Thursday, June 6, 2013


While driving today in traffic, the car in front of me caught my eye.   It was a compact car, several years old, an american model.  What caught my attention were the decals on the back bumper and back window of the car.  I knew from the decals that the woman driving the car was a vegan and had a dog and a cat and that she was unattached.  My theory is based on the fact that there were several bumper stickers describing the benefits of being a vegan and attached to the back window were the silhouette outlines of a woman, a dog and a cat.  I am sure you have seen these silhouettes that stick to windows and each figure represents who is part of the household that has this car - from a dad to a mom to a teenager to a baby to pet fish.

My thoughts while waiting in traffic at the various red lights was the branding we intentionally or unintentionally do to ourselves to let others know who we are, our uniqueness or our style.  Some people like to have unique license plates to make their car stand out, make a statement, express their humour or their status.  Using bumper stickers follows the same rationale.  I do think that people are pasting their car with less bumper stickers now than a decade ago.  Are bumper stickers less in vogue or are people worried about getting a bumper sticker off of the car when they tire of the humour, the statement they are making or the sports team they have supported and cheered for?   Another branding that is done is letting people know about your political preferences. This is done by being a registered voter, supporting your local candidate who is running for office by having signs pounded into your front lawn or writing editorial letters to your local paper.

Chapot (Dark Green)
I know myself and others brand ourselves by the clothes and jewellery we wear.  One of the ways I express myself is by the shoes I wear.  I like shoes that are stylish, a little different, maybe a bit funky.  The same is true of the eyeglasses I wear.  They don't blend into the woodwork.  They have some colour, may have a bit different design and have to compliment my appearance.  I don't think this is vain but it adds to the way I have branded myself.  But there are limits to what I share with others about myself.  I guess I am more comfortable with branding my appearance than sharing my political, religious, or family status with others through bumper stickers, rear car window silhouettes or license plates.

The defining question to ask is what are the lines between branding yourself, expressing your personality and also maintaining privacy and not sharing everything about yourself with the world.  I think we all have different tolerances for sharing our personal sides.  How many of us could tolerate being part of a reality television show?  I know I couldn't do it.  I am definitely not a celebrity.

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