Box Vox

packaging as content

January 15, 2013

De-Branding in Name Only

Making the removal of product brand names into a unique selling proposition, UK department store, Selfridges positions itself as a refuge from information overload. Their “No Noise” promotion includes a “Quite Shop” that sells “de-branded” products.

“Some of the world’s most recognisable brands have taken the admirable step of removing their logos in our exclusive collection of de-branded products, available in the Quiet Shop.”

Selfridges “No Noise”

As admirable is this may be, participating product manufacturers are not really risking so much in the way of product recognition, since their container shapes, their label colors and the remaining graphics are all brand trademarks in their own right.

In 1965 Heinz polled housewives at a Long Island grocery store in order to demonstrate to the U.S. Patent & Trademark office, the degree to which their “keystone design” already functioned as a de facto trademark in the minds of consumers.

If Elsie Tropper could receive the 1965 brand messages contained in the Heinz “keystone design” (beans & ketchup) today’s consumers are no less fluent. So how exactly is this admirable de-branding suppose to benefit today’s beleaguered consumers? Spare them from having to read the names they’re already thinking?

(The Heinz “Keystone Design” trademark, after the fold…)


(For more wordless branding, see also: Correspondence Art and Gatorade, The Spiegelei Eierlikör fried egg bottle and Branding in your home)