Tag Archives | Symbolic

Philips, Charmin And Duracell Are Creating A Clean And Green New Year’s Eve

Times Square New Years Eve

Large public events are always a great time to show off your product and get your brand name into the public eye, and Philips Lighting, Duracell and Charmin are using the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop to their advantage by sponsoring various parts of the festivities.

New Years Eve Ball

Philips Lighting

First, Philips Lighting helped to revamp the Ball for 2009, doubling the size of previous Balls and creating a new Ball that weighs in at 11,875 pounds. The 12-foot geodesic sphere is covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights. The end result is a Ball that is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns that will definitely be tough to miss.

In addition, the Philips technology that’s powering the Ball is greener than ever before. According to Philips, even though the Ball contains more than three times the number of LEDs used in last year’s Ball, the solid state lighting technology that’s being used to light this year’s Ball results in an astounding increase in impact and color capabilities, while being 10-20% more energy efficient than last year’s already energy-efficient Ball. In fact, Philips claims that despite being a central focus of the entire Times Square New Year’s Eve party, the Ball consumes about the same amount of energy per hour as it would take to operate two traditional home ovens.

New Year's Eve 2009 Sign


Second, once the Ball finishes its drop, Duracell’s battery technology will kick in to power the 2009 sign that will signify the arrival of the New Year. Just powering the sign with batteries doesn’t send much of a message though, so Duracell is bringing the power to the people in 2009 by lighting the sign with energy generated through human pedal power.

Duracell Snowmobikes

Inside of what they call the Power Lodge, Duracell has set up a fleet of ‘snowmobikes’ that visitors can pedal to capture and store energy using rotary technology, and each snowmobike feeds into giant Duracell batteries that then ‘store’ the energy needed to light the sign.

“We estimate our goal is to get 230 hours of people doing the cycle over the course of December and then we will have enough charge in the batteries for at least 10 to 15 minutes during the live telecast.” said Kurt Iverson, spokesman for Duracell.

When all was said and done, it took 137,228 people to generate enough pedal power to light up the 608 halogen bulbs that make up the sign, as it will require 7.25 kilowatt-hours of electricity after the famous ball drop. (For comparison, in 2006, the average residence in the United States consumed 920 kilowatt-hours per month.)

Gisele Bundchen

As with any good publicity stunt, Duracell also brought in a number of celebrities to pedal some power into the campaign, including supermodel Gisele Bundchen, entertainment legend Liza Minnelli, news anchor Katie Couric, musicians Nick Lachey, Leona Lewis, Brandy, Sean Paul, Lady GaGa, Ne-Yo and Natasha Bedingfield, actors Peter Facinelli and Michael Urie, the cast of the New Electric Company, and “Project Runway” winner Christian Siriano.

In addition to powering the sign, Duracell is also helping tourists and revelers to ‘recharge’ with the Duracell Recharge Rest Stop, a part of the Power Lodge that allows anyone to plug-in and charge their personal entertainment and digital devices – including digital cameras, cell phones, BlackBerrys, iPods, MP3 players and gaming devices – at Duracell Power Stations.

“Times Square visitors are learning that Duracell is here to serve their personal power needs to keep their devices juiced up — even when a power outlet is nowhere to be found,” said Craig Bida, Duracell brand manager. “People depend on their mobile devices today like never before, and Duracell is making it easier to keep things powered up anytime and anywhere.”

Charmin Restrooms


Lastly, Charmin will be the toilet paper of choice at the third annual Charmin Restrooms in Times Square. The Restrooms, which sit directly below the Duracell Power Lodge, give tourists and New Yorkers alike a bit of ‘relief’ with the ultimate bathroom experience, and sit right on Times Square as a special holiday gift from Charmin.

Not one to pass up a good celebrity publicity stunt either, Charmin brought in Joey Fatone as the ‘King of the Throne’, and he christened the ‘Luxurious Loos’ with a ceremonial ‘First Flush’.

Charmin Restrooms Detail

Together, Philips Lighting, Duracell and Charmin are creating a clean and green New Year’s celebration for 2009 that has earned them plenty of publicity, and a well-deserved ‘Thank You’ from the city of New York.

The Good:

  • Sponsoring a huge event results in tons of press coverage.
  • Consumers get a chance to experience your product first hand.
  • Symbolic products highlight the features and benefits of your main product line.
  • Green technology taps into a current trend and consumer concern.
  • Sponsored products are seen by millions through television coverage of the event.

The Bad:

  • High cost of sponsorship brings the return on investment down.

The Future:

  • Sponsoring pieces and parts of a large event keeps sponsorship costs down while still allowing consumers to see and interact with your products on a large scale.

Philips Lighting – New Year’s Eve Ball

Duracell – Power Lodge

Charmin – Restrooms

Chalk Shows Nike Understands The LeBron James Market

LeBron James Candyman

When you’re a company as big as Nike (their current market cap hovers somewhere north of $34 billion), it’s easy to fall back on brand awareness/brand management when it comes time to roll out a new commercial, and that can lead to laziness and stagnation, as you figure that as long as you’re getting the brand name out there and into the public eye, then you’re moving the brand forward.

Just Do It

However, Nike has stayed on top of their game not because they’re willing to sit back and reap the rewards of previous successes, but because they’re willing to push the limits of what’s possible with brandvertising, and prove to the world that they’re not just on the cutting edge; they’re defining it.

LeBron James Season Six

Their latest spot for the new shoes from LeBron James, called the Season Six, features LeBron and his now famous pre-game routine in which he throws a handful of talcum powder into the air. It’s an electrifying moment, and ‘Chalk’ captures the emotion and the power of that moment and turns it into a strong, beautiful, and inspirational commercial:

However, what you might have missed are a few of the finer details sprinkled throughout the commercial:

  • The background music is a song called ‘Candyman’, originally recorded in 1997 by the British indie group Cornershop. Though it’s more than 10 years old, it still feels fresh even today, and along with the fact that Nike gave the chart topping Lil’ Wayne a cameo in the commercial, shows that Nike understands the music that their target audience listens to.
  • Lil’ Wayne, who grew up on the streets, is no stranger to the ‘candy’ (cocaine) during his rise to fame, and the symbolic brushing of the chalk from his shoes (rising from the streets to stardom, which mirrors LeBron’s rise), shows that Nike understands the streets that their target audience grows up on, and the challenge to rise that they are faced with.
  • Jamie Nared, whose cameo in the commercial features her playing against a team of boys (Jamie was kicked off of her high school’s basketball team for being too good) as well as a shot of her standing alone in the girls locker room shows that Nike understands the struggle for success that their target audience must go through.
  • In addition to LeBron and Jamie, the chalk is also thrown by a barber, an amateur basketball player, a student, fans at the game and a donut maker, covering them all and symbolizing the fact that inspiration from an amazing player like LeBron can touch the lives of almost everyone, and shows that Nike understands the power of the players that they sponsor. (Nike’s contract for LeBron was $90 million over 7 years, though they made it when his skills in the NBA were still untested. However, they were willing to support him because they believed in his potential. In addition, the fact that they sponsor the best of the best shows that they understand what it takes to be the best at any sport, and that their products are what players trust to get them to that level.)
  • The chalk thrown in the donut shop (a central meeting place for the working man) and the barbershop (a central meeting place for the urban community) shows that Nike understands the communities that their target audience lives in.

Jamie Nared Chalk

The mix of music, street, struggle, inspiration and community all combine to show that Nike understands the target audience that it is advertising to better than any other shoe company, and if you’re part of that target audience, then Chalk shows that Nike understands you as well. You feel a connection to the brand, and you feel inspired to use your skills like LeBron has used his to conquer whatever obstacles stand in your way.

Crowd Chalk

The Good:

  • Strong connection to the viewer shows that Nike understands the audience.
  • Complex commercials give different levels of meaning to each viewer.
  • ‘Hidden’ metaphors increases repeat watch-ability and pass-along.
  • Longer, slow motion cuts, a lack of color, and a basic storyline slow the message down and let the viewer enjoy the ad.

The Bad:

  • Subtle messages can get lost when viewers are only looking for the punch line.
  • Cutting edge, risky advertising (cocaine references) can lead to brand backlash.

The Future:

  • Commercials tell stories through hidden metaphors and deeper meaning that draws in the viewer and demonstrates shared understanding, building brand recognition but also forming connections that increase brand loyalty.

Nike Basketball

Hat Tip: Ian Schafer