Branding

Some – like Tracy Emin, Damian Hurst and GIlbert&George- have been in ad business for while. Their styles are so distinctive you know them immediately like a pack of Persil. They have mastered the art of effective branding – with “added value” prices to match

At modern art shows the same ‘big’ themes come up over and over again- here are three you can rely on.
1) The artist getting in touch with his/her inner child – Childhood is a time of both maximum innocence and psychological damage-or both. That tension is makes this a rich theme to exploreIMG_3123 IMG_3127 IMG_3117
2) Wearing  masks– a very ancient theme as it liberates the individual to take on different identities and or behave as badly with as they like. In films people always get murdered at masked balls. Venice loves masks-and is the original city of hidden dangers. Sadistic sex often involves masks- anyway you get the pointIMG_3173 IMG_3187 IMG_3168IMG_3167
3) Consumerism=polution 

Today there is just too much pollution . It is covering our beaches , making our rivers poisonous and air cancer inducing.

Our Madmen era pleasures in consumerism-those Andy Warhol soup cans seem so innocent now-have been undermined by the smelly decaying byproducts of our obsession with economic growth. Asia ( for which read China) is the epicentre of this collective act of greed & desire driven  self-distruction. Hence these images

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For most of my career people have aspired to buy premium brands and just wanted an affordable way to buy into them – think of the Mercedes A class, Waitrose essentials or a tie from Armani. Premium brands used to “reach down”

But something has shifted in the culture – Value brands have captured the middle classes as extended recession has finally stripped away illusions.

Now to be cheap is chic and the next inevitable development in branding is for these cheap brands to smarten themselves up to reflect their new clientele. These images are from Chippenham High Street

Poundland now looks just fine to me and perhaps a coffee in the Greg’s cafe too ? Who wants to fork out £4-00 for a coffee in Starbucks ? Inside Gregs was just fine and dandy and you can get a sausage roll for 99 p.

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Justin King left Sainsbury at just the right time…Aldi and Lidl will be smartening up soon too no doubt to hang onto those newly converted members of the squeezed middle.

Since writing this post we have seen the first big beast to suffer the consequences – the CEO of Tesco-Philip Clarke– has stood down as his business has been battered by the discounters.