Thursday, February 17, 2011

Attend to the Zeitgeist

Although Skyler McManus is a successful retailer who knows T-shirt trends, he told the San Diego NBC affiliate there’s one design he’d never carry. Mr. McManus manages Hamel’s Surf Shop, one of the most famous stores in Mission Beach, California, where all sorts of T-shirts are for sale.
     The T-shirts to which Mr. McManus takes objection feature a surveillance photo of a robber nicknamed the Geezer Bandit. Usually wearing a blazer over his button-down shirt, what appears to be an elderly man waits in line at the teller stations, and then when it’s his turn, he points a gun and says he’ll shot if the teller doesn’t give him the money. It’s reported that at the thirteen banks he’s robbed so far, he then shuffles out the door and gets away.
     The Geezer Bandit has inspired Facebook pages, and along with the T-shirts, his image is being marketed on coffee mugs, gym bags, baby bibs, and yes, Mr. McManus, even beach totes. Some of those tracking the popularity of Geezer Bandit fad items attribute the phenomenon to the zeitgeist—the spirit of the times. Banks are widely viewed as villainous and senior citizens as an underappreciated force in society. It’s a tale of the disenfranchised weak rising up against the bully.
     The latest truly heroic examples of David prevailing over Goliath occurred in Tunisia and Egypt. Our current homegrown criminal version happens to be the Geezer Bandit.
     But this is one dangerous criminal who has traumatized people. That’s why Mr. McManus doesn’t like the merchandising of the image and why the FBI and banks are offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to conviction of the Geezer Bandit.
     Your choice not to carry Geezer Bandit merchandise may be mostly because fad items usually have a brief time span for selling. Still, the zeitgeist of the weak rising up against the bully might very well inspire the way you frame sales of your merchandise. Other current distinctive zeitgeist elements are pride in frugality and a fascination with violating privacy.
     If you do decide to create and sell Geezer Bandit T-shirts, reframing could help there, too. Instead of carrying a slogan like “Run Geezer Run,” the text by the photo could say, “Have you seen this bank robber? Call FBI with leads. $20,000 reward if conviction.”
     It won’t fit any prevailing zeitgeist, but it would be a public service.

Click below for more:
Consider Publicizing Your Rascal Image
Strategize for Fad Item Profits
Boast About Underdog Determination
Boost Profits by Making Items Collectibles

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