We’ve been gripped by the BBC’s latest Apprentice-style series ‘High Street Dreams’. If you’ve not seen it, the basic idea is that Jo Malone (fragrance entrepreneur) and Nick Leslau (secret squillionaire investor) help wannabe successful businessmen and women to launch new products onto the market.
So far we’ve had Mr. Singh’s Hot Punjabi Chilli Sauce cooked up by a Sikh family in their shed in the East End; posh ‘Muddy Boots’ beef burgers made by equally posh Roland and Miranda from Daddy’s Aberdeen Angus herd; ‘Nutriyum’, a healthy milk drink, from newlyweds Paul and Maria and a children’s ‘Den Kit’ designed by teachers, Jo and Kay.
The show is by no means an original idea, but it’s absolutely fascinating watching home-grown ‘brands’ being given a million dollar makeover, ready for presentation to retail buyers. And this is serious stuff, we’re talking giants like Asda and Waitrose.
After pulling the products to pieces, London branding agencies are wheeled in to apply the necessary gloss and this is where it gets really interesting. No doubt the branding work is slick and visually impressive. However, because the agencies don’t have the time to really get under the skin of what the brand’s are really all about, so far none of them have got it quite right. The proof of this is when it comes to the big pitch. Every time, the buyers have been impressed with the passion of the people behind the brands and the products themselves, but the packaging and branding have invariably come in for a pasting.
Mr Singh gets the minimalist treatment
Design aesthetic is massively important and the consultants that the programme have called on, have it in spades. But unless your design agency has the time to understand you, your brand and the marketplace, inevitably you will end up with a beautiful looking lemon.
We’ll definitely be tuning in for the next spicy installment – BBC1 24th May 9pm.