Punk rock deathwatch

by Rob Horning

1 September 2006

 

Via AdPulp comes this stirring elucidation of the punk rock ethos.

Within the punk rock credo of my youth were the seeds of a larger business philosophy. Ten years in a boutique design and branding firm has shown me how valuable the punk rock attitude is to a successful brand plan. The brands that consistently rise to the top have questioned everything that’s been done before. Adding “X” to a razor’s name? Just a lame attempt at buying an audience with weak, non-genuine branding. Inventing a razor for shaving heads? Totally punk rock.

John Lydon or Malcolm Mclaren couldn’t have said it better. As I’ve noted before, “punk” is primarily a branding strategy, a rough equivalent for “edgy” and “youthfully exuberant.” It’s another name for the restless, aimless energy that powers the engine of fashion. It certainly has been emptied of all its rebellious and subversive implications (it has always buttressed the “system” rather than undermine it) and smoothly integrated into the marketing machine as a way to approach a specific demographic. So we can expect to see punk breakfast cereal and punk shampoo and punk SUVs as well as punk razor blades.

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