By: Cornelius - On: 04/06/2009 15:44:44 - Comments: 3
I don't think if most modern marketeers were looking to promote a sugar syrup they would select as their logo a festering dead lion carcass infested with insects, but that is what the Victorians chose to go with,
with Lyle's Golden Syrup http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_syrup . They must have got something right though because the product has now been a household name in much of the world for more than 125 years and they sell 12 million tins a year. I mention this because I bought a squeezy version recently and was incensed to find they had changed the logo on the squeezy tube from the Victorian sketch of the lion to a modern cartoon lion. Worst of all the lion was no longer dead but sitting up and winking perkily at the viewer.
As I work for a cartoon agency I am certainly not against cartoons in marketing and advertising in fact I am a very strong advocate for them. Cartoons are a vital part of marketing and advertising. I was looking at a forum recently and where they were trying to name as many brands as possible that use cartoons as a part of the marketing campaign. The list was a very long one and included large number of important brands including Rice Crispies, Pilsbury, Daily Express, M and M, Nesquick, Michelin, etc . My problem however with this particular marketing or branding effort was two fold.
Firstly while a dead lion is quite a bizarre choice to sell sugar syrup, it has a history and sense of familiarity that you just can't replicate or reinvent. I remember the Victorian sketch seeming a little odd even when I was a kid, but it also seemed like the right kind of odd. While there may be marketing goals I am unaware of, it seems to me that if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Secondly and more importantly I do have a professional concern about the standard of the new character design itself. While I have no knowledge of the process involved, it feels like it was created by a graphic designer rather than a professional cartoonist. The lion appears to have all the elements of what a cartoon should be, without having the “x factor” charm that an experienced cartoonist can often bring to a project. The experience and lightness of touch that turns the generic into something memorable with personality that is necessary for a successful brand. That isn't to say that another visual professional couldn't do a decent job, but why risk it, when you can hire someone who more easily understands the language because they work in that medium on a daily basis.