After Christmas goodies

One of my favourite things after Christmas is finding leftovers in the fridge. The joy of not cooking plus finding a seasonal set menu for a week is wonderful.

Supposedly January is about dieting, but not in this house. Every night when I check the cupboards looking for something to eat, I keep finding hamper bits from Harvey Nichols and they are simply beautiful. You can tell they dedicated time and talent to it.

It sounds like someone is paying me for writing this, but no, not yet. I just want to share my love for their design, literally when food met fashion. Harvey Nichols’ own-label food packaging launched in 1994 and it became famous for its iconic monochrome and photography. Last year, Smith and Village revamped the collection -fearlessly stylish- and every single item has been beautifully presented and conceptualized. Hats off to the artists.

“The design of the physical packaging has been extremely important in this project. For a start, none of it is throw-away, so the Harvey Nics brand lives on in people’s kitchens long after the product is finished. Secondly, it is led and inspired by fashion to delight the target audience – pull-out biscuit packaging that is closer to a sunglasses case than a pack of biscuits; airtight tins to keep biscuits fresh for longer with colors inspired by lipstick shades and shiny, elegant refillable tea tins,” adds Debrah Smith, Creative Director, Smith&+Village.


Mixed herbs can teach you a lesson

Last week I went to Sainsbury’s for a quick shop and found out they had changed their entire spice section. Writing about spices and supermarkets, it could sound quite boring right? But it gets better so keep reading.

The thing is… I couldn’t find the brand that I usually buy, ironically I don’t remember its name, I just know how it looks -it’s the little jar with the green lid. Branding fail or not? My brain only remembered the visual aspect, so when I was looking for mixed herbs, oregano … bla bla bla, they are all now branded Sainsbury’s. As I’m in the ad world I started analysing the packaging, label, typography, colours, they all look clear and simple. The design is quite good and functional, the best thing: now you can read what you have from the top, (before there was only a big letter and the herbs’ name in tiny tiny letters), and while cooking you don’t have time to play the game of lifting 3 or 4 spices before you find the one you need.

According to Campaign Live the dry culinary complements market in the UK, which includes herbs, spices and seasonings, is worth about £92m.  So when Sainsbury’s starts branding their own herbs they are getting a big slice of the category. There are business opportunities everywhere, even on little things such as seeds and spices.

That day I organised my laptop, created a plan and now I’m contacting small businesses who want to do great things. The big lesson here is start seeding.

We tent to think that making a smart move is making a big move. Sometimes small steps can get you further.


3 spare hours

Few weeks ago I started an online course called “The secret power of brands“. It was my first experience with distance learning education as I previously wasn’t keen on it as I prefer face to face interaction – also I am easily distracted. But 3 factors persuaded me to try it:

1. The tutor. Robert Jones, works at Wolff Olins as an Strategist. The brand consultancy approach and work are very inspiring. To give you an example, they reinvented the category when working with Orange, making a mobile phone network talking about people and optimism. As they said “We gave the network the name of a colour, not a technospeak name”. They didn’t have a special technological advantage, so they created a brand that had nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with simplicity. I used to love its slogan The future’s bright. For me it was a brand talking to humans and behaving like one of us. But that was back in 2008, now Orange and T-mobile have merged into EE and that’s the case for another post.

Wolff Olins


 2. What I saw. I read an accurate and concise description and I saw a clean website. Future Learn has a modern, simple and user-friendly platform.

3. Time. 3 hours per week for 6 weeks, that’s it. Unlike long-distance relationships, distance learning didn’t require a big commitment.

So far, I find it very interesting. There were some quotes in the first week that I would like to share or post somewhere so I don’t forget.

It’s better to think of brand not as cause, but as effect. Doing the right things will create growth, and a strong brand will follow as the effect.

‘User’ doesn’t just mean consumer, but also colleague, neighbor, investor, supplier, partner.

The high-growth businesses of the future will all be, at heart, purposeful. And purpose is the source of value-creativity.

Experiences aren’t things you create and then transmit to people – they’re things people shape for themselves.

If you have 3 spare hours per week, and don’t have any Breaking Bad episode or soap opera in the queue, I recommend you to join the class.