Monday, June 29, 2009

An Identity Crisis

BRAND. Logo. Universal process.... tick, tock, tick, tock ...

It is strange this culture of the BRAND. It is a fight for individuality. A struggle to be identified for its difference. A cry against the cloning culture of society ... ! At the same time, it perpetuates the principles of the cloning society ... the Brand is the same wherever you go, whichever part of the world. Its odd, this. A struggle for individuality and attention subscribing to the principles of universality and standardization culture.

McDonald is a good example. Wherever you go in the world, the Mac is the same - the same look, the same toys, the same look-alike people. Yet, the Brand is distinctive because it has perpetuated a sameness everywhere.

I sometimes wonder why products, their feel and look cannot be subsumed within a cultural context. Can the Mac look and feel Arab-like in arabian countries? Or chinese in china? Or Indian in India? Instead of looking American wherever it is? Will it destroy its self-respect? Will it take away from its sense of identity?

Its not only McDonald. Its everywhere. Clothes, food, magazines, cars, water-bottles (!) .... A struggle for identity perpetuating a sameness.

1 comment:

  1. Very thought-provoking indeed!

    Do you know that MacDonald’s in India is very Indian catering to the Indian tastes, while MacDonald’s in Italy and America are each completely different catering to local tastes in those countries?

    Yet, I get a feeling that MacDonald’s is not the important theme here, you are trying to catch the essence of something larger… You say in your article, “It is a fight for individuality…a struggle to be identified for its difference.”

    I wonder what would you say, if asked “What is the difference between MacDonald’s and a Country (lets take our own nation for example) – India? One has a logo and the other a flag – both pictures, so one and the same, right?

    No, no, here you will argue that I am comparing pears with apples! No comparison! Completely illogical!

    So why do you confuse brand and identity?

    When you speak of a brand, you mean a product. And when you mention Identity – eg. being tribal, Indian, gay, you need to be careful for you are actually treading into an area closely associated with people’s lives.

    A brand brings a feeling of false pride. Whereas, an identity brings with it not only a feeling of genuine pride, but also a demand for the freedom to live with dignity

    Like the identity of being a woman for you, brings with it the baggage of past – atrocities, repression, movements, liberation, perhaps… the same goes with other identities – being tribal, being gay, for instance.

    For the moment a human being is discriminated against, or worse persecuted for what he is, his identity (here you may want to call it a label?) is created – be it a criminal, black, Mexican, Indian, woman, Jew, black, gay, Moslem…

    So next time, your mind tries to play a game of words, please think twice!

    For you could be robbing some innocent teenager reading your article, of his sense of dignity and pride at what he is!

    Next time, for a change, please don’t compare apple with pears!