Thursday, 17 December 2009

"Does my Butt look funny in this ...?"

It's not just fashion that enables people to express themselves in an individual manner -- humour can achieve the same result. Both are subjective, Fashionista notes, which is why some people really appreciate her latest make-over while others are just plain wrong. So far as humour is concerned, though, delicate sensitivities can be offended -- as the sad little saga of The North Face shows.

The North Face, Fashionista reads, has filed suit in a US court, accusing a teenager of piracy for selling a line of clothing under the brand name The South Butt. This isn't piracy, says the lad, it's satire. According to BrandChannel,
"Many of the world's most prominent brands are satirized in similar fashion on a regular basis, often by substituting irreverent language within the brand's trademark colors and logos. ...
Legal or not, the question remains, does being mocked really hurt a brand? Clearly not all cases are the same. ...

In most cases, these parodies are harmless. The Coca-Cola and McDonald's brands are certainly not losing business over their respective (many) satires. The North Face case, however, may be different as the brand is not a global heavyweight. But the brand does have every right to protect itself.
Now The North Face needs to determine exactly what is, and isn't, a threat to its brand. Otherwise it may end up being the butt of South Butt's joke".
Fashionista wonders whether it isn't the fact that The North Face takes its image so seriously that makes it so ripe for parody; perhaps if it appeared to appreciate the joke its appeal as a target for parody would diminish. Maybe, says Modeliste, but isn't it the fact that The North Face takes itself, its products and its image so seriously the thing that makes it most appealing to its most enthusiastic customers?