The Pet Rock of the marketing world?…

Everyone who has an office at work, or even just a cubicle, tends to decorate it as much as office policies permit. That means a lot of pictures of families, good times with friends, kids and dogs. It means momentoes from important days, like a medal from a marathon run, concert tickets from the show of the year, sports memorabilia from the big game, and also lots of random knick knacks that just turn an otherwise sterile cubicle into a condusive, friendly place to work.

And in this office, it also means that our cubicles are also decorated with lapel pins. Mine is no exception, and in fact boasts one of the larger collections. I have political lapel pins, sports lapel pins, schools pieces, anniversaries, organizations, fundraising lapel pins, holiday pins and some lapel pins that don’t seem to have been created for any other reason than that they’re really, really cool.

Someone asked me once what I did for a living, and after I’d told him, he scoffed, stating “lapel pins are the pet rocks of the marketing world.” Useless, but with enough marketing, something people will buy anyway. I stared at him for a second, and then laughed, because he couldn’t have been more wrong. Perhaps he doesn’t value lapel pins, but he’s bound to have some interest in something that someone else might deem superfulous. But that doesn’t take the validity away from them.

Lapel pins, as I look at my cube wall, are all tiny works of art. They’re a medium, like water colors or sculptures. They’re astounding little pieces, because pound for pound they carry more perceived value than many other forms of advertising. A 1″ lapel pin can sell an entire company, promote a bid for president, or commemorate a Super Bowl winning football team.

So I guess there’s no accounting for taste. One man’s work of art is another’s pet rock. I’m just glad that there are so many people out there who feel the way that I do about lapel pins, and let me continue to do what I love: help people create the perfect piece for them.

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