Marketers get a bad rap. I think it probably has something to do with selling people things that they don’t need and generally distracting the public from things that are important in life, like blogs. One way marketers stimulate desire for said unneeded objects is through conspicuous, megaphone-style communications. See Gap RED’s “We care about Africa and you should buy a sweatshirt!” “You can save a lot of money on your car insurance by switching to [insert any brand here].” The joke that’s never lost on my girlfriend: “You have a friend in the diamond business!”
That’s part of why I think it’s important to highlight the unmarketers of the marketing world. Marketers who aren’t desperate for me to remember their tag, jingle or corporate mission; who speak in a normal tone of voice without yelling, cajoling or otherwise force-feeding me their message. And yes, despite being a marketing consultant I still keep to this maxim.
Which is why I love A.P.C. even though the jeans don’t fit quite right…yet. I’ve long read about A.P.C. through their placements in fashion editorial and advertisements. Some kind of understated, chic European brand… I didn’t really get it. After seeing their name enough times and being in NYC this past week I sought out the store in Soho. My encounter went something like this…
I walk into the store. It’s the clean, airy, masculine, minimalist aesthetic that I’m accustomed to with high-end retailers. This being A.P.C. and Mercer Street, the staff is somewhat affected but otherwise friendly. I find a pair of jeans on the denim bar and am encouraged to buy them two sizes too small by a staff member lounging on the couch reading a magazine. First of all, I love the soft sell. And two sizes too small? Awesome. But wait a minute, I can’t quite breathe in these, and I don’t know what’s going to happen when I try to sit down. “Perfect” is the staff member’s response that’s just about right.
A bit of cognitive dissonance ensues as I stutter step to the counter to buy the jeans. I’m equal parts excited and anxious as I hand over my credit card. It’s here that I’m asked if I know how to care for said jeans. “Uh…what do you recommend?” The sales associate informs me that only after I wear them for (at least) 6 months should I attempt to clean them. And by “clean” he means “dry clean.” He hands me an instructions card that suggests some other care techniques including:
#4. seawater recipe
let your jeans get dirty for as long as possible, go swimming in the ocean wearing your jeans, rub your jeans with dry sand, and repeat several times. rinse in fresh (not salt) water and let dry in the sun.
Like contemporary branders such as Seth Godin, I love brands and products with stories. Stories that are weird, funny, fussy, human, strange- anything so long as it gives the product life and enhances it in a sea of sameness. You can’t wash your jeans in a sea of sameness and that’s why I love A.P.C.