Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shakespeare on brands and branding.

Last night we went to see a Public Theatre performance of "Othello" directed by Peter Sellars with Philip Seymour Hoffman starring as a Banana-Republic-clad Iago. Having loved Orson Welles' 1952 film version, in which Welles plays the title character, I found this production a bit meandering and the acting, overall, weak.

In any event, my ears perked up last night when I heard this dialogue between Cassio and Iago.

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my
reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what
remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

IAGO: As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some
bodily wound; there is more sense in that than in reputation.
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit
and lost without deserving....

It occurs to me that this brief debate between Cassio and Iago is the debate that often takes place within a brand. Cassio represents a brand's better instincts, that a brand must behave in a certain benighted way, and the conniving Iago represents a brand's basest attitudes--reputation doesn't matter, let's schtup the consumer.

Your brand--is it Cassio or Iago?


Tore Claesson said...

something to think about.

jeaves said...

Something has got mixed up along the way. Guitar greats like Hendrix and Page and Clapton used Fenders and Gibsons because they were great guitars. They didnt become great guitars because people saw them used on stage through some insane branding positioning and sponsorship deal. They earned their reputation through building a great timeless product.

Today however, create a Youtube video or have a celebrity wear your product once on a red carpet and you can bypass 40 years of hard work and jump your brand to instant stardom."Give us money now" is the mantra of my generation.