Sunday, October 20, 2013


Green bottle with motif center and upfront displayed at The Art of Arab Lands, The Metropolitan Museum Of Art. Below: Vera Bradley tin for mints.

We are at a silly point in U.S. marketing, where humanity is being drained out of advertising and public relations communication.  The symbol or graphic image is all, and the product is lifeless.  Years ago, the ultimate branding concept first sent shivers down my spine when Martha Stewart told PBS's Charlie Rose that she wanted to become a brand.  Yes, from a corporate sense, it was a logical decision.  After she is gone, the corporation will have an identity.  But at what cost to her humanity?  I remember Ms. Stewart  from her early days in the Kmart licensing program.  She may have acted up behind the scenes, but she was still human with a lot of great advice for home and table.

On to the green-glass bottle that was displayed in The Art of Arab Lands at the Metropolitan Museum of Art over the past spring-summer.  Some smart person in the 17th century decided to do a nice fragrance bottle with a large boteh (paisley) motif simply placed up front and center.  It wasn't designed to sell billions.  It communicated love of the motif, and it was probably a pleasant experience to use that bottle.

Vera Bradley, a successful gift company both online and in stores - known for its prints in fabric totes, home accessories and children's wear - produced the little round candy tin pictured.  Lovely to put in a handbag.  This year, they even have a paisley Christmas ornament.  I don't think paisley is the total branding message for them but I am sure that the gift customer loves the beautiful design when it pops up in the collection.

Perhaps the point of all of this is, perhaps we should get back to making products that are pleasant to use and stop obsessing about vacant, unhuman brand images. Remember, humanity separates us from the limiting world of the algorithm. JP

PS: VB candy tin is courtesy of Dodie, who is this blog’s copy editor.