Brand Partnering: YouTube and the Guggenheim?

Brand identity expert David Brier asks, "If you launched a cultural video celebration about 'what's next' with these two distinct culture brands, how would you brand it?"

Today, a long-time friend emailed me the link to YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video.

I looked at the video introducing the concept and thought, "Cool idea."

From their site, they write:

In the last two decades, there has been a paradigm shift in visual culture. The moving image has been fully absorbed into critical contemporary-art practices, and now we are witnessing the power of the Internet to catalyze and disseminate new forms of digital media, including online video. With video now available for anyone to produce and watch, almost anytime and anywhere--be it on cell phones, digital cameras, computers, or tablets--it has become the medium of choice for many aspiring artists. YouTube Play will recognize the current effect of new technologies on creativity by showcasing exceptional talent working in the ever-expanding realm of digital media.

It is the goal of YouTube Play to reach the widest possible audience, inviting each and every individual with access to the Internet to submit a video for consideration. The end result will hopefully be the ultimate YouTube playlist: a selection of the most unique, innovative, groundbreaking video work being created and distributed online during the past two years.

Okay.

But after viewing the video, I realized the YouTube spokesperson was a Google Creative Director (they own YouTube after all), not a YouTube Creative Director. So, we have three entities: YouTube, the Guggenheim, and Google.

Cover Your Assets
Then I looked at their assets, since this is about c-r-e-a-t-i-v-i-t-y, and pondered how can they incorporate P-L-A-Y into their own branding of this terrific idea? To review their visual personalities, their brand assets are:


How's that for diversity? OK, their assets are definitely representative of their own distinct cultures.

Embracing Differences
This much diversity might send some creative types running to a nearby mountain to mediate on anything but this. But I found this refreshingly challenging.

Letting my imagination run wild, I thought, "Shouldn't this project and its branding reflect the P-L-A-Y factor a bit more?" I mean look at the Web page above for the Guggenheim? Not exactly p-l-a-y.

So I went online to the YouTube side of the branding equation and here's what I found:

Okay, better. Fairly corporate. But, does it truly reflect P-L-A-Y? And the idea of what's next? I don't think so.

Sticking my Big Toe in the Pond of Diversity
So with this gnawing at me, I decided to take my own stab at this fascinating partnership.

The visual assets are at opposite ends of the universe, not just the galaxy. So, how to bring it all home?

DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING VISUAL PRESENTATION IS DESIGNED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.... MATURE AUDIENCES WHO LOVE WORK AT PLAY, AND PLAY AT WORK.

Here's my proposed solution:

The above design is my own fascination allowed to wander. It is not commissioned by Google, YouTube, or the Guggenheim, but if they request it, I will turn this into a video and submit it by their July 31st deadline.

David Brier is an award-winning brand identity designer, author, and branding expert. His firm's work has won the admiration of peers and organizations but, more importantly, has helped clients jump-start their brands in new and innovative ways, even (and especially) when they've failed in previous brand makeovers. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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