News round-up 03.12.10


A £10k whiskey, CGI puppies and MySpace, all in one post? Must be the news round-up.

Most of what’s important in the world of design? Check.

A fair amount of the unimportant but nonetheless highly clickable? Check.

Appalling puns littered throughout? Check.

Must be the News Round-Up.

The Cogs of Industry

Reckitt Benckiser has appointed SSL group marketing director Volker Sydow to integrate the newly-acquired Durex and Scholl brands under RB’s enormous ‘powerbrand’ umbrella.


Flawed Flora?


Flora is struggling to regain its kingpin position from butter trumpeters Lurpak, according to an article in Marketing Magazine (17th Nov). One theory is that the brand has failed to jump on the home-baking bandwagon by positioning themselves as a spread.

Digitised dog's dinner?

Andrex has used a CGI puppy for their latest advert. Are Andrex risking hindering consumers’ emotional engagement with the brand? Only time will tell, but at least they’ll circumvent problem with dog pops on set.

Britvic redesign

Britvic have relaunched their range of tonic waters & orange juices including Britvic 55. The new designs, by JKR, are a radical departure from the previous packs and inject more personality into the range. And whatdyaknow – we worked on the project (anyone would think there was a subtext of self-promotion around here).

Innocently profitable

Marketing Magazine’s Sector Insight focusses on smoothies in its 17th Nov issue. In 2009, Innocent had a stonking 80% share of the fruit pie, worth £100m. It’s a declining sector, though, with its total value falling by £45m between 2008 and 2009.

John Lewis: brand of the year 2010

John Lewis has won Marketing Society’s Brand of the Year 2010. The judges noted the way their strapline, ‘Never knowingly undersold’ steers the brand and its marketing, while consumers love the brand for its Britishness and good customer service. Their Christmas ad is rather sweet too, though they’ve had to cut out the scene at the end with the cold dog due to complaints.

The end of the year, of course, is synonymous with a relentless torrent of largely meaningless charts. Design Week have gotten involved by posting their Top 50 global design consultancies (Nov 2010 issue). London & New York-based The Partners top the list, with Pearlfisher in at 24th and Design Bridge in 41st.


Turns you on (energetically speaking)

Here’s an interesting one – Attitude from Energizer Brands claims to be the world’s first and only energy drink which is caffeine & taurine free, and appears to have positioned itself as the Innocent of energy drinks (though its strapline, “Attitude turns you on”, seems rather less innocent).

Roses are red, the packaging is blue, the tin is more premium and consumers agree too

This time last year, Cadbury did the honourable thing and ditched the traditional tin format in favour of a more sustainable cardboard box for aunty’s favourite, Roses. Sadly, aunties nationwide didn’t respond well, and this year the premium-feeling-but-environmentally-depraved tin returns – a microcosm of a much broader theme in sustainable packaging and the debate over whether the inevitable shift should be consumer, industry or legislation-led.

Wool Cool: will cool wool well too

Organic maestros Abel & Cole are employing The Wool Packaging Company‘s rather clever ‘Wool Cool’ system, which keeps food at the right temperature without crushing future generations’ chances for survival. It won Sustainable Pack of the Year at the highly-coveted 2010 Packaging Awards (imagine the Oscars minus the celebrities and plus a lot of talk about the new P325 flow-wrapping machine with phase feeder operator-free intake).

Nestlé's Maggi: UK launch

Nestlé is expanding one of its biggest global brands, Maggi – a range of sauces, gravy, stocks and soups, into the UK as a direct competitor to Unilever’s Knorr.

Urban Outfitters: exciting retail personality

As you do your annual shopping trawl this year, what are the outlets you most enjoy (or least loathe)? Urban Outfitters tops the Marketing magazine poll (24th Nov) for most exciting retail spaces, followed by Lush & Waitrose. Top of the flops is Dorothy Perkins, Greggs and the “Narnia of household goods“, Argos.

Commentary Corner

Design Research Unit woz ere

What did the Design Research Unit ever do for us? Well, quite a lot actually, not least all the signage for the nation’s capital.

Rob Ryan: a good British designer

A royal wedding looms, and with it comes the prospect of piles of grotesque souvenir tat. JKR blogs on how nice it’d be to see some good design on show for once.

What's your perception?

Logo Design Love blog on ‘Perceptioning‘: “the means by which you convey the truth and understanding about you, your product, business or brand to the world”

My oh my

Landor blog on the continuing trend for logos to be ‘holding devices’ for other imagery – most recently MySpace (or should that be My_____)

Pretty Packaging

Bombay Sapphire limited edition

Here’s a very pretty limited edition of Bombay Sapphire, designed by Webb de Vlam.

Mmm... unifying cream device

LFH have done a pretty neat job with these new designs for Elmlea, which use a bold background colour to provide range navigation whilst the unifying cream device ensures strong brand consistency and presence.

50 y.o. Highland Park: not cheap

Do you know someone who’s into their whiskey? Are you a Premier League footballer (or on equivalent wage)? If you can answer yes to both of these questions, then this might be an ideal Christmas gift for that special someone: limited edition 50-year-old Highland Park malt, with accordingly ornate packaging by jewellery designer Maeve Gillies, comes in at a cool £10k.

Lower Ground coffee

These packs for Level Ground, by Subplot Design, are fantastic. The company is dedicated to trading directly and fairly with the coffee producers, and Subplot have made individual producers the heroes on pack. More here.

Jammie Dodgers: couldn't dodge a redesign

Preserve-based insults are sadly few and far between, but “jammie dodger” has thankfully stood the test of time. To celebrate (and, presumably, express the brand’s core values in a way that improves standout without sacrificing its key visual equities), Robot Food have provided the first redesign in a decade for the namesake biscuits’ packaging.

What a cutea

Finding yourself short of tea is a nightmare no-one should have to face. That’s why Sanctuary T have created BYOT (bring your own tea), a range of flat-pack teas “ideal for a back pocket”. The packaging, designed in-house, is pretty smart too.

Grt pckgng

A cool packaging concept from Mika Kañive for a fruit & yogurt product

Ye olde biscuits

Studio H and Adrian Johnson Studio have done a great job with the packaging for the new line of the National Trust’s products. They’ve used a wood block effect to achieve a contemporary feel which remains traditional.

Jim Beam: before (left) and after

Jim Beam Black ‘Double Aged’ has been redesigned with a taller bottle aimed at underlining the brand’s premium credentials.

Screw maps

Here’s a neat idea: Crumpled City make waterproof maps that are ideal for being crammed into a pocket with scant regard for fold lines. They also come in these neat little pouches.

"I haven't been drinking!" "Hmm, I smell Ararat"

Never let it be said that we don’t cover the niche categories. The big name in Armenian brandy, Ararat, has been re-branded and re-packaged by Identica, also responsible for Russian Standard vodka.

And Finally…

Sky go for an abstract approach in their new advertising

How awesome is this? “Non-Sign II” by Lead Pencil Studio.

If each X Factor contestant were a brand, which brand would they be? That was the question asked of respondents in a Marketing Magazine survey (24th Nov). Can you guess who each one was? Some of the brands picked were: Primark, Levi’s, Fairy Liquid, DisneyInnocent & Pot Noodle (click through for the answers).


The Internet

What does the internet look like? This was the question that creatives and (also creative) children tackled in this interesting project. This one pictured is by Agency Rush.

Chris Dent's London: spot our office

Chris Dent does beautiful and quirky illustrations of cities.

Ever wonder where your, er, ‘business’ goes after you flush? No, nor do I. But in case you do, Domestos have helpfully created Flushtracker.



I’m sure most reading this will be able to spot bad design when they see it, but can you create bad design? That’s the aim of the competition, ‘How low can your logo?’, in which designers are tasked with creating a logo for exciting new fictional company ‘Excellencico’. There’s many, many eyesores on the site (Comic Sans is pretty prevalent), but here’s a particularly nasty one.

Name That Blob

Thanks to our web designer, Steve Jones at Raffworks for the heads up on this one – ‘Unevolved Brands‘ is a “progressive study on brand & logo simplication” according to creator Graham Smith of ImJustCreative – kind of a molecular Name That Brand.

'The Quill'

While The Shard continues to shoot up at London Bridge, ‘The Quill’ has just been granted planning approval in Southwark.

Name That Brand!

The last news‘ brand was Ford

This edition’s…

Name That Brand