I ran it with my dad and my girlfriend. My dad is twice my age. He’s the one who got me into running about 8 months ago and, although I gave it my best, and I really ran, without stopping, all of the 13.1 miles, he beat me.
I beat my girlfriend by 10 minutes. Hey… I feel the need to make that public too… But really, the important, fantastic, fascinating thing was losing to my father.
So I couldn’t avoid thinking of this running thing with my account planner persona, and a humble little thing it reminded me of is that very few things really “mean” something on their own. We really do attribute meaning to things. Thousands of people ran way too many miles and ended up 2 blocks from where they started. The end result of your effort is, really, in practical terms, nothing (ok, health benefit), but in the mind of a runner it is so much more. And what it is, is built little by little, from when you first come in contact with the idea of running through images or someone else’s storytelling of their running, to conversations with people about your progress as a runner, to images, movies, pictures, magazines, gadgets… Then it starts to involve food, and drinks, and special gels that you eat while you run, and heart rates, and times, and paces, and… Pains, and blisters, and impossible goals… And in the end there’s this huge pile of meaning that you related to the idea of you running in your head. And after you run as hard as you can for 13.1 miles it has so much meaning that, as you pass that line, you may even let a tear drop down your face if you are not careful. That’s a lot of meaning to be building up in our head, man…
And I wonder… Can a brand come close to this richness in meaning? Would it have to climax? How does a brand climax and what happens after that?