Pride and RED

So I spent the weekend in Phoenix doing the Pride festival and launching Red Nightlife which was a blast. I happen to think that the launch of this new magazine is going to really change the landscape of the gay nightlife mags that have, honestly, sucked ass. And not in the pleasant warm way. But why am I writing about this in my blog?

Because I have to post something in the hopes that someone will read it, right? Ha ha ha, it is to laugh.

No, I’m posting this because RED is a great study in branding as a tool for doing something that is already being done by others. Branding successfully will make all the difference in the world, and RED has done it quite well. The logo is very well done, to the point that when stacked against the competition, it’s big, bold and readable, and frankly, it’s a beautiful thing.

And of course, it’s also red, the color, with a dash of white.

Now the dingbat is the cool part. I know that many of the non-design people of the world are thinking “what is a dingbat, you, um, dingbat?” and it’s really simple. It’s the part of the logo that is used, on it’s own, to represent the company. Why? Because the logo includes the name of the company, but the dingbat is, if used well, the non-word replacement that will, hopefully, remind everyone of the company. It becomes the final piece of the brand that makes the difference in marketing.

As an example, think about this – what’s the logo for Infiniti? It’s the name of the company, Infiniti, under the dingbat, which is the oval with the road lines going to, well, infinity. Very well done, and frankly, most people would think that is the logo, and the name isn’t part of it. Wrongo, but thanks for playing. The rare case that a company doesn’t have a dingbat but does have a logo that dual functions as a dingbat would be like UPS which built their new logo around their old logo’s shape. The shield functions as a dingbat, but only because the company never calls themselves “United Parcel Service” anymore.

So RED had a logo, and in the logo was a star in the middle of the ‘d’ and that star became, though a happy accident, a dingbat. Perhaps the most well received and liked dingbat ever. And it’s not a circle of red, it’s an oblong globe and skewed white star that just rocks. So much so that even the lesbians put the sticker on their cars – so if you see a Subaru around Phoenix with a RED dingbat, you’ll know why.

So now it’s all up and going, and frankly, it’s brilliant. And marketing proves itself again, which is the point. Marketing is not Sales, and while they are related by business, they are different fields and different skills entirely. And companies that get them confused tend to fail more often than they succeed.