How many of us are guilty of buying a certain brand of jeans or sneakers because we liked the way they made someone else look? We don’t just want to look like that person, we want to embody a bit of their identity by wearing the same costume.
Brands are everywhere, and sometimes, as Swarthmore psychologist Barry Schwartz told us in “The Paradox of Choice,” deciding between them can be so overwhelming as to discourage making a purchase at all. But often, we know what we want: the consumption choices we make are guided by how we want to see ourselves in the world. What we wear, sip and drive all play a major part in the identity performance we all participate in every day….
Of Course one of the best in this category is Harley Davidson.
The stage Harley-Davidson has set for us is one in which we escape the daily grind. Riding a Harley helps us reconnect with the myth of the American West, a time when the frontier lay untamed and when heroic, solitary explorers braved all manner of dangers.
“To all the freedom loving riders who celebrate the spirit of Harley Davidson every time they start their bike – we salute you,” Harley Davidson proclaims.
Who knew that marketing could basically change the face of America? It seems that so many people eagerly put down their hard-earned dollars for things they could get for much less when the label is on the inside instead of the outside. Who knew that so many of us would pay to be a walking billboard for a particular manufacturer?
I myself am not a clothes hound. I am still wearing some things that I bought twenty years ago. They continue to feel good so why throw them away for something newer? But I do admit that I have an urge to go out and get a Harley and hit the road. As the ad to the left ends. “Screw it. Let’s Ride”. But then again reality sets in and I realize that my rebel days, or at least those involving a motorcycle, are pretty much over. I now do my rebellion with a fountain pen as Bob Dylan’s song mentioned.
But let’s get back to marketing. Wanting something that you don’t really need is a very American thing. Our capitalist system almost demands that you spend more than you make so of course there are people out there that are going to “help” you decide what to buy. It is ironic that so many of us insist that were are unique, that God only made one of us but then we end up letting others tell us how to dress, what to drive, how to decorate our homes, and worst of all how to vote. We let others tell us how to be unique? Isn’t that kind of ridiculous? If you want to be unique then maybe you should be doing the opposite of what they tell you. It works for me. 🙂