Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Reruns: Some Things Just Take Time

(original post-date: January 20, 2010)

I smile every time I drive by the Baskin Robbins on Western Avenue.

(Baskin Robbins – renowned for its 31 flavors.)

I don’t smile because I love ice cream (which I do). I don’t smile because I particularly love their ice cream (I actually haven’t tasted it in years). I don’t smile, for that matter, because I’m proud of resisting the urge to turn into their parking lot. (Most often, in fact, when I drive by the local franchise, I’ve just been to the grocery store, so if I were craving ice cream, I would have bought some already.)

I smile because of their new logo.

There’s the B (for Baskin). The straight-edged left side of that letter is blue (the rest is pink).

There’s the R (for Robbins). The straight-edged left side of that letter is pink (the rest is blue).

Combined, the initials make for a two-toned BR, and because of the colors assigned to those letters, the pink part of the B and the pink part of the R create “31.”

And here’s the reason I smile: Baskin Robbins has been around for decades. But it was only in the last year or so that somebody noticed the “31” within these initials.

I can’t help but imagine the pitch meeting, when the marketing people put up the PowerPoint presentation. There it was in pink and blue. Perhaps the most obvious logo ever to appear to mankind.

… So many of us work so hard, believing in what we do. We create product. We market our product as best we can. We find buyers.

As a very small fish in a very large pond, I appreciate driving by Baskin Robbins. I appreciate realizing how long it took for some wise soul to see it. The “31” and the logo that would eventually emerge had been there all along.

I visited my mother last October, and one evening, we were imagining what it would be like to have a substantial amount of spare cash. “If I had some money to spend,” I told her, “I would hire someone to do my marketing.”

My mother’s facial expression became sweetly curious. “You mean the grocery store?” she asked, with a certain trademark innocence.

“Right,” I wanted to reply, with my own trademark sarcasm. “The grocery store... Because if it weren’t for all those pesky trips to Ralphs and Trader Joe’s, I’d undoubtedly have a bestseller under my belt!”

Marketing is a science. The best methods change constantly, and the process takes time. It should neither be underestimated nor taken for granted.


Anonymous said...

I love the 'BR' (To me that stands for British Rail)with the 31 hidden in the middle. Some canny designer/marketeer must have spotted that and played on it well.I would love to have been the one to have found it.
It just shows that there is something new to discover in the oldest of things.
Oh and Bless your mother for her reply to your talk of marketing! Being in that business myself I know just how hard it is to explain or to grasp. You are right though, it should not be underestimated :-)

Lazarus said...

Katie, great eye for the subtle! There was recently an article on that mentioned hidden meanings in corporate logos, another being the right-pointing arrow in the Fedex name between the final "e" and the "x." Once you notice it, it'll be the first thing you see every time you pass a Fedex truck....

Green Monkey said...

I'm going to google it next! I never noticed, and we have a BR on the main avenue. i'll look for it tomorrow. its the only ice cream shop that has stood the test of time. what a great story! you see a lot if you are present.

Anonymous said...

Just looked up the Fedex logo - well I have never noticed that one!I am going to keep my eyes open for more now...

Cheryl said...

Funny. I just read an article disclosing the hidden messages of 10 of the best known logos. BR made the list with the clever 31 embedded. FedEx's arrow, Amazon's smile, etc.

Andrea said...

Are you a fan of Mad Men? I bet Peggy would have spotted that 31, but then the boys would have given her a hard time about the pink and blue.

I think you showed great restraint regarding your mother's comment. GREAT restraint, because your unspoken answer was so funny.

Mother Theresa said...

Oh, I haven't tasted Baskin Robbins for years...mostly because we don't have it over here. How long has the logo been like that? Because I never noticed the 31 before either, but once you've seen it, it's so obvious.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why, but as a child we always called it "Bastard Robbins" of the many malapropisms we came up with in my family, also due to my father's penchant for colorful language. Don't know what this has to do with your post,but I do truly love their ice cream!