Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Gimmicks of American Apparel vs. the Gimmicks of Urban Outfitters

(Link from CRLS)

As obsessive I am about random music from Everywheresville, I do have another off-kilter interest.  I'm fascinating by marketing, particularly when it comes to branding, imagery and iconography.  The art of convincing total strangers that they "need" to be aligned with a particular product (or idea, or lifestyle)  is a very seductive thing.  To be honest, if I had my way, it's what I'd be doing for a living.

In particular, I love the very subtle stuff.  The hidden messages and signals in product presentation.  The vibe and image that makes you spend $4 on Starbucks coffee when you KNOW Dunkin' Donuts is better.  The way the evocative phonetics of the name "Panera Bread" and the color scheme of the building lead you to a tiny $8 sandwich when the 2-for-$5 deal at Quiznos is infinitely better.  The way the music and cinematography and pushed brand prestige in a commercial will make you spend $55K on an E-Class Mercedes that isn't nearly as well-built, offers less of a warranty, is more expensive to maintain, and isn't even that much more luxurious than a $40K Hyundai Genesis.

I'm rambling . . .the point of this post is that there's a pretty interesting article at The Nervous Breakdown that does a great and detailed job of contrasting (VERY informally) the minute subtleties in the branding of American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, the 2 "go to" stores for anyone remotely hip under the age of 35.

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