Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bought In

Rob Walker is a weekly columnist for the New York Times Magazine. His weekly column, "Consumed", takes a look at the complex subcultures of marketing and how brands emerge from the noise of culture.

I came across his book, "Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are", in April while searching for "Sneaker Wars" by Barbara Smit (another great book that looks at the sibling rivalry that created Adidas and Puma footwear). Either way I decided to buy in and see if the book lived up to the hype.

"Buying In" was a highly buzz worthy book that came out in late June of this year. It has been mixed with a variety of reviews, good and bad. As soon as I read the first chapter I had an extremely difficult time putting it down. I am a sucker for really life scenarios and Mr. Walker's case study approach kept me captivated right until the end. His case studies within the book focused on companies like the Hundreds, Scion, Red Bull and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Focusing on brand creating, marketing and lack of advertising behind the brands the book was extremely intriguing. Walker believes that because of our "short-attention-span generation" we have become immune to marketing. He focuses much of his attention towards technology.
"As technology has created avenues for advertising anywhere and everywhere, people are embracing brands more than ever before–creating brands of their own and participating in marketing campaigns for their favorite brands in unprecedented ways" (Walker).

The book is definitely worth the $20 investment. Mr. Walker also operates a website,, which is a "funny and often surprising curation of brand-focused writing and photography".