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First Annual Brand of the Year

November 16, 2017

In 1964, the late Marshall McLuhan coined, “The medium is the message,” ushering in the notion that both the message and its medium influence how any communication is perceived. In the Insta-culture of the early 21st century, it’s not as straightforward to find the cream of the crop, and in an effort to understand, measure, mark, and codify the brilliant, competitions have been created to determine the excellence and impact of brand messages.

But these competitions charge an entry fee, and often need entrants to fill out complicated entry forms that detail and justify the return on investment, reach, and other performance indicators. So what happens to brands and products that don’t enter? They mightn’t be aware of the competitions, or they mightn’t be able to afford the often hefty entry fees, meaning potential winners are all but ignored. The Masters in Branding program at NYC’s School of Visual Arts wants to challenge these contest rules, and for the first time, the program faculty have taken a broad look at commerce and culture to identify the first Annual Brand of the Year. No entry form. No fee. No effort at all by any brand to be considered.

“We’re at a tipping point in the way brands are being created. Branding has become democratised, and the results aren’t necessarily about the commercial. The Pink Pussyhat brand wasn’t initiated for any financial benefit, but instead created by the people for the people to serve the highest purpose branding has: to bring people together for the benefit of humanity. Branding isn’t just a tool of capitalism. It has the potential to become a profound manifestation of the human spirit.”

Time Magazine pink hat cover
Time’s cover, February 6th, 2017.

About the Pink Pussyhat

The Pink Pussyhat was conceived by screenwriter Krista Suh and architect Jayna Zweiman, and the hat was created to be worn at the Women’s March the day after the Presidential inauguration in Washington, DC. Kat Coyle, owner of The Little Knittery shop in LA, designed the pattern. The brand was launched in November 2016, and the name of the hat was an intentional response to President Trump’s recorded comments about his ability to “grab (women) by the pussy.” More than 10 million women wore handmade pink pussy hats at, or in support of, Women’s March’s worldwide on January 21, 2017.

Details via SVA’s press release.

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