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2/03/2005

I should be writing my SFist post, but I'm too busy IM'ing with Sef and discussing corporate efforts to market to hipsters.

Read this article in the NY Post. And maybe reread my post on the new Tylenol campaign with Sef's comments.

I just got my February edition of The Sampler which I told you about here. The Sampler is a genius DIY crafter subscription service started not too long ago by a Bay area artist. I thought it was pretty underground still, but no, the marketers at Tylenol got their EP in there. In my Sampler package I got handmade zines, buttons, candles, jewelry and tchotchkes by different independent artists from around the country, plus another copy of the American Analog Set/White Magic EP. I gotta give it to them, they're really digging deep into the underground.

Apparently this is one of the companies responsible for marketing to hipsters. Some people say it's evil. I'm on the fence. I kind of like the Robin Hood mentality of taking corporate money and giving it to artists and people on the fringe. But is it really possible to market to true tastemakers? Isn't a strong personal sense of style part of what defines a trendsetter? Can you tell a tastemaker what to wear by giving them something for free? What would Malcolm Gladwell say?

Bottom line is, there aren't that many true tastemakers, or people with strong opinions that they're not afraid to express, regardless of what others will think. There are plenty of followers though, and that's who the marketers are ultimately trying to get through to. And maybe everyone has their price, even the trendsetters. Getting stuff given to you for free because you're cool just reinforces a person's desire to perceive and present themselves as VIP. Being able to tell their followers that they're sponsored reinforces their unattainable Alpha status.

Isn't it nice when trends are started more organically? Check out this article Sef sent me about the movie Sideways spiking the popularity of pinot noir.

By the way, I'm curious how the DJ in the NY Post article got $15K of free stuff. That's a whole hell of a lot of stuff. She says she has "no idea" how much her free ticket to Interpol cost? No more than $30, lady. $15,000 = 500+ tickets to see Interpol. Maybe Lacoste gave her a big ol' box of overpriced aligator shirts. I've been given many free concert tickets, CDs, tshirts and so forth in my day, but I wouldn't say that I was "sponsored" by a band or record company.

Maybe "I'm sponsored" is the new "I'm on the list."

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