The WAG, Wabbits and Warner Brothers on the branding process
So I went to the WAG last month to see the Warner Brothers exhibit
. What I went for and what I left with are two very different things: it’s the kind of moment brand managers, like me, really live for.
What I went to see:
A few of my old childhood friends: Daffy Duck, The Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, Foghorn leghorn – and more.What I left with:
A whole new appreciation for brand management.
Here are some highlights of what I learned that I’m applying to the brands that I develop and manage: PERSONIFICATION
Each ‘animal’ character is a personification that features endearing and enduring human traits. Even though they are biologically different, they feel remarkably familiar.SET
Each character is a presented in situations that enable the character to display their greatest strength. Consider how the Grand Canyon plays to Wiley Coyote’s ingenuity and the Roadrunner’s speed. Place them in Foghorn’s barnyard and, well . . . you get the picture.
SCRIPT / STORYLINE
Each character has a well defined (predictable) personality. The predictable nature of each character doesn’t make them boring, rather the story writers use predictability to play with our emotions. This predictability ensures that each episode, although different, is easy to understand whether you flick on the TV at the beginning or half-way through. DESIGN GUIDES
Go to the WAG and you’ll see your favourite characters ‘in situ’ as you recall them on TV, but also in their infancy. You’ll see how Bugs Bunny looked when he was born, and what he grew to become in the hands of designers who removed every redundant line and mote of colour to create a colourful character capable of conveying a full spectrum of moods and emotions without uttering more than a few words.
Importantly, the design guides that WB developed enabled countless illustrators to faithfully portray these cartoon characters with incredible consistency. COLOURS
The primary colours used for most WB characters precede colour movies, colour TV, as well as colour everything else – but they stand the test of time and have become part of the context in which we expect to find our cartoon friends. The colour of your brand and the colours of the environment your brand moves through both contribute to the user experience. IN SUMMARY
is timeless and can be very effective. When a TV commercial appears with a white background, cute music and a hippo, do you think Telus?
2. Don’t set your brand up for a fall. Position
it properly in the right environment.
3. Brands need to be predictable
and have well-defined personalities
Design /Brand guides can be words, pictures, sound, or artifacts - whatever best captures the mood of the brand and the dialect of the brand managers. Like Warner Brothers’ character guides, a great brand guide outlines strict standards for the colours, shapes and language that embody your brand. They ensure logos remain impeccable across all formats (colour, B&W, reverse etc), colours appear identical across all mediums, and all writing maintains the same voice.
If you have any questions regarding brand concistency and the tools needed to build strong brands, please contact me at
or give me a call at 204-474-1654.