Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Hero and the Outlaw

I finally finished reading Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson's The Hero and the Outlaw, which my cousin, the budding Jungian analyst, had recommended to me a few years back. Prior to launching her own strategic consulting firm, Mark was an EVP at Young & Rubicam. Pearon is a pioneer in the field of applied Jungian psychology and is the President of the Center for Archetypal Studies and Applications.

The book is a dense read which lays out 12 archetypes including the Innocent, the Explorer, the Sage, the Hero, the Outlaw, the Magician, the Regular Guy/Gal, the Lover, the Jester, the Caregiver, the Creator and the Ruler that can be leveraged to create brands that resonate with consumers. Later chapters apply the archetypes to organizations and illustrate how disconnects between the organizatonal archetype and the employee make-up could lead to employee dissatisfaction.

The one example that totally resonated with me was the discussion of the re-incarnated Volkswagon Beetle:

Jay Mays, the creator of the new Beetle...likes to say that the car's design concept is as simple as three concentric circles, invoking, but reinterpreting, the spirit of its earlier incarnation. But looking at the design through the archetypal lens, we see that the "face" of the new Beetle is virtually identical to the face of an infant - with big eyes and a high, smooth forehead...Now that face, the face of the Innocent, has found expression in a unique and charming automotive design...we look at the reincarnated Beetle and want to smile. We may not know why, but we feel that it would be really great to drive one, to own one. For some inexplicable reason, we would want to own one in a primary colour. What we intuit as consumers, but cannot express, is our delight that the Innocent has been resurrected in such a clever new way.

The emphasis above is mine: When I see a Beetle, without fail, I smile...even the thought of one makes me smile. There is a part of me that wants to own one in the cheery green above but I would never actually go out and buy one because it's too cute a car and I don't feel that I am a cute person, yet the thought of it gives me pleasure...My attraction to the lovable Bug was inexplicable to me before, but now I understand. The Beetle appeals to the Innocent in me.

Oh, and MAJOR pet peeve? The poor copy-editing! So awful and distracting! I had the same problem reading The Interpretation of Murder. Mark was referred to variously by her first name and her last name, which got to be rather confusing because her last name could be a first name, and I found misplaced articles and misspelt words. Why the sloppy copy-editing??! So unnecessary and very disappointing.

1 comment:

The Lone Beader said...

I love the Beetle! If I were wealthy enough to collect cars like Jay Leno, I would definitely buy one!

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