Brands Forced To Learn New Customs

That the web is a revolutionary medium, goes without saying today. But James Cherkoff’s thinking may lead one to say it, regardless.

Many big brands are shocked to discover that their fame is almost irrelevant online.

Checkoff says brand’s offline fame must be “exchanged into local currency that is instantly recognised, trusted and circulated” and that they way to do that is let people remake it in the web’s image.
It’s wonderful contrary thinking, but there are many layers of MBAs and lawyers on the brand side fighting against just this sort of thing. Which isn’t to say it can’t be done, just that it won’t be done too often.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Stu Sutcliffe says:

    How about this one; “The web cures cancer.”

  2. I totally agree that brand values vary from on/offline, but Coke is still Coke regardless.

  3. hey bryan, i fully agree that Coke is Coke in every media, but in new media one can engage with the brand, in this case, Coke. one can say, “i’m not sure all this Coke is what I want.” Cherkoff is saying that’s a great thing, because it says Coke is willing to play by the internet’s rules, even at the expense of its sterling offline reputation.

  4. hey david, thanks for following up. Reading Faris Yakob’s post on Transmedia Planning a was a delicious experience for me, completely re-shaping my perspective on branding. Over the last year and a half, I’ve had many difficult discussions both in-house and with clients relative to the power marketing has over brand identity.
    On the web, eventually, it is what it is.

  5. @bryan – I actually find Faris Yakob’s post to be kind of dangerous.
    I mean it’s well-reasoned and spot-on and I agree with it wholeheartedly, but it’s been misinterpreted and mis-used by so many people in this industry to justify all sorts of self-indulgent crap.
    It’s way too easy to take something that bears little resemblance to anything the brand wants to say and tell the client that “you don’t get it! (INSERT LONG BORED PARISIAN SIGH) This is just one piece of the story. People will combine it with the (boring print ads and direct mail pieces the junior team is working on) to create the entire brand story. It’s all about storytelling these days, you know.”
    Clearly not the reaction Yakob intended, by any means , but sort of where the whole “you just don’t get storytelling” meme started