November 07, 2007

Two Bald Men

When I was a child, it was common to hear a certain type of argument dismissed as being like 'two bald men fighting over a comb'. With my own hairlines receding faster than the Sahara desert, I'm not laughing quite as hard at the image that conjures up as I once did.

It came to mind recently as I read KZero's intriguing 5 Rules For Virtual Brand Management, where I learned that avatars in Second Life, the '3D online digital world imagined and created by its residents', were vying to purchase expensive virtual cars to park in their online digital driveways (Second Life's residents sadly haven't yet imagined or created virtual highways on which to really open up their new machines). Meanwhile, real-life brands such as Adidas, Nike, Oakley and the other usual suspects are doing a roaring trade in that other world.

I've heard people in the last couple of weeks marvel at what they see as the foolishness of those who would pay top Linden dollar (Second Life's currency) for simulated brands to sport in their second life online. At one step it seems foolish, but when I recall the games of make-believe that we all played as children, it begins to make sense. A writer once noted that there is nothing as serious as a child at play and it's not unnatural that we want to bring that same seriousness to our play as adults in the make-believe world of Second Life.

In fact, you could argue that once any object moves beyond mere function and we shell out the premium required to wear this branded shirt or drive that branded car, whether on or off-line, we are anyway behaving more and more like those two bald men scrapping it out over a comb.

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