World biz and more as seen from India

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Naomi Klein's No Logo - A brand today!

Here is my take on Naomi Klien's one sided account of why brands are a bane to mankind. Her book, 'No Logo' which has been widely publicized, ironically for a book with the title that it sports, but when you have the beautiful Naomi's picture on the second page, the book garners attention. i bet that was the intent of the author!
In three words - I felt cheated.
Here is a beautiful account of why brands are a bane to mankind. All those who want another reason to sue the McDonald's of the world for for not mentioning that hot coffee may cause rashes if dropped on skin, can enjoy this as a bed time storybook.
Naomi Klein sure knows how to make her point. No Logo is a chronicle of events which makes us sit up and doesn’t spare us the time to sit back and ponder over different anecdotes and startling facts about the brands that many of us revere.It is a book for customers and brand managers alike. She wages war against the known names from the “branded” world.
Naomi Klein takes a shot at companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks, among million others accusing them of creating a halo around their brands, which leads the customer in believing that brands are icons and that they have to be worshipped.

The book doesn’t spare the likes of, Microsoft, Shell, Wal-Mart, Nike and the like for creating a larger than life picture. A substantial part of the book is dedicated to highlight the fact that the brands like Nike are a farce and that they have developed a strong reputation at the cost of poor inmates of underdeveloped countries. She lambastes Coke for a foolhardy attempt for branding itself in schools and colleges.
The author is against celebrity endorsement. She cites the example of Michael Jordan who is bigger than the brand he endorses. In an amusing incident, the author recalls that a large part of the school going population thought that Jordan paid Nike for popularizing himself in the Air Jordan Campaign.
Klein doesn’t advocate acquisitions and mergers. According to her they are a social waste. When Phillip Morris acquired Kraft Foods in 1988, it had to shell out a stupendous sum of $12.6 billion. This is an astronomical sum even today. The irony is that Kraft was acquired at six times its actual price on paper. The price difference was apparently the cost of the word “Kraft”.

The book is strewn with many such examples that appall you and sometimes anger you. Since, the tone of the book is very provocative, the reader has to choose which side he is on. The reviews that the book had drawn when it was released were extreme. The readers either liked it, or despised it. According to me, the author takes too many liberties in accusing the brands and questioning their existence. The book is an easy read, but is disappointing because it conveys only half the truth.