(brand, celeb) tags... and why.

so, despite being one of the first people to know/use the new Noah Brier app (see? see? sneaky cred there right... haha), i haven't commented on it yet. i wanted to say something useful other than 'oh, well, that's cool, check out brand tags.' unfortunately my analysis takes a few days.

--reaction #1:
"this is really cool."
again with the "duh" moments, it makes sense that how people perceive your brand is what the brand is worth. i learned that in my second year of college. but it was an innovative way to track these thoughts people have around brands.

--reaction #2:
"this could go really badly."
meaning, anytime you bring '1 word/phrase' + 'anonymity' into the picture, you wind up with some pretty stupid results. but since the feedback works like word clouds (even if the popular words get so big it interferes with my screen), i suppose it evens out. would have been nice to be able to say why, i chose a word, etc, and have those explanations link from the main tag cloud. that way whomever wants to know more is able to do so, and perhaps get perspective on why an experience was great or poor for me. i understand the virtues of the concise nature and the top-of-mind response, but a secondary optional screen asking why would also be helpful.

--reaction #3:
"enter celebtags."
i don't know if celebtags functions as the Dorian picture to brandtags or vice versa, but the point remains: similar implementation, and yet, the responses are vastly different. what does one say about the other? why does every female celebrity get tagged with slut or whore or bitch? why does this not have a way of asking people to think about their assumptions...?

understandably, thanks to tabloids and the nature of being in the public eye, celebs are more often fodder for malignant feedback than any other entity short of Wal-Mart. and even then, if folks had to choose between hating Paris Hilton or hating Wal-Mart, i'm not sure who would win (lose?). and here, in case you're not sure, you can actually punch out the celebs you hate most. ...yeah. anyway.

similarly, people are brands. that's also another "duh" that not everyone has embraced. like brand value, there are reputations and representations; not always are the two in sync. is hating Paris Hilton the same as hating Wal-Mart? yes and no. even as we try to make brands our "friends" and affable, people-like entities, celebs are actual people. this produces very different top-of-mind results.

Wal-Mart responses run the gamut from american to white trash, south park to nascar, affordable to cheap, evil to value. juxtaposing these statements shows the range of emotion and perception--all of which may be true, but certainly there is a range. things that are affordable to some are low quality to others. evil to some is a necessity in some areas where there are no other supermarkets.

yet, Paris Hilton responses are much more flat and one-sided, ranging from airhead, bimbo, and bitch to sexual references, skank, slut, whore, herpes, and blow job. "rich" appears but small, and "heiress" appears once, but even smaller--only one person said it. this does not by far offer the whole picture, regardless of how you feel about Paris Hilton.

is this because you can interact with a brand and you can't interact with a celebrity? i can walk into a Wal-Mart and have an experience, but i can't party with Paris Hilton. does that give me a more limited understanding of Paris Hilton? or does it not matter--i have perceptions of brands i've never interacted with, like Sonic. we get 5 or 6 Sonic commercials by me and the nearest Sonic is in New Jersey. i have never been in one, but i still have brand thoughts about it. more along the lines of "far away" than "blow job," however.

a parting gift: the George W. Bush worldwide brand.


Anonymous said...

the few day wait was worth it - great analysis (better than what I was trying to type up), especially on the relation to interactivity with brands that you don't get with celebs.

That is why so many ppl want to see them fall, even their fans, whereas brand fans don't have that same reaction.

It might also have to do with the fact that money (in the purchase) and class distinctions (in what you buy) are involved.

noah brier said...

Really interesting comments.

I feel bad about the celeb tags site, as i haven't paid much attention to it (and it desperately needs more celebrities). I do think it's fascinating the difference between the male and females comments (in fact I just forwarded your post to a journalist who asked about it).

Anyway, thanks for the comments. When I write up some of my own thoughts I'll be referring back to this.