Last week I heard Brian Collins from Olgivy & Mather in New York City speak at AIGA. It was wasn’t my usual crowd these days. They were a much more style conscious crowd. I love the book Olgivy on Advertising and that’s why I went. It looks like they’re still doing incredible work.

Brian talked about working on the Dove campaign and the newer designed prescription bottles at Target (someone in his class developed them). He also talked about the Hershey store in Times Square. All of these have had tremendous success. People will drive out of their way to get their prescriptions filled at Target just because of the design of the prescription bottles. The Hershey store is an experience with the brands themselves, from the physical building to almost every detail inside it.

The Dove campaign is my favorite because it combines art, giving back, and celebrating all kinds of beautiful women. It has permeated into our society. Women are describing themselves as “Dove women” meaning they are not rail thin and model beautiful. They are real. Beauty is not perfection but authenticity.

I loved talking about branding as storytelling. For example the woman who designed the prescription bottles had a personal experience. I believe her grandma took the wrong medication and died as a result. She set out to deconstruct then rebuild prescriptions so it wouldn’t happen to anyone else’s grandma.

At Tahitian Noni, the story was very compelling and a big part of theirĀ  branding. It was a little fantastic but it still had its authentic pieces. The stories both modern and ancient (the use and discovery of noni fruit and Tahitian culture) formed a framework that drove product development, marketing, and company culture.

Brian captured the magic of design, storytelling, and imagination so well (I realized I was a designer – as sure as this desk is made of wood). I’ve been thinking about it since. It got me in the mood for halloween (I worked all day Saturday on my costume, watch for a photo).

He said to look at the patent and historical documents in a company to piece together the past and find authenticity. An authentic, compelling story is the basis of good branding. Recreating and improvising on the theme can bring huge marketing successes. It necessarily involves risk. That is where most companies fail or stagnate. They stay guarded and then stuck in the safety of mediocrity.

2 Responses to “Olgivy & Mather: Branding as Storytelling”

  1. Matthew Reinbold Says:

    It’s funny that you point out the Dove ‘Natural Women’ campaign. It turns out that there is nothing ‘Natural’ about it. It is stuff like this that causes me to keep most marketing (and marketers) at arms length – there’s a reality distortion (for better or worse) that is done to get the sale.

    Commentary and time-lapse video available at apophenia:
    http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2006/10/15/this_video_is_i.html

  2. newspapergrl Says:

    Matthew,
    Yes, Dove is pointing out that in most cases models are not reality but distortions of reality. They set out to find women who are normal. They didn’t touch up or distort the models in their campaigns. Then they asked other women to submit photographs of other women (not made-up or distorted, real people as they are).
    I’m not sure why you don’t think this is good…
    Janet