So today I was watching the PBS documentary "the merchants of cool" and despite the fact that a lot has changed since 2001 when the doco was aired (Malcolm Gladwell's hairstyle being one of them), it still has some very relevant messages for marketers.
The doco looks at how marketers are doing everything they can to infiltrate the teen landscape in an effort to integrate their marketing message into pop culture thus associating their brand with whats considered "cool". But this brings about the problem, when the drivers of "cool", the early adopters, see what ever it is they are currently into start appearing in the main stream, the "cool" very quickly wears off.
It would be easy to point the finger at marketers as being responsible for ruining what is "cool" but if we wind the clock back to the days before marketers were scientifically employing psychological trickery to coax money from the pockets of the unsuspecting consumer, this phenomenon was alive and well.
The prime example of this is how music trend move through history. There is a good reason why kids todays aren't sitting around listening to Benny Goodman big band albums (well actually some of them are, but for a different reason) and thats because somewhere along the line this style of music was no longer "cool" and thus music progressed to a new sound. This happened again and again right through the last century from rock and roll to punk to disco to rap, etc.. it just goes on and on. As marketers this may seem a little frustrating, but its actually quite the blessing. There will come a day when walking around with an ipod and uploading pictures to your facebook page will be so unbeleavabley uncool that kids will be rolling their eyes at their parents for even saying such a thing out loud and when that day comes marketers will be miles away frustraitedly working on how to integrate their message with whatever IS cool on that day. So for marketers, this constant cycle will ensure the business of marketing will exist for many years to come..