Does it sound familiar?

“Imagine, Plato said, a large, dark room in an ancient Athenian house. Facing one wall in a row of chairs sit a group of ten consumers. They have been told that they must focus their gaze only on the wall in front of them; they are not allowed to turn round.

At the back of the room a large fiery torch is lit. It casts light all around, and in particular onto the wall at which the consumers are gazing. Between the torch and the row of consumers are placed in turn various well-known Ancient Greek objects: an earthenware pot, a pair of sandals, a comb. Each object can be defined both in terms of its function (we know what is is) and its particular ‘branded’ style (eg the handles of the pot are distinctive, the sandals have a unique form of strapping, the comb a characteristic shape).

The objects throw shadows onto the wall in front of the audience, and the consumers are able to recognize the various brands on this basis. This early ‘magic lantern show’ is the equivalent of a modern-day presentation of brand logos, pack designs, or advertising executions.

The point being made is quite simple. The audience may be able to recognize one object from another, even one brand from another, on the basis of what is projected onto the wall- but what is being experienced is far less than ‘reality’.

Plato is saying that, in the same way that the shadows on the wall are a limited and superficial projection of the different objects, so too are brands as we most immediately experience them a superficial projection of something more real.”

in The Philosophy of Branding, by Thom Braun

O autor deste livro propõe-nos uma revisão das linhas principais das teorias filosóficas mais conhecidas, numa adaptação pouco convencional às temáticas da marca e do marketing. Thom Braun coloca Sócrates, Platão, Descartes ou mesmo Nietzsche a “falar” de marcas. O excerto transcrito mostra uma adaptação livre da Alegoria da Caverna de Platão para quem estiver interessado em encontrar the deeper meaning of branding.

Probably the most entertaining phylosophy book I have ever read. I only wish school would have been this much fun.

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