Sunday, December 5, 2010

Vandalism == Marketing?

Dear Internet,

Over the past few weeks/months (time really all blurs together when you're a university student), there have been little symbols spray painted all around my university campus. This symbol has been painted onto benches, walls, even the ground, and you can't escape it. Understandably, the entire student community has been pretty angry. Someone has been going around and vandalizing our school that we pay a lot of money to attend. This isn't like high school where everyone who thinks he's cool hates school/community/government/society ("Yeah dude! Stick it to the man! Graffiti is art, yo!"). Most students at this school are here because we like the school (or are strangely masochistic and enjoy paying money to an organization to make us feel stupid). The worst part was we had no way of knowing what this was, what it stood for, who put it there, etc.

Then, just the other day, it comes out: the symbol is a logo for a clothing company called "Incognito." A website is released, as well as a Facebook page, and everyone goes "oooo mysterious, I'm interested by your lack of information, not to mention your sexy anti-establishment actions." Except not. A website is released, and because most of the students at this school are far from technologically challenged, the name of the person who has been doing this is found quickly. Turns out that he is a student here. I imagine that he has, at this point, been turned into police services on campus for being a stupid vandal.

What's funny is that I found all this stuff yesterday...and I go to look at it again today, and the Facebook page as well as the guy's old blog has been taken down, but it was still available in Google's cache at the time of writing this.

If you scroll down somewhat, there is a post that contains a picture of the guy holding examples of the spray painted symbols. He might as well have been trying to get himself in trouble.

I think about it and I just think it's absolutely ridiculous. I mean, say someone creates a new clothing company. If he had the following marketing choices:

a) Legitimate means, such as actual advertisements
b) Incomprehensible vandalism

who would actually decide that b) was the best answer? If this guy had gone with a), at worst his marketing attempts would have been unsuccessful and he'd be a failure. Instead, he now has the potential of getting into legal trouble, not to mention an entire campus of 31,000 -ish students hating his guts.

Although I would never do this myself, I'm really hoping that people (using our school's directory) have called him out for being an idiot.

Lesson to be learned that should have been obvious from the start: vandalism != marketing.



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