Marketing a Portland balloon business in Africa?

Back in 1998 I redesigned the identity for the Portland-based company Balloons on Broadway. Several years after that first redesign I was again hired by my friend, and company owner, Ron Pitt to update the logo.

My original redesign of the logo for the retail store, balloon delivery business and event company won a Summit Creative Award, and appears in the books Logos Redesigned and The New Big Book of Logos.

Fast forward nearly a decade from my first redesign.

Last week a received an email from my friend and client, with the heading "Such a small world in which we live..." Ron explained that his dear friend Ashley, whom he had known since birth as he was a longtime friend of her mother, had assisted him over the years with events and was an "expert balloon inflater." This past year, Ashley and her husband, Travis, had the opportunity to travel through East Africa with her parents. Being community-minded, they spent much of their time in small villages getting to know people, creating relationships and making new friends along the way.

The photos below showcased one of the families they befriended.

Ashley was the first to notice the following:

It really is a small world.

Unfortunately no one is able to adequately explain how the Balloons on Broadway logo ended up embroidered on the leg of a boy's shorts on a continent far away. As Ron noted, "We've never embroidered shorts, nor done much marketing in East Africa (*wink*). In fact we only had one screen run of 12 t-shirts with that logo and they all ended up on the back of our staff. That's it."

"The only way I can rationalize it is that the logo appeared in a publication of some sort in the UK (perhaps one of those listed above) and since Kenya's part of the Commonwealth, the publication ended up there and was spotted by someone who thought it would be a good knock-off," he added. "The boy's mother said she bought the shorts at the local market and couldn't quite understand what all the fuss was about - the kid just needed some shorts."

So, this is just another example of the fact that, especially in this digital world, a designer never knows when work for their clients may be "borrowed" by someone for another use.

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives


Vonster said...

Many times new and used clothes are collected or received by charities like "Samaritans Purse" or "Feed the Children" etc. and then get distributed in various global locations as the need arises.

Looks like that might have been the case here?

Balloons On said...

You know, Vonster, that's a very plausible explanation, EXCEPT for the the fact that I've never produced boys shorts embroidered with my company logo, so there can't very well be secondhand ones floating around out there; the only time that logo's been used on attire is on a handful of staff work t-shirts.

And a new twist to this mystery... apparently there was a matching B.O.B. top that accompanied the shorts; the boy just didn't happen to be wearing the set the day the photo was taken.

Any other possibilities???