Thursday, February 27, 2020

The end of the brand known as “Sussex Royal”

By now, everyone has heard that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his American-born wife Meghan Markle, have made the earth-shattering decision to step back from their official duties as “senior members” of the British Royal Family, effective March 31, 2020. Harry and Meghan received the Sussex titles by Her Majesty The Queen upon their marriage on May 19, 2018, and since then, the couple has branded themselves as “Sussex Royal.”

As part of the British Royal Family, the couple has been included on the family’s website (, but it is unclear as to what information will remain following March 31. The couple also created an account on Instagram ( and its own website (

However, the couple has been told that they may not use the term “Royal” in the U.K. or elsewhere after March 31, and Harry has stated that he wants to be addressed simply as “Harry.”
The couple plans to continue their involvement with philanthropy and specific issues, such as, veteran rights, women’s rights, conservation, elimination of landmines, and mental health. Their likenesses will definitely sell products, and as the last week has shown, they will be much sought-after speakers at corporate events. So what will the couple’s new brand look like?

According to Wikipedia, “Personal branding is the practice of marketing people and their careers as brands. It is an ongoing process of developing and maintaining a reputation and impression of an individual, group, or organization.”

This marketing-savvy couple has drawn a large amount of media interest, so there is no surprise that the world’s spotlight is shining on them as they create a new brand. Some of the things they will consider in the process:

* Brand name
* Tagline
* Graphics and color palette
* Website
* Social media platforms
* Nonprofit partnerships
* Corporate partnerships

And lastly, here are some questions for the couple to answer once they have created their new brand:

* Will the brand clearly stand apart from the British Royal Family?
* Will the brand be representative of the couple’s interests?
* Will the brand name symbolize Harry and Meghan?
* Will the brand be able to stand the test of time?
* Will the couple’s fans embrace the new brand?

What do you think the couple will choose as their new brand? Please chime in.

Image Credit: ABC News/Australia via Reuters/Henry Nicholls.

Monday, February 10, 2020

What’s Your Favorite Valentine’s Day Brand?

With the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve/Day holidays over, the next holiday on the calendar is Valentine’s Day.

For some history about Valentine’s Day, check out this link from Wikipedia:

When you think of the holiday featuring Cupid and his arrow, there are countless brands that come to mind. Which brands are your faves? Here are five that symbolize the holiday.

With a tagline, “Every kiss begins with Kay,” this brand stands out. According to the brand’s website, the first storefront opened in 1916 in Reading, Pennsylvania. “Back then, customers could find eyeglasses, music boxes, silverware, appliances, and razors among the gifts of jewelry. A lot has changed since then, but thankfully, love lives on. Kay Jewelers, now part of Signet Jewelers in Akron, Ohio, has grown. As the number one jewelry store in America with more than 1,000 stores, Kay has had the honor of being a part of countless love stories from coast to coast.”

Dating has evolved due to the digital age. While there are numerous online dating sites ranging from religious sites to specific age sites to hobby sites, this Dallas-headquartered brand launched in 1995. According to its website, “ services 24 countries and territories and hosts websites in 15 languages…We give singles the opportunity to express themselves through various free writing sections. Profiles may include up to 26 photos, as well as selected preferences regarding the person they're searching for. With the click of a mouse, members can instantly see photos and read about potential matches in their area.”

For an interesting look at online dating statistics, check out this research by Chadwick Martin Bailey:

Tiffany & Company has long been synonymous with diamond engagement rings that come in little blue boxes. But during February, little blue boxes may be considered by some to be better gifts than chocolate heart boxes.

According to Wikipedia, “The Hershey Kisses were first introduced in 1907. At first, the Hershey Kisses were wrapped by hand, but in 1921, a machine was made so that the Kisses would be wrapped automatically. Brothers Walter, Howard, and Raymond Phillippy made improvements, such as, devices to reject misshapen Kisses and position unwrapped candies upright. This is also when the plume was added. In 1924, Milton S. Hershey received a registered trademark for the plume.…Kisses are one of the most popular brands of candy in the United States. In 1989, the chocolate drops were the 5th most popular chocolate brand in the United States, spawning sales that topped $400 million. More than 60 million Hershey's Kisses chocolates are produced each day at the company's two factories.”

Click to see the extensive list of variations of Hershey’s Kisses in the United States, Canada, and internationally – as well as the “limited time only” varieties:

Do you send greeting cards via snail mail? Well, believe it or not, some people still do, and the most well-known brand for greeting cards is this brand founded by a teenager in 1910 with headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.

According to Hallmark’s website, here are some interesting facts about Valentine’s Day (
* Hallmark first offered Valentine’s Day cards in 1913 and began producing them in 1916.
* In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France Australia, Denmark, and Italy.
* Approximately 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged industry-wide (not including packaged kids’ valentines for classroom exchanges), making Valentine’s Day the second-largest holiday for giving greetings cards.
* According to the National Retail Federation, the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day spent $143 in 2018.

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day brands?

Image Credit: Kay Jewelers,, Tiffany & Company, Hershey’s, and Hallmark.

Monday, February 3, 2020

A Review of the #Ads from #SuperBowl54

Unlike some previous big games, Super Bowl 54 was full of football action. But, if you live and breathe marketing, the game is just background noise. Your focus is the ads that take place in between the snaps, kicks, and runs. With a staggering cost of nearly six million dollars for 30 incredibly short seconds, is it possible for a brand to tell its story effectively? Were there any ads that rivaled Apple’s 1984 ad? Were there any Tweets that rivaled Oreo’s Tweet during the 2013 power outage? Can you RECALL any of the ads?

This quote from Landor Associates is timeless: "Here are three tips to help you, your dad, or even your football-crazed grandma decide which brands scored a touchdown with their commercials: Is the ad on-brand? Will you remember the brand tomorrow? And, does the ad speak to the times?”

During the game, New York-based brand guru Jim Joseph (@JimJosephExp) hosted his annual #SuperBowlExp party on Twitter (minus chips and guacamole), and since 2014, I've chimed in. Although it's always fun to see what fellow branding and marketing folks say about the ads in real time, there are a couple of challenges. First, some ads run in regional or local markets. Second, there are so many hashtags that draw attention to the ads that it’s sometimes a challenge to keep up (#BrandBowl, #AdBowl, etc.).

For the third year, I simultaneously followed along with the Kellogg School's TweetChat using the hashtag #KelloggBowl led by Tim Calkins (@TimothyCalkins), Professor of Marketing at Kellogg. This group of marketing folks had interesting comments throughout the ads.

This year for the first time, I also followed the Tweets by Pantone (@Pantone), the the global authority on color, as it shared comments using the hashtag #BigGameColorCommentary. For instance, when a referee threw a yellow flag on the field, Pantone tweeted the specific color Yellow. At the conclusion of the game, Pantone tweeted both teams' specific colors of red with the final score - great marketing!

This year, I didn't see my favorite brand spokes-characters. There were no M&M's, no Coca-Cola polar bears, and no Budweiser Clydesdales with their pal, the adorable Dalmatian. These icons have become part of the Super Bowl advertising tradition - and in the process, part of the Super Bowl itself. Perhaps, next year, these icons will return.

Without further ado, here were my five favorite ads:


Seats were not even warm as this ad began. It featured women playing football, and its message was let's "Kick Inequality." The hashtag #KickInequality became a theme throughout numerous ads including Olay, Microsoft, and Tide (which featured Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot).


This ad introduced Katie Sowers from the San Francisco 49ers, the first woman to ever coach in the Super Bowl. What an inspiration!


Do you remember when Budweiser changed its name to "America" from May through November 2016? This ad aligned with that marketing campaign because its theme was that all of us are "Typical Americans." The much-loved Clydesdale horses may have been absent, but the message that we all have something in common - in this era of disagreement in Washington, D.C. - came through loud and clear.


Spokes-canine Scout received excellent treatment from the angels at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, and this ad told his story. With the hashtag #PetsMakeADifference, viewers were asked to make a donation. All fans of dogs and animals were touched by this ad.


Viewers of this ad who work in the information security industry might have wondered why Facebook didn't use the opportunity to talk about privacy and new ways to protect users' data. Instead, Facebook used its ad to promote its "Groups" - specifically groups with the word ROCK - ranging from rock climbers to senior citizen porch rockers. The ad ended with a group of runners running up the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum just like Rocky Balboa did in the "Rocky" movie in 1976 - and then, surprise! There was Sylvester Stallone!

It seems as if most of the other ads fell flat. I don't want to share any political commentary, but Michael Bloomberg spent a reported 11 million dollars on his ad. Tide's constant reminders to do #LaundryLater were a little annoying. As some people wrote on Twitter, "Even we wouldn't do laundry during the #SuperBowl, #LaundryLater."

And lastly, Jacques de Cock, a faculty member at the London School of Marketing, said the game will have been watched in half of US households.

"The Super Bowl is a phenomenon unsurpassed in the world. It is one of the few national social events, which is also why social media traffic during the game is so high...What is also remarkable is that advertising is not viewed as something to skip, but is seen by 77 percent of viewers as part of the entertainment and therefore more watched and engaged with than any other television advertising during the year."

Are you counting the days to Super Bowl 55, scheduled for February 7, 2021, in Tampa, Florida? Or, are you planning a party to review the ads instead?

For more commentary on the Super Bowl's Ads, I recommend the following reading:

2020 Ad Meter Results

Jim Joseph's blog post:

Kellogg School's recap:

Pantone recap:

Tom Fishburne's blog post:

If you want to read my previous annual recaps starting in 2012, search my blog using "super" for the links.

Image Credit: Pantone via Twitter.