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2014 Spring Branding

Club Red: Traveling Along the Edge of Post-Fidel Cuba

We are wrapped in sweaters and sitting in an air-conditioned Chinese-made bus as it glides quietly, frigidly through the Cuban countryside. Outside, it’s about 80 degrees and humid, and people walk past the bus or congregate on corners, dressed in shorts and tank tops. The bus passes some farmers drying rice on the highway. Then […]

Love, War and Football: A Curious Relic from WWII Prison Camp Returns to Cal Athletics

In an office at Cal Athletics sits a special historic artifact—a football autographed by the 1938 Golden Bears football team, co-champions of the Pacific Coast Conference. The ball is flat and the laces are gone, but you can still make out the signatures, including that of team captain (and two-time first-team All-Pacific Coast Conference halfback) […]

In on the Ground Floor: Would My Investment in a Friend’s Scheme Really Seal My Fortune?

Graduation was near and other seniors were scrambling for work. I knew I was set. I had met a brilliant entrepreneur and was investing my time and savings in his sure-fire venture that guaranteed me both a job and untold millions. His plan was literally airtight: Create a device that would improve upon the highest […]

Mind-Blowing Research: Cats Benefit from Parasite that Alters the Minds of Rodents

Toxoplasma gondii can infect any warm-blooded host but is especially associated with rodents for one reason: It can only sexually reproduce in the intestines of cats. The parasite solves this reproductive hurdle by causing any mice it infects to lose their aversion to cat urine, making them more likely to be eaten by cats. While […]

Elements of Branding

Brands comprise a package of sensorial elements meant to promise unique value and to maximize awareness and recognition of the product, service, or entity they stand for. Ideally the brand bundle should evoke an emotional response, a resonance in the eye and mind that helps to bond the viewer to the product or service. One […]

Piranha Defense

Amidst the murky waters of the Amazon, there aren’t many creatures immune to the serrated mouth of a hungry piranha—but the Arapaima gigas fears naught. This fish can grow to a length of nine feet and may weigh more than 400 pounds, all without worrying about piranha attack. The Arapaima is protected by an armor […]

Image source: Illustration by Melinda Beck

You Can’t Say That! Is It Time to Write the Epitaph for Epithets?

Pity the poor bigot. The racist, the homophobe, the sexist—nowadays, they launch their contumelies at their own peril. It’s not that we’ve all learned to link hands and sing “Kumbaya” in high, clear tenors, of course. Bile remains a most abundant humor, as demonstrated by any website that allows anonymous comments. But here in the […]

The Plato and Newton of Branding: Berkeley’s David Aaker

In the globalized, consumption-fired 21st century, branding is the air we breathe. It is the oxygen of modern culture nearly everywhere on the planet, in realms that extend far beyond consumer products. Google and Apple are self-evidently brands, as are such venerable icons as Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola. But so too are Obamacare, Generation X, and […]