Chivalry + Brands

02 May 2008

Alphonse Mucha's Heraldic Chivalry

Last night I drank at the Four Seasons with some friends. Standing outside afterwards, the doorman and I exchanged that simple nod of “cab?/yes please”. And so then as my friend Liz turned toward the street to find a cab, one ‘magically’ arrived for her, and into the night she went.

Standing there on 57th street, into my mind’s eye blipped Grant McCrackin’s PSFK slide about “Just In Time” design.
One Slide from Grant's show

The beauty of great design is that it delivers precisely at the moment you want/need it. Chivalry is also rooted in an apparently seamless execution, one that obviates stutter steps. When a chivalrous person opens a door or tosses a cloak across that mudpuddle, s/he does this not with flair, but with dharmic ease. Peacocking would make the act moot.

Could a brand build products and identity with the basic concepts of chivalry in mind? I think I see echoes of that in the (sterling) spots and shorts from Liberty Mutual. Going beyond what’s onscreen, I wonder if this insurance company has since become generous by dint of its dharma, a knight in shining armor, arriving just in time.