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Badass Brand Breakdown: Power Rangers

It’s morphing time!

 

In this episode of Badass Brand Breakdown, we’re talking about one of my childhood obsessions: the mighty Morphin Power Rangers! 

 

In this series, I break down some of my favorite brands to give you an understanding of what goes into them and how branding actually works.

 

 

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I was four years old when the Power Rangers debuted (that makes me 32, if you’re wondering), and I was obsessed! I remember one time, my best friend and I went to “meet” the Power Rangers (aka random people in costume), but when we got the picture back, they cut me out of it! Little Lizzie was very sad. But the crazy thing is that my younger brother, who is eight years younger than me, was even more obsessed with them than I was. God knows how many Red Rangers he had. 

 

So, it’s a phenomenon that just keeps going and is just as strong today. While I haven’t kept up with every version over the years, but there’s still a huge, huge place in my heart for the Power Rangers. 

 

Let’s get into why I love them and what makes them such a powerful, powerful brand.

Power Rangers Brand Strategy

Core Message/Slogan = It’s Morphing Time!

 

So getting into the elements of the brand strategy, let’s talk about their core message, also known as their tagline. They don’t have a formal one, but I would say it’s “it’s morphing time!” You know, the thing they do when they morph into their Power Rangers suits (my vocabulary may be way off here, so feel free to yell at me if I fuck up the words, super fans). So “It’s morphing time” has kind of become the slogan for the brand. 

Power Rangers

Hero Brand Archetype

In terms of a brand personality – the brand’s characteristics – they’re for sure the hero brand archetype. They’re like superheroes. They’re real-saving-the-world-from-bad-guys kind of heroes—a very, very classic brand archetype. Hero brands are all about courage, bravery, goodwill, achievement, and doing incredible things that people wouldn’t believe are possible, and they embody most of that. 

 

But there’s also a really cool fantastical element that not all hero brands have (many do, for example, Lord of the Rings is a total “hero’s journey”). Power Rangers introduced this fantasy and imagination that is one of the reasons I love it so much. That element ranges from everything from gigantic robots, Zord’s technology to these almost mythical looking creatures straight out of another time and fusing those things together. The end result is delightfully cheesy. You know, like when something is so bad, it’s good? That’s what the Power Rangers are to me. They didn’t feel that way as a kid, but as an adult, I can totally appreciate the ~craftsmanship~ of the Power Rangers.

Brand Values

There are always good vibes. All the characters are super positive. They always have good lessons and involve good energy, which brings me to their brand values. 

 

Many hero brands have solid core values worked into the makings of their brand, and that’s totally the case here, especially because this is a television show. So they had a moral, a lesson, a takeaway basically every episode. And that’s a lot of opportunities to give you some good vibes and sprinkle in the core values of the major themes of the brand.

 

#1 Teamwork

This is a group that all comes together — like literally does so to form the big Megazord. Super cool. Also, they come together in terms of their fighting and how they take on their enemies. And the cool thing about that is like, there’s kind of someone for everyone. You can self-identify with all these different characters either based on just color (since they’re all different colors) or on whatever you see of yourself in their personality or something like that. So that was always super fun. This brings us right along to the next value: inclusivity. 

 

#2 Inclusivity

The flip side of teamwork is that everyone is welcome. I remember at four years old, seeing an Asian-American woman character played by a Vietnamese actress on TV was super cool. And I was obsessed with Trini – like she got to me. I was also totally in love with Zach, the Black Ranger who was African-American. Now, let’s be clear, that was super racist to make the Asian character the Yellow Ranger and the black character the Black Ranger. SUPER racist. But also cool to have representation for people of color in the very early nineties when that probably wasn’t the case generally in superhero shows.

 

It also exposed so many of us to these interesting elements of Japanese entertainment culture. I didn’t really fully recognize it until I went to Tokyo a full a few years ago and got to see things like the Robot Museum. Power Rangers’ cool fighting styles were deliberately ripped off from a Japanese show and brought to the US. But to get a taste of that when it was so different from what we were seeing at the time was super, super cool. 

 

#3 Friendship

They also have values of friendship, of course. So there’s the teamwork side of it, but then like they’re just buddies. They go to school, hang out, date; They’re just a group of friends, and friendship conquers all. It’s so cheesy, but I love it. 

 

They have courage! They’re just people, yet they take on these like giant monsters and shit!

 

#4 Imagination

Obviously, there’s a lot of fantasy that’s very inspiring and triggering for your imagination, especially as a kid.

 

#5 Personal Transformation

They literally morph; they transform, and it tells you that there is power in any one of us to transform and accomplish greater things than we ever thought we could. 

 

Moral of the story: ordinary people do badass things.

Power Rangers

Visual Identity 

In terms of the visual identity and the whole evolution of the brand’s look, it has changed somewhat from the first look in 1993 to today, but some of the core elements have stayed the same. 

 

They have a lightning symbol in their logo (totally not what I base my lighting symbol on and my logo, but a funny little throughline there). They’re known for really vibrant colors and bold graphics in this deliberately cheesy, over-the-top graphical style. Also, dinosaurs (which I also love, so another little line coming through there). Dinosaurs are central to this – paired with robots. So like the old, prehistoric meets the futuristic tech, and then like these worlds come together. Super, super cool. 

 

Um, so many things are clicking for me now; Power Rangers is where it all started!

Power Rangers

Brand Activation

Now let’s talk brand activation. So, the biggest thing was the show, obviously. The show has gone on for almost 30 years and many iterations: different evolutions of the characters, different versions of the Rangers with different costumes, all that kind of stuff. Of course, they’ve also had quite a few movies, so it’s translated to a big screen.

 

The BIG moneymaker for Power Rangers is the toys. They’ve sold over $6 billion of Power Ranger toys. And I saw this firsthand with my brother and all his Red Rangers. One day he got in trouble when they were in the car, and my dad threw one out the window, never to be seen again.

 

Another cool thing is that my best friend’s brother is obsessed with Power Rangers. He has Down Syndrome, and they are like his pride and joy. It’s like his reason for being; he loves the power Rangers so much. And I recently heard that they aren’t going to keep making the toys. I don’t know for sure, but if that’s true and you have a hookup on some Red Rangers, please let me know. We would be so happy to give some new toys to Sean, because like I said, they’re like his everything. Anyway, Power Rangers toys killed it. That is the brand right there; that is the brand activation. That’s where they have made their money: licensing their content and characters to toys. It’s hard to beat that. $6 billion… hard to beat that.

 

So, moral of the story is ordinary people can do badass things: transformation, morphing into a superhero. Sometimes the things you watch as a kid make their way into your brand 30 years later, and you can create a business and instill your values, lessons, and morals into everything that you do and help people walk away with some awesome stuff.

 

For more on brand personality, like the hero brand archetype, download my brand archetypes guide or check out my video on brand archetypes.

 

Until next time, stay badass!