Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Emperor's old clothes.

I found the graphic above at a's a jar of Video brand strawberry preserves. Don't laugh.

Names are important - in one glance, the name "says" who, what, why, when, how...pretty important stuff for a product to say.

Did "Video" mean electronic jelly? Preserves that were a conduit for moving images?

Or was the name merely the cynical spit of some cigar-chomping wiseguy - "We need sumthin' snappy! Somethin'the kids'n moms that television thing. Video they call it. That's it! We'll name our jam VIDEO!"

Silly now...but that's the thing with fashion. It seems like a good idea at the time. Like naming a jar of preserves after the current wave of tech. Can you imagine "Bluetooth Jam"?

But even spot-on names & products can spawn the marketing dry-heaves...

"Honey, these hamburgers just taste...well, like barf. They need something..."

"Like a lift?"

"Yeah! A lift! These burgers need a LIFT!"

Wonder what would happen if someone tried to introduce such mysterious packaging NOWdays?! Don't bring up "Hamburger Helper" - that box is so full of copy, even a first-grader can discern the threat of eating dredge.

As much as I stand to profit from clients who want to design "new" and "improved" there's always that gnawing knowledge that someone CAN get it right the first time.

Wouldn't have any trouble picking Bayer® off the shelf today...and just as well.

Packaging circa 1955.