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Saturday, September 8, 2012


So here we are.

I am told that in our brave new world, in order to be successful, I must become a brand. I must think like a brand, identify my brand, build my brand, nurture my brand, and then exploit my brand. And somehow this will get me an acting job.

But I am not a brand.

I do not have a snazzy package designed by RISD graduates. I have not been consulted on. I have no handy dispenser or flip-top. I do not stand out on the shelf. I have not undergone massive redesign, not even my upper arm’s batwings. I am, simply, what you see.

I am not a brand. 

I have not been market-tested or rolled out slowly. The things I say have not been edited and re-edited by a team of copywriters. I am not manufactured on an assembly line to prevent inconsistencies, such as occasional water retention.

I am not a brand.

If you follow me, you get me. Just me. You do not get a coupon. You do not get a discount. You do not get free samples or a handy recipe or a T-shirt for signing up for me. 

I cannot promise you whiter whites, or a brighter smile, or a leaner physique. I am not fortified with iron, nor am I lemon-scented. I am, however, biodegradable. But I am not 100% free of chemicals.

I am not a brand.

And I do not wish to be a brand.

Brands cannot actually talk. You know this, right? You know that the actual Boar’s Head lunch meat, despite its being on Facebook and Twitter, is not literally sending out tweets or status updates by itself, right? (For that matter, I do not know what meat would possibly have to say, unless studies unbeknownst to me have proven that a million turkey breasts at a million typewriters would eventually compose the works of Shakespeare... but somehow I doubt it. Perhaps a really determined roast beef could eke out a tweet that says, I’m delicious. Maybe. But to what end, if I’m delicious only causes one’s self to be eaten? What of tomorrow’s tweets?)

Brands are cold. They cannot embrace you. They are logos and fonts and Pantone numbers and labels with copyright notices and trademarks. Don’t mess with them.

Brands do not love you. Sure, they say they do, but it is a highly conditional and highly expensive love. They do not even “like” you. That’s strictly a one-way street. 

I am not a brand.

It’s a good thing, too, because we all know what happens to some brands. I’m looking at you, Crystal Pepsi.

Yes indeed. Welcome to me.