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Debranding? Deconstruction.

By Joe Miller | August 29, 2019


Debranding is a thing now. It’s been a thing, but now it’s calling attention to itself as a thing, so I suppose it’s a bigger thing? Anyway, it seems that Gen Z consumers, or emerging adults as they are referred to in this article, don’t like traditional advertising (whatever that means).

Lack of logo (maybe identity would be a better term?) has been done before. Debranding is delusion powered by allusion.  

Every generation derides, or at least shrugs off, the culture stuff of preceding generations. But the ads in this campaign are remarkably self aware, targeted and, well, branded, which makes them the very thing their research says the kids don’t respond to. They are ads. Clever maybe. Well done for sure.

What the ads do show is that color, type, and imagery are very powerful identity components. Brands that market smart over decades, and remain consistent with their marketing and promotion, gain huge recognition advantages. Doritos knows this. And it allows, almost demands, this kind of brand promotion.

But it’s branding — a deliberate deconstruction. Not debranding. 

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Joe Miller

Joe delivers copy, generates concepts, and helps determine strategy. He’s been doing it since 1991 when he started working with a small downtown Cleveland marketing firm. Joe joined the designRoom team as a freelance writer in 1993. He has an annoying knack for finding the core of a problem and the heart of a solution. He also makes the best coffee in the office. In early 2008 he joined the Marketing & Communications team at the Ohio Lottery. While there, Joe led the team that developed and implemented the Lottery’s first-ever social media initiative and crafted the Ohio Policy and Procedures and Terms of Use that guided all the Lottery’s social media involvement. In addition, he created a Winners are Everywhere campaign and managed the creative agency responsible for its implementation. Joe is also a professional musician and educator and occasional composer. He’s the Jazz Trumpet faculty and Jazz Combo conductor at Cleveland State University and has performed all over the world.

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