Tuesday, June 12, 2007

So you think your brand is fly

Shopping in Food Emporium in Union Square yesterday, I came upon this, the world's largest fly, poised proudly on the logoed POS signage atop a shelf of nuts.

Yeah, it's New York City in summer, and there's no way a massive grocery retailer like this one can keep every pest from making its way inside. But just look at how perfectly this small pelican is placed on the Emporium's claim as "NYC's Food Authority." It made me laugh, not so much at the incredible size of this juicy bugger, but at the chain itself for its overt hubris in the presence of vermin.

And so, this juxtaposition of pride and pestilence got me thinking. When a brand tells the world how great it is, do we find ourselves rooting harder for it to fail? Do we laugh louder than we normally would at the proverbial fly in their ointment? Do we deny it "wiggle room" in sticky situations over which it truly has no control (i.e., summertime insects inside a huge supermarket)?

Of course we do. Case in point: we disdain self-absorbed celebrities and absolutely LOVE it when they're sent to maximum-security detention centers outside L.A. for their brainless traffic misdeeds.

"Ha-ha," the nation chuckles in unison. "That'll show her to think her #$%@ don't stink."

Well, it DOES stink. Everyone's does. So check your brand's head when you feel it's getting a bit big — it gets a lot harder to keep your balance. And remember, the laugh track is queued up and turned up, ready for the inevitable moment you walk out of the restroom with your fly open.