Repositioning Culture: SVA Students Revitalize Iconic Brands

September 15, 2014

After intensive study and practice, it was time to put it all together. The final challenge for second-year MPS Branding students: revitalize iconic brands that have fallen out of favor with popular culture. The 20 newly-minted protégées of über-designer/department Chair Debbie Millman recently proved their mastery of problem-solving at “Repositioning Culture,” the summer MPS Branding thesis showcase.

branding700Team Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (Amrita Advani, Kerry Debruce, Peninna Jeruzalmi and Alison Ketchledge) came up with a multi-layered rebranding plan, which included the Martha Stewart Living Collective, a hive for learning, creating, merchandising and social initiatives, guided by well-known experts. The Collective’s new six-sided logo represents the key areas of Stewart’s domain: food, craft, décor, entertaining, gardening and trends.

hive700Detroit was once a beacon of the American Dream; today it’s a sprawling amalgam of geographically and socially isolated communities in decay. Veta Bates, Jenny Beatty, Andy Schwartz and Saloni Soni imagined “Detroit Citizen City,” a micro-level action plan based on the theory that change happens within small community hubs when neighbors take charge of their local issues together.

detroit700PBS has long attracted the insatiably curious, but today’s audiences are turning off the TV and logging onto their devices. Olivia Barry, Ryan Beickert, Salka Fernandez and Sarah Fudin suggested repositioning PBS as a “curator for life-long learning.” An expanded digital presence, coupled with off-screen initiatives such as learning centers, would help keep the brand top-of-mind for current and potential viewers.

pbs700Some say the Occupy Wall Street movement fizzled out due to a lack of leadership and no unified message. Arunima Agarwal, James Cesario, Alejandro Largo and A.J. Mekky created the “New Occupy,” a worldwide network of grassroots activists, organized and mobilized from a central headquarters. Online resources, boots-on-the-ground activities and a clear visual identity ensure a cohesive voice.

occupy700The Unconsumption movement promotes “mindful consumption and creative reuse.” Sara Bernat, Stephanie Campbell, Gena Larson and George Mathew want to attract like-minded volunteer ambassadors through a multi-channel online presence that’s rich with actionable, interactive content. A new look and logo would create a recognizable lifestyle brand, further extended by partnerships with sustainability-friendly organizations.

uncon700To understand the Republican Party’s low approval rating, Paul Manz took a candid look at its image as a rich white men’s club, short on empathy and long on religion. And he saw an opportunity to engage two crucial, untapped markets: millennials and moderates. “We the People” is both a manifesto and a user-generated campaign. Micro-sites and #WeThePeople posters make it possible for people to voice their own vision for America.

people700Alejandra Bellosta, Graham McMullin, Julia Vazsonyi, and Julian Puente developed a way for pop icon Lady Gaga to reinvent herself and remain relevant to her younger fans. 1. Rather than pushing her obscure artistic vision, she could stay focused on—and informed by—current pop culture trends. 2. She could continue to blend high culture with pop, but stick with mainstream artistic references that make her “little monsters” feel included. 3. Or she could follow her artistic vision in full force. Moving away from pop music all together, she would pursue artistic respect and legacy under a new name: Gaga.

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