Friday, July 24, 2009

The branding power of Swastikas


I recently was in Ohio visiting relatives. On the way home I stopped in a few rest stops. Two of the three had swastikas drawn in marker in the stalls.
As a Jew, seeing things like this are always distressing. We hope things like this will disappear, and appears only in textbooks and museums.
But I realized why this will never happen: the Swastika is just too strong a brand.
It has nothing really to do with Hitler anymore. It's become a symbol that Hitler, the media and the rightfully upset Jewish community have burned into the brains of every American.
Imagine you are an angry white man who, for whatever reason, hates blacks or Jews. All you need to do is make two swiggly lines and you've expressed yourself in a loud and visceral way that almost anyone can understand.
Counter this with something I saw in another stall - the written web address for www.davidduke.com. Someone would need to see this, maybe write down the web address, go to a computer and flip through a bunch of pages to get a gist of what Duke stands for.
Or you can just use a globally recognized symbol and send your message instantly.
Because it's such an incredibly powerful symbol / brand, it will never go out of style.

4 comments:

Ilan Goodman said...

Actually, that's not a proper swastika. It's a mirror image of one, and incorrect at that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Dianna said...

David Duke's website is frightening and confusing. You were spot on about that one.

Jonathan Rubin said...

Ilan: hmmm... maybe the branding power isn't so powerful after all!

George said...

You stopped at a few rest stops eh?