Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Mantra Branding...

My first night in a (temporary) new place. A cat-sitting adventure. Sarah away with her family, me alone, the under-crackles of new beginnings are afoot. The dreams are strong, the senses are sharp. The throat is dry from days of dust from exposure to things long still put in motion. In the night, scratching furiously at who knows what... real or imaginary bug bites, cat allergies, boiling blood, I lie tossing and turning, I need water. I grab for a water bottle in an unfamiliar kitchen, eyes squinting... It says, "I AM LUCKY" on the bottle where it usually says Arrowhead or Fiji or whatever. I'm too tired and fuzzy to process this gimmick. My anti-marketing shields are down. Frankly, I am struck by the positivity of this water. Back to bed.

This morning, a closer inspection indeed reveals some very high concept H2O. I AM LUCKY is a product put out by a company called Aquamantra. Their slogan is "Stimulate Your Soul." The water is "energy enhanced." The back of the bottle reads: "I AM LUCKY... This is the mantra we want you to think while you drink. Our work at Aquamantra is inspired by quantum physics, which simply states that information travels on waves of energy. The reason your are drinking I AM LUCKY is because you are resonating with the energy to be lucky." For the full monty, do check out their excruciating website.

Is that California cheese I smell? Sure enough, I AM LUCKY is bottled in Dana Point, just a few miles down the coast from LA. I AM LUCKY taps into a particular New New Age Californian zeitgeist, coming soon to a town near you. This new mindset is steeped in such swiftly spreading cultural nodes as Co-Creationism, The Power of Intention, The Secret, etc. In a nutshell, these well-meaning, pseudo-scientific movements ask us to be open to universal energies that will help us envision and emanate the future(s) we wish to inhabit. These are old, ideas re-branded and re-worded by and for crisp spiritual beings wishing to side step the crunchy shortcomings of the Old New Age. The New New Age couples loosely with the exploding Green movement into a branding juggernaut poised to enmesh our nation in a whole new mess of psycho-marketing babble. Are you ready?

Are marketers' forays into spiritual and environmental realms sincere? Not sincere? Half baked? Evil? I'm going to beat the system at its own game and say that the choice is mine. Mass expression (i.e. propaganda) may be in the hands of advertisers and governments and modern day soothsayers, but interpretation is always in the hands of the individual. There are, of course, powers that would like us to forget that fact, and their methods are insidious. So choose your interpretations carefully and good luck! If you need some, I know where you can drink it up...


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