Category Archives: environment

Partners in Green

Although not the first of it’s kind, this carbon-dioxide absorbing billboard does mark a first for the Philippines, a country that doesn’t have the greatest environmental track record. Created as a collaboration between Coca-Cola Philippines and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Fukien Tea Plant Billboard helps alleviate air pollution in the surrounding area. The Fukien Tea plants, embedded in over 3000 discarded Coca-cola bottles are each capable of absorbing up to 13 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year.

So that’s all great, but where does Coca-cola come into all of this? More and more, corporations are pouring time, money and resources into their CSR ambitions. Are we naive enought to believe that billboards like this one are conceived purely for the good of the planet? Of course not, but as a tool for improving brand image, it will certainly make the head honchos at Coca-cola sleep a little better. From WWF’s point of view, they’re able to clean up pollution and promote their agenda with all the power and might of the Coca-cola marketing arm.

In future, we think that we can expect to see more of these mutually beneficial campaigns, where advertising can serve the aims of two very different organisations, to the advantage of both.



The Perils of Rebranding

Here at Baby, we believe in maximising our client’s assets, and recognise that occasionally this requires a rebrand. We helped the UK’s biggest childrens charity ‘National Children’s Home’ become ‘Action For Children’, giving them a dynamic new identity that told the public: ‘There for as long as it takes’.

We have also had the privilege of working with this incredible organisation:

This fantastic charity has previously been known only by it’s lengthy, clinical title ‘Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture’. In the words of Chief Executive Keith Best, ‘Our new name shows our double aspiration: to free people as much as possible from the effects of the torture they have suffered, and to see a world free from torture.’

In our humble opinion, these two campaigns are excellent examples of successful rebranding, where the identity of the product is not lost, but the organisation is given a chance to reword the way they communicate with the public about their work. But rebranding is a dangerous game and is not for the fainthearted. We thought we would take this opportunity to look at some of recent history’s most succesful and unsuccessful rebrands.



In the 1980s, after consumer research revealed that people preferred the sweeter taste of Pepsi to Coca Cola, the drinks giant made a move that would go down in marketing history: they changed the recipe.

‘New Coke’ was introduced, and production of the old drink ceased. The backlash from consumers was enormous, with many US customers boycotting New Coke. Within just three months Coca-Cola reverted to its original recipe, which they released as ‘Classic Coke’ which outsold both New Coke and Pepsi. Conspiracy theorists reckon this was their plan all along.


FAILURE: Tropicana

It is customary for large corporations to occasionally reinvigorate the packaging they use, particularly after a decline in sales, as a way of reminding consumers about their product. But when PepsiCo redesigned Tropicana cartons the negative reaction from consumers, who described it as looking too ‘own-brand’, was so strong that they reverted to the old cartons within two months. No wonder, as sales fell by a massive 20% during those two months.

NB This was one of the first instances of consumers using social media to express their views.



When the powers-that-be at Gap decided to abandon their famous blue logo they drastically underestimated the the passion of their clientele. Disgruntled customers took the the internet in their droves in 2010 to complain about the new logo, with one person even setting up a facebook account as the ‘dumped’ logo. Literally within days of its launch the management had to announce that they were reverting the old logo, apologising for having ‘gone about the things in the wrong way’ with regards to informing their customers.


FAILURE: Post Office to Consignia

Dubbed by one critic as ‘nine letters that spell fiasco’, the rebranding of the Post Office to become Consignia was a disaster. After moving away from state control the Post Office wanted a new name to recognise its many business divisions. The name Consignia was chosen as a combination of ‘Consign’ and ‘Insignia’, supposed to convey trustworthiness.

The rebrand cost £2 million but was very quickly abandoned and the company promptly reverted to being called Royal Mail.



Sometime rebranding misteps take years to reveal themselves. When BP spent $7 million in 2000 on brand strategy and a further $200 million supporting the rebrand, they were criticised for spending more money on this than on actually researching renewable energy. But it wasn’t until the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010 that the new green and yellow flower logo, meant to reflect their green credentials, was revealed for the folly it was. The logo was defaced by protesters, and Greenpeace ran an embarassing competition to redesign it.


SUCCESS: Norwich Union to Aviva

When Norwich Union went about rebranding themselves as Aviva in 2008, they actually already operated under that name in over 20 countries. The ads featured celebrities who had changed their names before becoming famous and successful, totally facing up to the rebrand and turning it into an instrument of positive change. Although the campaign set Aviva back £9 million and included some of the most expensive adverts ever made, the proof is in the profits, which rose by 26% to £2.6 billion in 2010.


SUCCESS: Marathon to Snickers

In 1990 Mars rebranded the Marathon bar as the Snickers, the name it was already known by in international markets. It is reported that ‘Snickers’ was the name of the Mars family’s favourite horse. At any rate, UK customers may have complained but the Marathon/Snickers remains the best-selling chocolate bar of all time with annual sales worth $2 billion.


SUCCESS: Opal Fruits to Starburst

Mars invented Opal Fruits back in 1960, before they were launched in the US as Starburst in 1967. Eventually Mars realised they would save money on promotion if the product was known under one name across its worldwide markets. Although the rebrand wasn’t cheap, costing Mars £10 million, Starburst curently brings in about £83 million worth of annual sales.


SUCCESS: Jif to Cif

Though the idea of Unilever spending £2 million substituting one letter for another back in 2000 might have seemed ridiculous to some, Jif/Cif demonstrates how the benefits of a rebranding exercise can be two-fold. Not only do you save money on marketing by having a universal product name, but you have a chance to raise brand awareness and get people talking about what is, in relative terms, a pretty unexciting cleaning product.

The consistent packaging reminded customers that whilst the name had changed, the quality had not, and overall the rebrand coupled with some product innovations has made Cif the world’s best selling abrasive cleaner.

Environmental crusaders

Here at Baby we like to think that as well as producing effective creative work, we also occasionally do some good for the world. Charity and opinion change ads have become increasingly formulaic, causing ‘giving-fatigued’ consumers to disengage. With tight budgets and so much at stake, we think this area is the last place creativity should be allowed to stagnate.

With this in mind, we would like to honour some of the incredible advertising  being done in the name of ecological good. These are some examples of innovative campaigns that are changing the world for the better – and happen to be fantastic images to boot.

These posters produced for Earth Day Canada have elegantly tackled the challenge of convincing people that the human impact on the environment does and will affect them directly. These striking images bring the bleak reality of environmental destruction into our homes and a little too close for comfort.

This WWF poster goes a step further by bringing deforestation inside our bodies. This stunning image has a double meaning, not only does it position deforestation as a cancer to the planet, but suggests that losing the world’s forests will lead to an increase in pulmonary disease.

If we’re talking about advertisers that think outside the proverbial box, this poster for the ‘No Tankers’ campaign produced by Rethink Canada (Is it just us or is Canada a hotspot of great advertising?) definitely deserves a mention. In a beautifully simple piece of design, the posters show nothing except a solid black picture of an oil tanker. Printed on paper and displayed around the city, when it started to rain the image would start to drip, ultimately revealing the message ‘Oil spills affect everyone’ from under a mess of black ink.

Here WWF has tried to turn some of the attention (and affection) afforded to various endangered species such as a panda, a rhino and a gorilla, on to the emotionally neglected bluefin tuna. Whilst perhaps not as cuddly, these tuna have been over-fished almost to the point of extinction due to their popularity with sushi-lovers. WWF are trying to reduce the overall allowable catch by urging businesses in the food industry not to purchase this ugly but not undeserving fish.

These gems are just a few examples of the amazing creations being born in the the name of global good. Keep up the good work, design is mightier than the sword.


Virgin Submarine

In his newest business venture, Richard Branson is offering  the ability to reach ocean depths that have never been explored before. The Virgin Oceanic  will be the first submarine to be able to sustain operation at 37,000 feet below sea level. Watch the video below to see its design:

Though we admit that some of Branson’s product extensions have been a bit too much, we think this is awesome. We can’t imagine how much one of these trips would cost but are intrigued to see the footage that will come of this new exploration! Branson will be a co-pilot along with pilot Chris Welsh. Very cool.

Happy Friday!


Rubbish Island

Dutch architect Ramon Knoester is making the best of a trashy situation (pun intended, ha). He has plans to construct the world’s only fully-sustainable island built out of garbage. In the northern Pacific Ocean, a gargantuan garbage pile has accumulated in an area estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Knoester’s island will be about the size of Hawaii, and is planned to feature a single family home with a solar roof, compost toilets, blue energy from wave motion, and a sustainable agricultural system. We think is a very cool way to deal with our planet’s excess of trash , are incredibly envious of anyone who gets to visit it, and hope to see more of these in the future!

For more information on what is dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this video, which is quite depressing, sheds light on the capacity of this phenomenon.

On a lighter note, it’s Friday! Our advertising this week comes from Mother New York for Target and features an amazing light show done at the Standard Hotel in New York City. The event actually happened last year, but we just came across this video today, and had to share. Watch below:

Though the extravagance of the lights wholly distracted us from the clothing featured, we thought this was a great ploy on Target’s part. As evident in the video, people all over NY got to see the show, even if they weren’t planning on it. This seems like something a major fashion house would do, so kudos to Target for executing it so well.

Happy Friday!

(source: Dvice)

Inspiring time lapse videos

Today we’ve come across two time lapse videos that are both inspiring and beautiful in two completely different ways. First, we will share Norwegian landscape photographer Terje Sorgjerd’s awe-inducing time lapse video of the Aurora Borealis:

The imagery in the video is absolutely stunning, and its hard to believe that this spectacle is not cinematically crafted, but a natural phenomenon caused by the sun’s radiation. To shoot the Northern Lights, Sorgjerd sustained -25° C temperatures every night for a week, taking nearly 22,000 pictures near Kirkenes and Pas National Park, near Norway’s Russian border. We can’t imagine seeing this with our own eyes, and are so appreciative that Sorgjerd endured such conditions to share nature’s beautiful art with the world.

The next video we came across is just as beautiful and inspiring, but on a much different level. The video is an advertisement for the Topsy Foundation, a UK registered charity that “provides a range of services to support families and meet the needs and personal development of orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS in poor rural communities in South Africa.” The ad shows 90 days in the life of a women living with HIV/AIDS and the amazingly positive effects that ARV treatment had on her condition.

The time lapse effect in this video shows the effects of ARV therapy in a way that most Westerners would never get to see–a great way to appeal for donations in order to change the lives of others like Selinah. Check up on Selinah’s progress here.

(Sources: MSNPhotoBlog and boingboing)

Eat your words… or your pen

About a year ago, we posted about Luxirare’s edible crayons. Today, we bring you a more adult version of this, with Dutch design student Dave Hakkens‘ edible pens. His original motive is illustrated below:

The creatives in the office are constantly brainstorming, sketching, crossing-out, and re-thinking, and are known to nibble on a pen here and there. We hate asking to borrow a pen and receiving a seemingly mauled plastic tube or lending our pen out to a known pen-muncher. Hakkens undoubtedly could relate to this, hence his edible creation.

The candy used to make the pens is similar to that of candy bracelets, so it does not melt in your hand when using it. The whole pen, including the ink, is edible except for the tip where the ink is released from. This solves the problem of those half-chewed pens being strewn about the office! Furthermore, the tip can be saved and used in a different flavoured pen.

Our only qualm with this very cool invention  is what one should do if they wish to put the pen down after having chewed it a bit. Perhaps an old-fashioned quill holder would solve this germy problem? Our favorite part of the product besides its power to cure a sweet tooth is its reduction of plastic waste. So often we throw out a pen after the ink runs out without even taking into consideration how much of the product is going to waste (as Hakkens pointed out, essentially 90%). Quite the double positive.

(Sources: M. E. Design and Dave Hakkens)