Pure Content

Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.
5.07.2003
 fruit

Statement: Et in Arcadia Ego.

Question: Who?

Awaiting answers...

5.06.2003
 Brad

(enter stupid "x" pun here)

So the Boston Globe has a good, if tiring, read on the use of the letter "x" in marketing. X communication: Hot products and artists with 'X' in their names are everywhere - and it's no accident, say marketing experts.

Generation X was named with echoes of ''Brand X'' in mind, a generation famously eschewing traditional product loyalties, says Boston University communications professor Susan Perinio. Ironically, its members are now watching their most cherished symbol turned into the Golden Arches of cultural cool. ''It's total synchronicity, like a school of fish all turning in the same direction at once,'' says Perinio of the current glut of ''X'' products. ''There's got to be some underlying law at work. I just have no idea what it is.''

James Twitchell does. A professor at the University of Florida, Twitchell is writing a book on the branding of culture. ''If you look at `X' as it's squirming its way around the pop-culture vocabulary, it's mostly shorthand for `extreme,''' he says. ''Thus it's a quick way to alert an audience exquisitely sensitive to edges that it's being paid attention to.'' According to Twitchell and others, the association with ''extreme'' is key. ''It signifies a product that's edgy, hard to move past, and highly caffeinated - and therefore a logical extension of where American culture and marketing have been moving for the past 50 years,'' says Twitchell.


There are a mind-numbing 105 "x"-s in the article (took all of 10 seconds to figure that out, thanks to copy-paste-replace in Microsoft Word). But it includes a good overview of the X trend. If you ask this marketing expert, though, X is getting stale, and the early adopters who made it big are going to reject it soon. Of course, the big money always comes with the early- and late-majority, so it might be used a bit more. But the avant garde will be calling for its downfall before long, methinks.

Then again, I think the Google brand is at the very early stages of getting stale (unless they engage in another Google News / Froogle / Blogger coup), so what do I know ...

P.S. I also thought it strange that the author wrote "fronted by the artist known as Professor X, not to be confused with DJ Terminator X of Public Enemy, or X, the '80s West Coast punk band" ... wouldn't he be confused with the other Professor X (Charles Xavier)?
vs.


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