Brands behaving badly
Story Design for Boyd Coyner, 2013
Boyd Coyner, copywriter in the branding and advertising world, is perhaps best known for his "Impossible is Nothing" work for Adidas. So he surprised me with his request to help him research and design a presentation on brand behaviour, documenting cases of brands behaving badly, such as United Airlines, VitaminWater by Coca Cola company, Toyota and others. On top of that, he was going to present it at the annual Marcom Playground by Adformatie in front of hundreds of marketeers. Leaving me with no doubt that this guy is on a mission. Above & below a selection of slides from the presentation.
We beachcombed the web for material developed by people across the world who fought back against brands. United Airlines is particularly interesting for the David vs. Goliath story of one musician versus a billion dollar airline, chronicled in the "United Breaks Guitars" song.
But its not all bad. Some brands have opened up their fortresses, and started listening to their audience. When you stop treating people like advertising targets, and instead improve on the products you are actually making for them, you will earn the respect you desire. Domino's Pizza confessed its sins and improved its pizza.
The challenge for the design was to make abstract concepts tangible and visually strong and easy to understand, something that grabs the audience attention during an entire day of talks. In each case we gathered evidence of the public fallout across media, and discovered the power of simple info graphics to present the cases.
The Adformatie Marcom event in Amsterdam attracts over 7000 visitors each year, and is organized by the authorative Dutch advertising platform Adformatie.