Brands and schizophrenia

An example of Mexicans playing with Poly Identity

I feel bad for advertisers (OK, not really) because I often here industry pundits complain that the media audiences are too scattered, and have too much ADD to focus on their messages. Too bad, I’m crying crocodile tears. You see, part of the problem concerning people’s inability to focus on brand messages is a) there are too many of them, b) advertising is partly responsible for the scattered attention span, and c) who cares. Now another interesting problem: poly identities. As multiple worlds proliferate the Web, people are developing multiple personalities. I should know, I have the same problem. I often get confused about which tone and approach to use on this blog, and have found it difficult on some occasions to restrain myself as do not do in the comments sections of other people’s blogs. As a Latino, I have also had to traverse multiple identities. It’s part of life in the border world. My suggestion, if anyone is listening, is that if marketers want to know how to deal with poly identity, then they should take a bus down to Juarez or Tijuana and check out the scene there.

Media archeologist Jonathan Crary interprets the problem perception and identity as a double bind. This, he says, results from conflicting modes of mental engagement originally required of industrial work’s tight focus and the multisensory shock created by exploding urban environments and new media. This is at the root of our contemporary predominance, if not false, diagnosis of ADD:

In a culture that is so relentlessly founded on a short attention span, on the logic of the nonsequitur, on perceptual overload, on the generalized ethic of ‘getting ahead,’ and on the celebration of aggressiveness, it is nonsensical to pathologize these forms of behavior or look for the causes of this imaginary disorder in neurochemistry, brain anatomy, and genetic predisposition… [T]he behavior categorized as ADD is merely one of many manifestations resulting from this cultural double bind, from the contradictory modes of performance and cognition that are continually demanded or incited (Suspensions of Perception> p. 36-7).

He further laments “the sweeping use of potent neurochemicals as a strategy of behavior management” (Ibid p. 37). Amen.

For a clearer picture of what brand developers are thinking in regards to Poly Identity, read on…

trend report – POLY ID:

Gen Y is getting pretty clever at proliferating many different identities for one life. Certainly the Internet invites all of us to generate multiple brands of ourselves, but this generation knows how to work their identities. Each allows for the many facets of one person and lets them escape where they are at or enter new worlds.

Where a brand sits in relation to these broad-ranging identities is critical. If the responsibility of a brand is to reflect and mirror culture, a brand has to ask “What good am I?” a few times over. The more complex and creative one’s web of identities become, the more clever that consumer will be at snuffing out “poser” brands.

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1 Response to “Brands and schizophrenia”

  • I’ve discussed more often than not with friends on the subject biodiversity and toleration of difference, and so was delighted to find some-one making use of this concept ‘poly-identity,’ here as result of mixed messages–after the attempt to pawn-off a product on unwary consumer–but why is it, WHY can’t I find mention of bio-regionalism as a conceptual tool, that would seem to hold significance for some-one that lives in what for an outsideer is a border-line region. Perhaps my outside-in perspective will bring a fresh perspective to your conceptual sheme. Also, I’d be considerate to any news on the subject.

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