Tag Archives: instant grass

Q&A Tuesday: What is liberal? What is cool?

Occasionally my readers write in with some seriously existential questions that make me look long and hard at myself in the mirror that is my blog. Such an exchange occurred today when I received an email from Jabu, who wanted to know what the trendwatching company I used to work for measured its scouts against in order for them to be “cool enough”. The following exchange ensued, and I feel its educational worth transcends my inbox:


On 9/16/08 11:46 AM, “Jabulani” wrote:

Hey, how’s it going Alexandra? I trust life is going alright that side of the world and stuff. Just a quick question I wanted to ask you… What was the mechanism and criteria you used when recruiting trendscouts? I mean, how did you decide who was cooler then whom?


From: Alex [mybrandedlife@gmail.com]
Sent: 16 September 2008 12:08 PM
To: Jabulani
Subject: Re: Heita hola

Because it’s market research, it’s a question of covering all demographic / genre bases. Often we’d meet amazing people but we’d already know similar people, and it would be a question of – we have so MANY young interesting black peeps who dig Manga from Langa, we need more Black peeps who drink whisky from Soweto – or – we have tons of Tiger Tiger chicks and we need more Melrose Arch preppies. That’s all. Eventually everyone gets their turn, you know? Just a question of timing and keeping a fairly balanced spread of different types of young people from around the country.

When it comes to the individual, ‘cool’ was largely determined by who our clients are at the time, and whether that person would feed in relevant info on a regular proactive schedule.

Lastly, apart from the word ‘liberal’, ‘cool’ is the most misunderstood and misused descriptor out there – ESPECIALLY by trendwatching companies and their clients.
What they mean is something more like ‘early adopters’.
There is no such thing as ‘cool’, nor criteria for such.
‘Cool’ kids look the same in every part of the world.

It’s just another life phase, to be remembered by most as ‘That time I convinced myself that skinny jeans are actually “cool”. Shame.’

Hope it answers your question,

A

does it really exist? Trick question. One mans Converse is another mans Buffalos.

Cool: does it really exist? Trick question. One man's Converse is another man's Buffalos.

On 9/16/08 12:47 PM, “Jabulani” wrote:

Thanks, that helps quite a bit.

So… how is the word “liberal” misunderstood and misused? What is a liberal exactly? Would you consider yourself a liberal? Am I a liberal – or am I counter-revolutionary?


From: Alex [mybrandedlife@gmail.com]
Sent: 16 September 2008 12:08 PM
To: Jabulani
Subject: Re: Heita hola


Ways people misinterpret and misuse the word ‘liberal':

1. Describe yourself as having a ‘liberal nature’ when the truth is that you just have a drinking problem
2. Put your ‘liberal nature’ down to your parents being ‘liberals’, who were really only people with drinking problems
3. Describe yourself as a ‘liberal’ to excuse your sexually promiscuous behaviour with most of your friends (and pretty much anyone, since you have a drinking problem)
4. Describing your political point of view as being ‘liberal’ because you believe in equality (reality check: being liberal means believing in communism, in not having to work for what you get, in endless government handouts and in being okay with other people taking your stuff).

If I were to pick a side I’d probably say that I am conservative, that I am educated and believe in educated leaders, that I value intellect over popularity, that I will support someone DOING good as opposed to someone who’s DONE good, that I will fucking kill you if you touch my Merc, that if you want a Merc, you should work as hard as me to get it and not expect it to fall into your lap. Okay, I drive a Yaris, but it will be a Merc one day, since I believe in work. Do you think it’s some sort of a coincidence that Merc rhymes with work?

You, however, strike me as being a bit of a fence-sitter, which is probably a smart place for a young emerging market Dark Carbon Allotrope (c) (BlAcK DiAmOnD) like yourself.
Aligning your personal brand with the ANC at this point isn’t very sexy, since they keep kicking each other in the bum like battery chickens.
You could be described as a “Revolutionary Counter”, because it’s a smart twist on your question without being too blatant a dodge of the issue.

I hope this answers your question, young D.C.A.

P.S. I’m blogging this, FYI

P.P.S. Props for the K.D. reference, though I know you think I missed it. Peace.

******************************************************************************

This is all very deep for a Tuesday.

What you find when you dig deep. Stay shallow, stay cool.

What you find when you dig deep. Stay shallow, stay cool.

if you’re young, make some noise

while there are a lot of companies out there hoping to capitalise on youth opinion, i was recently introduced to a company that manages to facilitate not only hearing opinions and dreams but making them into a reality, too. Youth Noise describes itself on their website thus:

“YN is a social networking site for people under the age of 27 who like to connect based on deeper interests than Paris Hilton’s wardrobe and want to get engaged within a cause. Find a cause, search for friends, and get involved. Want to free Tibet? Passionate about human rights?Whatever your cause, network it here.”

Under their causes tab is listed anything from Animal Rights to Arts and Media, to Economy to Business to Government to Poverty to  Religion, to name but a few. You can also join existing youth projects, create a personalised profile, connect to government and gain access to registries of companies and sponsors who can help with your cause or dream. i think it’s an awesome idea, and wish there was a company like that in South Africa whose disillusioned youth so desperately need a voice.

South Africa presents a unique challenge, however, because mass market youth don’t have the kind of internet access something like Youth Noise. a mobile version of the site would be a prerequisite here. i can only imagine that everything that is wrong with South Africa - crime, unemployment, poverty – will only be compounded as upcoming generations realise that as much as the word democracy gets thrown around here, they really don’t have a voice. what do you say, Youth Noise? are you ready for a challenge?

some very exciting news

i have accepted a very exciting new position at this fabulous agency. i’ll be starting 1 July. onwards and upwards.

reflection

Pecha Kucha Nights Cape Town

pkn

Something i’ve been dying to blog about for a while is that we’ll be running Pecha Kucha Nights in Cape Town, and the date for the first event is set at 17 June 2008. this is super exciting – sharing ideas, passion and inspiration is something we try to do as much as we can, and something we started doing with IG Assembly, which we held 2 months ago. we’re going to let that go gently and take over custodianship of an internationally successful platform – Pecha Kucha is growing all the time in cities all over the world.

we’ve got a few things to knuckle down, mainly the venue, as we need somewhere that’s not too big but not too small either, since we’ll need to have space to project the talks. for those of you who’d like to get involved, i’ve started a group on facebook which you can join to be kept updated. otherwise go to the the official site and drop us a mail. we’re still establishing speakers so you’re welcome to submit yourself if you want to show your work. just be sure to stick to the 20 slides at 20 seconds each guideline.

we’ll need to receive your presentation by the 16th of June as well so we can line up all the work.

so yay. for those of you who love design and creativity, this is something you’re not going to want to miss. best of all, it’s free. xx

birthdays and dinners

so we had a IG writer’s dinner to welcome some new grasses and get to know some of our current grassing superstars. we made a lot of noise and annoyed our waitress at Bacini thoroughly. Amu, our regional manager if Jozi and the new producer on Sbu’s morning show on YFM, managed to make it down to spend some time with us, too.

bacini1

bacini2

bacini3

it was also Jacky’s birthday. Jacky helps us out all the time. we’re not sure why, but it must be out of the goodness of her heart. so we threw her a little party at the office with some fantastic carrot cake from Limnos, and we gave her this T-shirt. we know she’s been waiting for it all her life.

permshirt

and then this is just a rad hoody i found on Ricky Lee’s back. Ricky runs a super cool company called Word of Art, as well as a clothing label you might have heard of called Muthaland. he also has a company called writeonafrica, which does commission based graffiti.

cartoonhoody

brands being socially conscious

Cape Union Mart’s come out with a fleece made purely from recycled materials.

rubbishfleece

Visi magazine released a biodegradable shopping bag:

visibioshopper

these recycled notebooks are made by the Remarkable company, and you can get them at the Wellness Centres springing up around town:

remarkablenotebook

YDE has some recycled shoppers too:

YDErecycled

YDErecycled2

Vida e caffe gets its green on:

vidagreen1

vidagreen2