Selling Cities As Brands and Products

Selling Cities As Brands and Products

What bringing Brooklyn to Manhattan, and to mass retail, tells us about branding cities, boroughs, their lifestyles and products as 'cool.'

Paloma M. Vazquez
  • 15 december 2010

A recent piece at the New York Times discusses a new restaurant in Manhattan – The Brooklyneer, that is dedicated to all things Brooklyn. From the locally-brewed beers and borough-aged whiskey to artisanal foods like pickles, hot dogs, cheeses and jams – the eatery brings some of the best products from Brooklyn to Manhattan – and to all those that want to visit it to experience it.

The article makes some interesting observations that we’ve also noticed – essentially, from Williams & Sonoma to the Gap/Coolhunting Pop-Up Store collaboration, it seems that a number of companies and brands want to offer non-Brooklynites the borough’s perceived ‘DIY cool’. It’s clear that Brooklyn has increasingly visible and productive creative capital and product associated with it during the past several years (some would argue decades) – from music to fashion and now particularly food – and that recognition may now be hitting the mainstream. And so it appears that brands and marketers are looking to extend the ‘Brooklyn brand’ to non-Brooklyn residents, in various forms.

The encapsulation, branding, packaging and retailing of a city (or borough)’s personality¬†is not new, nor does it likely surprise anyone. From NYC East Village shops bearing Japanese teas, candies, anime cartoons and toys, to those bearing Portland coffee, we’ve seen the ‘cool’ of Japanese toys and anime comics, the ‘green’ ethos of Portland (and for ages the haute couture, cuisine and classic romance of Paris) packaged for wider audiences. What is interesting is that, among Brooklyn’s noted creative products, what is getting this much attention as of late is its food. This may simply be telling of the increasingly leading role that food is playing in today’s cultural landscape of what is interesting and cool.

And speaking of ‘cool’ – a recent piece at Big Spaceship discusses how some sites may be trying to ‘monetize cool’ – by making it easier for shoppers to pull together the exact same outfit or look of their favorite icons of ‘cool’. Perhaps the notion of ‘monetizing cool’ applies not just to helping people dress cooler, but to helping them experience the ‘DIY cool’ and lifestyle associated with a borough like Brooklyn, or a city like Portland – while they live in Miami, Houston or San Diego.

The Brooklyneer


PSFK's Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Brand Development
Advertising Today

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Arts & Culture Today

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings

Design Today

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia Today

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising Today

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

Food Today

Disable Your Wi-Fi For Family Dinners With This Pepper Grinder Hacking Device

Dolmio has created a gadget that shuts down internet access so you can eat without being distracted


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs august 24, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Annual Review Becomes An Everyday, Collaborative Activity

Our Future of Work vision is a web-based platform through which teams can collaborate on and monitor performance reviews across all channels, ensuring a happier workplace

Entertainment Today

Nosulus Rift Delivers Horrible Smells Just For The South Park Videogame

Ubisoft has developed a unique peripheral for the upcoming title that will put players to the test

Europe Today

Netflix’s Newest Programming Is As Slow As It Gets

Norwegian network NRK is coming to the streaming platform with their successful 'Slow TV'

Media & Publishing Yesterday

CNN Launched An Entire Drone Division Of Their News Network

CNN AIR incorporates aerial footage into the corporation's ongoing news coverage

Advertising Yesterday

Uber’s Breathalyzer Cards Let You Know If You Are Sober Enough To Drive

A new campaign from the ride-sharing service raises awareness about the importance of a safe trip home

Design Yesterday

Milk Proteins Could Be The Packaging Material Of The Future

A newly discovered casein-based alternative is biodegradable, sustainable and even edible


Innovation Debrief: Boston
Business Concepts Born In 'The Hub'

Technology Yesterday

Intel’s New System Will Help Technology See And Understand The World

Joule is a tiny board for developers designed to bring powerful computer vision to cheap and easy-to-make prototypes

Design Yesterday

This LA Hotel Is Designed Specifically For Cocktail Drinkers

The Walker Inn is a new Los Angeles "Bed and Beverage" experience that offers guests an intimate setting for their night cap

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

No search results found.