Super Bowl and Spider Man

Just a quick Super Bowl observation. Advertising seems to be getting more complicated, with production values rising dramatically, just as brand identity on packaging at least, seems to be getting simpler. Wonder who is leading who?

Sunday’s ads were full of apocalyptic visions and over the top scenes filled with visual gimmickry. The packaging equivalent of big bold type, bursts, blends and day glow colors.

Its one thing to be wowed by the visual effects of a Broadway production, something Spiderman seems to be doing miserably (here is a link to today’s review in the NY Times), and walking away entertained. Its another to do it in the context of building brands.

Now I am fully aware that the venue lends itself to visual extravagance and that these ads typically serve many purposes beyond the airing during the game, some immediate and some longer term; they rally employees, act as visual icons for campaigns throughout the coming season or year, etc.

But it is interesting that the tone is so clearly different from the general direction that retail brand identity, at least as expressed in the store, seems to be trending.


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
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One Response to Super Bowl and Spider Man

  1. G. Shear says:

    I read the review in the Times, – sad about Spiderman. Seems that Julie Traymore felt that the technology (ie the TV camera that flies over the football field), was just waiting to be scaled up to human scale. She has overreached, – and was certainly more artistically creative (The Lion King) than she now is technically creative (Spiderman). Could there still be (in packaging and in TV commercials) a place for the artistic?

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