Tag Archives: Brand

Welcome Home, Chip & Joanna!

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Image result for Martha Stewart Home Collection

Image result for Martha Stewart Home Collection

Home collections are just one of many product trends these days.  Whether it is sets of plates or bedding sheets, people enjoy purchasing home products from notable brands.  Some brands are basing their strategy around a particular celebrity.  For example, Martha Stewart collaborated with Macy’s to launch her Martha Stewart Home Collection for her audience.  The audiences that enjoy watching Martha Stewart will follow her brand and that includes purchasing goods from the Martha Stewart Home Collection catalog.

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But it isn’t just Macy’s that is collaborating with celebrities for product launches.  Businesses such as Walmart, Home Depot, Petco Store, Kmart, and even Target are working alongside with celebrities for their marketing strategy.  This marketing tactic is useful for two reasons – one is that it raises more awareness of the brands and two is that it increases their daily profits.  What’s also interesting about this strategy is how the two types of brands are flourishing in the long run (Martha Stewart’s collection brings awareness and raises profits for Macy’s and vice-versa!).  Martha Stewart is helping to bring more attention towards Macy’s department stores while Macy’s is drawing consumer’s attention towards Stewart’s brand.

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Image result for Department Store Closing

It’s this kind of idea that help department stores thrive in the 21st century.  Department stores are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars and most brands are losing their business to the point where they have to declare bankruptcy.  With more consumers of the millennial generation shopping online and as retail shopping becomes an idea of the past, department stores are scouting for any game plan to drive in more business.  Target’s newest marketing strategy involves two celebrities from HGTV.

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Image result for hgtv Chip and Joanna

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Fixer-Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines are collaborating with Target to launch their new product line called Hearth & Hand with Magnolia.  The and Hearth & Hand collection will feature over 300 products designed by the home-flipping duo.  Some notable items featured include tables, gifts, pitchers, vases, and other common household items.  Chip and Joanna’s newest home collection will release on November 5th.

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Image result for HGTV Fixer-Upper

Image result for HGTV Fixer-Upper

Chip and Joanna Gaines star in HGTV’s Fixer-Upper, a real-estate series where the duo ‘flip’ undesired homes into beautiful pieces of art.  Joanna acts as lead designer of the process while Chip manages the realty and construction aspect of the company.  With their powers combined, Chip and Joanna salvage undesired homes and showcasing them as how they always intended to be.  These flips help revitalize whole neighborhoods within the area.  The duo operates under their company Magnolia Homes, a design and remodeling business in Waco, Texas.

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Image result for Hearth & Hand Target

Hearth & Hand with Magnolia is another perfect case study where celebrities are utilized to further the company’s business agenda.  Target is driving more consumers into their stores by working alongside with Chip and Joanna Gaines to create a profitable home collection.  This home collection will definitely be more affordable (especially for millennials!) than their competitors are offering.

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I thought this HGTV+Target home collection collaboration was a fantastic idea!  I always liked the concept of businesses working with celebrities about endorsement deals.  Celebrities bring about tons of attention from the audience and they can certainly steer them towards another particular brand.  Target is definitely on the right path as far as driving more business goes.

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While I don’t watch Fixer-Upper too much, I do think Target is working with an intriguing marketing strategy for their business.  Consumers are much more different now than they were in the 20th century now that social media came into play.  Social media sites introduced consumers into a whole new way of conducting business.  For example, the concept of delivery services only applied to pizza places; nowadays, you can get all kinds of products delivered right to your door (including cannabis!).

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We’ve entered the digital age, with the brick-and-mortar concept slowly dying off.  Retail shopping is becoming a thing of the past and department stores are now being replaced by online sites.  It’s marketing strategies like Target’s collaboration with HGTV that shine the light of hope for the brick-and-mortar concept in this digital world.


Dystifyzer’s Live 24/7 Nintendo Stream

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Whenever I create these amazing posts for MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I gotta have some fantastic music blasting.  Blasting some music gives me that creative energy surging through me during my writing.  Whether it’s the soulful jazz music from Weather Report or an adventurous folk-indie album that puts me into a mysterious new world, having that music blasting gave wonders to what has become the MakeSandcastlesNotWar blog.  A new topic, or a new path rather, places readers into the exciting journey today (and in most cases, stories that foreshadow another major event in the future!).

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Rather than dig deep into how to harvest that creative energy into writing ideas (those stories will be unlocked at a later time!), it’s time to dive into the music on YouTube.  YouTube has tons of albums up and are absolutely FREE to play.  Rock, jazz, metal, country, blues, and even ambiance music are easy to discover on this social media site.  As someone who loves video game music every now and then, I enjoy the video game playlists that are around.

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Image result for youtube Video Game Music

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I’ve stumbled onto some crazy music playlists that introduced me to some original video games I didn’t get into as a kid.  Nintendo was always my favorite video game brand and I always choose to play their games every year.  Their games were so much fun, but it was also their nostalgic music that really tugged at my heartstrings.  It’s always cool running into music playlists catered only to the Nintendo series.  Discovering Nintendo music playlists was awesome, but then I found a video showcasing a live streaming service STRICTLY for Nintendo music!

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A 24/7 live streaming service featuring Nintendo music ACTUALLY exists on YouTube!  YouTube user Dystifyzer started streaming on August 23rd and has been streaming tracks from the Nintendo series.  Various users can listen in and chat with others about their favorite songs.  Dystifyzer’s unique channel has favored well with the audience and has been subscribed by over 16,000 users.

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The unique aspect of Dystifyzer’s live stream is the interactivity happening between the users.  Users can simply chat with others, request for songs to be played, ask for rupees (which can be cashed in for things like donating for new album drops!), and even hold mini marathons themselves.  There are over 10,000 tracks from hundreds of games to choose from. You can complete these commands by entering key codes into the chat using the exclamation point.  Typing !rupees will provide the users rupees based on the number of hours they have watch.  If you want to request a song, simply type !songrequest and choose the song from which game it came from.  The more hours you watched, the more rupees you will have to use.

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Users can also rank up by watching the stream service more often.  As you rank higher up, more features will be unlocked to use.  Some awesome features include holding a mini marathon based on your picks or purchasing new album for the stream.  Ranking up is one of those interesting interactive features that provide users more than just free music (did I happen to mention that it’s also COMMERCIAL-FREE as well?).

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With that, Dystifyzer’s live Nintendo stream is definitely worth checking out.  Dystifyzer combined users’ love of nostalgic Nintendo games with a chatroom full of interactive features.  It’s a great stream to kick back with some awesome music from Nintendo and talk amongst others about your favorite games.

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This is the kind of unique idea that pushes the boundaries of what YouTube can offer for its users.  Providing users the ability to share music albums around with other listeners is one thing, but creating a live stream service based on a unique theme is a whole other ballgame.  Its users like Dystifyzer that help build upon YouTube’s social community.

Image result for Youtube Video Game Service

Image result for Youtube Video Game Service

Thanks to Dystifyzer, we now have a unique interactive live streaming service featuring some of the most timeless music from Nintendo series.  Hopefully other users will branch out from his unique idea and provide other video game streaming services (like for Sony or other video game brands!).

If you’re looking for an easy playlist, check out Dystifyzer’s 24/7 Nintendo Music Live Stream on Youtube!




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Every now and then we hear about these crazy and ‘original’ ideas surfacing from Hollywood.  Whether it is a horrendous TV pilot that barely aired on ABC (like Imaginary Mary!) or a music mash-up that did not mix well with the audience at all.  Either way, these preposterous ideas do make for hilarious news stories.  We’ve had some amazing pop culture that is trending well and laugh at the terrible ones that flopped.

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Earlier this summer I discussed the problem of franchise films this summer (which you can read more about here).  Film ideas stemming from licensed franchises just isn’t cutting it anymore with the audiences.  These days I rarely attend the movies these days since there’s better selections on Netflix.  I thought I’ve heard of every moronic idea for films these days; that is, until I learned about…The Emoji Movie.

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Image result for the emoji movie

I am DEAD serious when I say this folks – we have a franchise film strictly on EMOJIS.  Emojis, as in, those ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ pixelated messages people send to their contacts every day.  We have scrapped so far down to the barrel that we’re creating a storyline for cartoon picture of a heart that we use on our phones.

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Rather than ramble on about how god awful this summer film is, let’s get down to some intriguing points about this topic.  The Emoji Movie was a TERRIBLE idea for the summer and it’s finally time I explain (with two explanatory reason) what went horrifically wrong with this film.

Here we go….


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Image result for the emoji movie

First off, let’s discuss the monstrosity of this mundane film.  The story goes like this: Gene, a multi-expressional emoji living inside a teenager’s phone, sets off on his journey to become a normal ‘meh’ emoji just like his parents; basically, it’s a young character that goes on an adventure to search for himself (where he came from, what his original backstory is) so that his parents would accept him.  The concept of the story may sound intriguing, but its heavily boggled down by having the characters become emojis.

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This whole idea doesn’t work as a franchise film because it’s been played out thousands of time.  This cute and heartwarming type of story has been utilized so many times for films that now it’s being milked for something trite like emojis.  A repetitive theme used for the plot plus a tiresome trend like emojis equals one train wreck of a film.


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Take a close look at the billboard for a minute or two.  Before I looked through Buzzfeed, I had NO clue what kind of message was even being relayed to me.  Hi-five me the popcorn July 28th?  Slap me the popcorn calendar?  WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN?!?

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Image result for Emoji Movie Billboard

If you were just as confused as I was, you are not alone.  This billboard had audiences so perplexed about the message that they turned off from the whole idea itself (this is one of those scenarios that you DON’T want happening during your marketing promotion strategy!).  Even after the trailer released, the film was panned by many critics.  Some social media users were so outraged that they decided to ban the film altogether (one user called for a boycott simply because it was ‘dumb as fuck’).  Other than the franchise film itself being ridiculous, the promotional stunt failed to reach its audience.

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And there you have it, two explanatory reasons for why this god-awful film flopped with its audiences.  The Emoji Movie took viewers to a really watered-down and monotonous world of emojis and provided a cliched story about a young man searching for his home.  It is not interesting nor an original film to check out.  This is definitely one of those films to skip after blazing some good cannabis (I could never enjoy this even after a bowl of Citrix).

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Here’s to hoping that there’s a revived childhood classic franchise that is worth watching in theaters.  For right now, I’ll skip the ticket and take my movie-viewing experience over to Netflix.

Brandless: Simply Products, No Brand

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Brands can be found in every kind of product or service offered.  Whether it is the water bottle right on your desk or the mattress you are sleeping in, there is some brand identity attached to what you are currently using.  There is always some specific sign (whether it be a logo or picture) that showcases which company created the product.  Other than the artistic design, the other obvious reason for creating the brand identity is simply getting your name out there in the world.

Image result for Nintendo Logo

Image result for Nintendo Logo

Nintendo engraves their logo on all of their products, including their home consoles.  We all know that what Nintendo games look like since we are familiar with their logo.  Not only are we familiar with the logo, but we hear news about how the company is doing on a daily basis (thanks to PR!).  It just goes to show how important branding is in the business world.

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Image result for Product without a brand

But in another sense, what could products look like WITHOUT branding?  Are there such products that don’t have any branded image or logo attached to it?  Is there even such an concept such as ‘brand-less products’ that exist in this world?

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Image result for Brandless

To start off with that last question… YES there is.  In this technological-advanced 21st century, brand-less products DO exist.  Brandless, a company based in San Francisco and Minneapolis, was created in July 11th, 2017.  Their site provides customers with a wide variety of food and household products we use every day.  The catch? NO branded image or logo is presented within the product.

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Image result for Brandless

Image result for Brandless

These products may be brand-less, but their simplified design technique cuts the cost down.  A majority of these convenient items cost only $3, while some are on sale.  No branding work means the cost of the product decreases in value.

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For those of you who aren’t keen to the communications world of business, it’s time I discuss how branding works (we’ll just go with cereal as an example).  You get a national brand collecting a material from a source.  The company manufactures the product on a daily basis.  Clumps of the material get mixed together to get a type of cereal created.  Once a sample of the product has been made, it gets packaged into the unique design (THIS is where the branding comes in).

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The branded image/logo design was already created, so the cereal gets inserted into the bag.  You are getting the cereal you wanted, but you also take home the BRAND that made the delivery.  We rarely ponder about how many branded products we take home since we are busy enjoying what we purchased.

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So what do we want to take home when we go shopping?  What do we NEED to take home at the end of the day?  Are we purchasing the product or the brand itself?

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It’s ingenious ideas like Brandless that make us stop and think about what kind of role branding has in the business world.  Brandless challenged the age-old concept of branded goods or services by providing products no identity whatsoever.  This idea goes outside the box when it comes to branding and works to showcase the low cost as well.

I really thought this was an interesting concept!  It’s definitely something cool that I stumbled on while roaming through the internet.  Brands are all around the city of Boston, so it was something different to see brand-less products.  This is something I could really get into if they opened a pop-up store (or one that’s fully operating!).

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In the end, Brandless went bold with their product design strategy by offering a brand-less concept.  While other brands lunged forward with updating their traditional brand image or logo, Brandless worked to sell the product itself rather than the glitz and glamour of the brand identity.  It goes to show that there IS an audience that doesn’t purchase products based off of their favorite brands.

If you’re a consumer that enjoys buying simplified products, check out brandless.com for some cheap products without a brand identity!

Boston’s GOT Night at Fenway Park!

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While I’ve been finishing up the newest season of Scandal on Netflix, a lot of people have been raving over the newest season of Game of ThronesGame of Thrones is the most popular HBO series that has won the highest amount of Emmy awards so far.  George R.R. Martin’s famed series has taken off since its start and fans are still reading his novel to this day.  Game of Throne (GOT) fans can’t get enough of the amazing fantasy series since it began in 2011.

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Image result for Game of Thrones Promotional products

It’s no secret that the GOT brand has been sweeping the stores.  Promotional products such as apparel, calendars, mugs, toys, posters, blankets, games, and many other items have been popular among its audience.  To think that all of this genius marketing promotion stemmed from Martin’s novel A Song of Fire and Ice that became a hit series on HBO.  Not only has the show gained so much popularity, but the GOT brand itself has spread to other marketing platforms.  One of those platforms hit one of the most famous landmarks of Boston.

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Brace yourself folks – Game of Thrones night is coming to Fenway Park tonight!  Fenway Park is promoting a GOT theme in honor of the latest season dropping on Sunday.  The Red Sox are facing off against the Toronto Blue Jays at 7:10 PM in this epic GOT them night.

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For an added promotional bonus, each ticket package through the special offer will include a Ser Andrew Benintendi bobble-head.  Other than the bobble head, fans will have the chance to sit on the infamous Iron Throne for a photo opportunity (which runs from 5 PM-5:40 PM).  The opportunity will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis only.  Serious GOT who are in the Boston area should check out this awesome Red Sox game tonight!

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As a Boston PR pro, I have to say that this idea is GENIUS.  This event we have going on is what is known as a cross-marketing technique.  Cross-marketing is a unique form of cross-promotion where companies include extra appeals to the product or service they offer.  In short, it’s when one company works with another company to promote each other in one single marketing strategy.  The trick is searching for a product/service that would complement your work as well.

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Image result for Mortal Kombat X Beers

One great example I can think of were the Mortal Kombat X franchise beers that were released last year.  Sound Brewery in Poulsbo, Washington released three limited edition craft beers based on some popular characters from Mortal Kombat.  Raiden, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero were the main characters from the game Mortal Kombat X that was coming out soon; Sound Brewery cross-marketed their brews with the Mortal Kombat brand for an ingenious marketing tactic (you can read up more about that marketing miracle here).

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Image result for Boston Red Sox

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Today we have the popular HBO series Game of Thrones teaming up with the Boston Red Sox for an epic GOT theme night at Fenway Park.  The Ser Andrew Benintendi bobblehead and Iron Throne photo-shoot add to the interactive experience fans will have at the game.  This bold marketing move crosses the Boston Red Sox audience with the GOT audience together for one epic themed night.  It’s marketing ideas like this that help business reach a deeper connection with their audiences.  Boston is truly proud of the Red Sox, but some long for the Game of Thrones series once baseball season is over.

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I really like where Fenway Park is going with these theme nights!  While I’m not the biggest GOT fan nor do I have the time to check out a Red Sox game, I do appreciate these awesome marketing promotions they are hosting.  Sports marketing was a great class to take at Salem State University and I really got a lot out of the course (even though sports isn’t my major specialty!).  This is one of those instances where the skills and knowledge you learn in the communications classes apply to real world situations.

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Kudos to the Boston Red Sox for showcasing a great example of cross-marketing!  It’s nights like this that show where the true Sox fans are around Boston.

My last message to end this would be…GO SOX!