Thursday, 6 September 2007

Time for a Bonfire of the Vanities?



This is Neil Boorman.
His Other Bag is a Louis Vuitton.

For the past year he has been attempting to live a Brand-Free life in Modern Britain.

He says he realised he was suffering from "Compulsive Branding Disorder" when he noticed he was buying stuff like a drug, primarily to make him feel good, not because he needed it or even particularly wanted it for itself.

So he gave up buying branded goods for a year. It wasn't easy, and now he's written a book all about the experience. There's also a Website.

  1. Is he mad, or are all the rest of us? Why/Why not?

  2. What about Christian Worship and other "brands"? Is the Church becoming infected with consumerism, and do we all need a serious dose of "No Logo" medicine for the sake of our souls?
    At this year's Greenbelt, John Smith sounded a warning call to us all to think this through — Pop McWorship or the Real Thing? — a good but searching listen in the car, I've found.

  3. PS — rescued from the comments below the fold — there's a really interesting discussion of logo/no logo issues in emerging church from P3T3RK3Y5 on Church marketing Lab (Beta).

4 comments:

Tom Allen said...

In similar vein and inspired by the same example I have made the connection to our choice or worship - though I had not heard of the John Smith theme see:
http://bigbulkyanglican.typepad.com/bigbulkyanglican/2007/09/who-are-you---b.html

P3T3RK3Y5 said...

jesus operated without a logo. was he being inefficient? surely being omniscient he had the opportunity to pioneer some serious marketing advancements... ;)

we've been talking about this internally, and i recently asked this question - as it pertains to church branding.

formula's are there because they work... but we *do* need to deconstruct this logo formula and decide if it's for the church... for us??

...particularly with all the corporate mentality, models and systems already present, readily accepted and even expected within the church walls -

what part of this is coherence and holistic design / thinking - and which part of this is consumerism and efficiency driven?

Simon Boswell said...

We should be very careful at making glib statements that 'brands are bad' because brands are actually very useful at communicating a lot of information quickly. There are some brands (such as 'Fair Trade') that represent positive statements about ethical business practises, which must be a good thing.

A 'bonfire of the brands' is an interesting experiment but I can't see why dogmatically taking the opposite path would lead to happiness either. The challenge goes deeper, to deprogramming the need to define ourselves through consumption. I look forward to seeing the book.

Alan Wilson said...

Thanks, Simon. I'm sure we brand things for a purpose — to assure ourselves of consistency and accountability, for example.

I'm happier about the idea that denominations are Christian "brands" than that any of them contains the whole in itself without reference t the rest.

Perhaps the argument is, as you suggest, around the ways we define ourselves by the brands we use, not the concept of branding in itself.

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