Tag Archives: Jaley Cranford

Throwback throwaways

by Jaley Cranford

As I punched the button for a familiar soda choice, I awaited a familiar purple can. But the purple marketing blunder that I grabbed was a far cry from the Grapico can of my childhood.

Though the packaging bears no influence on the familiar taste of the grape soda, I was incapable of enjoying it. This horrific rebranding begged the question: what guy at Grapico fell asleep at the wheel and sent this idea forward?

Grapico has long been packaged in a purple can with a diagonal text logo.

The rebranding shows a grape that I expect to dance at any moment accompanied by a new tagline: A Southern Tradition.

Conflicting ideas? Anyone who is drawn to the clipart-esque cartoon of a grape is probably more interested in when Dora the Explorer airs than the idea of Southern tradition. More than the obvious discrepancy . . . and tagline . . . and art, this product looks like an off-brand soda. When I first saw this can, I paid no mind and assumed that someone had brought a can of Walmart grape soda from home. Is that the way Buffalo Rock wants to market Grapico?

Maybe the soda market is a breeding ground for bad rebranding ideas. Mountain Dew, Mellow Yellow and Grapico have all done a round of throwback cans recently. But apparently Mountain Dew and Pepsi throwbacks are here to stay.

Bevreview.com reported Buffalo Rock announced both Pepsi and Mountain Dew would be available in a throwback can or bottle for the indefinite future. Due to overwhelming positive responses from fans, the soda company kept this

Who are these adoring fans? Who are the millions in love with these cartoon relics that are a mockery of design? Apparently some such fans are running Grapico.

According to an article on al.com, Buffalo Rock execs said, “This ‘new retro’ look brings together the nostalgic best of Grapico’s proud history and the ever-growing popularity of the same grape great taste.”

The article continued with a quote from another proud figurehead. “We really wanted to splice something old with something new to create a new look for Grapico and Diet Grapico,” said Buffalo Rock Chairman/CEOJames C. Lee III.

New? I’m still searching. Maybe it’s the clipart grape . . . that was new . . . in 1998. I’m not against throwback packaging. But this Grapico has turned into a big purple mess.

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Disney roars again

by Jaley Cranford, editor

As I walked into “The Lion King 3D” at 9:30 p.m., I assumed that anyone who wanted to see the animated flick was fast asleep in their Cinderella or Batman pajamas. I was wrong. A theater full of people in their twenties awaited me.

Disney has long been known as an innovator of entertainment and it appears that the animation giant has done it again. After the film generated more than $357.8 million in 1994, Disney decided to rerelease the classic cartoon hit.

Disney is marketing 3D in a brand new way. Not only are new movie-goers welcoming Simba into their homes, but nostalgia drags twenty-somethings into a theater for a cartoon lion and his singing friends. As the theater resonated with approximately 100 college students singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” I realized that Disney might be onto something.

Disney blogger John Frost said that Disney retried the 3D film world after it merged with Pixar in 2006. After getting off to a rocky start with the over-promotion of “Chicken Little” and “Bolt,” Disney began to market 3D flicks in the same ways as its 2D classics. Frost continues that Disney’s marketing of 3D films has been reduced since the huge push for “Chicken Little.”

Regardless of how much money is spent on the marketing or promotion for the film, “The Lion King 3D” and other rereleased classics are big money-makers for the Disney corporation. However, many people see this rerelease as a lazy and exploitive move by Disney.

In a UK film blog, Jeremy Kay attacks the choice as one that tries to make the most money with the least amount of effort.

While Disney is not reinventing the wheel by bringing “The Lion King” back to theaters, the corporation is generating serious revenue. CNN reported that the flick grossed more than $29.3 million in its opening weekend.

An Entertainment Weekly article brings up another important observation. According to the article, “The Hangover” sparked a run of 8 R-rated raunchy comedies. Maybe Disney rereleasing “The Lion King 3D” to such overwhelming success will spark a new film revolution.

With the film world going back to classics to generate revenue, maybe we will see more 3D remakes of movies. With flicks like “Footloose” bringing older movies to new generations, 3D adaptations of older movies may be an easy way for movie companies to make money without new content.

The only problem: how do you market a rerelease without critical questions about the integrity of the film industry being raised? I’m not so sure, but I do think Disney will figure it out and keep audiences of all ages in theaters.

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Seeing Red: Christian Louboutin’s Trademark Battle

by Jaley Cranford

Whether they are strategically placed in a new movie or inspiring a rap song, Christian Louboutin’s signature red-bottomed shoes have found their way into the American mainstream. But these French imports wound up in a heated court case opposite designer Yves St. Laurent as the fall 2011 fashion season began.

Vogue documented the court proceedings, which began on April 10, 2011, with Louboutin filing against YSL for trademark infringement to the tune of $1 million in damages.

Four months later, Louboutin began fighting for Pantone-18 Chinese Red. Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of YSL. Forbes listed many parts of Marrero’s 30-page decision, where most of his decision centered on the broadness of the trademark. Marrero said, “Louboutin’s claim would cast a red cloud over the whole industry, cramping what other designers could do, while allowing Louboutin to paint with a full palette.” Marrero also said that the red-bottomed wonders do not carry secondary meaning.

Unless you happen to have some background in trademark, you may be asking yourself what secondary meaning is. When you see a swoosh . . . what do you think? Nike. When you see golden arches . . . what do you think? McDonald’s. Those two visual identities are perfect examples of secondary meaning. Millions of people, including myself, see red-bottomed shoes and automatically identify Christian Louboutin. Maybe Mr. Marrero isn’t as fashion forward as those millions.

Some colors seem more worthy of trademarks than others. Though the trademark of Chinese Red allegedly steals opportunities from artists, Pantone 1837 apparently does not. Tiffany Blue (AKA Pantone 1837) is a trademarked color. What is the difference between the two? I have no idea. Maybe it’s an obvious sign that the federal court system is going to protect fewer and fewer copyrights. Regardless, Louboutin finds himself in an interesting situation.

So how does a company rally after a very public incident and still come out a victor in the court of public opinion? Welcome to the world of a little known sector of public relations: litigation PR.

Many companies find themselves with a crisis management issue when a court case begins. Taco Bell’s online defense of its seasoned beef claims is a recent example of how an organization can employ public relations when dealing with a court case. In an article on Mashable, writer Patrick Kerley says that by emulating some of the PR strategies Taco Bell used to move forward can help organizations like Louboutin. Some of the helpful hints include:

•    Using peacetime wisely
Plan out strategies for when things get heated before the issues arise.
•    Dominating search engines
Flood sites like Google, Ask.com and Yahoo! with your side of the story.
•    Enlisting fans, followers and friends
Facebook, Twitter and social media can help turn the tide of public opinion for you. Friends listen to other friends.

Though these strategies helped Taco Bell during a trial, Kenley says that remembering that every situation is unique is crucial. “Perhaps the most important lesson to arise from Taco Bell’s digital response is that every company’s situation is unique and each of the tactics cited above must be carefully considered and cleared with counsel before moving forward,” Kenley said.

As Louboutin said in a New Yorker interview , “The shiny red color of the soles has no function other than to identify to the public that they are mine. I selected the color because it is engaging, flirtatious, memorable and the color of passion.” Maybe the “Mad Hatter” of French shoe design has something else up his sleeve.

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