Sunday, May 28, 2006

I'm burnin' it

Man tries to live a brand-free lifestyle, torching his branded possessions en route, and writes a book about it.

Advertising/marketing/branding site accuses him of hypocrisy.

Fair point? Or a sign that he's getting under someone's skin?


tom l said...

there are some groups around where you take an oath to buy nothing new for an entire year (food might be an exception - one would hope). the brand-name guy doesn't even go that far, so maybe he loses out in the holier-more-anti-consumer-than-thou sweepstakes.

Tim Footman said...

I think if you put yourself on the line, the way he's doing, the contradictions will become evident. Naomi Klein, after all, is published by Murdoch.

This guy's focusing specifically on the brand issue, rather than consumerism per se.

The ultimate aim, I suppose, should be not to avoid branded products, but to make branding irrelevant. Nike and Adidas, after all, make pretty good shoes. But I'll choose to buy them because they're good shoes, not because some basketball player is paid vast sums to wear them. The same for Apple Macs. I love the kit. I hate the cult.

patroclus said...

Bloody hell. Well, yes, I'd say total hypocrisy is about the sum of it. So he resents brands for forming an emotional bond with you and then flogging you something? So he sets up a blog (which - quite apart from the book - is in itself a personal brand, according to some soi-disant 'thinkers' on this topic) where he can form an emotional bond with his audience and draw them into his worldview - and then he's going to sell them something?

What's more, he's *only* set up his blog to promote his book, which means that the emotional bond that he creates with his audience is as false and cynical as any 'relationship marketing' effort undertaken by any big brand you care to name.

I'm all for blogs being a vehicle for 'consumers' to fight back against the mass culture industry. In fact I think that's one of the most significant things about blogging. But using your blog as a deliberate ploy to sell your book about poking the mass culture industry with a stick isn't *quite* in the spirit of things.

Erm, I think I just made the same point three times. Sorry.

Tim Footman said...

So, by that argument, it's the blog that constitutes the hypocrisy, rather than the pyrotechnics or the book? Or is any action or statement that attempts to get a degree of publicity now by definition equated with some form of branding (personal, political, corporate, whatever)?

(Deep breath... medium... message... medium... message...)

patroclus said...

Oh, I always get so confused by that medium and message thing.

No, it's the marketing tactics and the fact that he's trying to sell a product that constitute the hypocrisy. The medium is only relevant in that the blog medium ostensibly creates a closer 'bond' between the brand and the consumer, which seems to be what he's dead against. Haven't read it all, mind. Interesting, though.

tom l said...

the whole thing smells to me - does his publisher have a logo? (brand). is he not creating himself as a brand? is he promoting this piece of verbiage, using, perhaps, a 'title'? (brand). his brand is 'the guy who's against brands'.

branding is a funny thing anyway. when your brand goes bad, you just change it (mci-worldcom is now verizon, philip morris is now altria, lucent is now avaya). any old word can become a brand and you can sue people over it ("apple"). companies can trademark common sense ("drive safely" is owned by volvo).

corin said...

I would like to trademark common sense. But then I'd be accused of hypocrisy.

Interpreter Pavlov said...

® I hereby register ownership of, and reserve all rights to the term CLOACHISM © (meaning an argument the terms of which compete against each other for first re-entry into their common anal vent).

But I don't mind lending it to you guys if you promise to return it.

Hard CH, incidentally, otherwise it would sound like 'cloassism'.

Which would be daft.

Tim Footman said...

I like to think of it in rather less anatomical terms; imagine the inhabitants of an MC Escher picture singing "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"