A Short Story:
Back when I was a student at the Miami Ad School, they’d bring in a weekly “Industry Hero” (someone working in advertising or something adjacent) to do a sort of Ted Talk for the student body. Afterwards, the person would stick around to teach the “Heroes” class, where they’d assign a week-long project based on their specific area of expertise. Most of these “Heroes” were former Ad School alum.
We had a few professional photographers as guest “Heroes.” I noticed that most of them used Canon cameras and products, and so did most of the students. I had a Nikon. The Miami Ad School was sort of like going to Hogwarts, but instead of visiting Diagon Alley for a wand, animal companion and magical broomstick, you’d instead go to Best Buy for a MacBook, Adobe Suite and a DSLR camera.
Back to the point, there was one “Hero” photographer who was an older gentleman one week and he happened to use Nikon products. One student asked, “Why do you use Nikon over Canon?” As if he were using the wrong camera. His answer was great, he said, “Nikon makes lenses and telescopes. Canon makes printers. Would you rather take pictures with a telescope or a printer?” As a fellow Nikon-user I thought that was a pretty sweet answer. All of the Canon folks thought the guy was a big D-hole.
I chose Nikon because (years earlier) looking at DSLR cameras with my friend we asked, “What’s the difference?” We were told, “Nikon is better for photos of stuff, while Canon is better for people.” Is that true? I don’t know, but I do know that I prefer to take photos of stuff (mountains, outdoors, oceans and cities), because any time you take a picture of a person they immediately say, “Let me see,” and “Uh, I hate it!”
Animals and babies are cool to take pictures of because they don’t do that. So, why am I telling you this story? I started thinking about companies and brands that work in multiple industries, and how it always seems weird when seeing a company’s name on some product knowing what unrelated product they also create.
Too Many Things:
For example, Yamaha makes musical instruments, but also motor vehicles*. When I was a kid there was a car company named Daewoo, at the same time my friend’s TV in his room was made by Daewoo. Dove makes chocolates and soaps — ok, I googled it and those are two different Doves, but it’s still confusing — it would be odd if one Dove product went inside and one went outside of your body, right?
*After some more googling I found out that Yamaha Music and Motors are two separate companies, but originated and are owned from the same mothership.
At the movie theater the other day I noticed the urinal pad read “Royal Company” and I thought I hope that’s not what RC in RC Cola stands for, because I don’t want my urinal pads coming from the same factory as my soda. I don’t drink RC Cola, but if I did and this were true it would have most definitely changed my soda drinking habits.
There are companies like Sony and Microsoft that have gaming consoles, computers, TVs and all types of divisions. Samsung makes TVs, appliances and all sorts of electronics. These are all in the same sector so that doesn’t really bother me.
I started thinking of people I know, especially fellow castmates from my improv theater. We all have different jobs and backgrounds, but that’s what makes us funny when we’re put on stage together to make stuff up. We have lawyers, accountants, bankers, firefighters, teachers, designers, writers and more… No Doctors though, doctors are never funny. If you have a funny doctor, you need a new doctor. Ken Jeong (aka Mr Chang – Community and Leslie Chow – The Hangover movies) was a funny doctor once and he had to leave that profession behind to become a successful actor/comedian instead.
I for one wear many different hats each day. I work as an accountant during the day, I freelance as a writer, copywriter, photographer and graphic designer sometimes. I write and create content for my two blog/sites (this one and myVGBC.com) each week. I also sometimes make ice cream, banana pudding and sweet treats to sell to people (Ferdi’s Ice Cream — returning soon?). You can also catch me on stage at Just the Funny making people laugh every once in a while. Do any of these take away from the others? I don’t think so.
While multiple separate companies can be owned by one singular brand/company, that doesn’t mean the same two people are working on each product. It just means that the executives (aka Overlords) running the show are watching over everything. These smaller companies are just operating under one bigger umbrella, but separately. As long as you trust one of those companies, I’m pretty sure you can give the others a chance. At least until they prove you wrong. We are all more than just one thing, and I guess companies and brands can be too.
The main thing though is to definitely keep the toilet stuff and food stuff separate. Urinal pad and soda manufacturing don’t belong in the same building, warehouse, city or even state… Ever!