Rejuvenile by Christopher Noxon  

03.28.07 Look, a Shiny Thing!

To those of us who enjoy the luxury of waxing theoretical, being a rejuvenile is about expressing a mindset. It’s about living a life that places more value in spontaneity and openness than traditional “adult” notions of steadfastness and seriousness.

But make no mistake: being a rejuvenile is also about being a target market. At this very moment, smart and well-compensated account execs are formulating sophisticated campaigns to sell you —  the thirtysomething cubicle farmer, you the grizzled Boomer with the BMW skateboard, you the fiftysomething Arielholic.

No interest in chocolate bars laced with bits of dehydrated rice? What if it possesses the power to release ?the kid in you?? Anxious about finding yourself in a tract house with kids and a minivan? Then strike back! Adorn your walls with framed Chris Ware posters, get thee a belly ring, start a garage band!

Not that there’s anything wrong with belly rings, garage bands, or for that matter, being a target market. As players in a highly mediated, ever-more-commercialized new century, we’re all data points in a vast commercial matrix. Pretending to be above such things is futile.

The trick is knowing the difference between what we genuinely want and what we’re being sold. None of us want our mindsets shaped by commercial forces (even if they are). As easy as it is to fall back into tractable, pre-adult neediness ? Look, a shiny thing! Wait, I want candy! ? we can all agree we’re far better off recognizing a pitch when it comes along and deciding consciously and deliberately whether to accept it.

Me, I reject Nestle Crunch bars and belly rings. Here, though, are a few rejuvenile-targeted goods and services I simply cannot resist:

? The Crayola Crayon Executive Pen. For the truly self-possessed executive, this brass ballpoint pen has the weight and gravitas of the corner office and the cheery playfulness of the romper room. Store it on your desk next to your Executive Set Sea Monkey set and send a clear message: you are not a Dilbert drone.

Hidden Lemonade Stand Easter eggs. Kim & Jason, the reigning rejuvenile power couple from Madison, WI are doing a cool contest in conjunction with their online store the Lemonade S —  prizes by locating the hidden Easter eggs nestled among childlike goodies. But be careful? you just might find yourself leavign with an “Adulthood stinks” T-shirt or a copy of their eseential how-to manual Escape Adulthood.

Perpetual Kid ? Online retailer for dizzying variety of rejuvenile novelties and doo-dads, organized into categories including “office toys” (banana cell phone cover, crocodile staple remover, Buddha pencil top), “fun fragrances” (Play-Doh Cologne, eau-du-birthday cake) and “things that shoot” (marshmallow shooters, airzookas, rubber band guns).

??Big Fun toy store. A friend visiting Cleveland happened upon what she describes as rejuvenile —  cluttered and crazed collection of new and used toys, models, action figures, board games and lunchboxes. Owner Steve Presser has a thing for vintage commercial tie-ins, from the obvious (Star Wars, Care Bears) to the obscure (M.A.S.K., Mr. T). No website; visit them on your next jaunt to Ohio: 1827 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Ohio.

???All Grown Up? image gallery ? My old friend Jeff Schmidt alerted me to this catalog of commercial photographs from the The Veer Image Bank. I wasn’t aware that commercial picture services had gotten so arty and —  images are way more expressive and subtle than the highly staged, brightly lit, artificial pictures I associate with commercial photography. More impressive still is how this collection of pictures transcends the usual media stereotypes about —  are no wacky shots of losers playing videogames in their moms? basement. Instead we get images of couples playing with their kids, guys playing foosball and women practicing guitar, accompanied by clever captions that suggest the anxiety and playfulness that’s so characteristic of us not-quite-grown-ups. For all those well-compensated account execs working on campaigns aimed at our demographic, this is an invaluable creative tool.

Posted at 12:42 pm in Rejuvenile Consumer Goods | 1 Comments