Last summer comedian and actress Mindy Kaling did a series of ads for McDonald’s with a curious omission – she never mentioned the brand. Instead, they would use phrases like “the place where Coke tastes so good” to allude to the brand. It was an interesting strategy and turned a few eyebrows. This week, Heineken launched an entire campaign intentionally omitting a tagline – and entire initiatives like Brandless are redefining traditional branding so deeply that they are even causing some to ask if no brand is the new brand?
But then, there was also a story this week about NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine conceding that, thanks to budget cuts, NASA may consider offering naming rights for rockets or spacecraft. It is easy to imagine there will be plenty of brands lining up for the chance to do this. The thing about brand is that it’s easy not to care about it if everyone already knows who you are. Or until an opportunity comes along to slap it on the side of a rocket and watch it orbit the Earth.