Tuesday, March 04, 2008
The Future of Brands, Special Eisner Edition
"...Most recently, Tornante, which is Italian for "hairpin turn," paid $385 million for Topps, the longtime maker of trading cards and Bazooka bubble gum.
Mr. Eisner is keeping his ultimate playbook to himself, but drops a few hints.
"With Topps, I was interested in a company that could be a far bigger sports and entertainment media company," he said. Among his ideas are the digital delivery of trading cards and the creation of Topps-branded sports movies or sports channels on cable. As for Bazooka Joe, the gum mascot, he recently told a trade magazine that "it would be foolish of me not to try and build that character into something as much as or more than he ever was."
Wow. That's kind of awesome. Eisner wants to make Bazooka Joe 2.0.
I can see it now - Bazooka Joe 2.0 friends you on Habbo Hotel, pings you on Skype, he stalks you on every network/community you belong to, until you capitulate at last...and buy some gum.
We've been discussing - here and at my HBS blog - why brands are in decay, what next gen branding will look and feel like, etc.
If it's not intuitive yet, here's a great example of how not to do it.
That's more interesting than it seems, because the original Bazooka was a nascent example of branding done quite well - a comic that radically altered the experience of buying, well, gum.
Taking branding to the edge doesn't mean just making a "character" like Bazooka Joe or trading cards a la Topps "interactive". It means rethinking the economics of communication, the DNA which organizes it, etc, etc - to redefine value creation.
"the economics of communication" is a phrase that got my attention...
a lifetime of media inundation leaves one both fatigued, and very skilled at picking out the underlying message, which is the direct expression of dna (in my opinion)
almost all corporate communication is lies or distortions designed to manipulate people. fair enough, but don't expect people buy the spin forever.
rethinking intention, and coming from a "higher" place is the way to change dna
do you actually think people can do that?
I think they will have to do it to survive and prosper, but i might be wrong.