Consumerism

V-TARP: The Vancouver Transit Adspace Reappropriation Project

So Banksy declares street art dead and apparently nobody was listening. JermIX certainly wasn't. Working with UK import Vegas - a stencil artist of remarkable skill - Jerm has launched what many consider his most aggressive campaign ever. VTARP, it's called. Vancouver Transit Adspace Reappropriation Project. Which sounds like a black line item in the DND budget. But which is actually a guerilla program involving dozens of artists who are putting up art on public transit vehicles in empty ad space.

That's right. The white space between McDonalds and VanCity ads is being filled with art. And Translink is greatly annoyed, although also a bit impressed judging from their very formal, though very cordial letter sent to the two organizing artists.

Posted: Thursday, Jun. 3, 2010 1:01pm

The Envy Economy

 

 

From the Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine

When Oliver Stone's upcoming sequel to Wall Street (Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps) is released this fall, there will be renewed debate on whether "greed is good." People may disagree with Gordon Gekko, just as his protégé Bud Fox ultimately did in the original film, but most will accept that greed is, if not good, then at least centrally relevant to the argument. Since the 1980s, you could say that greed has become the economic and cultural meta-factor: either the juice that drives markets and innovation, or the corrosive force bent on bringing the global economy to its knees (again).

But what if the Gekkos and the Foxes were arguing about the wrong variable entirely? What if greed were secondary, a shadow cast by a different meta-factor altogether? That's what Eric Falkenstein, a U.S. economist with a growing following, argues in his book Finding Alpha, published by Wiley last year. Falkenstein does not believe the market is driven by greed. He thinks the market is driven by envy.

Posted: Friday, May. 28, 2010 8:07am

Wacky Pack Stories: Hostile Thinkies

My best friend's name was Sten, as in Stendhal. As in Stendhal Beauregard-Vincent, his father having been important at one point in France. Then he (Sten's father) had decided to grow a beard, become a boat designer and move to West Van. He designed sailboats for quite a few famous people, including the catamaran that song writer was later found dead in, floating off Passage Island. The one the ferry hit. (That was the same guy who wrote the song Michael Jackson recorded. I can never remember the name, but the tune stays with me. Ba ba, baaa.. etc)

Sten and I, in school and around our street, were known as the Hostile Thinkies. I have theories where the name came from, but no real solid proof. It was from my brothers probably.

Posted: Friday, Jan. 22, 2010 10:36am

The Boutique Individual: Brand New World

PART THREE: BRAND™ NEW WORLD, December 2006
 
My mother took a conservative position on toys: Less was better, in part because you should be outside playing anyway. I might have preferred a different approach. But now that I have a two-year-old boy and toys are again on my radar, I see the wisdom of my mother’s old-world view.
 
It’s partly a matter of self-preservation. Toy marketing has grown devious. Television tie-ins are standard. There are strategic alliances between toys (Duplo and Bob the Builder, for example), which try to create complex multi-toy-group dependencies. But my larger concern is for my son.
Posted: Monday, Dec. 11, 2006 11:00pm

The Boutique Individual: Personal Branding

PART TWO: PERSONAL BRANDING, Sep 2006
Everywhere I look in Sketch – Mourad Mazouz’s ultrafabulous London restaurant – I find whimsical, innovative ideas. Ever-changing video wallpaper in the bistro. Unisex bathrooms with individual pod enclosures. And on the plate too, where a typical chef Pierre Gagnaire menu experiments to the tune of Smoked Fish with Coco Bean Chantilly and Tuna Jelly.
 
But if you wish to experience Sketch in this way, as a nexus of creative surprise, you might want to stop reading here because, as it is with sausages, sometimes knowing how things are made diminishes the pleasure of consumption. Take the neon light sculpture on the landing of the staircase: If I move my head from side to side, the neon ghosts out the word “Love.” Which would indeed be creative and surprising but somehow isn’t because I happen to know that it and every other detail in this place has been planned in advance to reflect Mazouz’s Personal Brand.
Posted: Friday, Sep. 8, 2006 10:00pm

The Boutique Individual: Corporate Storytelling

PART ONE: CORPORATE STORYTELLING, June 2006
 
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 10:00pm
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