When my aunt asked me what I wanted for my 9th birthday, I replied slowly with single letter words. I spelled the letters one after another pausing for instances in between.
While I was growing up in late 1990s and early 2000s, we didn’t have zooming internet speed. The most we had was a dial up internet, which showed up somewhere during early 2000s at my home. Remember the odd sound it made every time we connected the modem with the phone? I bet I can hear it right now as I write.
So, during the happy-go-lucky days without internet (which would virtually mean a dead end today), there was little I knew about brands. But Barbie was unmistakable. I knew it, I knew it all too well.
My first Barbie, which still is currently sitting all dressed up inside the cabinet, was a blue eyed doll with green checked cap, blue pants and a checked shirt. It was when I had a brand at my home, and I still do.
My cousins and I spent a lot of time playing with Barbie dolls. We fought too, when the other got the prettier dress. And sometimes we even exchanged shoes. Not to forget the crazy plotlines we made every time we were all together.
There were other dolls too. They were in fact cheaper. But we wanted Barbie, the Barbie. We somehow knew the brand that was and still is.
The feeling and mode of expression that came with Barbie was what we loved the most. And the dresses of course, which we still admire.
Flash forward to 2008, when the sleek design of ipod nano got me going crazy. The reason I needed an ipod nano (instead of an ipod shuffle) was because I wanted watch my favorite anime AMVs. It was love at first sight. No doubt, since I made my cousins in the US wait till the holiday season for a big sale to buy it (just in case the ipod was on sale), and waited almost 3 more months before my grandfather bought it home after his trip. It was the first time I had seen the ‘slightly bitten apple logo’.
It’s another story that I didn’t know how to operate it till the next few months (mind you we didn’t have the zooming internet and the ‘google it’ term), and even then looking at the silver jewel was enough to make me happy. The first song I heard over the ipod felt like music paradise. The software was heavenly. 4GB of space was as big as the universe. How could we fill it?
That is exactly what rushed through my little brains with the first touch of what would be the invincible Apple.
The silver nano, which is now a bit old after years of wear and tear still stands in my bookrack. It always sends out a distinctive vibe whenever I plug in the earphone and listen to numerous playlists, now deemed as one of the best innovations in consumer electronics. I wonder if there are functions and features in that classic piece that I don’t know about even today.
Brand has been defined (in a boring way, as are most definitions) as a distinct set of logos, color, shapes, design, etc that differentiates the product or service from its competitors. What has been missed out is the set of emotions and expressions that we feel about the product, and there could not be anything more distinctive than what rushes inside the minds of people like you and me!
A Barbie will always transport me back to the living room with my cousins. An Apple will always remind me of the joy when I first learnt to use the ipod, which was a cue that new times were starting.