Tag Archives: Authenticity

Marimekko, do not buy the rights!

After Kristina Isola acknowledged the plagiarism of a design, it has been very interesting to see the various reactions of Marimekko, media, marketing and branding professionals. However, the most important and defining factor for the Marimekko brand going forward has been left out: managing the associations that consumers have with the brand Marimekko.

In the end, brands are merely associations in the minds of consumers. For example, Coca-Cola is associated with the real Cola drink and Snickers is associated with a peanut candy bar. Brand associations are very difficult to change. That is, until something disastrous happens and the brand owner does not deal with it properly. We have seen that happening to BP after the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. The share price has still not recovered.

For Marimekko, the most important thing should be to ensure that consumers do not change their brand association. For example, if a consumer believed before that Marimekko equals “iconic Finnish fabric design”, Marimekko should do everything it can to avoid a change of association to “iconic Finnish fabric design and possible copies”.

The decision of the company to buy the rights to designs of Maria Pryimachenko will only give more opportunities for consumers to change the brand association. Why? Because it allows the discussion to continue and most importantly, it gives a constant physical reminder of the copy scandal. The continuous opportunity for consumers to change their brand associations is very harmful and can even be fatal for a brand.

If you are convinced that buying the rights to the designs of Maria Pryimachenko is the best thing to do, I invite you to go to a Marimekko shop and imagine you see those designs. Then be really honest with yourself: what do you think and feel about Marimekko? Has it changed? How?

What could Marimekko have done to ensure that consumers would have little opportunity to change their brand associations? They should have started with a different outcome in mind: a zero change in the brand association. As a result, the company should have been very firm and confident with consumers and media.

Don’t fight the facts, but deal with them. Don’t wait and see, but act. Don’t blame, don’t dismiss but take full responsibility and publicly end the relationship with Kristina Isola. By not distancing itself strongly from her, Marimekko indirectly indicates that ‘it is not a big deal’. From the moment this crisis started Marimekko should have followed its corporate value “fairness to everyone and everything” and actively reached out to the copyright holders.

When all of the above happens in an open and transparent way, a way that consumers can come to terms with and think ‘I understand and I would have done that too’, the brand is OK and brand associations have little opportunity to change.

This post appeared in Markkinointi & Mainonta

Iceland’s Skyr – How healthy is healthy? – brand trust

We like(d) Skyr! Having been in Iceland twice it reminds us of this beautiful country, the nature, the freshness… everything that is good about Iceland. So, we were very happy to see Skyr here in the supermarket! While happily eating this delicious dairy treat I flipped over the the backside of the box. I literally could not believe what I was reading! E950, E951 and aspartame… WHAT? I thought, no .. I knew for sure that Skyr was the 100% pure nature dairy?

So I immediately went to http://www.skyr.is/ and guess what: you get a very healthy feeling from the brand ! There is even a Health section. From the site:

The healthy Icelandic cuisine springs from a Nordic heritage of fresh and wholesome foods prepared in simple ways. With Europe’s longest lifespan, the people of Iceland mix a nutritional heritage of hardworking farm living with a vibrant active lifestyle. Skyr is a part of life from infancy onwards and is considered a national treasure!

Wow! No mentioning everywhere about the additional artificial taste boosters and sweetener…

I wondered what was going on and checked all four Skyr variants sold here. It appears two of them have the E950, E591 and aspartame health boost, the others are natural.

The Skyr case is to me a good case on brand authenticity and honesty: the brand boozes health and nature but some of the products do not live up to that. The big question is: why is Skyr selling these?  What is the end result? A confused consumer that does not trust Skyr anymore being a really healthy alternative (or at least not prior reading the product ingredients!)

FOX’s 24 Season 8: New York Gets Jacked… all from an LA studio…

Part of 24 full page advertisement in NY Times

O boy… I was excited hearing that FOX’s 24 Season 8 was going to take place in New York. Thought I would be able to catch a movie set or two. I remember seeing a “making of” after Season 3 or so and was totally prepared for some cool stuff.

Only a little later I found out that nothing in Season 8 was going to be taped here in New York which was a total disappointment.

Next: this weeks Sunday edition of the NY Times had a full page advertisement “New York Gets Jacked” with Jack Bauer standing on top of a NY taxi!

I mean… how could Fox pull this off? A full page advertisement that screams: watch watch watch: it is in New York (while it is not)

I had to watch the Season 8 premiere yesterday and I could not help thinking all the time scenes of New York were shown, Jack walking in streets of the city, NYPD, yellow taxis, the UN… It just felt…. totally fake.

So, here is my request for FOX: please make sure Season 9 is back in LA and do not think of picking another city unless you tape there. I understand 24 is fake to start with but taping everything from an LA studio makes it all very very fake. And a full page advertisement in the NY Times (of all newspapers) does not really help, at least for somebody living in NYC.

If a successful TV series like 24 was managed like a brand, how far would you go with losing “reality” ?  Or is this just written by somebody who’s favorite TV series was 24 and stopped believing 3+ Seasons ago? 🙂