Rummaging through the internet the other day, like a tin of old buttons, I came across a rather fascinating presentation on branding. No, not the sort of branding you inflict on cattle, but the sort of branding which clean-cut marketing chaps promise to their eager clients. “Yes sir, you will be the new Louis Vuitton of the up-and-coming stripped braces market.”

It contains several very telling comments, as the most savvy of marketers are keen observers of the human condition. Here are a couple of quotes:

Most of us feel an occasional growing emptiness somewhere in the space between the heart, mind and groin. Luxury items provide us with some short term relief to this emptiness….much like Tylenol does to our headaches and Viagra to ED. © Idris Mootee 2004

And later …

The world of plenty: Materialism vs. Spiritualism. We use all kinds of tools everyday. We are tool users and tools are not the end but he means. So materialism does not crowd out spiritualism; spiritualism is more likely a substitute when objects are scarce. When we have fewer things, we make the next world luxurious. When we have plenty, we enchant those objects around us. © Idris Mootee 2004

These are certainly interesting insights. Why does someone living an otherwise modest life-style decide to spend $250 on a pair of sneakers? Why do we choose to buy the coffee which costs three times the supermarket brand?

Enchanting objects, giving talismans magic powers and assigning mythic stories to random events or nature’s patterns, are very ancient human practices. The totems of our age may be the badges of luxury brands. How similar are they to the amulets of the ancient Romans, or mythical story telling in the aborigines’ magical ceremony?

If you’d like to see all of Idris Mootee’s fascinating presentation, then Click Here!

© David R. Durham

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