Just in time for Christmas Macy’s has unveiled a new fashion item that marries apparel with technology. In select stores now are men’s fleece sweaters from Sean Jean that feature a video screen – an iPod of sorts – embedded in the left sleeve.
This might seem to be the epitome of brand. But it’s not. Brand is how the customer sees himself, not how others see him.
Middle-aged men, for example, don’t buy sports cars so the neighbors will think they are cool. In fact, the neighbors may regard an old guy and a hot car as ridiculous. Instead, sports cars make men feel young, especially when they’re in the midst of a mid-life crisis. That’s the definition of brand.
Consider this: We all buy brands that no one sees. We prefer a brand of underwear that no one sees. Or a type of laundry detergent no one sees.
Macy’s odd marriage of fashion and technology is a fad, at best. Video sweaters don’t tell consumers who they are when they sport one of these hybrids.
If anything, these hi-tech items simply scream “show off.”