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How a Topless Mermaid Made the Starbucks Cup an Icon She’s a little more modest today than in the ‘70s

Every day, millions of people walk into any of 20,519 Starbucks in 65 countries, and most walk back out with the same thing: a white cardboard coffee cup. Do you…

September 29, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT

How Tiffany’s Iconic Box Became the World’s Most Popular Package This robin’s egg blue is trademarked

For the sake of you intellectual-property aficionados out there, the color is No. 1837 on the Pantone Matching System chart. It is not commercially available; since a 1998 filing with…

September 22, 2014, 7:28 AM EDT

How Campbell’s Tomato Soup Became a Legend in a Can Warhol painted it, and 2 billion of us still eat it

Next time you open a can of Campbell’s—and, each year, over 2 billion of us do—say “Bon appétit” (yes, instead of “Mmm mmm good,” which is trademarked). After all, it…

September 15, 2014, 10:45 PM EDT

For Four Decades, Brands Have Loved Astronaut Jim Lovell Some celebrities sell shoes and perfume. This one can sell anything

According to recent studies, someone who looks at a piece of advertising these days stands nearly a one-in-five chance of seeing a celebrity. Music, sports and film star brand endorsements…

September 10, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT

Antique Cars Can Sell Anything—Even Boring Retirement Funds How banks use the old classic automobile trick

Investment services have always had a tough time when it comes to marketing. For as much as we all want to amass piles of money, the idea of investing it…

September 3, 2014, 8:43 AM EDT

How Glass With Chicken Wire Became Trendy The story behind a pricey light’s former life

If you’ve spent any time trying to spruce up your home lately, you might have noticed something interesting. The practice of repurposing old industrial products has become a full-on part…

August 13, 2014, 9:07 PM EDT

We'll Buy Nearly Anything From a Woman in a Red Dress The story of advertising's most sensuous icon

Marketers like to talk about stuff that’s “disruptive.” And when it comes to advertising—actually, when it comes to pop culture in general—few things are quite as disruptive as a woman…

July 30, 2014, 9:53 PM EDT

How Postwar Beauty Cream Oil of Olay Freshened Up for a New Generation Modernized ads target baby boomers

In 1949, most housewives would have been thrilled if their husbands brought them a bouquet of flowers. Dinah Wulff was extra lucky: One day, Graham Wulff brought home a new…

July 16, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT

Kiss and Sell: How a Glam Band Makes Millions From Hello Kitty to coffins, Kiss cashes in

Gene Simmons, the bassist and most recognizable member of 1970s rock band Kiss, was once asked what he learned from his first job delivering newspapers in Queens, New York. “If…

June 12, 2014, 7:32 AM EDT

Toro's Six-Decade Love Affair Between Men and Mowers Lawn-care ads were cutting-edge

Sometime around 1947, residents of Levittown, the famous suburban subdivision 55 miles outside New York, opened their community newsletter and read this: “No feature of a suburban residential community contributes…

June 4, 2014, 9:39 PM EDT

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