By Terry Anker
The soft drink 7 Up struck marketing gold with its long-running advertisement for the “un-” cola. Actor Geoffrey Holder, as the first person of color to represent the company in a major role, incidentally, set out to educate the viewer of the significant variance between the many caramel colored soft drinks and the “distinctively different” lemon and lime taste of their product. Perhaps because of the truth in the ad or perhaps because of the brilliant casting of Mr. Holder, the product resonated with the consuming public and generated sales, off and on, for decades.
Is it enough to simply not be the majority player, or do we need to actually have something to say once we get folks attention? There are always contrarians among us who will pick the opposite of what’s perceived to be the fashion. In effect, it is following a trend of always opposing the prevailing one. In many ways, the behavior is as predictable as that of those of proclaimed disdain. But if one is vulnerable to ridicule for following the lemmings of popular culture, do we likewise expose ourselves by running blindly with the herd of those opposing the same? Is there a life to be lived immune to the peccadillos of the majorities?
If we endure, stalwart to our own beliefs, can we be on trend when popular and off when not? Like a stopped clock that is right two times a day, do those among us who don’t change hem lengths, NBA franchises, or living room paint colors enjoy style for a while, then stylelessness, then nostalgic glory all over again? And if the defense to being hopelessly un-hip is to tout our differences, how can we be noticed in a market already stuffed with highly competitive and well-situated counterparts?