Thursday, April 30, 2009

Walgreens needs to re-brand

A frequent topic of conversation amongst the branding nerd herd is brands we'd love to work on. Typically a bunch of sexy brands - like Apple and Mini are noted - but for me, it's Walgreens. I started thinking about Walgreens a lot after moving to San Francisco where, unlike in Minneapolis, making a "Target run" isn't an easy task- especially when you're car-less, like me. Running to Walgreens, however is simple. I find that I'm rarely more than 5 blocks from a Walgreens store at any given spot in the city.

It occurred to me that while my shopping objectives for both stores are typically very similar, my experiences (and total at the checkout) are very different. Even when I walk into Target, armed with a shopping list with 5 items on it, I generally walk out with anywhere from 7 to 10 items. If my Walgreens list is 5 items long, chances are good I walk out with exactly 5 items. Herein lies the opportunity for Walgreens.

Initially, I thought that maybe the need 5, buy 10 vs. need 5, buy 5 situation was simply the result of Target offering more items that I'm interested in. Then I started thinking about my in-store experience and concluded that Target offers a more enjoyable retail environment thus making it more likely for me to stroll around the store and pick up "just a few more things". So Target wins in selection and environment, but they lose in convenience. The opportunity that I see is for Walgreens to leverage their convenience and simply take the time to up their selection and environment game and potentially get closer to the 5:10 ratio that Target enjoys. Ultimately, Walgreens needs to re-brand themselves from the top down.

The future Walgreens is less corner pharmacy and more Target-lite. This approach feels appropriate especially given the fact that so many Walgreens are smack dab in the middle of urban areas. Oh, and let's not forget that in this current economy consumers are looking to brands that they know and trust, something I have to imagine is true of Walgreens. I think Walgreens is primed to take advantage of their position and take a bite out of Target, Walmart and if they play their cards right, maybe even stores like Macy's and Kohl's. And if they don't seize this moment, I suggest Target start thinking about a plan for their brand extension into an urban store... Target Express??

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Strategy is the only timeless agency offering

Last week an art director friend of mine were talking about the future of advertising agencies. Specifically, we were discussing how things like crowdsourcing via sites like (an online marketplace for creative services) and the offering from the SF based tech startup Sprout (a platform that gives the average Joe the ability create his own flash pieces, such as banner ads and websites) are dramatically changing the client/agency relationship. And by changing the client/agency relationship, I mean potentially eliminating the need for agencies at all. crowdSPRING is a more dramatic game changer as its model essentially bypasses the need for an agency organization altogether where Sprout makes less of an impact since it’s really just a platform that creatives may actually use within an agency.

Ultimately, as creative becomes more accessible and less of an exclusive agency offering, agencies will need to prove their worth in other ways. I offered that the greatest value that an agency can provide, one that remains an exclusive offering, is brand strategy. Sure, sure maybe I’m biased. But it’s the one missing element in this DIY creative model. There’s great creative available on crowdSPRING, but what drove that creative? Creative for creativity’s sake is simply art. Only when the creative is rooted in consumer insights does it become persuasive communication, i.e. Advertising.

Coincidentally, these very sentiments were echoed in a recent article on Regarding agency payment structure, the article states “there might be a new emphasis on strategic insights versus time sheets and production costs.” And on creative, Michael Lebowitz, CEO of Big Spaceship adds, "the bells and whistles for bells and whistles sake feels very Web 1.0."

In my opinion this is great news for strategists. And frankly in today’s climate of agency closures and hiring freezes, some good news is quite welcomed.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Move over paper towels, there's a new oil spreader in town

I tend to resist buying most kitchen gadgets- I find slicing and chopping the old fashioned way to be therapeutic. There are a few items in my kitchen that are an exception, like my lime juicer. You just can't beat the efficiency of that thing. I love it. I have a feeling if I get my hands on this super rad oil wand I might make another exception.

Smart Design

A great way to remind bikers of the importance of wearing a helmet. Perhaps a bit graphic for some, but I for one enjoy the wit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Arts & Crafts: Super Simple Home Deco Project

I moved into a new apartment a couple months ago and have been trying to find some cool things to break up what feels like miles of empty wall space. A few weeks ago I bought some simple, black frames but wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I didn't have anything on hand large enough to fill 11"x11" so I came up with this idea to use some extra paper I had and rip holes for photos of mine to peek through. I love the way it turned out and the project was both time and cost efficient running approximately $65 for materials and about 30 minutes to put together (including finding the photos to use, but not including the 2 months it took for this idea to pop into my head).