New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Branding Gone Wild

Let's get the negatives out of the way. M&Ms or MARS group does not need to be promoted. We don't need to market candy to children. Do we need a two-story shrine to M&Ms candy in Times Square? Is this another sign of the dumbing down of society? Why does a product like this need to be branded and line extended ad nauseum? Is this further evidence that shopping has now become America's favorite pastime and that, as Reverend Billy has warned for some time, that we have excessive consumerism and a nation of shopaholics? Perhaps, but this is not the best economic times for anti-consumerist messages.
The M&M Store at 1600 Broadway in Times Square, like the Coca Cola or Warner Brothers stores, is a quintessential example of branding merchandise and merchandising a brand. In this retail store you will find application of the M&M iconography to every possible consumer item. And, of course, there is plenty of candy - self serve M&Ms in large, transparent tubes in a staggering array of colors - for those who like blue, for example, you can get Blue, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Teal or Aqua. See more photos of the interior of the store here. The exterior of the store has an enormous, spectacularly bright LED panel display. See my photos and previous story, Let's Have a Parade.
Technology is not the only thing in our world to see enormous advancement. Business and associated vocabulary have also become highly refined. Brand has become a buzzword in business marketing and the term now goes beyond its original business usage. The meaning of brand at one time was much narrower and more specific, usually limited to consumer products like food or appliances. Pepsi or GE was a brand.
The first time I saw the word brand used in a broader sense was in a TV interview with Joseph R. Francis, the founder of Girls Gone Wild, a series of sexually explicit DVDs. In that interview, Francis referred to the Girls Gone Wild brand. I was surprised to learn that filming young naked girls could be a brand or franchise, or at least referred to as such. Since that time I have become very sensitized to the use of the words brand and branding as well as merchandising itself.
But let us not forget another part of the picture, lest a curmudgeon squash all of life's fun. These are M&Ms - one of the icons of our childhood and virtually synonymous with pleasure. And they don't melt in your hands :)

Confession: I succumbed to the overwhelming presence of merchandise. :( I bought an assortment of M&Ms and nicely styled M&M glass. :)

8 comments:

designslinger.com said...

The photo looks so yummy, I have to go out and buy me some M&M's!

Will Hennessy said...

the temptation in that store looks overwhelming! mmm...

brooklynpix said...

The best thing you can do is go in the M&M store and eat yourself silly until you either get sick or they tell you to stop. (Don't pay no matter what!) This store is more popular than Hershey's, across the street, because the Euro-tourists don't like Hershey products as much. The M&M branding is beyond out of control.

Anonymous said...

Bring Back Crispy M&M's!!!!

Ilan said...

This is amazing photo... Can't stop enjoying this!
Superbly seen and capture, thanks a lot for sharing!

Brian Dubé said...

brooklynpix - we did sneak a few but i didnt know the protocol and what is tolerated. maybe next time i'll indulge.

llan - tnx. hope you saw the other photos.

Jacob said...

This is incredible. And how could you not "succumb" to such blandishments?

Hilda said...

I'm actually not crazy about M&Ms except for their colors — this is so much fun! :)