In 2006 the mayor of , Brazil did something that would make the blood of most marketers run cold- he banned all outdoor advertising, saying that it was 'visual pollution' and needed to be stopped. Whilst businesses were initially tearing their hair out and predicting a massive loss of profits, creative marketers found a way around it. Lalai Luna of ad agency Remix told ltt19960118 the Financial Times-
"S?o Paulo started having a lot more guerilla marketing [unconventional strategies, such as public stunts and viral campaigns] and it gave a lot of power to online and social media campaigns as a new way to interact with people."
In other words, the removal of the easiest way to get people's attention meant that marketers had to try and capture the public's attention in other ways. Of course what they did wasn't new, but without the crutch of billboards the emphasis moved onto subtler ways of creating a lasting impression. But what impressions can be made without images?
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Colour has always been central to branding, and the movement against outdoor adverts in S?o Paulo caused many businesses to rely on their colour scheme to advertise the kind of shop they were, as shop signage was also banned.
Bright and dynamic colour schemes can be instantly recognisable from a further distance than signs due to the eyes not having to make the distinctions of shape and lettering in a sign.
A prime example of a company doing this comes from the Big Yellow Storage Company- whose buildings are, as you've probably gathered, big and yellow. These buildings are so recognisable that they act as bright landmarks in largely grey and industrial-looking areas in London.
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Music has always been used as a marketing tool, to the extent that coffee giant Starbucks say
'We're just as passionate about music as we are about coffee. That's why we handpick all the tunes you hear in our stores. Helping people discover their next favourite artist or recording is one of our favourite things to do.'
This company had a large association with music fom the start and still sell and promote music in its coffee houses, because they, like many other companies, know that music is very important abercrombie and fitch women to a leisure environment.
This is a tactic that can go very right or very wrong. Abercrombie & Fitch's stores are deliberately made to look like nightclubs, complete with low lighting and 'viewing balconies' over the shop. These youth-orientated tactics have won the store a cult following among the young, whilst leaving older shoppers bemused, as one commented in a Guardian interview "It was so dark I couldn't tell what colour something was... and the music is so loud!"
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The personality of a brand has often been soley distinguished by a celebrity 'face' or spokesperson. But many companies are now getting to grips with having a personality in the way that they interact with consumers. For instance, the Orange phone company continually try to be funny and cheerful in humorous adverts and by choosing 'cute' names for its packages, such as 'dolphin' and 'monkey.'
A recognisable voice can have as much power as a recognisable face, demonstrated by the 'this isn't just food' adverts by Marks and Spencer. These featured the distinctive cut-glass tones of Dervla Kirwan, spawning a host of spoof adverts in their wake.
So brand recognition abercrombie and fitch sweatpants does not have to automatically entail image recognition, and more creative ways of engaging customers can have a real effect. This is particularly relevant for companies promoting products that have to do more than look good. After all, didn't somebody once say 'never judge a book by its cover'?