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New Era losing their marbles...


Roger Clemente

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I don't think I can find an explanation for this.

--Roger "Time?" Clemente.

It's simple, Rog - New Era has identified the new "it" demographic: boombox-toting spacemen who like rockin' some serious bling. And thanks to this line of hats, New Era is going to corner the market in days. Maybe even hours.

Sure, New Era isn't perfect, but they're visionary. And for all the things people gripe about - their wild variability in things like cap sizes and sewing a logo onto a cap straight - should be viewed through their prism: it makes the hat-buying experience a fun and crazy adventure! Who knows what's gonna be screwed up on your overpriced purchase?! More fun than Russian roulette!

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is this a ripoff hat? you don't see big companies ripping off other companies that often, but given the popularity (in other markets than what is represented on these boards, clearly) of the billionaire boys club this could be new era trying to capitalize on another company's known icon. interesting.

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The thing is, only people of a certain age will even understand the MTV/astronaut reference that this cap seems to be built on.

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And no offense to people my age, but "hip demographic" we just ain't anymore. I'm on the young side of the "MTV generation" -- which is to say, people old enough to remember when MTV just showed music videos -- and it would destroy New Era's credibility with its target demographic if a photograph of anyone my age wearing one of these caps were to get out. Which, actually, makes buying one of these caps and photographing myself in it seem very attractive ...

But I just don't understand how anyone young enough to be in New Era's target demographic would even begin to understand these caps. I mean, do kids today even know what an "astronaut" was? The last moon landing was thirty-six years ago. The MTV reference is about twenty years old. And that cassette-deck boombox? Might as well be a Chevelle with an eight-track. I'm not exactly an early adopter, but I haven't seen a cassette tape since maybe 1993. Does New Era really think today's teenagers and early-twentysomethings have a huge dose of nostalgia for the year 1981? I just don't get it.

EDIT: I should say that I don't mean that people born after, say, 1980 don't actually know from the classic MTV ad or cassette tapes. I have a monumentally clueless much-younger kid brother born in '82, and even he gets all sorts of early 80s references that are before his time, just as I get all kinds of early '70s cultural references that I didn't actually experience firsthand. My point is that although folks younger than me may understand the references, I just don't see why anyone would expect them to care. I mean, I would understand a reference to "Little Joe" as referring to Michael Landon's character on Bonanza, even though the show went off the air just before I was born. But would I ever be interested in buying any Bonanza merchandise, for any reason? No, absolutely not. And the cultural referents that go into these caps seem to be in about the same class with relation to the folks New Era is trying to reach as a Bonanza-themed product would be for people my age.

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