Turn Left at Quizno’s

1 Apr

How much do you define yourself by the brands you use? I’m not just talking Mac vs. PC here. Maybe you try to emulate a certain lifestyle by dressing in specific clothing. Or perhaps you make sure to tell everyone where you ate last weekend to get some foodie street cred. What’s that? You say you’re anti-label and anti-consumerism? Well, how ’bout that milk you always buy? The only one that gets past your mental filters for organic, hormone-free, etc etc.? Boom. Brand-driven purchase right there, folks.

What’s my point? My point is that we interact with brands each and every day. Whether we consciously process it or not, they’re woven into our lives and, often, our behavior. And this website here helps us look at brands in a new way: mapped out. CityMaps has created a site where you can see a physical mapping of where different brands exist within major US cities. The point is to help people search for businesses and discover what is in a certain neighborhood. For example, someone who wants Italian food can search “Italian” and get quick results about what is nearby. But I find this map fascinating for the way that it shows how we physically experience brands on a daily basis. Type in an address and you’ll see a visual representation of the brands that inhabit that area. Move the map around and you’ll get a better sense of how companies, categories and types of of commerce interact in a certain part of the city. It’s curious to move the map between neighborhoods in the same city and watch how the “brandscape” changes.

The site calls itself a social map, but I’d vote it’s a commercial map.  If you live in Austin, New York or San Francisco, type in some of the hoods you frequent and take a closer look at how your life moves around brands. If you don’t live in one of those cities, I’d suggest you check it out anyway, just for kicks. And if you don’t feel like clicking on the link above- here’s a screenshot to satiate your brand appetite!

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