Posts in deep playa

May 16th, 2012  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

How Not To Burn: Commodifying Burning Man

Some people just don’t get it. It is sad and upsetting for Burners when brands ignore our cultural expectations and try to pull marketing stunts on the playa, and worse yet when they pretend it’s not happening.  Due to diligent staffers and volunteers, we usually find and stop these marketing stunts, and protect our community, before the commodifiers make it into the city.

The scene. Photo by Peg Ortner.

But some slip through.  This year, one company tried literally to bottle up the Burning Man experience, and turned it into a product shoot. They amplified their marketing efforts by co-opting some major publications to publish articles with photographs that violate our core principles and media policies.  They knew what they were doing, but they did it anyway.   We are sharing this story in explicit detail in order to keep the community alert to these transgressions, and to deter others who are eyeing our event as a place to launch or promote products or companies.  Let us be clear: this is not the kind of marketing activity that raises brand value. Our culture just won’t tolerate it, and it often backfires. (Burners, remember this brand, and perhaps you’ll want to weigh this as you choose your next bottle of champagne.) Read more »

November 30th, 2011  |  Filed under Tales From The Playa

Night At The Bijou

Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.

It was the most compelling illusion I’d ever seen in my life.

The movie wasn’t any good. Boys in letter jackets, girls with ponytails, drive-thrus, giant cars. Not that I had much to say about chronicity, but their vocabularies were dated. “Golly.” “Swell.” All the while, my mouth was bursting with stars. I was in, all right.

Stars were bursting in my mouth as I scanned the warmth of the theater, the dim, throbbing lamps, the flickering projector. People were kicked back in their seats. Most were still wearing dusty fur coats, even though it was pretty warm in there. A red convertible roared around the corner and skidded to a stop in the middle of the screen.

And the stars kept bursting as I chewed on their flavor, crinkling the paper in my hands. I’m eating star bursts… in a late-night movie theater… in the middle of a dried-up, prehistoric lakebed on a freezing cold night… and I began to snap out of it. The genius of it all began to overwhelm me. Before long, it took every fiber of my being not to shout the truth out to everyone in the theater, but I knew they weren’t in the mood for truth. Read more »