Sub-cultural Design

 

Not only mass- production surround us. Sub-  cultural brands are not to take for granted as their way of expression is also strong and effective.

Loacker differs from standard brands, through its use of communication, in order to achieve an emotional connection with people.It’s a company that has been founded in Bozen, in 1925, and since then, is synonymous with fresh wafer and delicious chocolate specialities. In the course of this century, the famous “laboratory” has grown and has expanded to become a large factory of success. (Loaker website, 2012)

Starting from the Logo as we can see in Fig. 1, behind the name “Loacker”, lies the family owners name. The Sciliar, the mountain of South Tyrol surmounting the brand name, stands as the guarantor of the origin and authenticity of the products. (Endo7, 2013)

The brand identity has been built up idealizing the environment around it, through a magic interpretation. This idealisation is the main representation that shows a family selecting the best natural ingredients and producing the products with passion. The production and advertising is located in the heart of the Dolomites, where the air and water are fresh and pure. (Loacker website, 2012)

Differently from other television advertisements, in theirs, there are no testimonials. Therefore, their advertisements don’t change based on current trends. The theme is always the same, where little gnomes are immersed in nature baking sweets surrounded by towering mountain ranges.( Fig. 2) (M. Belloni, 2011)

 

 

In the current subcultural markets, the focus, on the design front, has shifted to green products. In fact, organic products are one of the areas that has grown significantly and has gained influence in recent times. However, in most of the cases, this is a marketing strategy used by brands, to meet the consumer demands.

Baudrillard shows that” the products we purchase create a language (sign/signifier) that communicates who we are” it is not a case that we are going in this direction.(Weller L, Baudrillard,2004)

There are a variety that use green marketing strategies. Intimissimi in Italy adopted the strategy to

recycle old underwear, reducing prices for the new purchase. In addition, many companies in the food industry are adding some sustainable labels through their packaging of products. Furthermore, Coca-Cola added some natural sugar as a replacement and also McDonalds adopted a green approach.(G. Embiricos, 2013) (Calzedonia S:P:A., 2014)

McDonalds is a company that has adopted the green marketing strategy. The background of the M of the McDonalds logo has been changed from a yellow to a dark green. Also, the furnishing and interior has changed into one that is minimal and through the wood, it connects with the natural elements through the decorations and natural tones. This creates and eco-friendly feeling byswapping its traditional red for a deep hunter green – to promote a more eco-friendly image in Europe.” (L.Soares, 2014).Apparently, now, eating in one of these fast-food chains, could seem healthy. The issue is that the visual is covering the real content of the food. It is still unhealthy.

However, even if the food is unhealthy, progress is still being made.

 

 

Through using green marketing strategies, companies, such as Intimissimi, McDonald’s (Fig. 3) and Coca -Cola are able to continuously make progress through connecting to their consumers.

In contrast to these examples, there are also subcultural brands that really believe in low environmental impact, safe items and green manufacturing. Lush is certainly one of these brands, with the belief that the words fresh and organic have a real meaning beyond marketing.

Lush (Fig. 4) is a remarkable British cosmetic business, specializing in the production of organic beauty and cleaning products. As the aim of the brand is to be natural, its mission statement is to behelping people to feel better about themselves, others, and the world around them” (Hickman, 2010)

 

 

 

The difference that makes Lush a unique company, which stands out from the other cosmetic brands, is the fact that the whole company (factories, offices, stores, materials, products) are following green ideals and rules. 100% of the materials used to make their products are found in nature and have a short shelf life because they are organic. All the items are made by hand instead of through mass production measures. This also to ensure freshness. “Organic Cosmetics is an up and coming idea.” (Jenny Ku, 2012). Each product has a sticker showcasing who made it, along with an expiration date. To attract consumers, cosmetic labels are strengthened by some unique funny names and details that we do not find in a common store. (Fig. 5, 6, 7, )is not only the content of the actual products that are important to stay on the top of the green debate, but also the form. Lush has drastically cut it’s environmental waste by recycling their products. Also, it has reduced its use of packaging by replacing with packets made from raw materials. These changes demonstrate Lush’s commitment to the environment.

 

 

 In addition, the magazine (Fig. 8,9) keeps the customer updated on the products and much more!” is not sent home and they do not print out many copies and hand around for environmental reasons. This is surely an ethical motivation rather than following conventional marketing rules. Their advertising are drawings with simple shapes and caricatures of the wide range of the target audience, accompanied by sketched writing. Real women are not taking parts in the advertising, as models which is different from what we are used to seeing.

 

As a result the green ethics of Lush, their products tend to be more expensive compared to other beauty products, and therefore the target audience is small. This scenario eliminates a number of potential consumers that turn to cheaper substitutes or other pre-existing lines. Furthermore, Lush seems to be way ahead of the rest of the industry through its opposition of animal testing. A lot of support is being given to some CSR campaigns that also help people discuss their products.

This opposition to animal cruelty is evident through Lush’s Fox hunting campaign in 2013:

As well as handing out the leaflets which prompted the ASA ruling, Lush raised £50,000 for the Hunt Saboteurs Association through the sale of the Fabulous Mrs Fox bubblebath. (Fig. 10,11) The money went towards upgrading Land Rovers and paying for fuel.” (Hickman, M, 2013)

 

In conclusion, through evaluating some subcultural products, it has emerged that these are certainly high quality standard. This is the perfect time for companies, with a clear vision to move into green design. It’s easy to re-launch themselves into the public eye, despite the price. In this way, we can also consider them as niche product, with added value. As the target audience are consumers who are conscious about the environment and what they put into their body, companies need to demonstrate innovation and environmental values with their green design.

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Belloni, M. (2011). Loacker ,La bontò vinceï, il gran finale a Heinfels. [online] Informacibo.it. Available at: http://www.informacibo.it/Rubriche/Non-solo-moda/loacker-la-bont-vince-il-gran-finale-a-heinfels [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Calzedonia S.P.A., (2014). Intimissimi goes Green – Intimissimi. [online] It.intimissimi.com. Available at: https://it.intimissimi.com/custserv/custserv.jsp?pageName=Recycling [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Embiricos, G. (2013). Coke Is Introducing A New Product. Will It Help Revive The Soda Industry?. [online] Food Republic. Available at: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2013/12/11/coke-introducing-new-product-will-it-help-revive-s [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Endo7, (2013). Loacker – Inconfondibile sapore di naturalità. [online] Loacker.it. Available at: http://www.loacker.it/360.html [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Hickman, M. (2010). How Lush made a meal out of fox hunting. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/advertising/how-lush-made-a-meal-out-of-fox-hunting-2001613.html [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Jenny Ku, (2012). Lush Happy people making happy soap. 1st ed. [ebook] pp.1-28. Available at: http://jennyku.weebly.com/uploads/1/5/4/4/15443052/lush_marketing_plan_final.pdf [Accessed 23 Dec. 2014].

Soares, L. (2011). Mc Donalds™s Rolled out Green Logo in Europe. brandiary, pp.1-2.

Weller, L. (2004). Baudrillards Theory of Modern Society Through the Analysis of Consumption. Power Discourse Dange, pp.1-8.

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