Author Topic: Noncommercial Branding  (Read 8012 times)

bds

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2010, 03:23:55 pm »
One of the ways I personally like to conform to the "no brand" type of clothing is to buy tee shirts from Threadless/Teefury/Woot/etc. - Places that provide tees that aren't obviously "branded" per se, they feature mildly amusing or eye catching designs instead of a logo or whatever. Additionally, most/all of the designs are community submitted, meaning that there is little continuity from tee to tee, other than an original piece of artwork. Obviously this is still a brand, Threadless is a successful company, but they continue to manufacture tees that feature original designs.

Juana Go?

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2010, 05:42:56 am »
Design by Humans is similar, with fucking awesome designs. The new ones (I've been buying for about three years so  few things have come and gone) have a time little printed logo on the bottom left of the back of the shirts - just their name, logo, and the name of the design - and it's almost unnoticeable.

Anyway,
I think that symbol is used by a brand already, or something very like it. Coach or something, for the lines that don't say "Coach" eighty bajillion times.

Oh, I put in the image of the fleur de lis just to break up my wall of text. It's a pretty generic symbol, it's been used by literally hundreds of different organizations.

Quote
I get what you mean and I think you're on to something, but doesn't branding the brandless identity defeat the purpose?

good question. my goal is not to eliminate the phenomenon of people identifying with brands. That'd be a losing battle. Basically, I'd like to introduce a brand into the mix that is not commercial in origin, something owned publicly and created collaboratively.

I suppose by some measures this idea might be kind of redundant because brand-identities emerge spontaneously from subcultures already. I mean people were dressing "goth" and "punk" before it got co-opted by the various trendy retail joints like hot topic. And punk even carries with it a certain "I don't do mainstream" vibe. But that's so easy to market, it was really begging to be transformed into a mainstream product.

Guy Deboard, of the Situationists, was skeptical that you can create something of value that wouldn't eventually become a product. Adbusters' attempt was at least admirable - the "unbranded" brand. I wonder if it's possible to do that but without it being connected to a market. Or are brands something that emerge purely from markets? I think I'm blurring the word brand and lifestyle a bit, but I hope you get the idea?
I think I'm getting you now.

the shops that sell non brand clothing, well they always have a brand, but it's something nobody ever heard of.
...So anyway, in order to get non commercial branded clothing with a branded-like message, you don't even need to print your own.

you make good points.

In trying to draw this concept up into something functional, I keep coming back to Guy DeBoard's sentiment.. I mean, we could create a set of public domain resources and instructions so that people could literally make their own clothes (regardless of whether they use Cafepress or iron-on decals). Or even just a logo that means "I made this". But ultimately, if that's cool and not protected, it'll be coopted.
I'm a little fuzzy on copyright law for this stuff, but something like the
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.
I use it for my photos, but might it be useful here?
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Placid Dingo

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2010, 11:58:18 am »
To clear things in my head (or even just to hear people's ideas) I want to gather what would be considered a 'successful' noncommercial brand. I have three examples.

ONE:
It is; As before, Che Guevara. That image was essentially an early CC'd piece; it was permitted for any use at all provided it respected his memory.
I wonder about the success because; It has become a defacto commercial brand, with very little promotion of the original idea.

TWO:
It is: 'No Sweat Shoes'
IWATSB: It's a commercial brand, even though it puts ideology before commerical success.

THREE: Coopted anything.
IWATHB: Here's the tough one for me; if it's cool, or popular or successfull it will be commercialised. If the hepcats are wearing Hilary Clinton T-Shirts they make in their basement, there WILL be commerical examples.

I love the idea of selling something to brand an idea or idealogy or aesthetic or WHATEVER that is non-commerical, but I wonder about the wisdom of aiming for a 'non-commercial brand' as opposed to 'branding something cool, in a way that isn't commercial'.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2010, 09:24:17 am »

Wouldn't something like GASM fit into this idea?  Community developed, personally alterable, no product attachment and free to change and evolve however the individual chooses.  The word "GASM" is catchy and the general concept is attractive, and I don't really see how someone could take it and profit from it. 

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2010, 10:21:20 am »

Wouldn't something like GASM fit into this idea?  Community developed, personally alterable, no product attachment and free to change and evolve however the individual chooses.  The word "GASM" is catchy and the general concept is attractive, and I don't really see how someone could take it and profit from it. 

Give the (wo)man an Internet!

This idea to be expanded.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

Faust

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2010, 11:52:14 am »
This reminds me of Grant Morrisons talk about Sigils.
The idea of tying certain thoughts you want to entrench "I am strong, I know what I want and how to get it" and the like into a personal image, totem or slogan, basically to remind you of it on a regular basis.

Using your model irritating associations with the supernatural can be dropped, cram you have managed to transform Sigil "Magick" into something with a tangible and definitive basis in reality, The Personal Brand.
Congratulations.

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2010, 12:47:20 pm »
Art of Memetics does the same thing.

The question GASMs gave me (innuendo unintended but allowable) was that what CONTEXT does a non-commercial brand work in?

Perhaps there is value in it having a functional purpose within a small group?

Perhpas it works because it codifies action instead of replacing it?
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2010, 04:55:38 pm »
Wow, this thread just got super interesting. I agree that with Brands/Sigils(Morrison-style), Context is key. Corporations don't just blatently market to the entire populations. they have key demographics and outliers that they want to attract & have them identify with their key demographic buzzwords ("Sports/Active" for Nike for example).
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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2010, 05:11:09 pm »
Yeah totally, because sometimes the "demographic outliers" are the popular innovating people, the ones that a lot of the "demographic average" look to follow.

Damnit now I feel like re-reading Art of Memetics :D Or maybe better one of the other marketing/memetics(/magick?*) books I got somewhere in my random ebooks dumping place on the external HD.

* actually I think Art of Memetics is the only one I've ever come across that ties together these 3 M's so explicitly, right?
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Telarus

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2010, 06:39:38 pm »
From my experience, Ed Wilson and we Unruh (Art of Memetics authors) are some of the only people who make it that explicit.
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Cramulus

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2012, 09:25:34 pm »
Wouldn't it be cool if there were "open source" brand alternatives? Wouldn't it be cool if there was an explicit brand which has mass appeal, and was in the hands of a community instead of a corporation? That's something I could resonate with far more better than, say, Vitamin water.


It's been a a year and a half since I wrote this. I came across it randomly the other day.

And the more I think about it --- the thing I was describing already exists. I would say that the hilarious Internet Memes of any given year are the noncommercial iconography I was talking about. Let's look at the Rageface set of imagery as an example.



This guy ^ is not owned by anybody, he's public property. If somebody uses him for some product or cause, nobody jumps up, cocks a shotgun, and shouts GET OFF MAH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTAH. This is a good example of a collectively owned image. We need to develop more resources like this!

There's dozens of images like this, simple little drawings that communicate a very specific emotion. People use them all the time, reappropriating them, using them as a form of commentary, and tweaking them for different situations.

this image:


was originally this image of Neil DeGrasse Tyson:



But when you post this image, you don't want the science and celebrity connotation that comes with posting Neil, you just want the expression he's making. That's how we went from a photograph of a specific person talking about a specific thing to a De-contextualized line drawing. The line drawing is a more "clean" particle of communication ("clean" meaning free of confounding associations and potential to get sued).


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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2012, 11:37:59 pm »
There are lots of non-commercial brands out there already. Headless dude in a suit talking with a robot voice, for example, or a Guy Fawkes mask at a protest...

I mean, hell, discordianism has some serious branding. Fnords, a golden apple, "hail Eris", the sacred chao: that's all branding work. What are you thinking about making a brand for?
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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2012, 11:45:56 pm »
There's actually some reddit semi-drama about a guy that drew part of the rage imagery and decided to pull a copyright on it.
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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2012, 07:17:21 am »
Queen G's ample of the guy Fawkes mask is probably the best example I can think of.

Since I started taking part in this conversation I've swapped views a fair bit. Mainly the way I've been thinking was confused by the 'noncommercial' part. I was thinking being noncommercial was the point, now I feel just bein a brand is the point.

Discordia has a number, and I think Intermittens is one of the best. In fact in a way the PD brand is also a distinct discordian entity.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

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Re: Noncommercial Branding
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2012, 02:29:35 pm »
What are you thinking about making a brand for?

When I wrote the OP, I was full of energy from having finished Christine Harold's Ourspace, and was trying to articulate an answer to the AdBusters Black Spot campaign. The OP was a little scattered, I think, because I had a lot of ideas buzzing around.

The AdBusters crowd (and their predecessors, the Situationists) suggest that life could be a lot better if the objects in our mental space didn't have all these commercial associations. I would agree with Doloras LaPichio that our current market is an "identity industry", and many of the identities you can build in this landscape are inherently confused, conflicted, and controlled.

AdBusters created this line of sneakers called the Black Spot, the idea was to create an unbranded brand. They wanted to manufacture sneakers that were explicitly devoid of a designer logo, so that the status you were seeking came from this outsider coolness, this rebellion against commercial branding.

I'll say in their favor that it was a noble effort. Ultimately, the idea fails because it's like the "Just Say No" campaign... it tells us not do something, but doesn't tell us what to do instead. The AdBusters position recommends not letting commercial branding get too tied up in your identity (which is a strong point), but has no instructions about how to stop being consumers. There's no alternative.

Mainly, my hope is that these organic brands which arise organically from culture (as opposed to a marketing team) give us ways of expressing our identity which isn't tied to a product. Because people desperately want to identify and individuate themselves, to customize their position within The MachineTM. And it would be better (IMO) if stuff like the Guy Fawkes mask, the rageface imagery, and all this great creative stuff we've invented together in the last 10 years were our primary means of self expression.




^
this shit is pathetic
if anybody really thinks like that, I feel bad for them