Next time you need something to eat, wear or clean with, consider one of these three corporate hippies

The “Doc” himself.

Dr. Bronner’s

Dr. Bronner’s comes first in our hearts because it is probably the most batshit brand success story in US history — a story that hasn’t been told enough. Let’s get into it. In 1936, family patriarch Emanuel Heilbronner escaped the burgeoning Nazi party and fled to the US. The entirety of his family perished in Holocaust death camps after their soap-making business was nationalized. He was put in a mental institution in Illinois as a young man for espousing “crazy” beliefs like proud Zionism, virulent anti-Nazism and a general concern for the wellbeing of the world. The Doctor…


The Story

Over the last decade, millennials have shifted myriad markets due to our fickle tastes, willingness to hop on trends we see on social media and perceptions of what is and is not healthy. One positive example of this is a decrease in soda consumption over the last decade. Multinational powerhouses Coke and Pepsi, both of which pump out what is increasingly considered a borderline-poisonous product marketed explicitly to children and low-income families, have had to adapt to our morality-tinged consumption habits. …


This article was originally published on Highsnobiety.

When we talk about fashion, we talk about Paris, Milan, New York, London, and Tokyo. Sometimes Rome, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, or even Moscow might get a mention. But few will have heard of Ponzano Veneto. Yet, located about 20 miles north of Venice, this town of some 13,000 inhabitants has its place in the history of fashion and retail because it’s the home of Benetton.

United Colors of Benetton was founded in 1965 by siblings Luciano, Giuliana, Carlo, and Gilberto Benetton. Clothing worker Luciano had been selling sweaters made at home by…


…no, you’re a copywriter.

In the world of buzzwords, perhaps none has been more overused and less understood than storytelling. There are 216 TED Talks tagged with #storytelling. “Narrative” is thrown around brainstorms globally for such compelling products as diapers and beer. C-Suite executives cite it constantly as a strategy while their agency teams churn out targeted ads that tout product benefits only they would care about.

I’m not going to analyze whether or not storytelling is a strategy worth pursuing. It is. It’s the most powerful tool in brand-building, bar none. …


Ed Ruscha’s self-aware take on authenticity in art.

Adapted from an article I originally published in AdAge in 2016.

I have a mantra when it comes to marketing: Brands don’t influence people, people do.

The Youth Are Starting to Change*

The sophistication of young people — Gen-Z is the largest and most diverse generation ever — is something few agencies, and even fewer brands, want to acknowledge. Not only are we not smarter than them, we’re falling into rhetorical pits that they’ve dug for us. The biggest example of this is what we can call the “authenticity” trap.

Simply put, real authenticity means little to young people. They use the word in focus groups…


This week the world’s only publicly-traded auction house announces plans to goes private. Israeli-French telecoms billionaire Patrick Drahi purchased the company at a premium of 61%, or $3.7 billion altogether. Sotheby’s stock jumped from the mid-$30 range to the mid $50s almost immediately.

What is Sotheby’s?

You know that it’s an auction house, but there is a lot more to Sotheby’s history. It was founded by Samuel Baker, a successful bookseller who held his first auction under his own name in 1744 (“the dispersal of ‘several Hundred scarce and valuable Books in all branches of Polite Literature’ from the library of Sir John…


I read it all, so you don’t have to.

First thing’s first. I am highly cynical about and hyper-critical of the streetwear industry in general. Maybe it’s because I’ve been a part of it for a decade and I’m bitter I never started a tee shirt brand or a re-selling shop. I have written for both Hypebeast and Highsnobiety for the last 10 years everywhere from the forums to the print magazines. That being said — this report is objectively good and I’m impressed by it. The data is solid. The methodology and choice to partner with a management consultancy…


Of note — this piece was pitched to about every fashion and lifestyle publication out there, and no one would publish it. This shows the power that traditional legacy print media still holds — despite their massive declining cultural relevance. Ad dollars are the opiate of the industry. I have no dog in this fight, and the one time I went to the Met Gala I had to sneak in anyway, so here it is…

The CFDA Awards and its Vogue Fashion Fund have never really been that influential. The organization is at best institutional, at worst irrelevant.

Founded in…


The biggest name of Paris Fashion Week is a designer who is not showing and hasn’t stepped foot on the scene for two years. French-Tunisian-Italian designer Hedi Slimane is probably the most copied man in fashion today, and arguably the most influential force in the industry since the beginning of the 21st century. He not only brought back skinny jeans, he popularized the skinny-everything menswear looks we’ve seen for the better part of the last decade. He incepted the total-control, artist-in-chief approach to “creative direction” at luxury brands that we see the likes of Gucci, Balenciaga and Loewe endorsing today…


What has fashion come to? The question seems to be buzzing around the heads of designers, executives, retailers, editors and even shoppers on a constant basis these days. Is it a cold-hearted, data-driven trend machine? Is it a romantic representation of culture? Is it art? Is it business? Is it evolving? Is it dead?

The answer probably lies somewhere in the “demilitarized zone between art and commerce,” as Glenn O’Brien used to say. If anyone knew, it was Pierre Bergé. And now it’s too late to ask.

If you know the work of Yves Saint Laurent, then you know the…

Kingsland

A Brand Strategy Studio in NYC +LA.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store