Is Shopping a Sport? Heck, yeah.

I have to say I do love sports — but I refer to my own brand of sports – which has little to do with pigskin or cowhide.

For example: Shopping. Today’s retail environment is a wonderful climate for shopping. A bittersweet benefit of the recession. In the last month, I have purchased two Missonis from Intermix — as much as 75% off — and four DVFs from her flagship store in the Meat Packing District — 60% off. It’s all about the hunt, the kill, and the trophy. The trophy is the dress, perhaps, but more importantly the tag that says: $795 marked down to $203.

But I’m not just a “girly girl,” as a friend who has seen two of the dresses likes to say. I also relish the Samsung flat screen purchased for $880 online – no tax or shipping — vs. the same tv for $1100 at Best Buy. Thank you, CNET!

Another form of hunting: Parking spots in NYC. Walking home from watching the fireworks tonight I saw a prime spot on 74th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. A huge spot that’s good until 9am on Friday. I was car-less at the time, but I made sure to point it out to an SUV on the prowl down the block.

Similarly, parking garages. I recently moved from one that was $233 to one that is $180 — and one subway stop away. (Again, a side benefit of the unfortunate blight of Wall Street.) This is in comparison to the $300-500 monthly cost for something closer to my apartment.

A third form of hunting is something I like to call “brand integration spotting.” I may make this a regular blog segment – or set up another site – or perhaps Twitter or Facebook with periodic brand-spots. And I invite you to contribute your own spottings. Example: I saw “The Day the Earth Stood Still” tonight and am SURE that LG paid for some product placement — we had several seconds looking at a phone with a huge LG logo. As did Honda — our fair (and flawlessly made up) heroine was spotted by the armed forces driving a small grey Honda. How trendy!

I think this could be a really good game for the new year. One needs to differentiate between: (a) paid placement — usually a somewhat unnatural period of time looking at a logo or product (b) happenstance product usage, e.g., a quick glimpse of a Citizen watch in the movie and (c) brands, etc. that are used for plot-specific reasons, e.g., a shot of Giants stadium with a sign promoting their 2008 Superbowl victory. Was the scene in which there was a brightly lit Pepsi ad in Times Square a placement? (I think it was Pepsi.)

Then of course, there is the manhunt. At any party or social event, it’s fun to see how many shiny pretty fish you can catch even if you end up having to throw them back because they’re too young… or so I’ve heard.

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