Significant fake branding

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Here’s yet another twist on adding an invented narrative to a seemingly low-value thingamabob:

Designer Matt Brown bought a pack of 15 plastic horses for a couple of bucks. Then he dreamed up a name for each one, then packaging, reconceptualizing his two-dollar purchase as a line of toys, Night Horses, that were introduced in the late 1980s, and flopped.

Hey, remember Night Horses? (No, you don't.)

I love it!

More recently Brown has embarked on another project, turning some toy cars into another failed product line. They’ll be retroactively rebranded as Throttle Dukes. More here.

Throttle Dukes, to be.

Is this more evidence of the “significant objects meme” Josh has detected? I don’t know.

What I really want to know is: How can we work with this guy? He’s great! “I like taking things that are basically worthless and neglected and turning them into something that people could enjoy again,” he writes. Combine that with my longstanding interest in imaginary brands, and you can see why I’m so into it.

(Via Metafilter, by the way, where Brown was referred to as a “design fiction enthusiast.”)


Rob Walker is the author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, and writes the Consumed column for The New York Times Magazine.

3 thoughts on “Significant fake branding

  1. Pingback: Imaginary (and signficant?) branding

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