Branding and public spaces

The general use of a public space greatly differs from a private space. Public spaces have traditionally had three important functions in relation to the life of the cities.The public spaces functioned as meeting place, market place and connection /traffic space. People were talking, exchanging merchandise or moving about. Within a private space Public space consists of shared, open areas such as streets or parks, shops or restaurants and libraries etc… In contrast a private space is a space in which a person feels that it is “their” space, they feel the need to protect it from the outside. Individuals may use signs and gates to try and protect what they feel is their private space. The corporates are however, not satisfied with simply charging people for access and delivering leaflets or flyers which are clearly unwanted. They aim to capture attention through our daily life and senses. Public spaces are therefore ideal for this purpose.Open_Happiness_Picadilly_Circus_Blue-Pink_Hour_120917-1126-jikatu

Every visible space can potentially be an advertising canvas. These spaces are most often found in urban structures and areas, but the use of landscapes are also becoming more and more common in this case. Cities are becoming increasingly saturated by posters, billboards and screen advertisements. Many urban landmarks are now “trademarks” in a sense. Picadilly circus for example; is now covered in wide screen advertisements and posters, especially around the junction area.The florescent glow of the screens never cease to continue. Some consider the constant change in adverts and colours a pleasant sight while others view them with unease.  “Outdoor advertising has become unavoidable. Traditional billboards and transit shelters have cleared the way for more pervasive methods such as wrapped vehicles, sides of buildings, electronic signs, kiosks, taxis, posters, sides of buses, and more. Digital technologies are used on buildings to sport ‘urban wall displays’. In urban areas commercial content is placed in our sight and into our consciousness every moment we are in public space. The German Newspaper ‘Zeit’ called it a new kind of ‘dictatorship that one cannot escape’. Die Ziet (2008).


Aside from advertising in public spaces visually, companies such as Starbucks take their tactics to our other sense. Starbucks combines the use of visuals with our sensory of smell in order to invade these public spaces and penetrate our lives. Advertisements and posters are not often seen but the scent or smell of their products are strongly present. Andreas Keller states that “evolutionarily, the emotions elicited by smells are disgust and fear – and whatever the opposites of these emotions are – and social or sexual emotions. Associated with these behaviours are very basic value judgements – ‘safe to touch’, ‘good to eat’, ‘safe to be around’, ‘good to have sex with’. Companies such as Lush and Bodyshop use the same strategy in order to attract our attention. Although it is not visible the invasion of public space is present and surrounding us.


In addition to smells, sounds are also commonly used to advertise products and attract our attention. The constant tune that repeat in shops such as disney aim to stimulate our senses to enter. Though again not visible, these tunes and sounds constantly pollute our public spaces. As consumers we now struggle to find a public space in which we are free from these strategies and problems. In recognition of this phnomenin, sevreal campaigns have been launched over the past decade in protest of the “pollution” of public spaces. Campaigners believe that advertisements are saturating public spaces in which many would expect and like to be free from annoyance caused by or influenced by advertisements. Citizens are becoming “fed up with “the impossibility of finding places to eat, drink, or shop without being assaulted by unwelcome, inescapable and unasked-for music”, Nigel Rodgers (2014)


  1. A public space is a social space that is generally open and accessible to people. Roads, public squares, parks and beaches are typically considered public space. Government buildings which are open to the public, such as public libraries are public space. Although not considered public space, privately owned buildings or property visible from sidewalks and public thoroughfares may affect the public visual landscape, for example, by outdoor advertising.
  2. Private space is the region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs. Most people value their personal space and feel discomfort, anger, or anxiety when their personal space is encroached.Permitting a person to enter personal space and entering somebody else’s personal space are indicators of perception of the relationship between the people. There is an intimate zone reserved for lovers, children and close family members. There is another zone used for conversations with friends, to chat with associates, and in group discussions; a further zone is reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new acquaintances; and a fourth zone is used for speeches, lectures, and theatre; essentially, public distance is that range reserved for larger audiences.


BEING SPACES & BRAND SPACES (2006) Available at: (Accessed: 8 March 2016).

Govers, R. (2013) ‘Why place branding is not about logos and slogans’, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 9(2), pp. 71–75. doi: 10.1057/pb.2013.11.

(No Date) Available at: (Accessed: 13 March 2016).

Minton, A. (no date) The privatisation of public space. Available at: (Accessed: 9 March 2016).


Arcelormittal Orbit


Built in commemoration of the 2012 Olympics, the giant sculpture was designed sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond. Made of 35,000 bolts and 2000 tonnes of steel, the Arcelormittal Orbit is the tallest sculpture in the United Kingdom. Kapoor and Balmod stated that the sculpture is an outcome of the idea -“where architecture meets scuplture”and “the way that form and geometry give rise to structure”. This idea was a essentially a crossover between their two fields since they begun working together in 2002. They believed that the Orbit represents a new way of thinking, “a radical new piece of structure and architecture and art” that uses non-linearity – the use of “instabilities as stabilities.”

Critical reception of the architecture/sculpture were rather extreme, it can almost be categorised as “bipolar” between disappointment and optimism. The tall sculpture can be seen miles from where it stands. With the interconnected tangled loops of the structs, the sculpture was described as “an imploded rollercoaster” as well as “a coherent piece of engineering.” The Orbit now runs as a paying visitor attraction, of which 20% of the profit is said to go back into the upkeep of the park.



Facts on the ArcelorMittal Orbit:

  • The Orbit Tower cost £22.3 million to build – £19.2 million was provided by Lakshmi Mittal of ArcelorMittal.
  • 2000 tonnes of steel, 35,000 bolts and 19,000 litres of paint were used in its construction.
  • Almost 60 per cent of the steel used was recycled.
  • There are 250 colour spot lights on the structure – each can be individually controlled.
  • It is 22 metres taller than the Statue of Liberty.


On Wednesday 29 Jul 2015 the Orbit announced that the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower will be transformed into the world’s tallest slide. The slide will start at the 80m point and spiral around the tower five times before a final 50m route down to the ground. The entire journey will take about 40 seconds, at an average speed of six meters per second. ‘The enclosed steel tube will wind its way in and out of the lattice work of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, twisting down to the ground as an alternative to the staircase.’- Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. To enjoy a ride on the slide visitors can simply pay £5 at the door, at a cost of £85 visitors can abseil down the tower.

Greenwashing and the grocery store

Despite the long anticipation and hype of environmental friendly products we often find ourselves in the trap of a strategic manipulation created by companies. The term “whitewashing” is very commonly heard, it is defined as an attempt to hide unpleasant facts that may influence the public’s opinion (especially in politics). Greenwashing can be defined in a similar premise, only this time it is placed in an environmental context. As the scientific knowledge of food and beverage became more and more abundant to the general public, fears and health scares grew with it. As a result of this phenomenon, there is a growing number of consumers who are willing to pay a higher amount for healthier products, leading to the expansion of this particular market in the food industry. Due to the increasing desire from consumers, the need for designers and marketers to create myths about the food contained within the packaging began to surface.

Elements of “greenwashing” can be identified in almost all categories of products. From food to household items, exaggerated motifs related to the landscape and nature, radiant sunshine, green grass, mountains, blue skies and trees can be seen. We are constantly presented with packaging that convey a completely fictional story of the actual product, manipulated into believing the idea presented without even touching or tasting them. Anna Kealy states that “packaging design adds a level of emotional resonance to the food we eat, linking us to a natural environment or tradition that is often far removed from the reality of the boxed.” It seems that the use of packaging has shifted, it is no longer used to represent the products but to exaggerate the truth in order to tell a story.

Thorntons3_468x310The colourful illustrations covering the box of Thorntons chocolate suggests that the chocolate came from a place of wonder, filled with grass, trees and wildlife. Printed on the green and blue box, the symbols representing “green” and “recycled” products are clearly present. We immediately believe that the chocolate was made in a “joyful and “organic” environment, where cows are free to roam the fields with other animals. This depiction however, is far removed from the reality. The product is produced in a factory building located in Derbyshire where no cows are actually present. Although the milk itself might be classified as “natural”, the environment in which the cows are kept seems completely different to the illustrations. The animals are kept in cages with bars to stop them from moving around. There is absolutely no grass nor wildlife to be seen.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 10.08.11 PM

A study by Joshua Freedman and Dan Jurafsky examines the language on twelve bags of potato chips. The examination was conducted by using brands available at neighborhood supermarkets, and for each brand they took the most basic flavour of chip in the most standard size package. Freedman and Jurafsky separated the chips into two catagories; six more expensive and six less expensive. They state that “this separation relies on the fact that lower-class consumers are more price-elastic and price-sensitive (especially for nonessentials like snacks) and factor cost more highly into food purchasing decisions.” The results in text showed a significant difference between the two:

Inexpensive: “What gives our chips their exceptional great taste? It’s no secret. It’s the way they’re made!”

Expensive: “We use totally natural ingredients, hand-rake every batch, and test chips at every stage of preparation to ensure quality and taste.”

Chips of the higher price range seem to focus more on the educated and knowledge based aspects of the product while chips of the lower price seem to focus more on storytelling. More common words are used in the inexpensive range of chips while more uncommon words appear on the expensive packages. Freedman and Jurafsky also found that the mention of health in expensive packages occur six times more than the inexpensive packages. They later state that “the advertising for expensive chips indeed emphasizes factors that are more representative of higher socioeconomic status: use of more complex language, known to correlate with higher educational levels, and use of more words and claims related to health.” It seems that the existing class and social structure directly influences the representation of the product in the market. Advertisers aim to create an image or a story that consumers can relate to in order to enhance their experience with the product.



Kealy, A. (2014) Natural fantasy. Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Joshua Freedman and Dan Jurafsky (2011) ‘Authenticity in America: Class Distinctions in Potato Chip Advertising’ Gastronomica vol. 11 no. 4 Winter, pp. 46-54. California: University of California Press.

Phil Howard (2008) ‘Buying Organic’, Good issue 009, March/April. Los Angeles: Good Magazine, pp. 80-81

Gladwell, M. (2006) Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce. Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).


Brands, Advertising and Commodity Fetishism

Commodity Fetishism as defined by Karl Marx, is an irrational preference for one commodity over another. There is no difference in the use of the two different objects, but individuals would still prefer one to another. Take for example Starbucks Coffee and Pacific Coffee. It is almost certain in Hong Kong that you will find a Starbucks next to a Pacific Coffee or vice-versa. Although both products are simply coffee and essentially have no difference, people favour one over another. Rather than the actual quality of the product itself, it is the value given to the product that consumers purchase. We are constantly lead into believing that an object or a product can benefit us in ways beyond their actual use.

In the modern society, we often seek meaning in objects which we believe possess a mystical characteristic. More than often these objects are thought to be a self-reflection of sorts, almost like a statement. We believe that by purchasing a product we are expressing ourselves. Hermes for example, possesses the power to present women with a sense of fulfilment as well as the projection of wealth, power and status. Though we know that the bag itself may not be particularly useful and the material may never amount of its retail price, women still dream of having one in their possession. The ideology installed onto the object makes us believe in it’s benefits much more than the actual object itself. The story and history of the brand itself creates what the product is believed to provide, though not physically tangible, the meaning behind the object is what consumers are purchasing.

In the 19th century, advertisements were usually focused on stressing the utility and convenience of the goods concerned. The point of the advertisements were to convince the audience about the benefits of the product’s functions. While we are surrounded by advertisements in the modern day, advertisements were seen to be untrustworthy in the 19th century.With the growth of modern media, advertisements are no longer seen as “untrustworthy”. Our generation has become so accustomed to advertisements that it is almost unnoticed. The power of media is often undermined, modern technology and entertainment allow advertisements to create a camouflage like presence that surrounds us. Endorsements in movies seem to be one of the most common means of advertisement strategies. Baudrillard claim that reality has been replaced by simulation for example;  Italian restaurant might represent it’s authenticity by representing themselves with a picture of the godfather – but the godfather is a fictional film and marlon brando is an American actor.

In the James Bond movies, the advertisements are always a part of the story. It seems that the objects and items are where they are supposed to be, a natural part of the image itself. It also consists of a distinctive standard of British style and with the Hollywood combination. The movie has therefore become an “identity”, in which British fashion should be perceived as, along with the benefits of the items associated with the movie. Similar to what was discussed in my previous blog post, the object is projected with the reflection of what James Bond represents as a character. Individuals begin to chase after objects or products related to this fictional character. As Karl Marx previously claims, the system of commodity exchange has dominated the human beings who create it. We let ourselves down in a way, where we are being controlled by the tools we created.

Marx once said that “just as man is governed in religion governed by his own brain he is governed by the creation of his own pen.” Modern technology is taking tole of our lives and the modern society. Take mobile phones for example; without our mobile phones we will panic and feel lost. Our daily lives are so dependant on our phones that our contact, diary and our means of communication will disappear with it. Many may notice that maps are no longer a solid object, we relay on our phone’s navigation most the time to find our way. Without our mobile phones we can feel quite literally lost.

Branding itself can be interpreted as a kind of fetishism. With the fast growing social media platforms and online communication functions, search advertisement became one of the most outstanding ways of advertisement. Almost 40% of all money spend on online advertisement is spent on search advertisement. The use of online advertisement has taken over the use of the previously popular television advertisements. The drive to use communication and new media of cyberspace to expand commodification leads to the commodification of personal identity. Cyberspaces begin to identify individuals and group them together for the convenience of marketing, forcing the sense of individuality to disappear.

Although the phenomenon seems significantly prominent in the modern era, it can be identified throughout many generations. The punk culture in the early 1970s came across as a “unique” and “individual” subculture, in which associated individuals are able to express themselves. Vivienne Westwood was one of the architects of the punk fashion phenomenon of the 1970s, she took the uncommon culture of punk (and inspiration from the “sex pistols”) and began to create her own fashion garments. Westwood eventually caught the eye of the public selling her pieces in King’s road, she then took this style and lead it into the high fashion industry. As the public began to except the punk culture in a larger scale, punk fashion became more and more mainstream, we are now able to find punk inspired fashion in shops such as H&M and Claire’s.

While the growth of social media continues, the means of communication between companies and consumers begin to shift. Companies are now seemingly more open to the idea of having consumers involved in the advertising and marketing process. Coca Cola and Mentos have managed to successfully achieve this via viral media. The initial idea was to experiment with the reaction between the two products (explosion). After the videos are posted consumers buy the products so that they can experience and make the videos, which increases the demand and produced more videos that can be shared. As consumers are more involved in the advertisement and marketing strategy Coca Cola and Mentos are able to spend less on their advertisement campaigns. The consumers are then doing the advertising for the companies themselves.



Representation / Semiotics

Myths are often stories told by generations. It is a way of creating meaning and value in things around it. “Myth is defined as a type of speech, in that it is part of a system of communication in which it bears meaning.” Barthes believes that mythology is not only limited to speech, it can be anything around us. Everything around us can tell a story or send a message, “it can consist of modes of writing or of representations; not only written discourse, but also photography, cinema, reporting, sport, shows, publicity, all these can serve as a support to mythical speech”, everything can convey meaning.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 9.34.27 AMBarthes explained that semiology is based on the circumstance which “postulates a relation between two terms, a signifier and a signified.” This is a relation in which concerns objects of two different categories. There are however, three different terms we should be looking for. As explained in the article by Judith Williamson, the system of semiology should consist of three main terms;  the signifier (the form) , the signified (the concept or message) and the sign (the identity- the object).

Barthes states that the signifier does not have to express the signified, this means that it is a case of equivalence rather than equality. Semiotics reveals cultural norms and value that is associated with a particular group of people. Advertisers relay on these signs to communicate quickly and clearly to their group of audience and consumers. It plays on the general knowledge of individuals in order for them to decode the message, this can be dependant on cultural, language, historical aspects of the target. It provides the opportunity for messages to be interpreted in many ways and perspective.

Images are very commonly used in advertisements, some images do not always have to be of what is being sold. The simple symbolism that the product is associated with can be sufficient. For example, placing a picture of a skull next to cigarettes can be used to send a message about the potential harms of smoking. Text can also be used as a type of symbolism. Army recruitment posters are a great example, the words “brave” and “courageous” are commonly used in these advertisements to set apart the candidate from their opponents.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 11.09.09 AM

An example provided by Barthes was the cover of Paris- Match Magazine. Barthes states that the signified “that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any colour discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so- called oppressors.” Barthes begins to breakdown and decode the image within the three terms. He identifies the cultural and historical significance behind the image, which lead to the terminology and idea that it had adapted to, directly relating to his previous statement on denotation and connotation.

Barthes states that “a signified can have several signifiers: this is indeed the case in linguistics and psycho- analysis”, which he believed was also the case in mythical concepts as “it has at its disposal an unlimited mass of signifiers.” Though the image is seemingly simple and not easily identifiable, the story and semiology behind it can go way beyond the expectation of our first glance. The importance of common perception as well as historical and cultural aspects of the subject should not be undermined.


The use of semiotics in the Heinz Ketchup advertisement can be identified as follows; The signifiers including the red backdrop combined with the bottle of Heinz Ketchup formed by slices tomato on top of each other. The simple image depicts much more than it seems. Ketchup is generally known to be filled with sugar and preservatives. It is commonly perceived as a product that is unhealthy and widely related to “junk food”. The advertisement in this case attempts to transform the product into a fresh and healthy fruit product.

The additional line of text in white writing ““No one grows ketchup like Heinz” is again an attempt to manipulate the audience into thinking that the product is healthy and organic. While general knowledge would say that Ketchup is made in a factory not grown, the advertisement speaks otherwise. The word “grown” provides a healthy connotation to the sugary condiment. The advertisers are in this case, trying to redefine the image of Ketchup, suggesting that it is part of a healthy way of life.

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The John Player advertisement in Williamson’s text provides another perspective on the subject. Although the car and the cigarettes have no direct correlation to each other, the underlaying meaning of what it conveys are the same. Like the Chanel No.5 advertisement, the car represents luxury and superiority. The cigarettes on the other hand cannot be equally “luxurious” in a realistic sense. Hence, by placing these two seemingly unrelated items together, the car reflects its unquestionable meaning to the cigarettes.

John Searle on Foucault and the Obscurantism in French Philosophy
  •  “In France, you gotta have ten percent incomprehensible, otherwise people won’t think it’s deep–they won’t think you’re a profound thinker.”
  • Again the history and cultural influence is present.


Barthes, R. (no date) Rhetoric of the Image. Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Williamson, J. (2002) ‘A Currency of Signs’ from Decoding Advertisment: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising. Available at:,%20Decoding%20Advertisements%20smaller.pdf (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Barthes, R., Lavers, A., Barthes, P.R. and Barthes, R. (1972) Mythologies. 17th edn. New York: Hill and Wang.

Springer, M. (2006) John Searle on Foucault and the Obscurantism in french philosophy. Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

ITV (2012) Mr Selfridge: Brand new series coming this January (2013). Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Emotion and the branded object

The connection between emotions and objects has been a long researched subject. It is evident that art in the earlier years sought for a sense of connection and emotional reaction. Art presented the opportunity to enter and interact with the imagination and the extraordinary. As mentioned in Jesse Prinz’ podcast, specific types of emotions are expected when experiencing an art form. It is expected that we feel in awe of the creation, thus creating the sense of emotional detachment in modern day art.

It is important to understand that the emotions conveyed should not necessarily  be positive and identifiable. The success of the piece is dependant on the reaction of the audience rather than the type of reaction. The interest of the audience is what should be focused on. Similarly, this theory can be used on branding.  The theory of wonder applies in the case of branding, as it’s idea should be to trigger the interest, curiosity, and wonder in the consumer.

The importance of “beauty” as described by Jesse Prinz, has taking a less important role in the modern standard of art. His experiment suggests that the value of the art is no longer dependant on the quality but the sentimental value. The intellectual understanding of a piece has taken over the detail. This can be identified in multiple advertisements.

As shown in the third article, one of the main elements of an advertisement  is simplicity. Audience should find it easy to navigate and easy to understand. There should be a simple point in which the audience can remember, this can be a punch line or a slogan. Credibility is also a key, the idea or fact should be believable to the audience. It should also appeal to general knowledge in order to create trust.

The correct use of language and imagery must be taken into consideration to ensure it’s legitimacy. It should also contain story in order to provoke emotional  response. Similar to art, a successful piece should provoke a memory from the individual’s personal experience in order to make it relatable. In order for this method to be effective, the content must contain an element of surprise. Similar to what was discussed previously, the element of surprise aid the probability of success by inducing a sense of wonder. This creates a memory in the audience’s mind so that it can be easily recalled. This completes the “stickiness” method in order to achieve a successful advertisement.

The article written by Judith Williamson challenges the ethics of the elements mentioned above in the apple advertisement. It is clear that the image was composed to be as simple and easy to understand as possible. The focus is drawn to the light from the iPad. It shows how captivating the iPad can be, almost as discussed in the podcast, the sense of a “power” or a “master” is present.  The child holding the iPad represents an image of purity and innocence. As suggested in the article, the light “feeds into the central connotation” like the child is “being touched by some kind of pure, heavenly power”. Williamson then moves on to discuss about the poem below.

This is it.
This is what matters.
The experience of a product.
How it makes someone feel.
Will it make life better?
Does it deserve to exist?

If you are busy making everything,
How can you perfect anything?
We spend a lot of time
On a few great things.
Until every idea we touch
Enhances each life it touches.

You may rarely look at it.
But you’ll always feel it.
This is our signature.
And it means everything.

In the article, Williamson begins to breakdown the poem and the actual story behind. She reveals the company’s production and manufacture processes in china, where workers are forced to work in horrible conditions and it’s exploitation of child labour. The first verse of the poem attempts to direct the audience to focus on the iPad itself, rather than the horrible stories behind it’s production.

The following verse enforces the idea of perfection (the idea of what Apple is trying to sell to consumers). It attempts to make the audience feel more at ease about the stories, and that the product is “worth it”. The advertisement concludes with “Designed by Apple in California” as an attempt to lead customers into thinking that the product is originated in America. The Apple Advertisement is just one of many examples of the power of branding and how it can effect consumers.

While not commonly noticed, the impact of seduction also plays an important role in branding and advertisement. Sexual connotation is commonly used within adverts to attract attention to a brand or product. It is a way of incorporating primal instincts into marketing. The use of seduction can be found in many examples ranging from vintage to modern. It is used as a way to incorporate humour or sensation as a element that can be associated with the product or brand.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 10.41.37 PMBurger King is a more obvious example of the use of sexual connotation in advertisement. The model used in one of their advertisements is the
same as the one that blow-up doll company uses. This creates a relatable memory as well as sense of humour in the advertisement which makes it more memorable to the audience. The text below produces a word play on both ends which emphasises the point of the advertisement. As referred to in the ‘Subliminal Seduction’, sex sells.




Judith Williamson (2013) ‘Apple’ Source: The Photographic Review no. 76 Autumn, pp. 8-9

Ellen Lupton and Abbott Miller (1996) ‘Subliminal Seduction’ Design Writing Research, Phaidon, pp. 134-141

Jill Butler, Kritina Holden, William Lidwell (2003) ‘Stickiness’ Universal Principles of Design, Lockport Publishers, pp. 228-229

Jesse Prinz (2015) ‘Art and Emotion’, Philosophy Bites [podcast]

Jesse Prinz (2015) ‘Art and Emotion’, Philosophy Bites [podcast] Notes:

  • Detachment of emotion and art in Dadaism.
  • Emotions have been downplayed in art and art theory.
  • Art practice began to shift toward a more conceptual direction in comparison to the past. (Pop art, conceptual art and minimalism.
  • Emotions are central to the experience of art.
  • Art is a world of extraordinary, we look for an encounter for something new and novel. The extraordinary bring out the state of marvel and awe.
  • Artists began to give up on beauty and move to ideas. The thought of emotion was suddenly irrelevant. Conceptual art should be taking a familiar object and making it into something different. It is a way of creating mystery and interest.
  • Marcel Duchamp challenges what art previously was. He disrupts expectations of what we see in a gallery.
  • People expect a specific type of emotion though they should focus on experiencing different types of emotions.
  • The key is the emotion of wonder.
  • 20th Century, we stop thinking about wonder. The sense of curiosity is still in place. It should be viewed differently.
  • The gallery and museum is like a church.
  • People would rather look at the ashes of the Monalisa than the replica itself. It is about the authenticity, almost like the “touch of the master”. People are in awe by the presence of the piece. This shows that the sense of wonder still drives art today.
  • The value of art can not be quantified in Jesse’s research. It is the sentimental value that is important. This proves that emotions are still essential in art.
  • The quality of the experience are primary motivator.
  • Wonder is a common nominator.
  • Subtle emotions are more valued.
  • Art is a work that has been created with the aspiration of inducing wonder.


What is Branding?

In general, branding is referred to as the creation of an authentic identity, which is distinctive and memorable to consumers. It is a way in which organisations can shape their image and reputation to the public. Branding is an essential means of communication between organisations and potential clients or customers. Although strategically directed, the art of branding aids the public to gain further knowledge about organisations. It is in short a message to the mass.

In 1875 the Strauss family founded Levi’s. It produced jeans for miners from tent fabric and canvas, it soon began producing denim and is soon famed for it’s innovative ideas. However, the company was not hugely successful in maintaining all the necessary process in order to ensure the quality of their products. It soon became apparent that the company was weakening as the desire for their products began to slip. This called for need in effective branding and brand management in order to maintain the company.

While Levi’s was commonly directed at the youth as a “cool, fresh and sexy” product in the 1980s, research showed that this was no longer the case in the 1990s. As the company started off as a wholesale establishment, their focus in marketing revolved mainly around the number of sales achieved. This strategy completely disregarded the target customers as it was entirely unrelated to their desires. Since identifying this in the 1990s brand managers realised that they had to direct their focus on both individual customers and retailers to ensure high sales volume. Levi’s began to ask themselves “who do consumers see us as?” rather than “how many sales did we achieve?”. It was identified that three key points should be considered; product, communication and market. As a result of sending the correct message Levi’s opened 10 new stores and was able to revive their business once again.

Although branding is commonly referred to as the identity of organisations, it is also important to note that branding is not only a strategic identity created for a organisation, good or service. Branding also aims to create demand from its target market by connecting the minds of the consumer to the product. Recent branding strategies are shown to be related to the study of human behaviour. This includes the study of habits and how they are formed. The incorporation of habits and branding can effect not only the organisation but the entire market itself.

Pepsodent is by far one of the most successful case studies of all time. Claude Hopkins a well-known brand manager and advertiser was appointed to manage the new campaign for a toothpaste company – Pepsodent. The sales of toothpaste in the 1900s was very low as the public did not view the product as a necessity but a luxury. Hopkins discovered that although dental health was a major issue in the country, the nation was not aware of what can be done. The public was not educated in a way that was persuasive enough for them to buy the product.

Hopkins then began to take a more physical approach to the subject. He created a sensation in which the consumer can physically experience. Pepsodent left a slick, smooth and tingling sensation in the consumer’s mouth, which Hopkins advertised as the feeling of cleanliness. Soon after his campaign was launched Pepsodent was the brand that was recognised in association with “fresh” and “clean”. As a result, the demand of toothpaste exploded across the country, leading to a high demand in the toothpaste market.

While branding has long been associated with organisations, good and services it is also used on individuals as well as countries. As referred to in John O’reilly’s article – The Floating Signifier the use of branding for countries should not be missed. As mentioned in the article, Liechtenstein has benefited greatly from the use of branding.  Liechtenstein’s economy was formerly based on banking. However in 2000, the country on a blacklist by the OECD due to suspicions in money-laundering. Laws have since been put in place to make the finance sector more transparent, leading to a downfall in the economy. A new identity was needed in order to re-establish trust and regain international recognition. Wolff Olins was hired to re-brand the entire country. Liechtenstein is now recognised as the country of chocolate.

Branding is much deeper and complicated than logotypes and slogans. It is the answer to “who” and “what” your brand is. It is far beyond your goods and services alone. Like an individual, a business’ identity is more than just a transaction or a product, it is a personality.




O’reily, J. (2004) The floating signifier. Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Bennett, P. (2005) Design is in the details. Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Duhigg, C. (2012) The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. New York: Random House Publishing Group.