Bold Brand Gestures Require Brand Relevance

A Brand Gesture to Write Home About

Recently the Sydney Harbor Foreshore Authority created a remarkably clever sculpture at the Rocks to raise the profile of the precinct. More than 4000 cups of coffee were used to recreate the Mona Lisa, with milk added in varying amounts to the cups to create the lighter and darker tones that made-up the famous face. It was a great idea with a reasonably active viral campaign utilising email and YouTube. But I was left with question so itchy it has to be scratched…

If this gesture worked well for SHFA – how much better would it have worked for a coffee brand?

Looking closely at the pics it appears Grinders Coffee and the Dairy Farmers are involved. But ownership of the event and viral confusingly seems to be with SHFA. Starbucks recently launched their new (if not particularly successful) Via instant coffee. Just imagine a giant piece of replica artwork in each major Starbucks hub around the world – now that would have been a Bold Brand Gesture of the highest order. They could have been giving away product tastings as quickly as they could pour them, but most importantly, the gesture has a direct and memorable relevance to the product, it’s take-away, drink anywhere, anytime proposition and the spirit of the Starbucks brand. That would have been a memorable and remarkable brand experience.

As clever as the SHFA brand gesture was, its lack of strategic relevance will mean it becomes filed in the ‘clever stunt’ folder in our brain, which in turn gets soon filed on the ‘do not remember’ server. Every great idea requires relevance as a vital ingredient.



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If you’d like some help with creating remarkable and memorable gestures for your brand, why not give us a call.

David Ansett, Brandamentalist
If you’d like daily updates of our brand thinking, you can follow me on Twitter here.


  1. Alu, I tend to enjoy creative expression that takes a leap – like art & coffee where the only link is that it’s unexpected – sometimes the less obvious can create a more powerful and memorable impression. There’d be a great connect if the brand was an artisan coffee brand instead of a Starbucks. Having said that – a paint company would have had a ball with this kind of brand gesture.

  2. media designer

    While I’m a little troubled by every event and square footage of visual space being turned into advertising, events like this leave you with nothing but a thought of ‘huh, cool’ before you move on. Quickly. Viral marketing does seem to act like fireworks that fizzle quickly.
    The subject matter could have been chosen more carefully since Mona has been plastered on everything you can imagine already and made a bolder statement that would have actually meant something.

  3. Media Designer – Like your thinking. I’d agree that if we spend a little more time considering relevance and originality, these brand gestures can become more entertaining and even meaningful. Thanks for the comment.

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