As far as I’m concerned, a cemetery next to the kind of place where people are likely to die isn’t just excellent branding, it’s a location coup! I mean, think about it: saves you the hassle of having to schlep the body down the mountain, and if the dearly departed was the sort of person to go up the mountain anyhow, then I feel fairly confident they’d rather enjoy their permanent resting place to offer a great view over everything below.
I can also be a total sucker when it comes to advertising, as The Mom well knows. Whenever I see adverts on TV at home during the summer for Dairy Queen I demand to be taken out immediately to get some kind of decadent ice cream sundae type thing that comes in a waffle cone bowl. The Mom knows full well I won’t like this, but the thing is, I’ve bought into their brand of happy, sunny ice cream – and the people eating it always look so happy.
One brand in particular that has generally enjoyed a good reputation in our house is Apple. We have been fans since back in the day. I remember The Mom learning how to cope with computers on a little Apple tower in the back room – this is back in the day of 3 1/4 inch disks, mind. So rather a while ago. Since then, our lot have happily given Apple rather a lot of our money, and in return we’ve had products that we’re mostly happy with.
In fact, when it came time to upgrade The Mom’s computer some years ago, we had a little chain email wherein it was decided that we could no longer cope with her having not an Apple. Because one of their great things, and one that I don’t think was captured and captialised on quite as much as it could’ve been, was the fact that you have to work pretty hard to break their computers. At least, back in the day – now you can instal Sierra and live a life of regret, but back before they started naming their OS’s silly things, you were almost guaranteed to have a machine that was impossible for parents to break beyond all repair. Unlike a PC that required constant maintenance and ministering, your little Apple just kept sorting itself out.
Apple, in my view, has taken this too far now. This helpfulness has rendered itself unhelpful: I now have an iPhone that gets stuck on voice recognition all too frequently. And this phone has struck up – without any encouragement from me – an independent relationship with both my laptops – the work one and the personal one. My machines don’t need me anymore, but you won’t find that in any of the branding.
I really do think Apple might have missed a trick there with their branding. I know they wanted to be cool and all that, but they could’ve done some nice sales there with the parental market. Tired of having your parents phone you might and day after having tried to de-frag their PC by themselves? No worries, just buy them an Apple and you’ll never hear from them again.
That might be a bit strong – I don’t actually work in branding, but you see where I’m going.
The only things I do have to do with branding these days mostly involves me rolling my eyes when someone says, “We have to tell the story of the brand.” Or perhaps, “We have to get the narrative right.” As though somehow brands were now literature.
Though I must say, The Mom’s example of the cemetery atop the hill where one might reasonably kill oneself actually has got the story of their brand down quite well. The slogan of the cemetery could be: Live fast, die young. Or maybe taking a page from many real estate developments, If you were dead, you’d already be home.
Or maybe they could take a page from Glasgow City Council, who had put up (when I was living there anyhow) signs all around the airport decrying: Glasgow: pure dead brilliant. Which I think must be a nod to the local vernacular, but could, if one wasn’t expecting it, be a bit off-putting.
Perhaps though, a truly great moment in branding might come when whatever bright spark decided that dead was a great word to plaster about an airport got together with the people at this cemetery in New Zealand.