SOAPBOX
Military chic: selling the brand
Gordon Frazier
volume:  
volume 36
issue 4
August 2015
imagestuff

Gordon Frazier

A recent article in The New York Times gushed about a new fashion line featuring military surplus clothing “reworked for the soldier in us all.”

The $200 (!) jumpsuit pictured with the article looks like something you’d wear to work on your car, but no matter. It got us thinking about military chic and selling militarism in general. There must be think tanks devoted to the concept. Ah, to be a fly on the wall at one of those meetings …

• • • • •

A shuttered conference room high above Madison Avenue, sometime in the near future. A group of people convene.

“All right people, Project Military Chic is well underway, and the Pentagon is antsy for some good subtle PR ideas. What have you got? Yes, Josh?”

“We have several top fashion designers on board. Expect to see a lot more khaki on the runway this fall. We might even see the return of epaulets!”

“Excellent.”

“Also, the Martha Stewart home linen collection now comes in camouflage. Seven shades of fun.”

“Mm-hmm, sounds dreadful. That stuff does sell, though, and it’s good branding.”

“Matching flatware is coming down the pike.”

“Of course it is. Well, nice work. Moving on, Ashley: talk to me about movies.”

“I’m working with a niche marketing firm that’s testing how extreme we can go with fantasy-military crossover movies. We’re considering several different franchises.”

“Such as?”

“The one that shows the most promise is My Little Pony. Imagine a color-coordinated cavalry — with the winged ones doubling as air support! It’d be awesome.”

“Indeed! So would there be a toy tie-in?”

[There is a stunned silence.]

“I’m sorry, you’re right, that was a stupid question. Speaking of toys, anything new, Tomás?”

“Yes. It’s still hush-hush, but I tracked down info on G.I. Barbie, the post-Ken woman-of-adventure — ”

“G.I. Barbie??? Now that has potential! Movies, of course … can you say ‘Emma Stone vehicle?’ … and merchandising, oh yes. Are you taking notes, Josh? Write this down: ‘G.I. Barbie combat boots’ — pink, of course — and, and, oh, why have I not heard of this before?!? Can you imagine the demographics? The 8-12 little girl market alone could … could … aack …”

[He clutches his heart, then pauses to take a drink of water, several pills, and a long, shaky breath.]

“Ahem. Yes, definitely keep an eye on that. Moving on ... Tyler? Do we even need to talk about video games?”

“No sir. That industry takes care of itself. We could learn a few things from them.”

“And professional sports?”

“Ditto. Fantastic platform for anything militaristic. I don’t think it’s possible to go too far.”

“So nothing new there … ah, how about news programs?”

“We’ve still got plenty of right-minded folks on the expert commentator circuit, but you know, it’s just news.”

“Oh, I know, not a big audience and an old one. Still, it’s good to be thorough. What else do we have on the agenda? There’s consumer goods ... ah, the automobile market. What’s up, Jessica? Another Humvee in our future?”

“No, no, they are yesterday’s news. We are focusing on high tech options in regular cars: onboard guidance systems, heads-up displays, proximity alerts, voice control, subtle design changes. Our goal is to make car interiors look and feel like the cockpit of a fighter jet.”

“So?”

“So over time drivers identify with fighter pilots. Our pysch guys call it the cool factor. Makes war fun again.”

“I like it. Also, ‘Makes war fun again’ is a great slogan, we should use that sometime. Or have we already used it? Have an intern check on that. Anyway, good work, Jess. Good work, everyone! I think we have a number of solid ideas to present to our client.”

[The group breaks up. A young associate approaches.]

“Excuse me sir? I’m just curious. When does Project Military Chic end?”

“Ah, that’s the beauty of it, Wesley.

“It doesn’t.”

Gordon Frazier sheepishly admits he would probably go see My Little Pony Kicks Butt. To send feedback write to FSnews@mindspring.com.

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