Monday, October 22, 2012

Is Fall a Brand?

Every season has its distinctive vocabulary. Summer evokes words of play and travel. Winter chills to the bone and shuts down roads.

And fall? In fall you hear seasonal words like "crisp" and "nippy" and "invigorating." Summer is not invigorating.  

In fall everything is in motion. Clothes flap in the breeze, and trees sway. Brown leaves dance down the street alongside colorful bits of garbage. 

Fall’s rival is spring—the other season of change. If spring is a celebration of renewal, fall is a tribute to depth. Fall forces you to look deep into your closets, deep into the changing woods, and deep into your soul and past.

In summer Americans play baseball where one ninth of them wait in right field for something to happen. Or they play golf, the game of calm self-indulgence in which golfers study the putting surface while the world drums its fingers.

No doubt about it: Fall is exhilarating. Fall is for football—a time for marching down-field to the din of smashing bodies. In fall you are ready to expose yourself to risks and rewards.

So I ask you: Is fall a brand? It has a distinctive personality. It has a brand purpose—to dislodge and set in motion every object, thought and being. It has a noisy brand voice carried here and there on gusts of the wind.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Cabby's one-man brand

In our culture we often encounter self-consciously self-branded celebrities like Paris Hilton and Martha Stewart. Well today I ran into the street transportation industry's version of the brash self-promoter Donald Trump.

I jumped into a yellow cab on West 56th and 10th Avenue and found myself hijacked by the self-proclaimed "Happy Cabby"—a disheveled little man with a high-pitched voice, thick Indian accent, and cheerful manner. With his lead foot on the accelerator, it was like the cultural melding of Hare Krishna with NASCAR.
As Happy Cabby barreled around cars and swerved into and out of oncoming traffic, he screamed barely intelligible advice at me over the blaring music of his near-deafening speakers. I wasn't sure what his game was—Did he just brand himself for the hell of it!—or what I was supposed to do about it. He kept turning around, uttering brief sentences, and offering me a knuckle to butt—which I did while keeping my eyes on the fast-approaching city scenery. 

As I escaped somewhere near 42nd and Fifth, Happy Cabby told me to look him up on Google—which I did.

You can check out Happy Cabby right here:
Yep, here he is, high voice, thick accent, big smile, cracker-barrel philosophy—in short, yet another unique brand created without the aid of an expensive brand consultant. How is this possible?