Brand Equity?

I had to replace one of the toilets in my house recently. On the advice of a friend who’s a builder, I went to Home Depot seeking an American Standard brand toilet.

Replacing a toilet is surprisingly easy. It’s really quite something that the toilet is such a simple device, considering its significance in enabling modern life to be as pleasant as it is.

I had bought all the pieces I needed separately, and by the time I finished my installation, had forgotten that I’d bought a seat that was also made by American Standard.

I experienced a little warm flash of joy when I raised the seat of my new toilet for the first time and saw that the logo on the bottom of the seat matched the logo on the toilet itself.


That I would feel spontaneous pleasure at having the brands of components on my toilet match–is it not testament to the primacy of place that branding and labeling have in our culture?

That this positive feeling was caused by something I never could have told you I cared the least bit about–something that seems so silly to me that I’m chuckling inside as I write this–really shows the power of the larger culture to influence emotional responses.

It also illustrates the necessity of being in real places with real people doing real things, if one wants to witness these types of dynamics.

The coda on this little story is an ironic one:


Does it matter to me that my American Standard toilet was made in Mexico? Not really. I’m just happy that the logos all match.


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