Cultural commodification

I would agree with people that are skeptical to these kind of commercials. Driving popular culture for financial gain and manufactured identity has been high on the agenda among many people as Apple and American Apparel start to define ‘alternative people’ more than art, books and music do. Something is a bit backwards with people first choose a style and then pick out some books and music to go along with rather than working the opposite way around. Having spent the last month in down town hipsterville, or SOFO, as the Stockholm in-crowd would say, I’ve seen more people looking like the ones in this car commercial than I’ve seen during the first six months of 2010 in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, I give this one thumbs up, probably mostly because of the Murakami and Kerouac quoting. Two excellent writers who might reach new readers from this, and maybe that is ok if it sells a blue car at the same time. Or maybe it is not ok. Can’t make up my mind.

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2 thoughts on “Cultural commodification

  1. I kind of like this commercial. I mean, there will always be commercials for stupid products you won’t buy anyway (what kind of product is Old Spice again?), so they might as well make these commercials enjoyable. I think they’ve made a bunch of similar, hipsterless commercials about how spatious this car is, so it’s not really targeted at hipsters or anything. That would’ve been something, actually, but I can only see hipsters drive 1980 Opel Kadetts or something old-fashioned.

    Second, what’s more fun than making of hipster culture? As I’ve spent a week in Berlin just a short while ago, I really needed that. Berlin is probably nearly as hipster as Stockholm, and it nearly made me want to shop at Esprit.

    The downside is that it is virtually too easy to make fun of hipsters – self-denouncement is part of hipster identity. Perhaps it’s just me, but I haven’t met anyone who actually calls him/herself a hipster: only others are ever hipsters. In a negative way, of course. Even in the commercial, that is clearly the case. I don’t think irony can get any bigger than that.

    So P, how are Sweden? Still doing the ice cream thing?

    • hey, you make some good hipster related points. In Sweden there is an ongoing debate of what it means to be a hipster and yes, everyone seems to take a step away from the expression. Personally I am wondering why there is such a need to define it, I think the term is too broad. I could for example easily qualify as a hipster, and so can you, still not sure we are though. And if we are, well, then I’m sure we’ll live.

      Sweden is alright, doing my last week of research and then gonna do some travel in Southern Europe for some time, might pop by Amsterdam at the end of it, need to be in Stockholm in mid September for a final meeting so the time before that I will do my own little on the road thing. Meaning probably writing meaningless observations while failing to interact with the locals due to language difficulties. What’s your deal? Found a new place yet?

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