This is the plastic shopping bag in which you get to carry home your purchases from the Salem State College campus bookstore.
Follett, the company Salem State uses to manage its campus store, knew enough to invest in good design (and a good headline) for its shopping bags. It's amazing how few retailers value good design.
Even before Target stores started hiring designers such as Michael Graves and Isaac Mizrahi to design exclusive product lines for the retail chain, Target distinguished itself from other discount department stores with its appreciation for good design.
I still don't know why other discount stores hadn't thought of it years before Target came on the scene.
When prorated over the number of products produced, the fixed cost paid up front for simple good design is peanuts. Yet the impact on increased sales is huge.
It works that way for advertising and marketing as well as teapots and dresses. And it goes for copy as well as design. That companies (and B2B companies are the worst offenders) continue to penny pinch when it comes to hiring professional creative teams is incredibly shortsighted and, frankly, pretty stupid.
I had originally intended this post to be about a philanthropic project, Dress Up Against AIDS. Brazilian artist Adriana Bertini has designed 14 garments entirely made from factory rejected condoms and meant to be used in raising awareness -- and presumably funding -- for the fight against AIDS.
At the end of this post, it was my intention to provide a link where you could make a donation, if you were so inclined. And that's when all the trouble started.
Knee-jerk reactions against advertising prevent a lot of colleges and universities from raising more money than they could.
In my work with colleges and universities, I've found their in-house marketing people to be not only very bright but extraordinarily dedicated to be willing to put up with the attitudes of their own coworkers.
In this case, the fight against AIDS is losing potential funding.
After much googling in my search for where to send you if you wanted to donate to the Dress Up Against AIDS project, I discovered that Columbia College in Chicago is displaying the condom dresses until January 4.
Great, I thought, I'll send readers to the college to make a donation.
That would have been a good idea if Columbia College had thought to put donation information on the part of its website dedicated to AIDS awareness. It didn't.
I can bet what happened. The very well-intentioned types in charge of the AIDS projects at the college didn't want to 'sully' their good works by involving any advertising or marketing types in their mission. It had never occurred to them that people reading about their philanthropic endeavors would be moved to make a donation on the spot -- something the most junior of advertising people could have told them would happen.
One wonders how much additional money in the fight against AIDS Columbia College would have raised if they'd had a little more respect for the work of their coworkers in advertising and marketing.