Paul Elliott Jul 01 2020
Brand Hero
Paul Elliott

By Paul Elliott


It’s not so easy to stack ‘em high and sell ‘em low these days. The High Street is dead. Now everybody’s doing it online. With their Etsy shops and Gumtrees. But who will help me navigate this crowded ecommerce world ? Step forward my own brand hero ! What the hell is a brand hero ? It’s what all the web gurus are telling me I need to help sell what I want to sell. Yes, but who or what is it ? Well it turns out the hero is the brand itself; (don’t forget when trying to flog a product it helps to make it into a brand). Supposedly you need a brand hero to appear in your brand story. To help explain let’s look at my awful attempt at a lifestyle image…


brand hero big yellow mug

NOTE: It’s a completely fictitious and shit product by the way. I made the cup from some air dry clay. I know it looks crap and you could never use it to drink from but let’s pretend it looks a lot better and actually does what a cup is meant to do. . .


The reason I’ve embarked on this dreadful venture is to show how my (pretend) product works in its own brand story. Notice the type of items I have positioned around my cup… These help provide context and begin a narrative in people’s head. I’ve even put a cactus in it. People love cacti. And I’ve tried to put in other middle class signifiers like a coffee pot too. The environment a product inhabits tells us what we need to know about it. So when Coke puts a can in the hand of some beautiful young person walking through a hip market it isn’t a random choice. They want you to associate the brand with youth, vitality and people who are on the cutting edge of cool. They don’t want an old guy with bottle bottom glasses and a piece of rope for a belt lurching around drinking it under a bridge. It just tells the wrong story.



Considering how we, the human race, connect through stories it’s not surprising that this powerful way of communicating has been turned into a tool to market brands and products. Stories help us to understand our lives by giving structure and meaning. We can’t help ourselves. We love stories. But it’s odd to think that advertisers want you to believe that some fizzy drink in a can has a narrative arc !



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