Marketing campaigns often seek to bolster a brand's value by presenting it in a comparative scenario to the audience. After all, as consumers, being shown how to navigate our choices in evaluating equally attractive products is often helpful. Mac Vs. PC comes to mind, as do the early days of ads showing Pepsi winning over Coke in blind taste tests. Even discussions of how to best brand Canada's image have gone between being 'not-America' or needing to lead with something else entirely. But in the above new 10 minute video short produced by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Spike Lee's agency, SPIKE DDB, the concept of what it is that makes up Brooklyn's brand identity makes only the slightest reference to how it stacks up to its most populous and well-publicized sister borough to the west. In fact, as the video demonstrates, in thinking of Brooklyn's identity these days, mention of Manhattan seems hardly relevant at all.
The video notes that over a period of 10 years, Brooklyn went from being somewhere cab drivers refused to take fares, to a highly-trafficked destination in itself. Much more so than that, there has been a surplus recently of international businesses hoping to capitalize on the authentic 'street cred' behind the brand. This recent article in the New York Times details a short list of examples of restaurants and retail outlets paying tribute to the Brooklyn mythology, notably The Brooklyn Soap Company- in Hamburg, and Diner Bedford- in the Marais District in Paris.
The proliferation of the name's usage in the commercial space has in fact gotten so expansive, that the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce now seeks to regain some control over how the name is being used, and where. In doing so, it has now established Brooklyn Made, a certification system that "provides a qualitative, exclusive measurement of product authenticity that signals quality to consumers." (Unsurprisingly, the criteria includes being physically headquartered in Brooklyn as well as a system for measuring product authenticity and community engagement).
While I'm not sure how much this course of action will affect the reputation of a linens company in Dublin called Bed Stuyvesant (get it?) or a Williamsburg-themed bakery in Shanghai in its ability to channel an 'authentic' Brooklyn experience without being officially "Brooklyn Made", it is certainly testament to the strength of a brand when a market springs up to replicate the experience for those without access to the real thing- just as we have seen happen in the world of luxury fashion brands.