A plastic building brick toy for kids? No, that would be Lego Train. Jogo train? hmmm interesting, a fitness App perhaps? You get my drift. I’ll do a link just in case you’re not sure what one is LOGO. Read that? Even kids know what logos are, they are the things marketeers stick on the side of trainers to quadruple the price of products, the things that make Teens refuse so wear a certain garment, if it’s not the one their peers have. OMG what have we done? Designer nappies? We have all gone bananas, when’s the last time you saw a banana without blue sticker? Yes the Fyffer calls the tune when it comes to the Brand Brain wash.
The thing is it’s not a new phenomenon. No, we have been drip fed this mumbo jumbo for decades, probably Centuries, if not eons. Some of the naughty big businesses out there even cheat. If you ask any Western child what colour robe does Santa wear? Resoundingly they would infer the same color red as the Cocoa Cola label. ( I use the American spelling of color for poignant effect ) Well, red is probably what they would say. But the fact remains that, Saint Nicholas,who can historically be proven to have existed, was an orphaned child from the former Greek ( now Turkish ) Myra Region. He devoutly followed the Biblical dictates of Altruistic behaviour, by selling his inheritance, and giving the proceeds to the poor and needy.
Clicking through the Wikipedia offerings you will see many derivations, and transmogrifications, Kris Kringle, Saint Nicolaas, Zwarte Piet (the Moorish influence) Sinkerklass and the European versions may even have eminated from Odin. As with all Religious derivations, facts are often fused with myth and fiction, factions would borrow a traditional myth or figure and make it their own. But here, there seems to be the commonalities of 'the Gift giver,' the arrival in the Winter Months, the Protector of Children and Sailors, often rewarding the good and punishing the bad, links with Jesus Christ, but above all an Altruistic ideology to give and not to receive, a concept which goes back well before the birth of Christ.
Saint Nicholas became a Bishop, ( hence the red cloak ) and all round good egg, and was subsequently much persecuted, ain’t that always the way? See this astounding article on the play in his honour. The Players are Azzo, Pia and Cola Cola: ‘Tis sweet Saint Nicholas that most I praise, He giveth help through all the long, hard days.
His attire throughout the ages has been depicted in the main as red robed, although he was, and is, manifest in different attire indifferent countries and cultures. Oft depicted as a green robed Father Christmas in the UK, a black-robed Good Witch in Italy, and err..non-existent in Mexico, it was The Coca Cola Corporation who hijacked the kind and giving but unfashionable Santa, gave him a make-over, added matching trousers, some fluff, and claimed him as their own. We all now think that Santa works for Coke. No irony intended.
Which ever way you look it branding, brand loyalty, mass marketing, sponsorship, theft, fraud and secrecy all seem to have played a part in creating the biggest most valuable brand in the world. ( it is alleged ).
If you do nothing else today go to Wikipedia and read the Coca Cola story, and find out for yourselves the possible history behind this product and its Marketing Machine. Then having reflected on the fact that the original beverage contained Cocaine from the Coca leaf and Caffeine from the Kola nut, make a donation to the founder of Wikipedia for creating such an invaluable resource. Whilst you will read about the evolution of the Brand and its packaging, you’ll also see entries concerning health scares, child labour, obesity, additives, product placement, the Pepsi Challenge blunder, forgery and so on. I’m not making any presumptions myself, but it does make an interesting read.
In the 1970s I was an Art Director/Pack designer with J.Walter Thompson, involved with projects for only Multi Nationals such as Kelloggs, Colman’s, Cadbury’s, Guinness etc. ( Checkout what the likes of Ulrike Gottwald are doing now with Guinness) I remember clearly the day when the studio manager excitedly brought in a new packaging revolution, it was a spun Aluminium can, which was, eventually, to make the previously rolled and stapled steel can redundant, which, of course, it did.
The prototype sat on my shelf until the day I left. The talk in the department that day was that the NEW ‘twisty line’ under the world-wide known logo had been approved, and the cost for developing the ‘stripe’ was £250,000, a figure which stuck in my mind, as my annual salary at the time was £1020.00 per year. My services were charged out at £45.00 per hour, the figures didn’t stack up to me somehow, someone somewhere was getting rich, I wasn’t.
So what’s the purpose of this Blog? and why Logo Train? Well, Logos and branding is what it’s all about . But in order to give you my personal insight, I shall be Blogging this info through the voice of experience, adding the odd personal anecdote, and highlighting en route some of the greed, stupidity, and downright inhumanity I have witnessed in the Design and Advertising industry. I shall illustrate, how pitfalls can be avoided, some of the successes and failures there have been, why a ‘Camel is a Donkey designed by committee,’and why water is more valuable than Gold.
In future postings I will tell how to write a Design brief, develop a brand identity and maintain Brand awareness. How to offset the costs of a logo, and how to commission a Brand Image for FREE whether you are a small trader or larger concern.
I shall be giving way logos, how can I do this? let's just say it's a gift. Why would anyone be so magnanimous? why indeed.
I shall leave you with this thought, today if I were asked to design a twisty line for Coca Cola, I ( as could many designers ) do the work and proof it online with in an hour. Perhaps a little longer if they wanted to see a few variations.
Would I take on the job? No. Too Busy Blogging
Santa's little helper
- Saint Nicholas Feast Day – Dec 6th (catholicglasses.com)
- The Coca-Cola Company Invites Consumers to Experience “Freestyle” (thecoca-colacompany.com)