Jul 18

BRAND BITE — #BrandStoryInTheAir

In celebration of its 80th anniversary, Icelandair is taking flight attendant training to a whole new level. During a one-of-a-kind flight between London and New York, passengers lucky enough to be on board this exclusive transatlantic flight on September 8 will be treated to a live show performed by Icelandair staff. Three acts. One brand story. An unforgettable experience.  https://www.icelandair.us/stopover-pass/


Brand Thought

Icelandair’s ‘theater in the air’ idea came about because they listened to their passengers. They gleaned a couple of insights through a customer survey. Insight 1: we get bored on long flights. (Okay.  That’s not all that much of an insight.)  And insight 2: the crew is the key to passenger experience. They were wise enough to connect the two and voila! An idea was born. That’s how it’s done.

Jun 23

BRAND BITE — #EmeraldBeauty

McKinney has created for Sherwin-Williams a beautiful and emotionally-charged view of its paint line, Emerald. The production of this TV spot was nothing short of technical mastery, made possible through high speed camera work, a precision guidance system and a room full of crew, agency and client representatives willing to put their nerves at bay as the paint flowed and the unexpected shapes came to life. In the end … mesmerizing perfection that portrays paint in a whole new light.


Brand Thought:

Sherwin-Williams—a key player in a category that tends to play it safe creatively—took a chance. The agency and client teams thought about ‘what if’ and weren’t held back by fear of the unknown or fear of potential failure. Just goes to show, when strategy and creative genius are at play, risk has its rewards.

Jun 08


You may have heard that Alaska Airlines bought Virgin America last year. The intention behind the deal was, apparently, to retain two separate and strong brands. In the end, Alaska Airlines determined it could not succeed with that approach. Alaska Airlines, instead, will be retiring the VA brand in 2019. But Alaska Airlines will keep some of Virgin America’s unique and differentiating features (mood lighting, music and enhanced in-flight entertainment).  A nice brand mojo boost for Alaska.



Brand Thought:

Whether or not Alaska Airlines ever truly intended to retain the brand is neither here nor there. The fact that they have determined they could not maintain brand integrity is good enough for me. Their decision will keep Virgin America’s brand memory true and authentic. I’d rather go out with a strong, positive bang than with a watered-down and skewed whimper, wouldn’t you?

May 18

BRAND BITE — #BrandIntimacy

Who says a day of feeling the exhilaration of surfing needs to end when the killer waves do? An historic hotel in Laguna Beach, Cal., has partnered with 10 iconic lifestyle brands to extend the connection to riding the waves beyond the ocean, into the hotel. The essence of each brand is reflected in the décor of each aptly-named room. This iconic surfer hotel and the brands beloved by its target audience have created just a little slice of brand connection heaven.



Brand Thought:

Consumers want to feel a genuine connection with the brands they choose to do business with. And as our world becomes more automated and fast paced, creating that connection can be a challenge. But any brand, even the biggest of them, can feel personal and intimate with smart strategic alignments (like aligning with a hotel known to specifically cater to your target audience). Just keep your true brand essence front and center and align everything you do to it. When you do that, you’re golden.


May 02

BRAND BITE — #HeinekenTrue

Some brands know how to jump on opportunity. Or, maybe the timing is just right. Whatever the case, enter Heineken. On the heels of this controversial Pepsi ad, Heineken aired an ad that showed us how it should be done. Yep, authentic beats contrived every time.



Brand Thought

This is authenticity at its finest. It’s pure. It’s honest. And it’s self-aware. It’s beautiful to see such an emotional reflection of a powerful tagline (‘open your world’) come together in a social experiment that went very, very right.

Apr 13

BRAND BITE – #UnitedWeAreNot

United Airlines is in a tough spot—and they did it to themselves. Clearly, the behavior of United representatives and airport security crossed many, many boundaries, but when your brand is wrapped around a positioning of customer service and positive experience (not to mention boasting a tagline of ‘Fly the Friendly Skies’), this incident and everything surrounding it was nothing less than brand blasphemy.


Brand Thought

Strong and beloved brands can and do recover from slip-ups.  (Do you recall the Tylenol tampering incident several years ago? Or the failed introduction of New Coke?). But the brands in question must respond swiftly, appropriately and genuinely. United did anything but. The lasting impact on their brand value, customer loyalty and reputation is an unknown at this point, but every move United Airlines makes in the foreseeable future better be smart, strategic and focused on bringing back the friendly skies if they stand a chance of a healthy recovery.