Anti-Branding

I just came across a story about McDonald’s opening a no-brand eatery in Japan, simply called “Quarter Pounder:”

Quarter Pounder

Apparently there have been so-called “no-brand” establishments in Japan before, but just from the top of my head I could only think of one example of nonbranding in American culture:

john-belushi-college

Of course, the whole idea of a product or company being brandless is a lie. There are hundreds of design choices required when opening a retail establishment or developing a product. From obvious decisions like a name to more subtle considerations like colors and the look and feel, every choice influences the branding. If you start a store with a generic name written in black-on-white Helvetica, and decorate it as sparsely as possible, that isn’t brandless, it’s American Apparel. My problem is more with the term “no-brand” than with the actual idea. It’s quite a common development which already has a name: Minimalism.

I’m going to stop now before the word “brand” completely dissociates from its meaning in my mind. Brand brand brand.