Photographer & Director Chris Craymer and Beth have a deep talk for ProMoviemaker

December 10 2015
Here's a sneak preview of Beth's ProMoviemaker interview with the celebrated and charming UK-born and US-based photographer Chris Craymer. Beth and Chris have had a long and productive relationship, working together on core brand development  and design projects since Chris arrived in the US. Chris took some time out from his globetrotting schedule to sit with Beth and talk about the meaning and approach to creating his genuine, heartfelt and delightful images, and the profound connections between his still and moving work. Thank you, Chris! 

The print issue of ProMoviemaker will be out in February, 2015. 

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EOS & Their Smooth Moves

March 05 2014

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed the popularity of a colorful egg-shaped Lip Balm amongst twenty-something women wherever I go. This runaway success is from eos, which stands for the “evolution of smooth” and whose tagline “Having a delightful twist on Lip Balm” seems to be working out well for them. The packaging is unique, and compelling, so the allure and differentiation of the product begins on the outside, before you even get to the flavor or color of the balm itself.

I first saw the eos lip balm a few years ago at a charity event I participated in on behalf of MTV’s Save the Music Foundation. The brand is fully committed to their demographic, as evidenced by its product placement in Miley Cyrus’ fun, but highly controversial music video of her summer hit, We Can’t Stop. Lots of celebrity product placement followed, with Kim Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari, and Nicole Scherzinger seen using the “egg”. With the power of celebrity influencers, many young women are using eos daily. At an inexpensive $3.99, eos even rang up sales as a popular stocking stuffer this past Christmas in their target demographic.


Now, all of you know how much I love mythology, and eos is also the name of the Goddess of the Dawn, who rose each morning at her home at the edge of the ocean. She is usually depicted as a beautiful woman whose robe is woven in flowers, and has wings like a bird. She is considered to be the genesis of all of the stars and planets, and her tears form the morning dew. A name like eos is filled with high aspirations, and the brand would like to imbue this sense of power and authorship into the confident young women who buy their products. Interestingly enough, the brand is marketed only to women – there are no unisex colors, or flavors, so they have clearly marked out their brand strategy to consolidate their market preeminence with their chosen demographic.

It turns out that the company makes other products too, such as hand and body lotion, and shaving cream. Who knew? I wonder how they are doing with these brand extensions, as I’ve only seen that popular egg. My intern carries around her Blueberry Acai egg every day, and my old assistant pulled out her yellow pastel egg at the slightest provocation. Would this brand be as popular without its unique shape? It seems possible, as it is also organic, with fun flavors, which is also totally on-trend, and popular with its target audience. Smart brand, smart design, smart packaging, all very focused, resulting in deep market share.

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A Queen and her Dogs

April 12 2013

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Ah, yes, talk about brand identification. What is about Queen Elizabeth and those corgis? If you see a corgi with or without a crown, you think about Queen Elizabeth.

In the film, "The Queen," we saw her with her headscarf and stout boots taking the dogs out on the Downs. When Thomas Struth photographed her for last year's Jubilee (Sixty Years a Queen), he talked about her relationship with the dogs at his portrait session with The Queen and Prince Phillip. Struth was at Buckingham Palace to shoot the official portrait, which of course turned out to be beautiful, formal, and a bit unsettling. He said that neither The Queen nor her husband smiled nor were animated at the shoot. Then at the end of the sitting, he took a photograph of them with the dogs, and described Queen Elizabeth's exclamations of pleasure. He said he wished that he had been able to bring the animation they showed for the dogs into the photographs. Perhaps she thinks it's not queenly to show her weakness for those corgis, but really now, the corgis are more closely alligned with her in our consciousness than Prince Charles. See a corgi, think Queen Elizabeth. That's a brand! And they certainly deserve crowns, too, don't they? 


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Celebrities and Brand Management: The 1% Factor

March 13 2013

After showing up two hours late to a concert at the massive O2 Arena in London last week, Justin Beiber arrived on stage to face boos and harsh criticism from his young fans--many of whom were upset because they were going to be forced to stay out late (past their bedtimes) in order to see his whole show. That same week, Justin was caught on video threatening and yelling profanities at the paparazzi. He also fainted at another concert, and then cancelled an upcoming show on his international tour. Now it seems like we're all just waiting for him to follow along behind many other troubled pop stars, and mysteriously check into rehab for 'exhaustion.'

So is this the beginning of the end of Justin Beiber's career? Probably not. 

In general, I would say that brand mismanagement hurts your brand equity. But for celebrities, this is (yet another) indulgence, or off-brand management, that would not work for brands at large. Because Hollywood loves a comeback story, celebrities can mismanage their brand in a profound way -- the public and the entertainment business is okay with it, because we are as interested in seeing stars come back as we are seeing them fail. Take Robert Downey Jr., for example. Hollywood, the media, and the public have all embraced the handsome, reformed drug addict turned Oscar nominee back in the fold as a respectable and credible actor and box office draw.

So, who then is the other 1%? They are the stars who go beyond the pale, like Mel Gibson. When Mel Gibson said that the Holocaust never existed, he effectively shut the door on his Hollywood career, particularly in an industry where many of the key players are Jewish. The public and the industry were offended, and could not disassociate themselves fast enough. It was not simply self-destructive behavior. It was aggressive and wrong-headed, destruction turned outward rather inward, unlike many stars who crash and burn personally only to return to Hollywood success. Was the public upset when Hugh Grant was caught with a prostitute? Yes. But we forgave the charming Brit, and all rushed to see him in Notting Hill with Julia Roberts.

Ultimately, I'm not worried about Justin Beiber. His young, adoring fans will forgive him. Eventually he will stop acting out, and have another act in his career. Keep in mind, though, that the entertainment industry plays by its own rules. The scenarios I’ve described are not acceptable for brands at large, where it’s essential to be endlessly vigilant about every point, communication and way they intersect with the public and their investors. Can you say “BP”?

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