Monday, November 28, 2011

A Meme of Your Own: Ban Corporate Tentacles? Octopi Wall Street, etc.?

Octoponder this: just how many people want a piece of the “Occupy Wall Street” brand? Would-be leaders for a movement that continues to say it has no leaders. Political pundits of a particular slant. Anti-consumerists and other would-be ideologues. And the turnabout T-shirt merchants.

The Occupy movement has become a world-recognized meme – “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” (Thanks, Wikipedia.) I’m thinking you can hardly throw a stone without hitting some marketer who claims to have invented or branded the whole idea; or who’d like to. According to the The New York Times this past week:

Kalle Lasn, the longtime editor of the anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters, did not invent the anger that has been feeding the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the United States. But he did brand it.

He’s just one. AdAge Mediaworks ran a great set of social media-related charts about Occupy in October. And blogger Scott Gibson more recently wrote:

As the activists behind OWS began their anti-capitalist demonstrations over a month ago, no one could’ve predicted that they would be fighting for the right to their own name and stop people from cashing in on their movement.

So many people want to grab hold of the “change-the-balance-of-economic-power-in-America meme,” it’s a very powerful drive to ownership. I don’t think that Occupy is ready for prime time, though. Trends and memes are tidal, sweeping into and through and out of our culture at an increasingly faster pace. Sustaining this pace is hard in the face of competing news and events, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the upcoming Christmas holiday, the next Kim Kardashian wedding, the next Rose Bowl – you name it.

While we’re all waiting for some definitively sticky Occupy brand, feel free to use mine, above. Or create your own. It’s a free country, innit?

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