Posts tagged “hummer”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • How's that for a long-lasting brand/product? After 72 years, TV's `Guiding Light' switching off – It began as a 15-minute serial on NBC Radio in January 1937 and debuted on CBS television in 1952, focusing on the Bauer family of Springfield.
  • April 2009 – Iraqis Snap Up Hummers as Icons of Power – “Iraqis love them because they’re really a symbol of power,” said Mr. Hilli, a chubby 37-year-old who could not stop chuckling. Nonetheless, he spoke with authority, since he was his own first customer. Hummers in Baghdad are symbols of much more besides: increasing security, returning normality and a yearning for the trappings of sovereignty. Mr. Hilli allowed that there was something else, too, a little more indefinable, which in Arabic is “hasad thukuri,” [penis envy]
  • April 2003 – Americans induce patriotism through Hummer purchase – "When I turn on the TV, I see wall-to-wall Humvees, and I'm proud," said Sam Bernstein, a 51-year-old antiquities dealer who lives in Marin County, Calif., and drives a Hummer H2, an S.U.V. sibling of the military Humvee. "They're not out there in Audi A4's," he said of the troops. "I'm proud of my country, and I'm proud to be driving a product that is making a significant contribution."

Sleeping Dogs Lie

Today’s Doonesbury reminded me of a curious incident during my recent trip to L.A.

Getting off the freeway in Gardena, on the way to our appointment, I passed by this place:

Guard dog rental? Amazing heroic mural? I had to stop and take a picture. I did a few U-turns, stuck my camera out the window, took some shots (even from across the street I could hear that kennel sound of a million dogs barking), and headed the last mile to my appointment. Parked in front of our participant’s building and getting our gear ready, I was surprised when a Hummer pulled up beside us. The window rolled down and the uniformed driver, presumably the guy in the mural, said to me “You were taking pictures of my building?”

I really was confused; it was already a few minutes ago and a mile away; I was on to the next thing and it took about 15 seconds to realize that i) he had seen me across the street taking pictures and ii) he had got into his vehicle and followed me for a mile to check into it. Once I realized that he was not asking about the building I was currently standing in front of, but something from a few minutes ago, I explained that he had a beautiful mural. And this was a perfectly satisfactory answer. He told me that some of his puppies had been taken, and then introduced himself and gave me his business card. We wished each other a good day, and he drove off.

I thought about what had just transpired and how it could have been so different. There was nothing threatening about this man or his manner, just his context (a large and physically present individual who runs a security firm in a Hummer); given that he embodied a potential threat, he gave off a pleasing calmness, with no undertone of intimidation. I was not scared or uncomfortable; but I realized very quickly that the scenario was one where those feelings would be typical, and I attribute this guy’s serious coolness for keeping it that way.

See more of Steve’s L.A. photos here.

The World Without Them

Rob Walker writes about Fiji bottled water claiming to be a green company, without using the word greenwashing anywhere in the piece. Fiji is certainly not alone in trying to brand itself as the opposite of what many believe it really is. Personally, I’ve been appalled at the TV ads for Arrowhead’s Eco-Shape Bottle and Scott’s Water Smart grass seed.

If you’re going to drink bottled water and if you’re going to have a lawn, definitely choose an option that consumes fewer resources, but as a consumer I find it manipulative to position those products as being eco-anything, when the core behavior they are asking us to perform is probably something we should stop doing entirely. As a strategy consultant, they have my sympathy, and my respect for not simply ignoring a big cultural story that challenges their key offering.

Consider this week the news that GM may sell or close the Hummer brand. If they sell it, there will be someone else trying to sell a product that (at least in term of meaning, if not actual impact) tends to be horrifyingly un-green.

Should Arrowhead, Fiji, Scotts, and Hummer simply go away? Obviously the leaders of those businesses have a fiscal responsibility to keep making money, but how much can they redefine or reframe their brands and their offerings?


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