Of Ripped Jeans, Tongue Rings and...Consumer Control

"Punk Marketing" Manifesto May Make a Good Catalyst, But Some of the Revolution's Rules Are Hardly New

By Published on .

Malcolm McLaren, former manager of the Sex Pistols, once described punk as "just a way to sell trousers."

He was referring to Let It Rock, the London retail-cum-fetishist shop he opened in 1971 with fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Taking Chelsea's Kings Road by storm, McLaren helmed a rebellious movement that drew U.K. youngsters by the thousands into a ne'er-explored lifestyle of bondage and leather.

Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons channel that rebel-with-a-cause vibe in "Punk Marketing: Get Off Your Ass and Join the Revolution."

In the wake of traditionalist marketing upheaval (read: slow death of the TV spot), Laermer and Simmons clearly want to serve as our change agents for a badass approach to pushing product that, like McLaren's, is more radical than timely. "Punk" is written as a true manifesto, built around 14 Articles of the Revolution that call for outthinking, not outspending, and weeding out competition with truth, among other principles.

Never pretentious and sometimes insightful, "Punk" reads like the insider wisdom your tattooed brother gave during your first nose-piercing session: "Don't show Mom, but the girls at school will dig it." But in terms of really revolutionizing anything, "Punk" probably falls a few piercings short of its promise given that the fourteen radical principles on the list -- push for multiplatform, accept the creative as god -- and so on, have certainly been aired before.

But "Punk" is a nice rallying cry and at a manageable, accessible 200 pages -- Laermer's penned a few tomes and they're all pretty easy reading -- it'll doubtless prove a useful catalyst for some.

Of course, no self-respecting revolutionary these days launches a book without a companion website. So if you're wondering where to start with the insurrection you can nip over to punkmarketing.com. There you can write a 15th Article of the Revolution yourself, or skim the brunt of the book's talking points. Just don't let mom catch you.
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