Five Influential Brands That Have Inspired Hourglass Media

By Kaylin R. Staten

I have been brand-obsessive since I was a child. I donned Disney Princess attire and had to have the latest toys each time a new movie hit theaters. These were the days of “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” -- an entire treasure trove of amazing Disney movies that I still love to this day.

I also paid close attention to other brands, like Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, “Star Wars” (rest in peace, exclusive non-Disney days), Coca-Cola and more. I kept my favorite articles, photos and print advertisements in several detailed folders. I carried my toys in my mom’s Louis Vuitton Speedy 25, so if that tells you anything, it tells you that I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum.

Long before I ever saw “Mad Men” and fell into the rabbit hole of a communications career, these campaigns launched my love of branding. Here are five of my favorite brands with a splash of nostalgia:

Got Milk? Campaign

This was the first ad campaign I ever paid close attention to. Launched in -----, the Got Milk? Campaign aimed to showcase the healthy effects of milk. Hundreds of ads comprised the campaign’s 25-year run.

This was the first time I collected media placements, as a 10-year-old kid sitting on my mauve carpet of my childhood bedroom. To this day, I have my white binder filled to the brim of carefully curated Got Milk? ads and the master list of ones I have and ones I wanted. Alas, Batman and Superman still elude me, but I have some beauties, including Carrie Underwood, Mariska Hargitay, The Dixie Chicks, Harrison Ford, and lest we forget, Freddie Prinze, Jr. Some are POSTER size.

It resonated with me because of the celebrity aspect, sure, but I was also drawn to its consistency and overall “do-good” vibe (despite your stance on milk today).

Pillsbury Doughboy

Another brand I have loved since I was little is the Pillsbury Doughboy. Born in 1965, Poppin’ Fresh made his mark as a well-loved mascot, both then and now. Who doesn’t love the “hoo hoo” when you press his belly button and his signature chef’s hat and white neckerchief?

Fast forward to today, and the Pillsbury Doughboy has been featured in more than 600 advertisements. His popularity launched into thousands of products, including dolls, soap dispensers and more. He even has an extended family, including a wife, Poppie Fresh.

Cue the “start oven” button and the pop of a familiar blue can of cinnamon rolls.*

Pacific Princess

One of my guilty pleasures -- then and now -- is “The Love Boat.” I love the cheesy 1970s’ vibe and taped (yes, TAPED, on my VCR) “The Love Boat” every day when I was in high school. My 10th grade days were spent watching it every day after school. (I’ve had a nerd card since 1988 and am proud of it.) It was ingenius to mix a brand with a TV show, and Princess Cruises did just that. Along with the boost in brand recognition, ticket sales went through the roof.

While the original Pacific Princess is out of commission (rest in peace), its predecessor sails the high seas to Acapulco, Insinata and Mazatlan. One of my life goals is to sail from the Port of Los Angeles to several ports of call on the Pacific Princess.

Shotgun Red

As a West Virginian, country music is part of my roots. Somehow, I fell in love with Shotgun Red, the puppet who starred on Nashville Now from 1983 to 1993. I affectionately coined my plush doll “Mowete.” Mowete attended every event in my life as a toddler, from visiting our new house my dad was in the process of building to the movie theater.

Now, he has his own wine, so I guess he has aged well. *puns for days*

Share A Coke Campaign

I kid you not, I drank the heck out of Black Cherry Vanilla Coca-Cola in high school (rest in peace, favorite flavor EVER) and Vanilla Coke in college. My sister often points out that I didn’t go anywhere without a Coke in my hand.

This is the most recent campaign on my list, but I loved the Share A Coke campaign. It added a personal spin to a legacy brand everyone already knew but maybe didn’t purchase anymore (some for health reasons because it’s unhealthy AF but oh-so-glorious). 250 names were featured in the national campaign, and it prompted Americans to buy Coke in droves if they saw their names on the bottles. This garnered millions of social media hits and traditional media impressions.

Alas, Kaylin is a rare name (or was in the OG days of 1988), so Coke didn’t make a bottle with my name. Until… they added a personalization feature in their store. This campaign is still in use today, with several angles to an incredibly successful campaign.

What are some of your favorite campaigns and brands?

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Kaylin R. Staten, APR, is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer based in Huntington, WV with nearly 16 years of professional communications experience. As CEO and founder of Hourglass Media, she uses her compassionate spirit and expertise to delve into the heart of clients’ stories. She is a recovering perfectionist, mental health advocate, wife, cat mom and Leia Organa aficionado. Connect with Kaylin on LinkedIn.