March 21st, 2011


Signalling, Corporate Branding, and Dress

Because of my participation in an art project at Burning Man last year, I own a tiny piece of art. Everyone who was part of a transit related art project received one. Many people who have one, including myself, wear it as a necklace medallion.

It looks like this:
Black Rock City Transit Authority token

Today, while I was ordering my tea, the barista noticed it, asked if it was about Burning Man. We immediately started talking about the the playa, the experience, who do we camp with, and so forth. She hadn't known there were so many Seattle local weekly and monthly Burner events. Now she does, and knows which mailing lists to sign up on.

One of the most important purposes of clothes and adornment is to identify ourselves to the people who know how to read the signals. One of the problems with corporate brands parasitizing that communication channel is that it tends to choke out other, more useful and interesting, signal. IMO, that's the main problem with corporate consumerism branding in general

One of the great things about Burner culture is it's rejection and avoidance of corporate brands. The Burner cultural "brands" are also powerful, but they are actually directly for signaling interest and identity, instead of trying to sell something.

I don't have a point here, other than musing about this.

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