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Branding with the Donald

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(aired 4/5)

Class today kinda usurped my thought process on this one … but hopefully I was going to talk about something a little different … I guess we’ll see.

I (and by ‘I’ I mean TiVo) finally caught another episode of the Celebrity Apprentice.  And it was quite the timely episode because as opposed to selling cupcakes and cookies like they do from time to time … this episode had the teams create a viral video for All Small and Mighty.all-small-mighty The teams were charged with the task of creating a viral video for All Small and Mighty.  Essentially what they were doing was creating a video that people would want to pass on to their friends via e-mail or youtube.  So they all had the opportunity to meet with the All executives in order to get a better idea about what the brand stands for and who the target market it is.  Based on this meeting and the celebrities previous experience they came up with two very different projects.

But both projects failed to meet the standards of the All executives … and I have an idea why.  The executives at All wanted this to be a viral video.  To me a viral video is something that is compelling enough to pass on, so it has to be funny and off the wall for people to actually say, “Did you just see that.”  I think what all was wanting was something that was more of a commercial like straight forward and essentially to be not super funny or compelling.  I think All also didn’t do a great evaluation of who the target market for viral videos are.  To me it seems pretty clear that women with children don’t do a lot of passing videos on.  Yes, the do seem to forward a ton cutsie e-mails but to me the viral marketing is mostly a guy thing.  And this was shown to be true when they had Perez Hilton on to give his opinion about the videos.  There was one video (Clint Black and the Dirty Laundry) that Perez absolutely hated but he loved Jesse James Dirty and the Midgets.

I think during this task Donald Trump should have fired All.  I don’t think that the got what a viral video was about … or they are just to squeaky clean of a brand to get a joke.

Until next time…


Written by amberbrandblog

April 6, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

An Authentic American Idol

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(aired 3/17-3/31)

So American Idol is a cesspool of potential things to talk about in regards to branding.  However, I want to talk about how each particular contestant is creating their own brand by the songs that they perform and how they perform them.  The particular contestant that I wish to focus on is  Adam Lambert … because during this past weeks performance he totally changed his brand.

Disclaimer: This blog is for educational purposes only.

This is Adam on 3/17

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is Adam on 3/25 (Jump to 5:02)

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This is Adam on 3/31 (Jump to 4:21)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Alright now from viewing the three performances this is what I thought of…

I’m now convinced that I started learning about authenticity through Sesame Street.  But let’s go back to looking at the authenticity of Adam Lambert in more grown up terms.

So obviously American Idol is a competition and how you win … typically…is to consistently sing well and to think outside the box.  But to me thinking outside the box has to be in the context of who you are and who you want to be as an artist.  I think for Mr. Lambert to do the “Tracks of My Tears” performance the way he did was a complete departure from who he is, and also possibly who he wants to be as an artist.  You can see from the other two performances that he’s usually a little more made up, that he dresses a little funkier, and that he’s still into wearing nail polish (even though that went out like 5 years ago).  And in the “Tracks of My Tears” performance he looks mostly like a clean cut all-American young man … which is not the vibe that he’s ever given before.  I mean for Pete’s sake he sang Cher during Hollywood week … clean cut all-American young men don’t do that!  I think that the “Tracks of my Tears” performance is a complete and utter betrayal of who he is … or who he has portrayed himself to be…and for me that makes me think he’s not authentic.

A couple of things that we discussed in regards to wine making come to mind when determining the authenticity of Mr. Lambert.  First, of course, is stylistic consistency.  As I mentioned before he’s been consistently different since the very first audition and this performance to me seemed like it was more inside of the box than the outside of the box.  The most major thing that made me question his authenticity was the commercial motives thing.  Yes this is a competition, and yes it’s important to have the audience on your side, but at what cost.  As you can see from the other performances Adam might not be too appealing to all the soccer moms (and dads) out there, or to the more conservative audience, or to really anyone besides Erica.  So I think this performance was a way for him to get those viewers and voters (aside from Erica) on his side.  So to me it makes it seem that this song choice was commercial in motive and really shatters his authenticity for me.

I will concede that this guy is a great singer … but until he figures out who he is and what he wants to sing and how he wants to sing it he will never be an authentic recording artist.

Until next time…

Written by amberbrandblog

April 5, 2009 at 9:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

I am barely branding…

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(aired 4/1)

Blog title is a shout out to all you Duncan Sheik fans out there.

America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) seems to be an excellent example of branded entertainment without really being that branded.

J.Reed and I went to a panel during SXSW about branded entertainment…which at the time seemed pretty boring…but in context with this class and in relation to the TV shows that I view has become more exciting.  There was a bit of a “discussion” during that panel as to exactly what branded entertainment was and if it was a good thing or a bad thing.  Good because it sometimes gives the opportunities to film/TV makers to create something, with the funding of sponsors, for in turn figuring out how to incorporate the use of the product in their final creation.  Bad because the creation turns into essentially just a large scale commercial.

The reason I think that ANTM has to be branded entertainment is because … well what studio in their right mind would give a supermodelTyra Banks a show where she goes on the hunt for America’s next supermodel?  I think that from the beginning the companies such as Elite Model Management, Seventeen Magazine, and Covergirl have been paying for this show to be produced.  Additionally, I’m sure Tyra tossed in a few bucks of her own to get the show started.

Another reason why I think that ANTM could possibly be branded entertainment is because the winners have to work with the companies that I mentioned previously.  Additionally with the Covergirl sponsorship the previous seasons winner is featured during the almost commercial breaks doing things as part of ‘Their Life as a Covergirl’.

If this is truly branded entertainment then I think the do an excellent job of balancing the need to get the brands out there than and balancing the ‘compelling’ content of the show.

Until next time…

Written by amberbrandblog

April 4, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

TV is Taking Over my Life

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yet another quick blurb …

Two days ago my TV brands decided that it was time to become real.  A couple a days ago I wrote about the biggest loser and how their gym sponsor is 24 Hour Fitness.  24hourfitness Well I have been in the market for a new gym for about a month .. when I decide that $59 was too expensive for a membership that I barely use and only keep to make myself feel better about being branded out of shape.  So I joined 24 Hour Fitness … because it was a cheaper way to feel better about myself.  I’m going to sing their praises for bit … I get access to every 24 hour fitness … ever.  I think that’s fantastic!  Additionally, it is about $26 cheaper than my previous gym membership and I only got access to one club.  It’s also way larger and less compact than the previous gym, I get access to all fitness classes, and there’s a pool.  Now I don’t swim but there being a pool makes me feel like I’ve made it

Until next time…

Written by amberbrandblog

April 4, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

the world’s quickest post

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Just a super quick blurb…

Mostly directed at MTV.

I’m technically not sure why certain networks chose to show certain products and why certain ones don’t…but Coke brands got some super free advertisement tonight … and I learned a very valuable brand lesson.  Logo isn’t everything.

Tonight’s episode of Making the Band (MTB) featured a counter full of 2 liter bottles minus labels.  But I still knew exactly what kind of soda they were drinking.  Dark colored soda in a clear bottle with a red top … obviously that is coke … same scenario silver top diet coke.  Clear colored soda in a green bottle blue top … sprite.

It was just terrible interesting to me how I immediately deduced what brands were without the logo…I would be interested to see how many other brands I could recognize minus the logo.

Written by amberbrandblog

April 3, 2009 at 4:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The Award for the TV Show that has the MOST Brands is…

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It is a Tuesday … so it could be a tie between American Idol and Biggest Loser.

But the winner is ….


I look forward to this show every week…and even more so this week because I knew they would give me a TON(pun intended) to write about.  This was actually a slow week for the Biggest Loser because the only mentioned or showed 7 different brands in two hours.  Which might be a record.

A few brands that get mentioned often on the biggest loser that didn’t make this weeks show:




It has become almost amusing to be how over the past seasons that healthy tips to contestants have essentially turned into commercials … and they look like the contestants are the worst actors …EVER.

img_4259That brings me to the first brand mention in this weeks episode. Multi-grain Cheerios.  This was one of the most blatant brand inclusions in the entire show.  Jillian is counseling a couple of the female contestants about healthy eating habits and how easy it is to make a life change … and she asked what they used to eat for breakfast.  Right on cue they say that they used to skip breakfast.  Jillian becomes “frustrated” and tells them they should always eat breakfast or else they will be overly hungry during lunch.  They then of course eat the Cheerios and say how delightful it is to be eating them.


The next example of blatant commercialism was the use of the Ziploc Snap and Seal containers.  Bob decided to take his team off campus to train…and just like a good commercial a plot was built around it.  So because they we’re leaving campus and going out into the real world where bad things can harm them bob told the that it was important for them to take snacks.  Because having snacks with them would help them avoid temptation.  He also noted that these tiny Ziploc containers are the perfect size because you can’t fill them with too many calories (that is unless you are putting Hershey Kisses inside).

There were a couple of subtle nods to products that had been previously heavily covered in “commercials” earlier in the season.brita-water-filter1 There was actually no mention of needing water this week … but the contestants were of course carrying their refillable water bottle with Brita water.  Also during one of the Bob team pep talks inside the house he was situated in such a way that you could see a Brita advertisement behind him in the shot.  The Brita water and re-usable water containers.  The first couple of seasons BB(before branding), and before the show gained widespread popularity they had the contestants using the plastic water bottles that you through away.  But as soon as the show gained a little more popularity and became appointment TV they started making some changes.  This was also during the time where being green was the most important thing … ever.  I still think it is super cool that they had the contestants switch to consuming water that way.   I feel like this and another initiative that they are taking ( the pound for pound challenge) are all that is keeping the show from being just another reality TV experience.  I think its really important that they continue to have these social initiatives.

A couple of other brands got super quick mentions:

  • Extra Sugar-Free Gum – A contestant is shown popping a piece in his mouth.
  • UCLA hospital – A contestant has to go there due to some medical problems.
  • 24 Hour Fitness – Sponsors the gym that contestants work out in daily.  Additionally 24 Hour Fitness is having a special associated with the Biggest Loser (no initiation fee if you sign up before 4/5)
  • Universal Studios – Bob shows up to congratulate members of the pound for pound challenge.

Again I say … light brand week on the Biggest Loser.

Until next time…

Written by amberbrandblog

April 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

non-TV blurb

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I went to Wal-Mart the other day…and Crest Whitening Expressions Vanilla Mint was on clearance.

3221632770_8cbebe2263It always concerns me when a particular flavor of a certain brand is on clearance.  But I always think the worst of things.  To me there are are two reasons why a particular flavor of a brand is on clearance

1) The lot of toothpaste is expiring.

2) The particular flavor is ending.

When I started using this particular flavor they were making it as a gel … and they were making most other favors as a gel, and when I purchased it last (a couple of days ago) I didn’t see very many flavors as gels.  I’m just getting concerned that somehow they are going to phase out this toothpaste … and I am super brand loyal so changing things that I am used to is super difficult.

I hope the lot of toothpaste was just expiring, or that they ordered to much!

Until next time…

Written by amberbrandblog

March 31, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized