Branding Ideas℠

Little Brown Bag = Big Idea

It’s as universal a symbol as the American flag or the McDonald’s yellow arch. Almost. If you’ve ever been walking down the street or riding the subway and seen someone carrying a paper bag with the words “Little Brown Bag,” “Medium Brown Bag” or “Big Brown Bag” written on the side in dark brown letters, you know exactly where they just came from. It’s a bit of marketing genius to achieve that kind of brand recognition without even using the name of the store: Bloomingdale’s. The iconic Brown Bag was designed by Michael Vollbracht and debuted in 1973 and has been a staple for the upscale American department store ever since. The chain even offers a water-resistant plastic reproduction of the Little Brown Bag (pictured) as a souvenir for Bloomie’s fans and eco-minded shoppers for $20 a pop. Not only does it further solidify the 36-year-old campaign, but it manages to turn it into a direct money-maker too.

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