A Monthly Meditation on Branding and Language
From Your Favorite Copy
Shop, Editorial Emergency
#44 (October 8, 2010): Copy at Large
In this issue we admire the customer-service ethic of two venerable Long Beach establishments, motor out to the Honda Civic Tour and cluck our tongues at the latest embarrassments to join the Not Our
Clients museum of maladroitness. In case we don't see you before next month, Happy Halloween!
Brand-Aid: Roasting the Competition
As you may have noticed, I like to complain. And though you've mostly heard me complain about crimes against English, I've done my share of grousing about bad branding, too. Not today.
Today, I'm celebrating two Long Beach, California, institutions, the proprietors and staff of which understand the connection between customer service and branding, between customer loyalty and long-term financial health. One was launched in 1976 a stone's throw from the Pacific; the other in 1934 on the River Clyde.
When Mike Sheldrake opened Polly's Gourmet Coffee on East Second Street in what is now the tony enclave of Belmont Shore, his was "the only place between Brentwood and San Diego with an in-house roaster," as he told the Los Angeles Times, adding, "We were the only espresso bar in Long Beach."
Of course all that changed when Starbucks came along. But Polly's has managed to survive amid the cutthroat competition and thrive. How has Sheldrake pulled this off?
Read the rest here.
Editorial Emergency, Live in Concert
We write a lot of stuff.
The phone rings, the in-box pings, and soon we're enlisted to squelch another editorial emergency by cranking out packaging copy,
jazzing up an e-newsletter, dreaming up print-ad taglines or fashioning a spray of splash-page blurbs.
What we don't often do is see how our work functions after the client approves it. Where does it go? How do people feel about it? Do they ever wear it around their necks?
We recently had the opportunity to answer some of these questions — at least regarding a significant amount of the work we've generated over the past several months.
Marketing Factory, inventors of "integrated music lifestyle programs," first hired us to write copy for the Honda Civic Tour in 2007.
A nationwide rock trek featuring top alternative bands and various Honda vehicles, the tour
has been the carmaker's youth-marketing juggernaut since its inception in 2001. With
each Honda Civic Tour, we've been entrusted with more and more copy; the 2010 outing,
headlined by the Grammy-nominated outfit Paramore, afforded us the greatest variety of assignments yet.
Read the rest here.
Not Our Clients: Come All Ye Faithful Edition
This month's selection makes us want to wash our minds out with soap.
You can access the rest of the NOC exhibition by visiting the brand-spanking-new URL NotOurClients.com. Feeling sullied by a local sign? Wishing for a layer of latex between you and some misbegotten message?
— we have no fear. If we choose to share it with our readership, you'll earn an iTunes gift card, redeemable for such naughty numbers as "The Bad Touch," the Stripper Anthems anthology or the audiobook of Tropic of Cancer.
Unless they're trying to attract porn shoots, we're at a loss.