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052908brandtimeline.jpgHow many brands does it take to get you through the day? Jane, a pseudonymous Torontonian ad executive, sought to discover just that. She posted the results on her blog, Dear Jane Sample, in what Ad Broad later dubbed a “Brand Timeline Portrait.”
It turns out that “portrait” is a surprisingly accurate description of what she ended up with. From Jane’s Brand Timeline Portrait, we discover that Jane is a woman who flosses, who has a cat, who turns on her TV before she leaves for work in the morning. Jane is a woman who lives in Toronto and takes public transit to work, who drinks beer on a Friday night before going home, smoking up and getting down. There’s been some debate in the comments thread of her post over whether the LG logo followed by several Durexes indicates that she used her phone to make a booty call soon after 10 p.m. Fortunately, the BTP still leaves some details to the imagination.
In the manner of those LiveJournal memes nobody can resist filling out (the ones that ask you what you had for breakfast and what you keep on your nightstand), the Brand Timeline Portrait has spread all over the internet.
“I knew it would be a good blog post, but nothing prepared me for it going viral,” Jane told Torontoist. “I love how something so simple can cross the language barriers, and it has really started some interesting discussions around brands.”
As an advertising account executive, Jane was perhaps predictably untroubled by the implications of her day in brands. “As a marketer, it just shows that these brands have done a good job of marketing themselves.”
Some, though, might react differently to realizing just how much about them can be conveyed by the products they use. We like to think that our habits and quirks are ours alone, so it’s discomforting to find out that the vast majority of our daily comings and goings are expressible in the same ubiquitous terms as everybody else’s.
In this way, the Brand Timeline Portrait is a kind of confessional. You can pretend that you’re beyond the pull of advertising, but there it is in full colour: every big corporation you’ve allowed into your life and your daily routines. And it’s hard to resist the appeal to put it all out in the open.
If, like us, you’re going to run off and assemble your Brand Timeline Portrait right this instant, here are Jane’s simple instructions: 1. Go to Google Image; 2. Type in brandname+logo; 3. Capture, resize (if you don’t have any imaging software, you can use this site instead), and save.