Before SI meant Sports Illustrated it meant Situationist International, a European movement intended to create social change through loud, startling political events. Anyone familiar with the punk movement knows Malcolm McLaren (RIP). Mr. McLaren sired the Sex Pistols, practiced SI and was a huge music and cultural catalyst. In the 50-70s the Situationists were angry and focused on political change. When Mr. McLaren introduced punk to the world and NYC in the 70s he was angry but he was a lot more.
Just as Greenwich Village called to America’s gay and lesbian communities back in the day, punk placed a call to the country’s disaffected youth in search of their own Woodstock… and they came to downtown NYC in droves. It was an interesting time, with lots of layered social texture. Mr. McLaren was a big part of this movement.
A handful of marketing companies today attempt to acculturate products into our lives. Strawberry Frog, for one, is very vocal about creating “cultural movements.” Experiential marketing companies such as Momentum look to jump-start change in new and unique product-centric ways thought events and promotions. As the internet, mobile and geo-location grow in marketing stature we will begin to have more and more fun using these tools to drive sales — but let us remember Mr. McLaren: All tool and no movement can make for a soft, smarmy effort. Peace!