07 January, 2009

It's a "Bloomin'" New Year!

For our first post of the new year, we're handing the ball off to a Renegade who hasn't posted in some time, one of our senior editors, Jason Bloom. 2009, here Jason comes.


One word is all you need for a title when writing an article about the single coolest hardware and software company on the planet.

The oft-derided brand got its start in the '70s, and while its flagship product, the Mac, is nearly 25 years old, it's hipper than it's ever been.

This weekend I was reading Wired's most recent article on Apple, and it got me thinking. The author raises the point that after 25 years most product brands get mired by kitsch, trapped by the nostalgia that surrounds their previous incarnations. The article goes on to say that Apple, and the Mac specifically, have managed to avoid this fate. This feat separates Apple from its contemporaries, across industries.

As much as I love the Mac, and have since the early '90s, I think this is an overly romantic notion. PCs made my IBM, while not nearly as hip as Macs, aren't kitchy by any means. And IBM is an older brand than Apple.

In fact, you can look to any consumer product market and see the same thing. Kenmore washing machines have been around forever, and there's no cloud surrounding that brand. Same with Colgate toothpaste, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, or nearly any other aging brand you might fill in.

I think the mistake the Wired article makes, besides falling in love with a corporation, is confusing mass market product brands with fad marketing. Products associated with fads or other fleeting market segments like fashion and entertainment nearly always fall prey to "kitchitization" (look it up...it's a word). Products like bangle bracelets, parachute pants, hula hoops and Mr. T Cereal all eventually fall out of fashion, only to be reborn as glorified, but comic bastardizations of themselves.

Stalwart brands like Apple, with a product line that morphs over time and serves a truly utilitarian purpose, will generally escape any "kitchifying" effects (also a word), mainly because there is no lapse in presentation to the
public. So, as cool as Apple is, they're not marketing god's capable of single-handedly defeating the "kitcheristic" effects of brand age.

By the way, for full disclosure I should tell you that I'm writing this article on a Mac.

And I'm eating a bowl of Mr. T Cereal.

I pity the fool.

Right on Jason, everyone buy a Commodore 64. And lots of great writers make up words. I don't think "tintinnabulation" was in any dictionary before
The Raven. And on one other note, this article cost the Confessional $30,000 due to the use of a previously copyrighted phrase. Thanks Jason. Let's just hope next week Jason doesn't want to prepare everyone for some rumbling, wonder wassup or "Tink he taw a puddytat." Come on, I dare you to work that one into a post.

For more wisdom of Bloom check out "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Advertisement."

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