So, Burger King changed its logo. Out with the new, in with the old. The new logo had a retro feel that is becoming the new order in recent brand identity revamps.
As marketers are won’t to do, we have been engaged in arcane semiotics about logo revamps like a coven of philosophical witches.
At the risk of being considered a Luddite – which I am not – I have to say I like the new BK logo better. Not because it is an awesome logo design but because it more clearly reminds me of what the company does. Burgers. The Whooper.
So, it is that time of the year and I was rummaging on the Tesco website for some Christmas feasting ideas. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of eating jollof rice and fried rice at Christmas. The birthday of my Lord and Saviour is too important for such trite fare. Oyinbo people know how to throw a proper Christmas feast. And they are precisely the folks I’ll be looking to for inspiration. So, to ‘Every little helps.’
Here I am again thinking about an iPhone. The iPhone 12. I thought I was off that Apple grass. My last iPhone was the 6S. I used it till mid-2018 when I switched to the Samsung S9. Not too shabby, the S9. Good form and function. It’s my only phone at the moment.
But I didn’t switch to the S9 because I love Samsung phones. I switched because I was trying to prove to myself that I can stop being an iSheep.
Sometime in early 2017, I told myself I was capable of not lapping up every grass from the Apple stable. Why? Because an apple screwed up the universe, that’s why. We would still be in Eden kissing king cobras and swimming backstrokes with crocs if not for an apple. But here I am again thinking of inviting Apple to have another rummage in my pockets.
I have never not been an iFaithful. I’ve owned every iPhone from the first one to the 6S. I’ve owned four MacBooks, bought three iPads, and have an Apple Watch and Apple Pencil 2. Back in 2007, I even subscribed to the now-perished MobileMe, the precursor to the iCloud. I loved Apple. Loved Steve Jobs and Jony Ive. I was in London when news of Steve’s death broke. I joined hundreds of Apple fans to leave bitten apples in front of the Apple store on Regent Street.
But it’s a love-hate relationship. I love the company but hate that it had an irresistible pull on me.
When Apple launched the iPad in 2010, I swore to my wife and friends that it was a pointless product. “I’ve got an iPhone and a Macbook”, said I. “What do I need the iPad for?”
I have bought three iPads since those days of ignorance.
Similarly, when Apple introduced the Apple Watch, I knew it was not a device for me. A fitness watch? No, thank you. I run a hundred meters in ten minutes without breaking a sweat. Why would I need a $400-watch to tell me I have an irregular heartbeat? My bank balance does that just fine.
That you can now spot an Apple Watch Series 4 on my wrist is a befuddling mystery. I woke up one morning and found the watch on my wrist. A most paranormal activity. We are in the end times, people.
But I am determined to have some shame. The degree of the common sense of a bloke is directly proportional to the age of the bloke. The older I become, the more I realize that it is infantile to change your phone or gadgets every other year. Mr. Dell does not change his personal laptop every year, does he? If he did, he won’t be, er, Mr. Dell, would he?
So, how did I start thinking about the iPhone again?
It all began the way most great bankruptcy stories begin: with a woman.
It was the missus’ birthday. She would love a new phone. One of her two phones was evidently made in hell. She claims to see gremlins come out of it. So, I decided to get her the iPhone 11 Pro. Go big or go home.
She liked the gift. She asked me to do the honours and set it up for her.
It was a big mistake.
The moment I held the phone, I knew, Houston, we have a problem.
The sleekness. The feel in the hand. The ease of use and intuitive UI.
The memories came flooding back. Of what I had loved. Of what I am now missing.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”
The lust of the eye.
Folks, let me remind you of the advice from my big bro Paulo: flee from all appearances of evil!
Not strut. Not jog.
Scram. Scat. Skedaddle.
Don’t stop to chit chat with a snake. I mean, it’s a snake, not your boyfriend.
Well yea, I know I am being actorly. A phone is hardly the delectable Mrs. Bathsheba or foxy Mrs. Potiphar. But Apple and I have a history. It’s complicated. One side gives. The other side takes.
It’s not working, Tim. Can’t we just be friends?
When I held the missus’s 11 Pro, I suddenly realized I have had the S9 for two looong years. Could have been eons. And is that a crack I see on the screen? Only a small crack you say? Nonsense. There’s no such thing as an innocent baby viper. It’ll grow big and spread venom.
That’s it. The universe has spoken. I’m changing my phone!
And what better phone than the upcoming iPhone 12 Pro. It’s absolute bee’s knees. Radical new design. Stainless steel. Bezel-less. 5G antenna. Midnight blue. Awesome iPhoneography.
Shut up and take my money, Tim!
Sorry, what was that? Learn wisdom from the ant? What ant? Ant Man? That dude is a loser. Sneaked into The Avengers via a backdoor.
The lesson for you, my good folks, is that just because you have the power to do something doesn’t mean you should do it. For with great power comes great electricity bill.
You say, “ I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NLT)
Lust of the eye. Pride of life. Instant gratification. A marketer’s best friend. We love that you have them. We tell you it’s OK to have them. To sate them. After all, you only live once. Humans have had those predispositions since Mrs Adams bit on that fruit. I imagine how the serpent hustled her.
Serpent: Yo sweetness, let me holla at you real quick.
Eve: I don’t know you!
Serpent: But I know you. You are smart and the finest chick on the planet. But you aren’t all you can be. You haven’t been getting all you deserve.
Eve: How’s that?
Serpent: Look, you and Adam are the first bae and boo on the planet. The very first. That’s a very important position.
Eve: I’m listening…
Serpent: But what do you have to show for it? Eating mangoes and cuddling tarantulas all day.
Eve: I love tarantulas. They are cute.
Serpent (exasperated): That’s the point. You need to wake up! You might think the Old Man has entrusted a lot to you. That he’s given you authority and power over all this place. But he’s keeping the most important thing from you.
Eve: What’s that?
Serpent: Information. Knowledge. Knowing what’s up. That’s why he told you not to eat that fruit because he knows that when you do, you’ll be just like him. Gods in your own right. Master of your fate and captain of your soul.
Serpent: And personally, I think you guys will make really cool gods. You rock. You are the mom and pop of all humanity.
Eve: Mom and pop of all creation. That’s what’s up!
Serpent: Yea, sweetheart. That’s what’s up. So, you just go over to that tree and have yourself a snack.Be as wise as God.
Eve: WOW! Thanks, Serp! Yo, Damzi! Where you at? Let me holla at you real quick…
You get the point.
If we don’t have affectations, there won’t be luxury goods.
I recently bought the LG C9 OLED TV. It’s absolute bee’s knees. If you died and wanted your life played back, you’d want it played back on the C9. Glorious picture. Especially with 4K and 1080 content. It was voted the best TV of 2019 by almost all the gadget review websites.
But here’s the rub; 90% of the content I’ll watch on it are in Standard Definition or 720p. DVD quality. That’s what most of DSTV’s content are broadcast in. They’ve got some HD or ‘1080p’ channels but these are few. But no 4K content whatsoever. Yet I bought an expensive 4K ‘UHD’ TV. True, I’ve got some 4K content on Apple TV and on Netflix and have a slew of Blu ray discs. But did I really need an expensive 4K TV knowing it will be underutilized?
Features and aesthetics aside, I bought the C9 because I loved the way it made me feel. I feel discerning when I reel off what it can do to my mates.
It’s not about what you make. It’s about what you make people feel.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the heart of advertising and brand touchpoints. Stimulate interest and desire. Encourage instant gratification.
On a recent visit to the US, a friend asked for my help in picking a ‘designer’ shoe for some government guy in Lagos he was prospecting for contracts. The chap was on the up and up. Someone to court. It was important for my friend not to come across as a cheapskate. So he was going to buy the guy a really nice shoe. Nothing over the top but something nice and with a name. I would help in delivering the shoes in Lagos.
So we hit an outlet mall. Wandered from store to store. We went into the Hugo Boss store. I instantly saw something I liked. A chocolate leather sneakers. Chic but simple. It oozed class. $300. And that was with 25% off.
I’m no seven-dollar-gary. I like good stuff. But pony up $375 for a pair of sneakers? What am I, Kanye?
My homeboy decided the fella was worth it. And the price was within budget. As I was the same shoe size as the guy, I tried the sneakers on to get the size right. Jeez, it felt nice. Maybe I am Kanye after all.
I came back to Lagos with the shoes. I would find time to go deliver to the chap.
A few days later, on my birthday, my wife came into the room and presented the shoes to me as my birthday present. It didn’t sink in. I’d just woken up. I looked at the shoe. Then looked at her. Then looked at the shoe again. Then looked at her. She had a conniving and sly smile on her face. Then slowly it sank. I’d come home with my own birthday present! Picked by no other person but me!
After God, fear women!
She’d reached out to my friend while I was out on the city. She’d got his cell number from another friend. Told him she wanted to buy me a nice shoe for my birthday. Said I was a sucker for big-name brands. She’d given a budget and wired the money. So they hatched the plan together.
My mind went back to the day. How my friend was always on the phone while we were in the stores. He was giving her updates. He’d been longer on the phone at the Boss store. He’d leave my side to make or receive calls. If she was spending $300 on a pair of sneakers, she needed to be sure I liked it. I was never the wiser.
In truth, I like big-name brands. They signify consistent quality, are better value on the long run and they minimize buying risk. You know what you get. But there’s a thin line between liking big brands for their perceived value and engaging in ‘conspicuous consumption’, or doting on Veblen goods.
Conspicuous consumption is the practice of spending money on luxury items and services to publicly display wealth. When you and your boys are “up in the club popping mo-weezy”, that’s conspicuous consumption. At a party when your head is swelling and you are spraying bales of mulla? That’s conspicuous consumption.
A fallout of conspicuous consumption is love for Veblen goods. Luxury goods and services whose demand increase as the price increase. In fact, if their price were to fall, their demand would taper off. That’s in obvious contradiction to the law of demand. With most sapiens like you and I, the higher the price, the faster we bolt. Not with Veblen goods. The fact that most people can’t afford them is their attraction. They are unashamedly status symbols. You know them; a Birkin handbag, a Patek Philippe watch, certain types of wines, diamonds, yachts.
By the way, do you know the top fashion houses burn or destroy unsold clothes in order to preserve their exclusivity? They can’t risk the unsold items making their way to the grey market and sold off at equity-destroying discounts. Burberry was at the center of such storm a few years back.
That is why advertising is incredibly powerful in influencing not only beliefs about a brand but also belief about yourself. Never underestimate advertising. It can be both a tool for good and bad. It’s why you need to, as we say, “shine your eye” or “borrow yourself brain.”
No one needs to affirm you. Your self-worth is not in what you have. It’s in who you are.
The Super Eagles have qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia (Whoop, Whoop!) Already, the Nigeria Football Federation has four major partners: Aiteo, TGI Group, PayPorte.com and Zenith Bank.
TGI Group (owners of Chi Limited/Hollandia) will be the ‘Official Food Partner’ of the NFF, PayPorte is ‘Official Online Store Partner’ (exclusive e-commerce retailer of Super Eagles jerseys) and Zenith Bank is ‘Building and Youth Development Partner.’ Aiteo pays the salaries of the national team coaches and is main sponsor of the Aiteo Cup and CAF Awards.
But how does sponsorship help a brand’s agenda? How does a brand team select who to partner with and derive value from the sponsorship?
Not every brand has a story to tell. A story that is meaningful. That is powerful. That stirs something in us.
A story is hardly another word for advertising, op-ed, a post or ‘content.’ A story is more timeless. More enduring. It transcends the medium.
When our grandma tells us stories, the stories capture our imagination. Inspire us. Or expound a value. Sometimes they just entertain us. But what the stories never do is leave us disinterested.
That is why storytelling involves craft. Craft just as important as the story to be told.
That is why understanding the audience is important. Why she gauges our mood first. Why she always seems to know the stories to tell.
It’s also why she never uses big words.
That’s why not everyone can be a great storyteller.
Motivational speakers tell us we can be anything we want. I disagree. I’ve tried to be Bruce Wayne. But The Joker couldn’t stop laughing. I can’t ride a bicycle to get away from a snail. Some things are just gifts.
Sure, rough gift or talent can be honed. But there must first be the gift.
Maybe if every brand looked deeply, they could find a story to tell. But then, they’ll need a storyteller to spot it and tell it.
Here’s to all masters of their craft. To everyone up all night honing ingot into Excalibur.
No disrespect to the good chaps at Honeywell, but there was a particular Honeywell Wheat Meal commercial that made me want to slash my wrist every time it came on. Not least because it always seemed to come on when Manchester United was losing.
Now, before pitchforks are brandished and the furnace stoked, pray, give a brother his ‘any last words?’
Let’s be clear. I’m Nigerian. My father met my mother in Ilaro, Ogun State. They fell in love. I happened. Of course, if I’d had a say in where I was to be born, I’d have picked a Hawaiian beach sipping a cold Shirley Temple staring into a beautiful sunset while they cut the umbilical cord. But they didn’t consult me. As parents are wont to do. So I happened in Lagos.