Brands I Love: Which Wich? Superior Sandwiches

September 17, 2008

A couple of weekends ago, Cindy and I headed down to Dallas for a little road trip.  Just outside of town, we decided to stop for dinner and try something new.  Thanks to this little bit of spontaneity, we discovered Which Wich? Superior Sandwiches, my latest entry in “Brands I Love.”

At first glance, Which Wich is similiar to Potbelly Sandwiches, one of the first “Brands I Love” write-ups here on Hard Knox Life.  After all, both serve toasted sandwiches and are aimed after the family.  And more importantly, both are growing quickly with Which Wich at 55+ stores and Potbelly opening store #200 in June 2008.

But Which Wich? gets distinction as a “Brand I Love” not because of the similarities, but instead because of their differences:

Which Which Order Bags

Which Which Order Bags

They make ordering your food something you tell others about: When you first walk into a Which Wich, you stand there a little confused.  After all, you are staring at a wall of brown paper bags, a menu on the wall and a cup of red magic markers.  But that initial confusion is actually what makes the experience so memorable and enjoyable.  It is an ordering experience that you want to tell others about because its pretty damn fun.  And judging by the excitement of the kids ordering in front of me, it is an experience the entire family will enjoy.

Read the rest of this entry »


Brands I Love – Refinding

August 3, 2008
trashion = fashion from trash

trashion = fashion from trash

Refinding is an incredibly cool company that turns discarded rubber tires, tennis balls, and other items into hot fashion accessories like belts, purses, and bags. In their own words: 

…each item is made by hand using reclaimed stuff to create one-of-a-kind, couldn’t duplicate it if we knew howfashion accessories. We call it “trashion,” you’ll call it “cool.”

I first read about Refinding in Thrillist a couple of months ago.  But it wasn’t until last week that I found out that one of the guys behind the company is actually a creative I work with over at Saatchi & Saatchi X.  Pretty cool stuff and definitely a brand I love.


Brands I Love: Help Remedies

May 28, 2008

I recently I came across a brand whose concept I just love, Help Remedies. The brand is taking what Method did for Home Care (and now Personal Care) and applying the concept to Health Care.  The company is bringing simple, yet elegant packaging/design to health care products, while using a singular benefit such as “help, I have a headache.” I love this concept and their tag line of “Everyone needs a little help from time to time.”  The company goes on to explain their concept further on their About Us page with the following:

While some health problems are large, complicated and frightening, most aren’t the end of the world. A kind word and a little help can get you on your way again.

Help Remedies was created to make solving simple health issues simple. We find the best solution there is, and take away everything else. By stripping away some of the complexity and fear mongering of the health industry, we hope to make the category friendlier and more accessible, and in doing so empower people to make their own health decisions.

We think a little help, honesty and kindness will go a long way.

I think the brilliance of this idea is really in the simplicity.  Health Care doesnt need to be complicated but we have made it this way.  There is a growing trend of DIY Doctor (coined in MicroTrends) and brands like Help will be able to capitalize in a big way.  And it will be easy for them to expand with Help, I have heartburn (watch out Tums) or Help I have chapped lips (watch out Blistex).  The opportunities are endless for this brand….I just hope P&G’s M&A group has their eye on these guys!


Brands I Love: Adidas – Impossible is Nothing

March 22, 2008

When I was growing up, soccer was my Ali_Impossible_Is_Nothingsport of choice despite the fact I lived in the very football crazy town of Canton, Ohio (home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame).  I started playing when I was six years old and since that time, Adidas has been one of my favorite brands.  In the early years, the brand served as a statement for us soccer players because Adidas was a soccer brand.  It was a way to show the world (or at that time, the school) who we were and what we were about.  In that sense, I loved my Adidas Samba shoes and today I’m probably on my 15th pair of them.  Adidas has, and always will be, a lovemark for me.

That lovemark status helps drive my infatuation with their “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign.  In fact, I have a picture of the campaign hanging behind my desk at work to serve as everyday inspiration.  What I find interesting is the contrast behind Nike and Adidas.  Both are extremely successful companies and both have amazing marketing (possibly two of the best in the world).  But why is Nike just a brand I respect while Adidas is a brand I love?  Read the rest of this entry »


Brands I Love: Innocent Drinks

March 12, 2008

Innocent Drink Smoothies

Is it a sign that you have a problem when you love a brand, but have never actually tried the product? Because if so, I should probably be committed for the respect I have for innocent drinks, a line of fruit smoothies/juices d that you can only get in Europe (for now). In my eyes, innocent is a stellar example of creating a Lovemark and examplifies why I love to be in marketing.

So what are the lessons of innocent that have made me such a believer? Read the rest of this entry »


Thrillist launches in Chicago and Las Vegas

March 11, 2008

ThrillistIf you havent subscribed to Thrillist.com yet, you just got two more reasons to do it with the launch of their Las Vegas and Chicago editions. Thrillist is a “quick, free, daily email that sifts through the crap to find guys the best in everything from food, drink, and gear, to services and travel.” Check it out…


Brands I Love: Potbelly Sandwich Works

March 3, 2008

Potbelly logoIf a brand hopes to breakthrough the cluttered marketplace, a sense of authenticity and community needs to be a cornerstone of their brand equity. Consumers want to develop a relationship with a brand and in many cases, they are looking for brands that could become a physical manifestation of a Third Place. The concept of a “Third Place” refers to a place, other than work or home, where a person can go to relax and feel part of the community. I first came across this formal definition while doing a project at P&G’s so-called “Mosh Pit of Creativity”, Clay Street. It was also at Clay Street that I realized Potbelly Sandwich Works is a Third Place for me.

For those of you not familiar with Potbelly, it is Potbelly Storea Chicago tradition and one of my favorite brands in the marketplace (you can guarantee I will be visiting one while I am in Chicago this month). The chain was started in 1971 not as a sandwhich shop, but as an antiques shop in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. The owners sold sandwiches on the side to draw in shoppers but quickly realized they were selling more sandwiches than antiques. The chain was purchased in the mid-1990’s by a young entrepreneur intent on turning it into something more and it has received VC funding from Howard Schultz’s Maveron. Read the rest of this entry »