Bronwyn Sweeney’s show Off Brand talks about how important branding is, not only for products, but for comedians too. Using comedy to keep the audience’s interest, she talks about the five main factors to consider for branding. Sweeney also uses audience participation to ask questions and to call out each of the steps for successful branding.
The message is profound and needed for today’s society
Sweeney uses the 1999 The Thong Song as an example of how branding can change people’s perspectives on products, as thong sales sky-rocketed after the song was released. She also uses the example of HP sauce, as the branding of the bottle is of the Houses of Parliament, although she next reveals that HP sauce is actually made in the Netherlands.
A running theme throughout the show is the branding of herself. Sweeney mentions being born in Blackpool but, having lived in multiple cities across the world as she grew up, she has experienced multiple cultures that she has come to associate with – even calling herself a ‘fake American’ with a ‘fake American accent’. Sweeney also explains that she ‘branded’ herself for specific situations she experienced and schools that she went to, by changing her accent to become more liked. She also recounts her uncertainty about how she should ‘brand’ herself on dating apps, how best to seem appealing. Sweeney also added the secret fifth step to successful branding near the end, talking about how you must be honest and authentic.
Sweeney has a few dirty jokes that run through the show and these seem to be slightly off topic. The jokes add some limited humour to the show, but create an awkward edge to the atmosphere in so doing. As some of these jokes seemed to be added just to create comedic effect without fully moulding it together with the other material, the jokes don't land properly on all occasions.
To wrap up the show, Sweeney expresses how branding doesn’t equal people, with people being so much more complex than a product. The message is profound and needed for today’s society, as young people appear so often obsessed with branding and presentation.
Although the comedic TED talk style may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Bronwyn Sweeney fulfils the task she has set out to do, having made people more aware of the importance of branding, while adding some comedy to the show.