Whole Foods mastered a 180 of “store brands.” Considered the “affordable” alternative to branded consumer products, the store brand is the only brand at Whole Foods. Every bit of packaging expresses the joie de vivre of fresh food of the highest quality. That’s important when fresh food is front and center, either unprepared food or deli-style prepared meals and snacks. Think of this festive beverage next to a freshly prepared Whole foods salad and you get the idea.

The lesson: keep your eye on that brand sweetspot and make sure you’ve prepared a reward, promise, or aspiration to enrich every moment your customer engages with it.

4. Flaunt how much your brand cares.

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

This catalog of in-store recipes represents the something more that always tells customers they are worth more. And that’s what keeps customers coming … (You get it!) Part memento, part user’s guide, this recipe catalog empowers Whole Foods customers to bring the whole experience home. Of course, there’s a gentle nudge of cross-selling, but it comes without the cost of pushing. The shopper who looks to this recipe catalog has their sweetspots fed. S/he looks for solutions (i.e., ways to cook all the fresh food purchased) and is open to expanding this branded relationship they trust so growing loyalty.

5. Find a place in your customer’s heart.

Source: Uploaded by user via Elizabeth on Pinterest

What more can you say when a customer creates art from your products. Now you’ve got a brand culture with evangelistas at every step. Founded in Austin Texas, Whole Foods Market continues to expand nationally with over 300 stores as of Q1 2012.

What’s your experience?

Does Whole Foods Market set a new level in experiential branding and retailing? What lessons can you share for building branded relationships. Log in and post your comments here or share with a friend.
Note: these images posted via Pinterest with the intent of “fair use,” promoting education and discussion.

Vote for your “best” branded relationship lesson:

Do customers recall your brand by smell?



Your brand has a scent — real or imagined — with power to influence awareness, recall, purchase, and loyalty. That means, every brand has something to learn from fragrance brands. It can serve as a subtle make or break in building a branded relationship for the long term with your most profitable and loyal customers.

Example: Johnson’s Baby Powder

Johnson’s Baby Powder is one venerable brand that pioneered the trademark scenting-awareness-brand method of engaging an audience. Comments to a brand Pinterest board suggest that the fragrance of newer brands evoke the aspirations of a fresher, younger audience. For example, Andrew — @Redtype — of Redtype Design observes:

redtype Depends on which generation u were born in. I suspect the younger ones may not know this as well as we do…

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

In a Q4 2011 Houston Chronicle article, Maggie Galehous notes that Procter & Gamble has invested heavily in scent as a means to build brand loyalties of emerging Latino communities. One person’s exotic, is another person’s home-style. That’s why you see many more flavorings in food and natural ingredients in personal care.

Comment here or to a new Quora discussion, Can You Recall The Scent of a Famous Brand?

Additional reading:

Brands use color and scent to target Latina shoppers

MAGGIE GALEHOUS, Houston Chronicle Updated 05:57 p.m., Monday, October 31, 2011  Copyright 2012 Houston Chronicle. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Announcing my Delicious 2012 palette


Thanks for your interest, votes, and chat about my 2012 Delicious tag cloud palettes. Here goes:

Source: Uploaded by user via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Why color matters

In branded relationships, color communicates so far beyond what our intellect can imagine. That’s why getting your input was so valuable. In addition, review and discussion of Delicious tag clouds makes an important part of the regular content of Urban Bellwether.

What’s your experience?

If you’ve worked in big-brand enterprise, what was the role of color in shaping the brand to customers, employees, and the universe? Did a change in color lead to a change in awareness or success? Join the poll or login and comment.

The 5 Ws of Social Media in 5 Tags: Jan. ’12



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These featured tags of my Jan. ’12 Delicious bookmarks offer the complete 5Ws of media and marketing’s effectiveness not just as a social force for consumers, but as a civic force in government. Of all the works published in January, five articles distilled the story of online shopping, anti-piracy, privacy, and legislation to control the Internet. You’ll find them in: My Delicious January ’12: Customer data gets hacked, pushed, and priced.

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My Delicious January ’12: Customer data gets hacked, pushed, and priced



January 2012 in Media and Marketing:
Customer data looms good, bad, and ugly.

Here are the top five articles (my opinion, bookmarked with delicious) that drive a full month of discussion about online shopping, anti-piracy, privacy, and legislation to control the Internet. The summaries are my own, along with this custom tag-cloud newsprint that maps out the full discussion. You can also drill down to the final five tags with SlideShare (live 2/22/12).
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For related articles on social media marketing, visit or follow me on delicious. Read more…

Ferris Bueller meets William Shakespeare (kinda)


Ferris Bueller — the Honda XLVI Super Bowl ad campaign —  has more in common with William Shakespeare than you might think. It’s all about context and content as it applies to engaging your viewers and playgoers. So move over, Marshal McLuhan and let’s explore the message for a bit.

Teaching students who are speakers of other languages (TESOL) is very similar at times to teaching context as it applies to social media, advertising, and community.  Context (the concept) can be hard to spot and keep your eye on. But as part of your marketing and creative strategy, it’s the thread you can’t lose track of in 21st century engagement and #customerecology.

Here’s the Official 2012 Honda CR-V Game Day Commercial, “Matthew’s Day Off”

This campaign works on several levels. There’s a term for it: social media object. Take anything that people relate to and put it into a new context. Soon enough, they’ll transfer the engagement from the known to the unknown, new.

The more you know the more you engage.

In terms of composition, the meaning is inferred rather than explicit (for my ESOL friends and followers). That’s where William Shakespeare comes in ( program tease!).

1. It’s an ad, enjoy it. Without knowing anything about the star or the movie, Honda creates long-form content that fully engages

2. There’s Matthew Broderick in a Superbowl ad. One of my TESOL students (from Hungary) recalled the ad and confirmed that he watched simply because he was intrigued to see Matthew Broderick in a commercial. He didn’t know Broderick’s Ferris Bueller character.

3. There’s Matthew Broderick taking his own Ferris Bueller day off! If you know the movie and appreciate the humorous twist, you’ll watch and enjoy the commercial. Even this author, not a Ferris Bueller watcher, was at least familiar with the intriguing commercial twist.

4. You’ll watch every Superbowl ad. To borrow from Shakespeare, the ads are the thing, i.e., their own context. Honda is just part of the mix.

5. You’re a Honda evangelist. You’re the viewer who probably already subscribes to the Honda channel on Facebook and delights in any storytelling of a saga or travel. Every twist and level of meaning adds to your delight. Matthew-doing-a-Ferris in a Honda is just the icing on the cake.

Stage Right: Patrick Stewart as Macbeth

The character of Ferris Bueller has a long way to go to match the staying power of Shakespeare’s characters. Yes, let’s repeat. Shakespeare (the real or ghost-written) is commonly accepted as the most influential writer in English. Yet, his writing evokes stories that date back to ancient Greece, Biblical scripture, and history of the emerging British empire.

Take Macbeth that recounts the story of an 11th Century historic. Take Patrick Stewart whose Star Trek saga infuses meaning for the YouTube viewer. Note: while this YouTube video doesn’t embed, you can easily click through and watch.

Patrick Stewart plays Macbeth

Macbeth plays on stage of history

No class discussion – just lots of chatting. What are your thoughts on this Honda commercial. Does it win top honors in Superbowl XLVI ads and how does it compete with Shakespeare for using found objects to create context/content within a context? Sign in and comment or bookmark and share with friends.