June 2006

The Boutique Individual: Corporate Storytelling

When I was six years old, I went with an older cousin to look at sailboats in Fisherman’s Cove in West Vancouver. At the gas station opposite the marina, he parked his 1969 Dodge Charger and offered to buy sodas. What about one of these? He indicated his favourite: Orange Crush. I declined, although I wanted the drink. But I’d been so indoctrinated on the evils of fast food and soft drinks that I didn’t dare indulge.
A few decades later, I understand the whole incident in terms of the microeconomics of branding. That summer day – seagulls gliding in the salty air currents above a thicket of swaying sailboat masts – Orange Crush made me a “brand promise,” an offer of membership in a tribe of guys like my cousin: Dodge Charger enthusiasts with girlfriends, puka shell necklaces and brown corduroy boot-cut Levi’s. This was my incentive to buy.
Posted: Monday, Jun. 5, 2006 9:00pm