Thursday, March 15, 2012

LA to NY: Learning Experiences

Sometimes learning how to build a brand can be like learning how to ride a bicycle . . you get on, fall off, get injured, get back on and repeat the process until you learn how to find a balance. We are learning that if your purpose in building a brand is to have people take a vested interest in particular product, service or idea learning how to balance relationships will be key.

As we move from Los Angeles to NYC our hopes are to meet people and create relationships that stimulate a new wave of creativity. See you soon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

China understands the power Brand Placement: TRANSFORMERS

When Marjorie Ma, a Chinese student in the United States, heard "May I finish my Shuhua milk?" in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, she couldn't believe her ears.

"A Chinese milk brand in a Hollywood movie about humanoid robots? Why and how did that happen?"
Liu Siru can answer that question. Liu's Filmworks, an entertainment marketing company, helped four Chinese businesses place their products in the summer blockbuster, which will open at mainland theaters on July 21, a month after its US premiere.

This is the first time so many Chinese brands have had such high-profile exposure in a major Hollywood movie.

Yili Group, the Chinese dairy giant that makes Shuhua brand milk, is one of them.
In a 10 second scene in the movie, a scientist played by US comedian Ken Jeong loudly drinks from a carton of the milk in an elevator. The writing on the carton is in Chinese.

According to Liu, Yili said the product had to be mentioned by a likable character in a relatively sparse, closed space, because clutter in the background would distract viewers.
The negotiations weren't brief or lighthearted as the scene.

"Michael Bay was, like, what? The milk isn't even distributed in the US," Liu recalled the director saying on hearing Yili's demands.

After a series of conference calls among producers, Bay, Liu and the brand, the director managed to create the scene.

"It's funny," Bay said at a news conference in Shanghai on July 14. "In America, you see all the Americans laugh."

Bay said he wasn't advertising the milk, but using it as a "comedy tool". "Putting Coca-Cola there was not funny, but putting Shuhua milk was funny. I'm not doing an ad for milk, I am doing a movie called Transformers." Yili, obviously, sees it differently.

"The box office of Transformers 3 is expected to reach 600 million yuan ($92 million) in China. Tens of millions of people will see it," said Zhang Jianqiu, Yili Group's executive president, in an e-mail interview."Audiences will help promote our brand when they talk about the movie." Yili would not say how much it spent for the exposure.But a film insider, who wished to remain anonymous, estimated that the placement plus an accompanying marketing campaign could cost up to $10 million.

Meters/bonwe Group, a leading Chinese apparel company, already knows the ropes in Hollywood. It had its logo flashed in the background of a fight scene in Transformers 2. This time it wanted lead actor Shia LaBeouf to wear its T-shirt, and it couldn't be a torn, wrinkled or dirty one - no easy task, considering the action LaBeouf's character goes through.

LaBeouf wore the T-shirt in his first take in the movie and the following love scene with his girlfriend.
Xie Wei, brand manager of the company's MTEE line, mailed about 20 T-shirts to the film set. "We wanted to show something only we have, something creative," he said. He was thrilled that LaBeouf chose one with their line's signature image.It was easier for TCL, the electronics company, and Lenovo, the computer manufacturer, to place their products. After all, TVs and computers are a must in a movie involving NASA and the Pentagon. "There are always conflicts between filmmakers and the businesses, but I have to say, the final scenes are a delight," she said.

China has become such an important market - it was the biggest international box office contributor for Transformers 2 and Avatar. And some partners, such as Meters/bonwe, TCL, and Lenovo, provide promotional support, which can further help in the box office, said David Leener, the film's product placement coordinator.

China imports only 20 foreign movies for release in cinemas. It would be a huge disappointment for the companies that arrange placement in films if they never got to Chinese theaters or the big scene was cut by censors. "We make the risks clear, and recommend movies most likely to play in Chinese theaters, but the companies have to keep the risks in mind," Liu said. But Liu said she already has more orders. The next Hollywood blockbusters with Chinese product placement, she said, might be the new Bond movie and Ice Age 4.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Socal's Got Photographers

Name Branderz is all about creating platforms and avenues through which artists can share their talents with the world in a way that will enable them to establish their unique brand and distinguish themselves from others who share their niche. One of the many forms of art we appreciate is photography, so much so that we went ahead and created a contest for the best photos in Southern California.

We are offering $100 for the best photo entered into our contest. Here are the rules:

  • Entrants can begin submitting photos from June 8th through June 17th 
  • We will select the top 3 photo's and have them posted to our blog for public display
  • We will allow the public to vote for the best photo out of the 3 posted to our blog via email ballots
  • Winner will receive $100 cash from Name Branderz for the winning photo which will be enlarged, framed, and hung at our offices
  •  All explicit photos will be disqualified
  • All entrants will need to subscribe to Name Branderz via email in order to receive contest updates on whether or not their photo's have made it to the final selection stage
  • Winner will need to provide a valid mailing address in order to receive the prize money
We are interested in seeing your photos and want to give you some cash for your talent. Enter today and see if your pics are a cut above the rest! Send all photos to

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wanna know how to create a successful festival brand? Ask Guerilla Union

In today's economy many Americans find it difficult to spend money on the things they need much less the things they want. I've even found myself cringing at the thought of having to give up my hard earned four dollars and thirty-two cents for a Mighty Kids Meal at McDonald's. Yet in the midst of mass frugality the people of Southern California create a budget for the enjoyment of Hip Hop music. Initially when I first discovered this I couldn't understand how anyone could get more than even a thousand people to consistently spend money on old-school hip hop shows . . . until I discovered why people were so willing to forgo paying their rent to go to a festival. The answer: Guerrilla Union.

Guerrilla Union has done what very few independent production companies have been able to do within the world Hip Hop music. They somehow have created a successful brand of Hip Hop events that generates an annual cumulative attendance of anywhere between 40,000 and 60,000 people. Through key attention to detail, strategic planning, solid relationships within the industry and a close ear to the street Guerrilla Union has cornered their market and has established themselves as a juggernaut within their industry. With widely known and heavily attended events such as Paid Dues, Spring Gathering, Rock The Bells and Smoke out Guerrilla Union has captured the heart of hip hop goers nation wide.

Check out this clip from the Rock The Bells 2011 Press Release:

See you in August!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Check out this excerpt from one of my favorite books on branding, "Do You Matter?" by Robert Brunner and Stewart . . .

Your Brand is Not Your Logo

Another way to look at brand is that it is like an individual’s character. That’s really what a brand is, the embodiment of a company’s character. When you think of the character of people, you find things about them that encourage you to like or dislike them. When you first meet someone, you might draw a few conclusions based on how they dress and style their hair, and few more of their mannerisms. A lot of times you’re right, and a lot of times you’re not. But then, as you gain real insight into their ethics and values and how they treat others, you begin to understand the person’s character. That’s how you really start to define how you feel about somebody. It’s the same way with a company. You can dress up people in cool clothes, and give them a hip new hairstyle, and create some ideas about, “Wow, maybe they’re really pretty cool and hip,” but as you really start to get to know them, you realize that, “No, they’re really moving violations of the truth in packaging laws.” All this is a veneer. You start to wonder about them. It’s the same thing with companies.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Does Great Artist Always = Great Clothing?

We have seen many artist brand their way into a clothing line, some more successful then others. Many of the great labels are still flourishing today:

Rocawear - Jay Z
Sean John - P. Diddy
LAMB - Gwen Stefani

The list goes on . . .

However, should we be on the look out for a rising brand in the industry? If it's Wiz Khalifa's clothing line then the answer might be a yes.

With Taylor Gang being one of the fastest growing cliques across the globe investors might want to start paying attention to whats coming out of Pittsburgh. I know we are!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maybe We Had It All Wrong . . .

We've spent the last month going on and on about some of the most amazing brands in existence today. We've been completely hyped up over the brands that were able to connect with amazing amounts of people and earn tremendous customer support however we missed one major factor that is present in all great brands.

They all fit a basic need and had a useful meaning.

For years I would tease my mom for buying what I considered generic house hold items, one in particular being Aim Toothpaste . . .

. . . I would always say that the only reason they were still in business was because she bought all of their supply. I felt like we should be brushing our teeth with brands such as Crest or Colgate. I would always see people on T.V. with their perfect smiles in the Crest commercials and think, "One good brush with that stuff and I'll have perfect teeth". However my mom had a basic understanding of brands that I did not, the same understanding that we all have but don't realize it.

She recognized that the brand she was investing in filled her basic need in its simplest form, that anything extra was unnecessary and that those two factors were enough for her to make the commitment to the brand.

Looking back my mom was an amazingly beautiful woman with an amazing smile. No she didn't use Crest or Scope but what she did use got the job done and that was enough to keep her committed to the brand.

In time's of such economic uncertainty people don't really have time for the "extras" certain brands offer as a part of their package. People will commit to what fits their most basic needs and occasionally visit the land of "extra" when resources permit. Sustainable brands are not built off of visitors but off of those who have made the commitment to the brand. The minute a song, shirt, vase, book or message losses it's most basic purpose is the minute it becomes "extra", something seldom visited. Keeping a true purpose and strong useful meaning attached to your brand is what keeps it from being something people have to fit into verses something that fits into people.