Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Unbranded vs. Unbrandable

The first image is of a $7.50 polo shirt made by Walmart's in house brand Faded Glory. This men's pique polo shirt is simple/classic and available online here or in stores across America (and the world) in a variety of colors.

The second image is a navy printed polo shirt from Dsquared2, the design company of Dean and Dan Caten, who's clothes has been worn by celebrities like Lenny Kravitz and Madonna. The shirt pictured is available at Neiman Marcus now for $265.

Now I'm sure there are definite differences in production techniques and materials between the two shirts, but one thing is also clear, the more expensive shirt is not afraid of it's branding.

I'm sure if I could coerce Plato, Joan of Arc, and John the Baptist into a time machine to the modern era and asked them which shirt is more expensive, they might think the faded glory one is more expensive because it doesn't have the large advertisement on the front chest. But in an age where marketers are looking for marketing opportunities everywhere, anything without a clearly located marketing brand or advertisement can be presumed to be cheaper and lacking of clout.

If I go somewhere to a mall, a hotel, or am driving down the road and don't see advertisements and marketing the mall/hotel/road seems lower-class because no one feels like it is worth the money to slap logos, ads, and build boards up in these locations.

It is curious that in today's society something that is unbranded is deemed "cheap" while something plastered with advertising begins to evoke in our minds that it much be quality.

Perhaps it is for those very reasons that this past weekend, I had one of the most refreshing experiences as my wife and traveled to the Everglades for a anniversary getaway.

I have never seen anything quiet like the Everglades, this time of year (during the wet season) there are fewer animals to be seen, although we saw a few alligators very close up, sea turtles, and giant grasshoppers and dragon flies. What we also saw was a whole lot of uninterrupted beauty. It has been a long time since I have been in awe of something so beautiful as what I saw.

This area was valuable, not because it was deemed valuable because it was branded with advertisements, but instead it was valuable and infinitely more beautiful and worthwhile because it was unbrandable. The Everglades weren't trying to sell me anything, no company had tapped into creative marketing alongside the area's geographic uniqueness. No, this was true beauty and unchanging value that undisrupted was worth keeping brand free.

Below are just two breathtaking pictures we took of the beautiful unbrandableness.

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The Lazy Iguana said...

Ah yes, the Everglades. My backyard.

The reason it is the way it is today is because it is "worthless" land. All swampy and bug infested - with large scary water lizards that have sharp pointy teeth.

If you went to Shark Valley, then you probably saw the tram road. Part of it was built by some company looking for crude oil. They found some, but it was very high in sulfur, and generally not worth the price of pumping it out.

The Army Corps of Engineers almost killed the swamp for good. The mighty Shark River Slough - what used to be the main natural drain of the entire system, is a mere trickle of what it used to be. The old timers have told me of the days when there were so many birds they would blow out the sun, and fish were everywhere.

Jeff Reed said...

how did you come up with Plato, Joan of Arc, and John the Baptist?

Terence Towles Canote said...

To be honest, I have always preferred non-branded clothing. As you describe, the Faded Glory is simple/classic, which is the way clothing should be. If it's not a T-shirt, then it should have anything written on it...

Anonymous said...

Those pictures of unbrandable nature are beautiful.

maryt/theteach said...

Really nice photos.

Ando said...

I've found that the older I get the more I appreciate the simpleness and beauty of the out of doors. Our last few trips, Yosemite, Lake Almanor, Colorado, have all been thouroghly enjoyable. Great post.

b13 said...

I'm not certain... but think I see the Charmin™ logo in those clouds.

jhuber7672 said...

*sigh* the Everglades, good and not-so-good memories. Spent three years trying to market the lodge, it was no easy task. It's definitely about experiences and bragging rights in the Everglades and not necessarily the scenery.

I miss the crocodiles, the apple snails the manatees. The sound of the ibis flapping their wings as they roost for the evening and the rustling sawgrass as a tropical breeze sweeps in. That's what the Everglades are about.

You're brave to face the mosquitoes during the summer, major bug repellent companies wouldn't test their products then b/c of the active bug population ;)

Lorna said...

Gorgeous photos of the Everglades, and interesting photos of the shirts. I am proud to say I've never worn a branded shirt, but I once found to my chagrin that I owned a pair of pants tht had BUM Equipment printed on the pocket.

Geosomin said...

That looks beautiful..I've always wanted to see the everglades.
As for branding, I agree. I too have wondered what people form the past would think to see us voluntarily wearing large brand names across our chests for no reason...and to know we paid extra to do so? My particular brand name rant at the mo is FCUK. Could a brand be any more tacky? Ah, but I won't start ranting this early in the morning :)
So very odd...