Thursday, August 29, 2019
Everything is Fantasy
I am writing this from my Adirondack home where it occurred to me that most everything is fantasy. Here is what I mean by that. I have enjoyed decorating my log home with a wide variety of pieces that I have found from Adirondack rustic furniture and decor stores. My house is chock-a-block with black bear, moose, loon, trout, fly fishing, canoe and pine tree motifs. The furniture is mostly hand-crafted from wood and leather and everything from paintings, sculptures, lamps, placemats, towels, wall hooks and switch plates feature the Adirondack rustic look and feel. I have created a fantasy for myself and for the people to whom I rent the house when I am not here. One could build a normal house in the Adirondack Mountains, but most do not. And one could rent a normal house in the Adirondacks, but most do not.
This is not the only example of creating fantasy. Some people buy automobiles to reinforce a certain attitude, feeling or lifestyle. We often do the same with our dress. Are we powerful business executives, laid back beach bums, professorial types, rebels without a cause or something else?
Restaurants have themes. When I was in Moscow, I encountered restaurants with the most elaborate ethnic themes played out in costume, decor, menu items and even musical instruments. Japan has a lot of themed restaurants including one very questionable restaurant based on a toilet theme and another based on an Alcatraz prison hospital theme.
Harley-Davidson promises the feeling of complete freedom on the road and the comradeship of kindred spirits. I worked with a client who ran branded private campground resorts. They were designed to feel like exclusive private country clubs.
When you think about it, we all create personas for ourselves. We want to be perceived in a certain way and fit into a certain group. Some people love Walmart, others love Target but would never step foot in a Walmart store. Some Target fans pronounce Target as "Tar-J" to reinforce its more upscale feel to Walmart. While others would laugh at the "Tar-J" label and not step foot in either store. They feel more at home in stores such as Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf Goodman.
Beyond, food, water and shelter, we begin to think about things such as friends, camaraderie, social status, who we are or who we want to be and how we fit into the world. All of these play well into choosing the "right" personas and interacting with the brands that reinforce who we believe we are or who we want to be.
So as much as some brands may cringe at the thought of having something in common with Walt Disney World or Las Vegas, all brands are building a little bit of that fantasy into themselves because people enjoy creating and responding to fantasy, especially as it helps them define who they are and what they love.