Archive for the ‘celebs’ Category

Royal Rebranding

May 7, 2011 - 11:40 am 7 Comments

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 2.39.18 PMOn April 29, it was impossible to escape the Royal Wedding. Whether you witnessed this historical event live at 6:00am or relied on the magnitude of recaps to keep you well informed, William and Kate, or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they’re now formally known, were all anyone could talk about.

In this day and age, it’s hard for us to relate to the monarchy, an institution that seems so far removed from life as we know it. Better yet, the monarchy reminds us of the historical lessons learned in school or fairy tales where the prince and his princess live happily ever after. For Americans especially, monarchical rule was an institution of the past, boldly abolished in 1776 with our Declaration of Independence. We’ve moved on without looking back; but sometimes we forget that across the Atlantic, that traditional form of leadership still exists.

And it does. Last Friday we got a glimpse into the sheer grandeur of what the monarchy embodies. It’s not like visiting Versailles or the Tower of London where everything’s stagnant and behind glass. 200-year-old breastplates that took many hours each of polishing were on display right in front of our very eyes – and on soldiers no less. Prince Charles and Camilla traveled in an Australian State Coach, which we’d normally figure would be collecting dust in a museum. Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace were brought to life with hordes of supportive Brits, cheering jovially for the union of two beautiful young people – the future of the monarchy. No, the monarchy was very real that day for everyone across the globe.

As Americans, we can’t help but react to the concept of a monarchy in one of two ways; we either view it as outdated, a relic of the past, or we romanticize the very essence of it, generating this fantasy which has no bearing on reality. In many ways, these preconceived notions were corrected while watching the Royal Wedding. More than being merely accessible and imaginable for us (considering that those privileged to the inner-workings of the institution are very limited), the monarchy was revitalized. The royals seemed like real people, very much in love. Their demeanor was entirely relatable from Kate’s slightly nervous smile as she made her way down the aisle to Will’s whisper, “You’re beautiful” once she stood beside him at the alter. And Kate’s reaction, “Oh wow,” when she stepped out on the balcony and beheld the crowd of supporters? Exactly what we all would’ve done.

Despite the resplendent setting and décor, the overall feeling was very young and fresh – the hopeful endeavor of a new beginning marked by contemporary royals, especially Kate Middleton. On her special day, she was luminous in her simplicity and perhaps all the more loved for it. Instead of hiding behind a massive bouquet and a poufy creampuff of a dress (sorry, Diana!), Kate was herself – very down to earth and radiant as ever. Certainly a paradigm shift when it comes to the royals presenting themselves to their public.

William and Kate’s wedding was essentially a rebranding of the monarchy. It was the perfect occasion to showcase the traditional opulence of the institution, but with a twist – that twist being the young amorous royals who rejuvenated the affair. In many ways, it reminded us that the monarchy is not ingrained in the past but has a clear, positive future lying ahead. Through William and Kate, we begin to perceive the monarchy’s ability to relate to its people and embrace the changing times.

A Kiss To Build A Dream On

February 15, 2011 - 12:34 pm 10 Comments

Mad Men, a TV drama that revolves around the culture of a 1960’s advertising agency, explores the intellectual process of devising an ingenious ad. Last week when I was watching an early episode, one moment caught my eye and inspired today’s post. During a brainstorm for Belle Jolie lipstick, all the secretaries are testing different colors. At one point Peggy Olson gestures to the trashcan full of blotted tissues and calls it “a basket of kisses.” What a romantic notion to think of lipstick as not just a color enhancer, but also a kissing enabler!

With Peggy Olson’s copy in mind, I set about comparing the recent advertising campaigns of three notable lipstick brands – what their products promise you and the avenue they take to deliver that promise.


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CoverGirl, a brand associated with the likes of Queen Latifah, Drew Barrymore, and America’s Next Top Model, celebrates both inner and outer beauty. Their new Lip Perfection Lipstick, as modeled by Taylor Swift, claims to create smooth and soft lips in just one week. The ad focuses solely on Taylor, her red lips, and her spirited personality. Because she seems both confident and relatable, you get the impression she’s being completely herself. And really, that’s what CoverGirl is all about – wearing a product that makes you feel good and enhances the qualities that make you, well, you.


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The face of Rouge Coco by Chanel is Vanessa Paradis, a siren for the sophisticated. Like CoverGirl’s product, Rouge Coco softens and soothes lips with moisture to give you the ultimate pucker power. Vanessa supplies Rouge Coco with a wistful, romantic feel of 1940’s antique Paris. While gazing at her, you begin to imagine that once applying the lipstick, you’ll emanate a certain je ne sais quoi, an aura of mystery. Chanel creates the illusion of sensual, everlasting elegance, hard to resist if your role models are Leslie Caron and Catherine Deneuve.


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Whether you associate Revlon’s lip stain with a passionate lover’s embrace or vampire frenzy, Just Bitten displays a highly physical connection – the kiss, itself. In the ad featuring Jessica Biel, the lip stain provides a moisturizing “kiss of softness” and its luscious hues hint at the flush of anticipation, the appeal of the forbidden. Revlon’s constructed fantasy refuses to disappoint, making you not only desirable, but very kissable.

CoverGirl, Chanel, and Revlon all boast of conditioning lips to that perfect, kissable state. Referring back to Peggy Olson and her “basket of kisses,” however, each product markets the act in a unique way. With girl next door, bright-eyed CoverGirl, the kiss would be serendipitous, an unexpected surprise in the rain. Chanel is more coy than that, suggesting a possibility of a kiss…a dare, even. You know you want to and I might just let you. But Revlon’s kiss is inescapable, a little bit dangerous, and all the more desired for it.

You, the consumer, make your decision based not only on the person you are, but also the person you could be. Such is the beauty of advertising.

What Do Jennifer Aniston and “The Situation” Have In Common?

January 11, 2011 - 9:38 am 59 Comments

In advertising, you can be whoever you want to be so long as it sells. And nothing reinforces brands’ images more than the celebrities that represent them. Take Glacéau products, for example. Smartwater and Vitaminwater work side-by-side to provide healthy beverages infused with electrolytes, vitamins, and supplements. However, their marketing strategies are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the people they hope to attract with their endorsement selections.

Smart like Smartwater

Jennifer Aniston / Smartwater

My first impression of Smartwater’s oblong bottle with a china blue teardrop was a clean, minimalist look. Combined with the brand’s motto, “Purity you can taste, hydration you can feel,” a picture formed in my mind of the kind of cleansing lifestyle Smartwater could give me. In my opinion, no one is more synonymous with this fantasy then Jennifer Aniston, Smartwater’s official spokesperson and the epitome of health. Glowing, toned Aniston is dedicated to yoga and paddle boarding, active pursuits of a slow and steady nature. On Smartwater’s Facebook page, she is even shown in their new ad wearing clothes made by yoga garb manufacturer, Polyvore. All of their marketing elements – with Jen at the forefront – operate in a beautiful harmony to promote healthy living. Looks like the brand image is doing its job.

B Consistent, Vitaminwater!


Time to switch gears because Vitaminwater’s brand is all about boundless, vibrant energy. Their palette of fruity flavors, bright colors, and pithy text on eye-catching bottles positively scream, “Youth!” Add Vitaminwater’s self-proclaimed “shiny new look” and latest flavors “Stur-D,” “Dwnld,” and “Spark”? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to interpret their goal to attract a young demographic. (Not like 2,104,424 friends on Facebook is that strong of an indicator that it’s working…) I really liked where the brand was going until Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino entered the picture. First of all, with other spokes-legends, such as David Ortiz and 50 Cent, how could Vitaminwater even consider putting “The Situation” on the same level? And second, as hysterical as the ad may be, I’m afraid that trendy aspirations are overriding the entire point of Vitaminwater. The male personality of The Jersey Shore, with his seemingly steroid-enhanced body, GTL regimen, and questionable drinking habits, contradicts the brand’s healthy image. Vitaminwater, please figure out what your message is and stick to it.

Spokes-Characters, Speak to Me!

January 6, 2011 - 12:43 pm 20 Comments

Jingles used to be the trend keeping a brand obnoxiously stuck in your head.  “We want meow mix, we want meow mix, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow.” And while that still holds true today (see any commercial for an annoying example), it seems that Spokes-Characters are a new trend that’s sticking.  From Six Flag’s suspender wearing, old man Mr. Six to Orbit’s clean lady, they’re popping up everywhere.

Orbit's Clean Lady, Progressive's Flo, and Old Spice's "The Man"

And what’s most interesting isn’t that marketing agencies are targeting humorous and unique characters, but that the characters are gaining more awareness than the brands themselves.  Flo, the Progressive girl, has nearly 2.5 million friends on Facebook while Progressive the service barely scrapes past 20,000.  The Geico Gecko has nearly 150,000 fans while Geico the service has only about 93,000.  How’s that for outshining your boss?

And Facebook isn’t the only measure of greatness for our beloved characters.  Old Spice’s “The Man,” Isaiah Mustafa, went from being a behind the scenes NFL bencher to a 2010 star.  After premiering his commercial during the Superbowl last year, Isaiah made appearances on Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, and a ton of other shows.  And, to round the year off, he was also cast in a Jennifer Aniston flick.  A similar success came to the Geico Cavemen who struck so well with comedic viewers that ABC gave them their own series Cavemen.

These characters, when created with the right mix of humor, irony, and uniqueness, are a company’s pipe dream.  Never mind having the characters take on a life of their own, like our friend “The Man,” but what better way to bring on a lifetime of free publicity than to say that your company discovered a star?  It’s like Calvin Klein being able to claim they launched Brooke Shields.

Maybe Spada’s next move should be a talent department…

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