More follies from those kooky heads in marketing:


Apparently, Georgia Pacific (whose office building in Downtown Atlanta is about 100 yards from mine) felt that it was time to assert their presence as a local brand to muster up some Atlanta consumer loyalty. A few weeks ago, they erected a massive GP logo on the building to put their stamp on the city's skyline. I saw it going up and it was impressive, but looked mostly like a 3 dimensional kite with the letters GP on it. It would make a good superhero logo, but on its own, it could be anything. Shortly after that, billboards started going up around town proclaiming GP as a proud Atlanta company, with pictures of their famous brand name products folding out of a wallet like the pictures some people carry of their families. This was all corroborated by a report that said that GP was rolling out a new Atlanta branding scheme to try and take its place alongside the likes of Coca-Cola as an Atlanta institution.


First of all, like it or not, Georgia Pacific is no Coca-Cola. Not only does Coke have a huge (and I mean, hundred-year huge) headstart on this whole idea of winning the hearts and minds of Atlantans, but Coke's name and its product are the same thing. Coca-Cola makes... Coca-Cola! Georgia Pacific makes... Brawny? Hell, I don't even know what else they make, and neither do you probably. When was the last time you saw what parent company made Quilted Northern, or Huggies, or Scott brand paper towels? No one cares who makes those, because the brand names they know and buy are not the parent company, but the individual product lines, none of which is called Georgia Pacific. Secondly, trying to ingratiate yourself to the local population of 4 million... well, it seems a little short sighted. Atlantans love their Coke, and they might love their Home Depot, but they could care less about their Scientific American, their Russell Athletic gear, and any number of other major coporations that are based here, but that offer products that inspire little loyalty. People are going to buy the brand of toilet paper that feels best on their ass, not the one that's made by an Atlanta company.


So, it all works up into another one of those predictable board-room frenzies where the corporte powers-that-be get giddy thinking about raising their stakes in and around the home turff, and where brand synergies converge in a market to form maximum touch in a new value-added paradigm. It sounds like a bad rip-off of voltron, if you ask me. Hopefully Georgia Pacific's blunder will be a lesson to all ad agencies out there: if you play to the corporate ego enough, you can always milk a multi-million dollar home-town branding campaign from it.