Strategic Branding Lessons from Homer Simpson

Since Homer Simpson IS a Brand, it’s only logical that he should know a thing or two about Strategic Branding.

Heck, Homer lives with floating TM and © marks!

These marks show up everywhere that Homer does – on mugs,
t-shirts, ball caps and MUCH more. And if they don’t – they should!

[Because Homer is protected by international trademark and copyright laws, if his marks are missing, it’s an indication that someone is unlawfully using his brand – and that’s really not a good idea.  In fact, it’s best to ask the owners of the marks if you can use their marked property.   I just did.  And I can’t.  So you won’t see any images of Homer on my blog site.]

Why not? Well, Homer himself is not the sort of character to get bent out of shape by being “infringed.”  He’d likely support your “freedom of action” and say something like,

“Oh, yeah, what are they gonna do? Release the dogs? Or the bees? Or the dogs with bees in their mouth and when they bark, they shoot bees at you?”

(However, the attorneys at Fox Broadcasting – who are NOT comedic character brands – will no doubt take a different perspective.)

So that means Homer is both a Brand AND a Mark!

But wait, there’s more…

Homer has a Brand Voice as well!

Just type “homer says” into Google and you’ll have access to about 400,000 returns that take you to pages and pages of quotes in an array of different languages.

This is “Homere-ese” – the strongest possible rendition of a Brand Voice.  And Homer-ese is supported by numerous Homer-isms that his audience loves to quote.  Homer certainly has all his bases loaded in terms of his Brand Voice!

Homer even has a Slogan.

And it might just be the shortest one in existence!

Which means it’s a good one as the less words a Slogan requires, the more revered it is in the Branding World.

Homer’s Slogan is one contracted word. “D’Oh!” Three letters and two punctuation marks.

And D’Oh! says it all.

Homer must have set some sort of slogan brevity record.
Are there Guinness World Records for “least” like there are for “most?”

When you hear or see “D’oh!” Homer in all of his glory shows up instantly in your head. And that’s exactly what a Slogan is meant to do – “Evoke the Essence of the Brand.”

Homer has a unique set of Brand Colors.

Homer’s brand colors are yellow, tan, black, white and blue.

  • Day-glow yellow skin  Is that thanks to the Nuclear Plant? Everyone in Springfield positively glows!
  • Tan beard
  • White shirt
  • Blue pants
  • Black drawing lines/shoes

Homer’s Brand Symbols

Homer’s personal profile is very distinctive.

Just as Bob Hope’s “ski slope nose” became iconic of his Brand, Homer’s protrusive mouth, large balding head (with 2 hair comb-over!) and big belly make him a symbol in his own right.

Symbols consistently associated with Homer include:

  • other show characters
  • a TV
  • a TV remote control
  • a couch
  • a beer can
  • donuts and other “junk” food

Homer speaks in specific Brand Fonts

The distinctive “handwritten” font used for “The Simpsons” logo is complemented by a chunky sans serif font used in capital letters only, as well as the handwritten styling of text captured in speech bubbles when Homer’s character is static.

So there are many ways that Homer can show up, in writing, without going “off brand.” And given his inconsistent performance record, as a husband, father and employee – for Homer – that fits!

Now, many of us think of Homer as “not the sharpest tool in the shed.”

But he just MIGHT be a secret MENSA.  Ridiculous?  Perhaps not…

Did you know that Homer is a Global Brand?

  1. He speaks in 8 languages!
  2. He has friends all over the world!

If I asked you if you think Homer is “worldly, you’d likely say, “Nope!”

And if you just did, (say, “Nope!”) type “homer world traveler” into Google – and get ready for the shock of your life!

Ah – that Homer’s got us fooled alright! He is NOT the simple character we all thought we knew. What dimensions Homer’s Brand has! Is that the secret to his appeal?

Because appeal he has! Homer’s Target Market is HUGE!

In addition to having a following in every English speaking country, he’s also popular in China, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Sweden and the Ukraine.

What attracts all of these folks to a fictional safety inspector from Springfield?

The secret to Homer’s success is his Brand Values.

Homer’s brand values create a character that millions love and love to laugh at.

His consistent bumbling ineptitude, his long list of relatively harmless human vices and his  “heart of gold” make Homer’s brand very human and, at the same time, highly entertaining.