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Posts Tagged ‘brand’

Sonic the Hedgehog; The Documentary

I want to share this short documentary I found about a character that I never knew I still love so much. At one stage, this guy was the number one “Most Recognisable” character in America, beating Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and his arch nemesis, Mario. He was the hero that every kid followed, and even me here in Australia, I couldn’t help not to be swept into his cult. I’m talking about Sonic the Hedgehog.

I recently came across Sonic the game while browsing around in the Android market. For a cent shy of a dollar (99 cents for those that don’t like to subtract), I was able to re-live all my childhood memories right on my new Motorola RAZR mobile phone. Now this part, this part right here, this is the kicker – it actually worked. Playing that game on my phone did really bring back a lot of the memories that I had, and you know what, they were really, really good and happy memories. As a kid, I loved Sonic and Sega, and being an only child, I smashed that game as much as I could. It was my release, my adventure, and I was so happy to have experienced it. Was I “marketingally” brain-washed? Maybe. To be honest, I don’t really care – the game was awesome.

After spending some time with the game, I ended-up doing a bit of research and reading on Sonic. While hunting for info, I came across this short documentary by Game Tap. The doco talks about how the character got created, why it was created, and what was the character supposed to represent. As a kid, I never knew this, but Sonic (the game and the character) were part of Sega’s marketing ploy to get one over its rival Nintendo; it wasn’t just a game, it was a marketing strategy as well. The marketing team had a lot to say on how Sonic should look, feel, and act, but at the same time, they treated him with lots of love, care, and respect. The head of marketing/design over in the US even went as far as calling herself Sonic’s “mum”, which I can understand and totally relate with.

So sit down, relax, and find-out how and why millions of kids around the world fell in love with this game character. Who knows, there might be another one coming from just around the corner, and the pattern of its success could be just like that of Sonic the Hedgehog. Enjoy!

An Interesting Proposition – a record label for free music

Once in a while you come across a catch that you just don’t want to let go off. You’ve seen it before, and you know what it is, but because what your seeing is so different to the rest of what’s out there that you can’t bring yourself to not liking it. Cut Records has one of those catches, and the catch is this – it’s a free music record label.

Right now, there is so much free music available online – more than you can poke your proverbial stick at. So doing something different definitely helps you to stand out.  What Cut is doing is pretty smart – get a quality product (music) catalogue together, make sure that the sound of each individual release matches the overall label’s feel (brand), wrap-it-up in a nice stylistic package, and then make it available for the consumer to digest. But with expectations of the product being free, can one still gain a reward? I believe you can. Radiohead did. Now I know that they had a bit of a head-start because of their name, but what In Rainbows did show us was that people were (and still are) willing to pay for music, even when it’s out there for free. And as years went by, I realised that the idea of having music on a physical medium is not dead – it actually seems to be gaining feet. I’ve noticed that the latest trend in the indie/underground music industry is to release both digital and vinyl versions of each release, with some labels going as far as giving the mp3 away for free with every vinyl purchase. This strategy is catching on, as more and more consumers are willing to fork-out the extra dosh for the vinyl simply because of what the vinyl does. Someone said that people buy cars not so much for the ride, but for the perception that the car will create in peoples minds about the driver – a classic product personality association. The same is happening with vinyl – it’s the medium of choice for anyone that wants to be perceived as a music lover. Digital music is worthless; it’s just data that is sitting on a hard-drive. It can disappear as quickly as it came. A physical release on the other hand is something that is a bit more tangible – you can show it off to people, you can create a physical (turning into emotional) bond with it, and achieve pride in owning it. The fact that most of today’s vinyl comes in limited pressing ads to the aura of the product being “special”.

With this hunger for the physical growing, Cut could very well move into the physical/vinyl product sphere. Their product is great, generating very positive press. The free pricing model is certainly affordable (the “Pay with a Tweet” option is fantastic – let the consumer spread the word about the label/product to their friends), and the overall presentation/packaging of the product/brand is well executed. As more fans jump on the label’s bandwagon, offering limited edition paid vinyl/CD or other physical medium versions of the free digital music could be a profitable proposition. In the meantime though, let the music keep on coming.

Cut is definitely onto something here.

"Baby Come Back!"

When you listen to the chorus of Player’s “Baby Come Back” while thinking about social networks, it all just makes perfect sense; without the other party at the other end, it’s just really… sad. At the time when we have that someone special, we might not really appreciate them, but once they’re gone, it hurts. And when the other person starts thinking “That’s cool. It was their loss, not mine”, that’s when you know it’s over. You have to try really hard to get them back.

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