Nov 11

The image sent is not necessarily the image received

I can’t remember the last time I’ve read a book that made me laugh out loud with each and every new page. Jon Stewart’s Earth: A Visitor’s guide to the Human Race is one of those rarities. Written by Stewart and his staff, the book is intended for aliens who discover our planet long after we’ve perished. It’s intended to explain to the aliens what they’ve stumbled across.

Sections include: explanations on how our society was structured, our major religions formed and our bizarre culture created. The latter is beautifully captured in what Stewart calls his FAQs, or Frequent Alien Questions. For example:

Alien question: "The Acme company appears to have made low-quality products. How did they stay in business?"

Stewart: "Free shipping to remote desert locations."

Alien question: "You had the word Trump on many of your buildings. What did that word mean?"

Stewart: "A Trump was a demon who sometimes appeared to us in quasi-human form in order to fire us from jobs we never wanted in the first place."

One of my favorite sections is entitled, ‘Corporate Identity.’ It reads: "The choice of a proper brand logo was as crucial to a corporation as a nation’s flag or a religion’s gold-thing-you-wear-on-a-chain. It had to be visually appealing, but it did not have to have anything to do with what your company did." In other words, the image being sent by countless corporations wasn’t necessarily the image received by end users.

Here are three classic examples Stewart cites:


What you’d expect them to sell: White babies.   

What they sold: Baby food.


Anheuser-Busch 'Here's to Beer' :  

What you’d expect them to sell: Eagle traps.   

What they sold: Urine-flavored beer.



What you’d expect them to sell: Three-field crop rotation.

What they sold: Your own money back to you.



Loving Stewart’s suggestions so much, I decided to submit my own: 


What you’d expect them to sell: Antebellum plantations.  

What they sold: Cholesterol-laden fried chicken.


  Alaska Airlines Logo

What you’d expect them to sell: Grumpy Eskimos.  

What they sold: Air travel to and from places that had no Eskimos.



What you’d expect them to sell: West Village bouncers.

What they sold: Floor cleaner that could probably double as rocket fuel if you Aliens ever find yourself in a pinch.

How about you Repman readers? Do you know any corporate logos that have absolutely nothing to do with explaining the type of product the company sells? I’m all ears (which, FYI to future alien readers, means "I’m welcoming readers to submit their ideas.")


Apr 01

Just call me the Mr. Blackwell of Corporate Icons

April 1 Remember the late Mr. Blackwell? The man who made tons of money and received oodles of publicity for publishing an annual list of Hollywood's best and worst-dressed celebrities? Well, I've decided it's high time the world of  had its own best and worst lists.

But, before unveiling who made my list, I think it's important you first understand my motivation.

Corporate icons exist for a reason. They personify a brand's essence and, de facto, an organization's values. Whether their creators agree or not, I believe icons send a very direct message to anyone and everyone who comes into contact with them. That's why I wrote in yesterday's blog that Ronald McDonald has done incalculable harm. Why? Because kids love the loveable clown and the loveable clown gets kids to love his calorie-laden Big Macs and fries.

In light of America's obesity problem, I think every major corporation should take a second look at its icon to see if the tiger, cow or panther in question might be sending a subliminal message that obesity is A-OK.

So, with that criteria in mind, it's time to unveil Mr. RepMan's fittest and least fit corporate icons.

Fittest icons……

1.) Mr. Clean. The man has been jacked from day one. You may think he's ingesting steroids and that Mr. Clean is actually the A-Rod of kitchen cleaning. No way. Juicing didn't exist when this bald buffed boy toy made his debut way back when.
2.) The Jolly Green Giant. This fella could start for any NBA team. He's tall, lean and muscular. And, you've got to believe his diet is rife with beans, peas, and other good stuff. No wonder he's so jolly. The man's high on life.
3.) Brawny. The name speaks for itself. Well done, B.
4.) Tony the Tiger. You look ggggggreat!
5.) The Marlboro Man. So what if the guy was filling his lungs with deadly carcinogens, he looked great doing it.

And, now Mr. RepMan's least fit corporate icons……

1.) The Michelin Man. This guy's had serious middle age spread from day one and has never made any effort to lose the spare tire. Get on a treadmill, Michelin Man!
2.) The Pillsbury Dough Boy. Talk about a heart attack waiting to happen. This icon's clogged arteries have clogs. Has he not heard of gastric bypass surgery? It's 'Just do it,' not 'Just dough it.'
3.) Aunt Jemima. I understand it's tough when your life consists of waffles, pancakes and syrup, but think about inserting some fruit in your diet, Jemima.
4.) The Kool-Aid Man. The man sells empty calories and smiles about it all day long? C'mon. where's the accountability?
5.) Elsie the Cow. Moo is no longer cool. Even cows can stand to lose a little weight. I'd like to see some more muscle definition, Elsie.

That's Mr. RepMan's list. Thoughts? Comments? Observations? Bueller?