I am currently writing a proposal for an energy drink, and this brought out an idea I have been toying with in the past as well.

Brands attach, or used to attach themselves to certain lifestyle connotations – be it sports, culture or some other field of interest. Since some of these cultures appeal to a larger mass than the people actually doing these things – brands wish to add cache to themselves by lending ”cool” from these tribes.

All good and well, except not.

Borrowing cool is just that, borrowing. Things like skateboarding or other ”edgy” sports for instance are the most branded environments around, just compare the number of brands these people display to lets say – athletics.

Some of these brands come from the culture and are proudly worn as signs of association to a certain subtype or philosophy but not all by a mile.

I wonder, if a snowboard movie starts playing on the customers mind when he/she drinks a can of Red Bull.

I also wonder if these associations have the desired effect – cool/cachet by association always loses to being cool.

Brands aren’t communicative entities anymore, they are cultures. Maybe we should dig a bit deeper than we often do now, and find some real foundations on which to build on – and create communicative vehicles from these assets.

If a company creates door hinges, and do a good job at it – they could build communication based on openness, but what they could also do is to create activities based on ease of use, opening new horizons, access or some other conceptual framework.

Door hinge company 1:

Openness : Advocate gay rights

Door hinge company 2:

Openness : Good business governance and transparency/CSR programs

Door hinge company 3:

Openness : Allow the audience to get ahead by creating opportunities for minorities

Door hinge company 4:

Coolness : Use Parkourists to illustrate the ease on how the hinges work

One of these creates advertising, three create cultures.

The three also are brand companions instead of being communicators. They create ideologies instead of associative references.

More ramblings to follow, as i just started at W. Steinmann – my job is to plan an idea on how this industry of ours could create aforementioned culturally relevant brands. I also work here as a creative director for now.

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