BrandTags.Net — A Great Experiment

Noah Brier put together a fantastic little web application,

The site shows you brand logos and invites you to respond with a one-word or one-phrase “tag” that pops into your mind when you see it. After you submit your tag, you can then see how other people have responded by viewing a “tag cloud” that shows all the words and phrases that other people have submitted, where the size is larger the more people who submitted the same thing.

So, for example, you might see the CNN logo. I entered “larry king” as my phrase. When you drill down to the tag cloud, not many people have answered Larry King, as it’s very small. The word “news” is humongous. “Biased”, “liberal”, “lies”, “propaganda”, and “tv” are also rather large. Well, two out of five ain’t bad.

As Noah remarks in his introduction, “The basic idea of this site is that a brand exists entirely in people’s heads. Therefore, whatever it is they say a brand is, is what it is.” Somewhere out there, a CNN brand manager is spitting up blood.

Obviously, there’s sampling bias and probably more than a few people who have maliciously spammed this experiment by now, so it’s taken with a grain of salt. But it’s fascinating nonetheless. Breathes new life into the tag metaphor, as an easy way for people to categorize and remark on things — even subtle and complex things — in a way that can then be collectively culled for insight.



  1. Andrew Spencer says:

    So awesome to see such positive feedback so far back! I saw an article about their re-launch on AdAge today – such a brilliant idea in its core. They have something like 9million tags now – intrigued me!

Leave a Reply