Category: Nostalgia

It’s back again!

Many (actually shockingly many) years ago the US part of the charity YMCA did a re-brand. A in my mind rather underwhelming one. I wrote about it back in 2010.

And – it’s back again as the logo for estate agents yopa – – which in itself sounds like they want to catch everyone mistyping zopa into google 😆

It’s still not bowling me over – but it did make me remember the YMCA and its long standing efforts to help homeless youths – which may also be exactly the kind of association one should perhaps try to avoid when selling houses?

brand perception, brand personality

Bear on the lose!

The Royal Mint announces a set of coins featuring Paddington™ the friendly Peruvian bear


The Royal Mint has revealed two new commemorative coins to celebrate the 60thanniversary of Paddington Bear’s first adventure in A Bear Called Paddington.

This launch is just the start of a series of exciting adventures for Britain’s favourite bear with the Royal Mint. Paddington fans can follow his journey at and #AllChangeAtPaddington.

The full designs capture the vivid blue and vibrant reds of Paddington’s famous duffle coat and hat in minute detail – creating two miniature works of art that are beautiful, collectable coins. I for one can’t wait to see these – especially since it’s unusual to have colour on coins. They look like they have some lovely detail in them.

The 50p coins feature Paddington in two of the most iconic locations from his adventures – Paddington Station and Buckingham Palace. Michael Bond, who first created Paddington Bear in 1958, would perhaps not envisaged his bear on a coin as much as on a jam jar.

Dave Knapton, Coin Designer at The Royal Mint, was chosen to immortalise the much-loved character for the coin collection and commented: “I loved reading the books about Paddington when I was younger, and felt a real sense of nostalgia as I was designing these coins. Paddington was part of my childhood, but now he’s being discovered by a whole new generation. I wanted to bring his portrait to life and show him in a very realistic environment, so I began with a modern train at Paddington Station, showing Paddington waiting patiently on his suitcase for his new life to begin”.

As a brand, the Royal Mint is pretty interesting. It’s obviously serious business, but also has the ability to capture the spirit of the people handling its goods, i.e. the currency, reflecting national pride and being a ‘current’ currency. It’s a step away from historic figures and buildings, but that’s what makes this so appealing in my mind. It’s the perfect excuse to design something different.

Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive of The Royal Mint commented: “It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate a character from popular culture as well-loved as Paddington Bear, and the 60thanniversary of the books seemed an appropriate time. I’m sure Paddington would be very honoured to be the first Peruvian bear to appear on British coins”.

It’s obviously a collectors’ item rather than general merchandise, but I for one will try to get a set for a rainy day – like Paddington’s emergency jam sandwich under his hat. Bless is furry socks.


Niche design, royal mint

Proud to be broken

Lego is coming to a cinema near you.
Lego is coming to a cinema near you.

With two boys under 6 there is no way you can escape Legomania! We have been bricked up ever since my oldest could hold a shovel – it’s a brilliant toy for training fine motor skills and as a mum, I personally prefer playing Lego with them than endless car chases or the usual boisterous fighting games.
I played Lego as a child (the East German version with limited colours :-)) and remember the magic of unpacking a set of the Western counterpart that was more than just a heap of bricks ready to be transformed into something. There were little men and bits that made a motorbike or a fire engine. I don’t think I had many Lego man but we did find my husband’s childhood collection in the loft and there were quite a few space men with helmets and rocket packs, awesome. Sadly, quite a few of the helmets were broken at the chin strap, promptly rejected by perfectionist dear son.
So, when walking through town centre and seeing the large version of the cinema poster for the Lego movie, I was double impressed by the brand and its attitude to super heroes, not shying away from self-deprecation and mixing grown up humour with childlike excitement and naivety…
Whats that tear in the helmet? Tradition! A  convincingly human brand attribute...
Whats that tear in the helmet? Tradition! A convincingly human brand attribute…

The rocket man in the post has the renowned broken helmet! Well done Lego! It’s a display of confidence as much as known brand loyalty when a product brand can actually celebrate its flaws from the past – a true translation of human traits and values.
Just clever. The magic continues…

How Times Have Changed…

Helping family to move house a couple of weekends ago – yes, this is one more reason why I am so inactive on my little blog at the moment – I came across a couple of brand items that struck me as amazing.
Player’s Navy Cut (a cigarette brand part of Imperial Tobacco) has had a very different marketing approach than cigarette brands of today.
“The sales of Player’s Navy Cut Cigarettes for the past twelve months show a substantial increase over the preceding twelve months. Here is definite proof that “It’s the Tobacco that Counts,” and that “Quality will Tell.”
You don’t read that in the papers these days! Nor do you read “very gratified to have given so much more pleasure” on a cigarette advert – in fact, you don’t see cigarette ads any more… which also means that Swan had to change their brand strategy:
“The smoker’s match” seems dated for more than one reason. I spotted this Swan ad on YouTube:
Swan Vesta, now part of Swedish Match, has a bit of a hard to believe vision, considering the industry they are in, but it shows that even the most unlikely products can adapt to a changing market:

Swedish Match brand vision and strategy

It’s perhaps a bit of a crass example illustrating the importance of keeping your brand current and relevant to trends in the market, changes in technology and in perception.
A brand health check is just as important as keeping track of your finances, your insurance, policies and business strategy. And as in most areas, working on your strategy a little bit frequently avoids having to consider a drastic shift in positioning because the brand and its vision have lost their ways.

advertising, brand management, Brand Strategy, Brand Vision, marketing

Ladybird Has a Cuppa

I wrote a post not long ago about ‘odd things to stick your brand on’ and I guess this entry is the opposite — odd brands stuck on (in this case a mug).
Whilst I love the whole Pantone colour merchandise, I am just not sure that simply sticking an image from the old ladybird learning to read books makes for good brand application… Perhaps if they had some reading exercises to do with tea and coffee or played with the alphabet…




Today was sugar cone day

Every year, on the 1st of September, our little town would change into a blooming birch tree framed picture book scene – with ribbons, garlands and gift filled paper cones hanging from trees and bushes and trays of special cake being passed from house to house.
For my parents, my sister and a few generations after us, 1st of September was the first day of school – celebrated in enthusiastic GDR style by young and old but mainly to make it extra special for the little ones.
I do miss the ‘sugar cones’ in this country and – luckily they have survived the fall of the wall – will follow my sisters example and import some when first born reaches that age…
If the former East was a brand, with all its negatives and impossibles, it did have one wonderful core value – children, their education and health. I like to remember that; and how lucky I was to have had the best of it, really, especially on a day like this.

My dad on the 1st September 1956…


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