The Top "10ish" Most Inspiring Brands of 2016
Maybe these brands didn’t run front and center on Adweek.com, and the timestamp of 2016 may be relative, but for the Gravity team, they were the brands that spoke to and resonated with core audiences. Be it through an inventive product, clever advertising or unique packaging, Gravity shares some of the brands that were most inspired and inspiring from the last year. Enjoy!
Maybe the coolest and most fitting shoebox packaging ever. The cushion casing not only mirrors Nike Air’s iconic air bubbles, it also gives the illusion of anti-gravity, while providing actual protection of the product.
At first glance, their presence made me curious. It was clear that this brand was authentic, a little bit quirky, and true to itself. From a packaging and visual perspective, their architecture is easy to navigate and I admire the use of color for variants. They use natural ingredients in the product and on the packaging (soy inks, etc.).
Mad Hippie’s “why” of make it easy, make it effective, keep it simple is easy to discern and doesn’t come across as fluff. The product feels and smells great and helps me feel good in my own skin, which is important. Even on a cold and dark Monday morning, these bright bottles can transport me to memories of summer days, music festivals, being free and just feeling good.
Braxton Brewing Co.
Local crafters Braxton Brewing Co. has branding that is sharp, intriguing, powerful, and welcoming. From a big event to a football Saturday in the tap room, the guys at Braxton have the whole experience branded in navy and gold.
Packaging for bottle releases is well thought-out and integrated. Each one different but part of the family. Each time I see a label, I have to pick up a bottle for the design. The beer may not always be my style, but the design draws me in.
The commercials where folks are being introduced to the product for the first time are always entertaining and definitely catch my attention. To me, it’s a little hard to believe that they are not aware of the products when introduced in the commercial, but the ads seem genuine. Definitely check out Lee and Morty.
I never knew about this product until I saw it on a package design website. BLK is spring water infused with fulvic acid, which apparently provides the body with natural electrolytes, amino acids, and other minerals. They’re using the jarring look of their product to their advantage, and in-turn have created a great bottle design.
The Surface has gingerly crept into the iPad’s space, where it will now be associated with artistic/creative endeavors and the ability to bring people together to change the world. I love the images of the cops working with the children and drawing on the screens. I think they’re very clever and that they’ve pulled the old switcharoo on Apple. It makes me interested in the product, but especially sets off an aspirational yearning to create stuff and make the world a little better.
I am always intrigued with MadTree’s yearly seasonal and draft packaging and identity. The word that comes to mind is “balance”: Balance in relationship of their core offerings, while celebrating the seasonal and limited editions packaging differentiates from the core beers. I was also impressed with how well the brick-and-mortar brewery is designed reflect the look and feel of the packaging itself. The tree designs are unique and remain fun and playful.
While the packaging itself isn’t that mind-blowing, Axe’s story and what they accomplished is awesome. They were one of the first brands to leverage black as its brand equity. They were also one of the first brands to solely target the young male demographic, and own it with their signature product. They have since grown to offer a very healthy and diversified portfolio of products for young men.
This is something that seems like a no-brainer once you’ve seen it. The rowed inner packaging of Trident gum is recognizable, while the outer sleeve allows a replicable system that gives the package its own personality.
The new campaign with a woman flashing back through her life and her love of the chocolate indulgence brings a great sense of nostalgia and plays to the kid at heart in all of us.
Michael David Winery
I discovered Inkblot wine, which is a part of the Michael David Winery Reserve. Not only is it delicious, it also has a really neat label. Many of us may recall the “inkblot test” from psychology class. This brand uses the same thing as a bold, eye-catching graphic on their label. Inkblot starts a conversation, "What do you see?” Every person may see something completely different, which in a way, makes this label unique to each person. There is no doubt that this brand stands out on shelf.
What they have done with Ving Rhames (not James Earl Jones ;)) is awesome. All they need is an image of a sandwich and his voice. I particularly LOVE the most recent ad with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme…the brisket ain’t bad, either!
Duluth Trading Company
This men’s and women’s work-wear brand has successfully melded everyday ingenuity and humor into their marketing strategy. Their television commercials make the concept of the work-wear relatable while proving their concept in a metaphorically quirky and humorous way. I don’t know about you, but they make me want some Duluth Trading Buck Naked underwear … just watch the ad!
Method continues to be in my "top brands” list! They are constantly adding delight to basic cleaning products through simplistic design, fashion-inspired prints and patterns, in-and-out collaborations with designers and sleek structures that stand out on the store shelf. There is an emotional connection that brings satisfaction in my purchase (even if it was one that I didn’t technically need). Method has also shifted the behavior that it’s okay to have cleaning products on display within a household, instead of hidden and out of sight under the kitchen sink.
Now You Tell Us!
What brands inspired you in 2016? Tweet us @gravityisgood.