to brand a space
October 13, 2003 12:41 PM   Subscribe

This square will soon be called NikePlatz. Nike remakes a square in Vienna. A new sort of spatial theory.
posted by the fire you left me (25 comments total)
thats a nice lil ol trick they gots there.
posted by Satapher at 1:10 PM on October 13, 2003

Sweet Lord, my heart sank to the soles of my feet when I clicked on the first link. It wouldn't be so disheartening if it wasn't so plausible. I mean, if New York can be the Big Snapple, why couldn't Karlsplatz become Nikeplatz? I suppose it's only a matter of time until reality imitates art.
posted by Ljubljana at 1:19 PM on October 13, 2003

I went through shocker, anger, confusion, amusement, embarassment, and appreciation in like ten minutes there.

Good stuff.
posted by xmutex at 1:20 PM on October 13, 2003

The days when corporate philanthropy entailed simply handing over a check with no strings attached are disappearing. Corporations seeking markets, image, or access are dangling money in front of institutions that need it.[Big Snapple]
posted by thomcatspike at 1:36 PM on October 13, 2003

"You want to wear it, why shouldn't cities want to wear it too? These days the Nike Infobox travels from city to city announcing the places that have been chosen to wear the new Nike name."

Less than forty words, but so many assumptions and so much arrogance. I'm regularly entertained by high-concept publicity stunts, but the tone of this one immediately turned my stomach. Better luck next time, Nike.
posted by Inkslinger at 1:48 PM on October 13, 2003

Xmutex, I'm with you.

Though, for some reason my initial reaction was that it seemed par for the course for Wien.
posted by shoepal at 1:57 PM on October 13, 2003

This NYTimes article says that only 1 in 20 Europeans goes to church on a regular basis (compared to 1 in 3 in USA). That most Europeans have found other outlets for self indentification including consumerism and Europe is declining into an adult theme park. It interviews an Italian man who finds himself jogging on Sundays because it seems more important than going to church. We have churches in town squares, why not theme park monuments to jogging shoes.
posted by stbalbach at 3:21 PM on October 13, 2003

Europe is declining into an adult theme park.

Interesting...that's what I think about the US when I go there. Part of the attraction really...

BTW, the article actually says:
'In France…about one in 20 people attends a religious service every week, compared with about one in three in the United States…While France is an extreme case…'

ie France/=Europe
posted by i_cola at 3:58 PM on October 13, 2003

what does being a church-goer have to do with being anti-consumerism? if anything, the christians i know are also the most hell-bent consumers and materialists that I know.
posted by badstone at 4:00 PM on October 13, 2003

i really like this kind of culture-jamming project. with any luck it may get some people to think about the implications of ubiquitous corporate "sponsorship".
posted by dolface at 4:00 PM on October 13, 2003

My first thought was that the link had something to do with rehabilitating old missile silos. Couldn't imagine why Vienna would concern itself with old American cold-war technology, though...
posted by five fresh fish at 4:29 PM on October 13, 2003

Better luck next time, Nike.

Someone didn't read the second link.


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posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:08 PM on October 13, 2003

does anyone have a link to the official nike press release. the link on the 01001011etc doesn't work and the copy they provide is very un-press release to me. either way....i've got to echo the above statements about going through the range of emotions....and now i'm thinking is it a staged nike, even though they might not want you to think it is. it's just too perfect. and isn't advertising supposed to get your attention to the product. they took ten minutes of my time!
posted by oliver_crunk at 5:18 PM on October 13, 2003

Someone didn't read the second link.

It's true! I stand shamefully corrected.
posted by Inkslinger at 5:43 PM on October 13, 2003

less people go to church in europe because they are not savages over there. Well, less so anyway.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 PM on October 13, 2003

does anyone have a link to the official nike press release

posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:22 PM on October 13, 2003

*Throws spear at delmoi*
posted by Stauf at 6:35 PM on October 13, 2003

Um...can someone explain this to me? How is this a good prank? It's not even remotely funny, just really scary.

But I don't see how it warns us or teaches us a lesson. People's reaction to a Nikepark was very visceral. Was the point of the prank just to make fun of people who thought it plausible that a corporation would buy out a famous park?

To me the prank just seems mean, with no redeeming value.
posted by jennak at 6:39 PM on October 13, 2003

doesnt reality already imitate art?

doesnt art already imitate reality?
posted by Satapher at 7:05 PM on October 13, 2003

Was the point of the prank just to make fun of people who thought it plausible that a corporation would buy out a famous park?

Well, at least one possible point of the prank: to highlight just how plausible (while ridiculous) such a scenario is. Not so much to "make fun" of those who found it believable, but to throw into high relief our willingness to accept the idea that this might somehow be done; now that "guerilla marketing" is a reality and that corporations spend more and more energy disseminating and projecting their "brand identity" into the public sphere, our world is being rapidly altered, and I think we are being desensitized to the omnipresence of language and images which focus on us as consumers.

A prank which calls our attention to it, which re-sensitizes us to this process, is in my opinion quite valuable, as pranks go (even if the pranksters do express their motives in a pretentious fashion).

I'll also note: hoaxes designed to "make fun" of those who fall for them don't generally work. A truly great, successful hoax takes in a great number of people, and almost by definition must fool both the intelligent and the less discriminating. Otherwise, it's too easily spotted. The pleasure of successfully fooling a whole city is not in ridiculing them -- but in demonstrating a cultural blind spot of some kind, a gap in our ability to differentiate between fiction and reality. I saw nothing mean in this one.
posted by BT at 7:14 PM on October 13, 2003

imphilltr8r, what's your link supposed to mean?

i'm also curious to read the nike release.
posted by dobbs at 8:34 PM on October 13, 2003

Geh komm oida, was meinst du denn da? Was is' mit dem Scheißdreck? Bist du ganz deppert?

Ehrlich gsagt, 's gfällt mir sehr daß dieses Gerücht ned wahr is'.

I'm glad to learn that this rumor isn't true. If it was true, I'd have to see the station name "Nikeplatz" every day on the U-bahn (subway) as I ride to work, and that would make me sick.
posted by syzygy at 4:04 AM on October 14, 2003

Going absolutely way (way) off-topic for a moment, Ljubljana: will you be watching the game tomorrow night? Greetings from a Liverpool supporter if so, and let's hope it's a great football match.
posted by walrus at 4:39 AM on October 14, 2003

it seemed par for the course for Wien

I had the opposite reaction. The idea seems far too outrageous for a city as conservative as Vienna seems to be. Look at how slowly and begrudgingly the Vienna Philharmonic is allowing (gasp) female members, and then imagine how bizarre it would be if the city freely opened up its central square to such a radical transformation. Then again, I'm certainly not an expert on Vienna, especially when it comes to their dialect, which is wholly impenetrable. Perhaps syzygy is the man/woman to ask.

Ljubljana: will you be watching the game tomorrow night?

Indeed! However, even with the propitious sidelining of Michael Owen and the wishful boasts of Mladen "the Wash Out" Rudonja, I'm confident that Olimpija is on the path to destruction, and that all (or most) of their base will belong to Liverpool. Nevertheless, here's hoping it's a good game!
posted by Ljubljana at 6:42 AM on October 14, 2003

Well, notwithstanding the fact that we've blown hot and cold this season, and quite frankly played awful football in the away leg, I think if the Liverpool squad are aware of those comments from Rudonja and Besirovic then we'll certainly see a good game!

We have an advantage with the away goal, but Olimpija have a chance: if they could snatch an early goal, I think our forwards might lose confidence (again). Olimpija fought a good home leg and we have a lot of key players out, so no-one is quite sure of the team we'll play. I'm looking forward to the match: I think it will be a test of our team spirit. I'll drink an ale in your honour whilst watching.

Sorry to everyone else for the thread derail.
posted by walrus at 3:06 AM on October 15, 2003

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