Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Brand values

As you ascend from Lime Kiln traffic lights towards Hanley, you pass a hand car wash facility on the right, which merrily proclaims itself to be "the best hand job in town." In fact it's pretty much adjacent to the venerable horse-trough from which this blog takes its name.

Today, while queueing interminably to turn right, I noticed that Soap Suds also carries signage for a well-known local taxi firm. Also printed on the sign were the logo of Staffordshire's only Premier League football club, and the initials of the club's well-known firm, the N40.

I find this discouraging. In passing, I was mildly shocked by it. I can't think of any other business that would identify itself so obviously and officially with that sort of stuff.

Bizarre, at best, no?


Shane said...

Your blog's gone all white. I like it - in a non-racialist sort of way, of course.

To your N40 point: I remember learning of this crowd, soon after moving to the Potteries, and later living close to one of their haunts - a pub called (I think), Uncle Tom's Cabin, or something like that - down in Boothen/Stoke. The N40 profile was, I'm sure, a part-product of simple savvy marketing/branding wit. Did anyone ever point out that a gang of up to 400, calling themselves the 'Naughty Forty', might have got their numbers wrong, somehow. I once spoke with a social psychologist, who'd done ethnographic research with England fans during the France World Cup (1998?), who suggested that the gang branding would often have as much bite as the games they played with police.

On the peculiarity of such a blatant N40 marking of the car wash site that you mention: I've not seen anything so blatant, recently. And without wishing to sound pious, I imagine it reads as a fairly sad kind of longing for former glories - and glories of other people, at that.

I'm tempted to extend the comment further, to draw in commentaries on family and fatherhood, but I'll not. Instead, I will drink tea and have a Club biscuit - an equally worthy pursuit.

Meanwhile... said...

Feel free to construct your own homily, Shane.

It's all a bit sad - but there are still a lot of N40 tattoos around in Stoke.

It's like when someone tells you to count the number of teenage lads you see in any one day who have their hands ensconced in their trouser crotches.

Suddenly it hits you. Millions.