Branding Ideas℠

QR Codes Get More Creative

The folks over at Mashable have a nice slideshow of QR (quick response) codes that break the mold and show just how much flexibility there is in the form.
We have mixed feelings about QR legibility.

On the one hand, it is sort of exciting to point your reader at an image without any idea where you are going to be taken. On the other hand, inserting something recognizable into your symbol might be the very thing necessary to get someone interested enough to scan.
qr code, Japanese Red Cross
Following the installation of a QR billboard advertisement for TIME Magazine near Time Square in New York City last winter, self-proclaimed Captain of The QR Code Galaxy, Nick Ford, reported on some issues between unfriendly designer codes and code readers, as well as questioning the quality of some of the linked content.

source: qranywhere

Incompatibility issues and the “gee whiz” factor of technology trumping content…do these issues sound familiar to anyone?

If you are new to QR codes and want to know more about them, check out 20 Interesting Things: QR Codes by the folks at the Lucky RethinkTank.

qr code cut into agricultural field

  Hello, World

New York does the Right Thing

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg walks away after presiding over the wedding of Jonathan Mintz (L), the city's consumer affairs commissioner, and John Feinblatt (C), a chief adviser to the mayor, as the newlyweds embrace their daughters. Source: Reuters

We’ve been going through a melter of a heat wave here in New York, and it’s likely you’ve been experiencing the same if you are in the US (and by the way, we’d like to know who and where you are, dear readers). Wafting through what was left of our wilting brains was Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing where temperature is as much a character as Mookie, Sal and Radio Raheem. DJ Mr. Senor Love Daddy starts the films with the forecast: Hot, over 100 degrees…
So, on the day that our heat wave finally broke, New York did the right thing: The Marriage Equality Act, which was passed on June 24, 2011 by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on the same day, was put into effect. We say Bravo New York and congratulations to all the newlyweds.

hand cranked flashlightDo you have something you’d like to say to the world? A mission? A position your company supports? A commemoration you’d like to remind people of? Why not let us help you create a great mobile communication platform that your customers and clients can take with them where ever they go? We think tote bags are the perfect medium for direct, person to person, communication. And we’ve got them in whatever size, shape, style and color you could possible want (or use our designDirect service  to modify an exiting item or create a new one from scratch).
Another approach to enlighten customers, clients, and/or the public is with a handy flashlight. We’ve got flashlights that run the gamut from solar and handcranked to your more traditional mini-mag light.

Janet Coleman (R) and Kawane Harris arrive at the City Clerk's Office to be legally married in New York. Source: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

If you want a real pick-me-up, see this slideshow of couples who married yesterday, Sunday, July 24, in New York City.

I [heart symbol] N Y

July got off to a Late Start…

lenticular luggage tag

Near the start of each month, we like to write about celebrations, commemorations, awareness campaigns and the like that are approaching. Well, we sort of missed the boat in July. We were standing at the dock, we were ready, lifejackets in one hand, picnic basket in the other, but then we blinked and suddenly the month is half gone.

July is Independence Day, July 4, here in the United States and we really are in the United States (remember the New Yorker cartoon: “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog”?). We apologize.

If you are looking for an especially red white and blue item, check out these stars and stripes backpacks and bags.

space themed luggage tag

And speaking of bags, what about a lenticular luggage tag with colorful changing stars. Your company name or logo travels around the world for free, and your clients and customers won’t mistake their black, wheeled, overhead-compartment-fitting bag (or their stars and stripes backpack) for someone else’s black, wheeled, overhead-compartment-fitting bag (or their stars and stripes backpack). Also available in a cool outer space version (a good way to commemorate the end of the US space shuttle program?)

What are some of the other opportunities July provides for you to reach out to clients, customers and others you’d like to remember your business or company?

Appropriately enough July is National Grilling Month and what better way to make your mark than on grill supplies. We’ve got everything from spatulas to bbq sauce. July is also National Family Reunion month. And let’s not forgot Roots and Branches Month. What? you ask. We initially thought this was a poetic reference to things growing in the earth, but no. This is Roots and Branches as in family trees, as in genealogy.

July is…
UV Safety Month. See the EPA’s sunwise page to learn more about ultra-violet rays and how to protect yourself from them. Armed with that information and a parasol (ok, it’s an umbrella but it works either way) your clients will be shaded and safe.

How about celebrating National Culinary Arts Month with your own herb seed packets or mini-planters? A gift that keeps giving as the seeds turn into plants and the plants into tasty herbs?
blondie, 1977
National Recreation and Parks Month: What better opportunity for supplying folks with sporty outdoor wear?

And last but not least, July is National Blondie and Debbie Harry month (who would have thunk it??). Walk down memory lane with Union City Blue.

Independence Day July 4
National Grilling Month
National Family Reunion Month
Roots and Branches Month
UV Safety Month
National Recreation and Parks Month
National Culinary Arts Month
National Blondie and Debbie Harry Month


Lego ad on bus shelterA post several weeks ago on The Pop-Up City about a Lego ad campaign in Malaysia reminded us of The World’s Deepest Bin, part of Volkswagon’s The Fun Theory campaign, worth checking out if you missed it the first time around. Both campaigns provide double-take moments, using our expectations of the familiar to make us see (or think) something anew.

Hydrate with Branded Bottles

Virgin America branded water bottle getting filled at faucetYou too can keep your customers wet like Virgin America does, with eco-friendly, branded water bottles.

Ok, ok, so we all know that current FAA regulations prohibit bringing liquid with you through security in all but the smallest (3.4 ounces or less) containers. You would think that those of us who travel frequently have it down to a science, and um, most of us do, but some of us are sometimes caught off guard and have, on more than one occasion (and yes, we know, we may be sharing too much information here and losing your respect and admiration)…lost valuable beauty products due to size of containers. Ugh. Terrible. and embarrassing. And while losing a bottle of water isn’t as bad as losing miracle potions for the face, it isn’t fun, and it does happen.

Well, Virgin America has launched a campaign with branded bottles and “hydration stations” to help us cut down on use of plastic water bottles, and avoid having water bottles confiscated, thus being forced to buy ransom-priced airport water.

And now you can do the same by providing your customers and clients with branded water bottles that carry your company name or logo, that can be carried through airport security empty and filled up at the first water fountain encountered, or at obe of Virgin America’s hydration stations atSan Francisco International Airport’s Green Terminal.

You know what Madonna used to say, “Like a Virgin….”

And in case it happens to you sometimes, too, the FAA website has complete list of carry-on regulations.

Tip #1: Keep Yourself Cool in the Heat Waves

Constellation Canis MajorThis is our last post matching Lifehacker’s Top 10 Outdoor Tips for a More Pleasant Summer list with some suggestions of our own for how to increase the summer pleasure quotient of clients, customers or hard-working staff. Hope you’ve enjoyed the series.
One good way to keep yourself cool is to pour yourself a tall glass of kumquat-aide (see Tip #3 below), find an airy comfortable place to sit, and take a look at our corporate gifts and summertime promotional ideas.
From cushiony stadium seats, perfect for company outings, to custom temporary tattoos, a fun and different way to make your mark, we have cool, colorful and creative ideas and items to help you make your company or business felt, like that elusive cool breeze we all need during the dog days of summer.
And while we are on the subject, is that an expression you wonder about? We used to think the days of summer were doggy because we all walked around with our tongues out, looking for popsicles to help us stay cool.
But, no, that is not why the hottest of days from July to September (at least in our hemishpere) are called “dog days.” The ancients thought that these hotter than hot days were caused by the proximity of the constellation Sirius (AKA the dog star) to the sun. What did the Romans do to try and stay cool? The Romans sacrificed a brown dog, hoping to appease Sirius, whom they thought was the cause of the swelter. If only they had offered some dog biscuits to the enraged Sirius, things might have turned out differently.

Tip #2: Brush up on Your First Aid

Retro first aid kit in tin box
As we near the end of our series matching Lifehacker’s Top 10 Outdoor Tips for a More Pleasant Summer list with some suggestions of our own for how to increase the summer pleasure quotient of clients, customers or hard-working staff, we offer a bandaid…
Well, actually, a first aid kit.
Or rather: many first aid kits to help keep your staff and customers safe in all seasons. Inside or out, summer or winter, it’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand just in case accidents occur. And we’ve got a range of kits — from the cute Retro First Aid Tin to the Smart Medic — with lots of choices in between for you to choose from.

Also take a look at our June is Safety Month post for additional suggestions on staying safe.

Tip #3: Tend the Perfect Bar

This is our eighth post matching Lifehacker’s Top 10 Outdoor Tips for a More Pleasant Summer list with some suggestions of our own for how to increase the summer pleasure quotient of clients, customers or hard-working staff.

© Becky Luigart-Stayner

Once you’ve poured over the recipes and suggestions at Lifehacker, give us a call and let us help you design custom-branded coasters, glasses, bar accessories, and other cocktail-related items that will live on long after the party or celebration ends. And if you are looking for a cooling, non-alcoholic refresher, try adding a small handful of thinly sliced kumquats to a large pitcher of water in the morning, and by early afternoon you’ll have a cooling and tart kumquat-aide.


Tip #4: Hiking and Biking

map of lower manhattanToday’s post is our seventh in a series matching Lifehacker’s Top 10 Outdoor Tips for a More Pleasant Summer with some suggestions of our own for how to increase the summer pleasure quotient of clients, customers or hard-working staff.

For some biking suggestions and Cyclist’s Special, a great short film produced by the British Rail film board in 1955, check out our May Calendar post.

“Put one foot in front of the other…”
Moving under your own steam is a fun and healthy way to get around as well as the best way to see any place you may be visiting. You can make summer walking and outdoor activities more comfortable for your customers or clients by providing branded hats or sun visors. Also check Tip #8 below that has resources to help you find a sunscreen that will protect you from the sun without exposing you to chemicals that are dangerous. Lip balm is another good thing to consider. Then all they’ll need to have are a good pair of shoes and liquid refreshments.

Tip #5: Make your own Backyard Fun

man playing Pall Mall
Today is post six in our series matching Lifehacker’s Top 10 Outdoor Tips for a More Pleasant Summer list with some suggestions of our own for how to increase the summer pleasure quotient of clients, customers or hard-working staff.

Nothing like a little outdoor activity followed by some relaxation on a summer day…Way back when, in days of yore, we would gather in the side yard and play croquet. Sometimes we’d play badminton. Both are great summer games to play on a grassy field or lawn. We’d drink gin and tonic (come back the day after tomorrow for cocktail tips!) and fancy ourselves…fancy. Occasionally rest was required and while lying on the green grass can be nice, it can also sometimes be a bit moist. An easy to carry solution is a Performance Blanket Tote, fleece on one side, nylon on the other.