Two Buck Chuck 20th Anniversary

As the wine world raises a glass to the late Fred Franzia, the unorthodox businessman behind the Charles Shaw wine brand (a.k.a. “Two Buck Chuck”) who passed away this week, it’s high time to revisit the story of Shaw himself and one of the potential pitfalls of being a brand name. How did Shaw’s name end […]

Brand Plan

James Bond just underwent a redemptive reckoning onscreen. The latest iteration of Superman is, as the New York Times reports, “Up, up and out of the closet.” Rebranding cultural icons seems all the rage. And not just for superheroes. Many public-facing entities have endeavored to refresh their image, some to fix longstanding cultural offenses—looking at you, […]

Sonoma Inn (San Francisco Edition) literally bites

Given my never-ending crusade to preserve Sonoma’s brand equity, imagine my surprise when I discovered poachers siphoning our identity from our own backyard. In San Francisco, at the corner of Bush and Van Ness, is a hotel named the Sonoma Inn. I initially assumed it was a residential hotel, by which I mean flophouse, of […]

Say it and Spray It: Graffiti & Marketing

In a consultation recently, a client enquired about the efficacy of ?street stencils? as part of a branded entertainment campaign. I took this to mean ?spray-painting the URL to their online video all over town to get their target demo to watch it.? Yes, I replied, this could be effective ? if the target demo […]