Friday, February 13, 2009

Bonfire of the Brands (sorry long post but worth reading)

"If you replaced every logo, advert and brand image you see on the high street with a quote from the Bible, you would feel that you were living in an intolerably strict religious state. I mean, if you took all the billboards and put Jesus on them, there'd be a revolution. If you replaced the icons of one ideology with the icons of another, you realize the absurdity you've been living with, everyday, your whole life."

Back in 2006 Neil Boorman was just like you and I. He enjoyed using his Blackberry, buying designer bags, and wearing fancy clothes/nice shoes.

Here is an excerpt from his website (03/21/2006):

Until recently, I thought I knew who Neil Boorman was. I felt sure how the outside world regarded me because I had spent a fair amount of time, engineering an image. Through experience, I found the best way to understand and articulate 'me' (that is to say my lifestyle, background, preferences and principles) were through the owning and displaying of things made by companies that are recognised as brands. Having these things around provided a source of comfort, a reassurance of my own self worth, and helped to project my identity to others around me.(...)I have surrounded myself with the best luxury I could afford, my collection of 'things' is near perfect. (...)For all the time and money I have devoted to collecting these brands, these symbols of self, I have absolutely no idea who I am.

Neil decided from that day forward he was going to burn every branded thing that he owned. He didn't care how expensive everything was. Throughout the process, he compiled journal entries of his experience, research, and other insights/tips into a book. He got attention from the BBC, brand managers at Adidas & Puma, and many others.

I'm really into branding but there is a fine line on how much we allow brands to define who we are. Scary stuff. I know when I put on certain brands of jeans, I feel it generally gives a good picture of who I am. That's pretty sad actually. If you say you don't feel this way you're lying. Read the book, I'm gonna read it too.

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