Then he parks, locks, dashes into an old storefront, so that he is suddenly the tiniest bit overdressed, a tinge too businesslike for the all-of-the-sudden hip environs. Brushing off his navy blue blazer and straightening his rain-soaked red tie, he orders a carrot-ginger soup, and a high-energy smile breaks across his face like a banner unfurling. With an accent that is part Californian, part Vietnamese, part top-selling real-estate agent, he asks rhetorically, "Isn't this great?"
By this he means Bushwick, the next new neighborhood or, more precisely, a neighborhood that is now in the sights of New York City real-estate agents and developers as the next new neighborhood. This is Bushwick as seen from the banquette at Life Café Nine 83, a cool place with mostly comfort food (meatloaf, fried chicken) and a few vegan options. There is also a new late-night menu, now that people in the neighborhood have started staying in the neighborhood on Saturday nights.
Viewing the neighborhood goings-on from this banquette-level perspective can be considered a type of "tryvertising"--marketing parlance for a growing trend of experience-based consumption, or a kind of "test-driving" that can be applied to place as well as product. I had heard of this term last year, but didn't have the right occasion to use it, until now:
Mass advertising is dying. Experienced consumers couldn't care less about commercials, ads, banners and other fancy wording and imagery that is forced upon them, so let's move on to more interesting ways of igniting conversations between corporations and consumers....tryvertising, which is all about consumers becoming familiar with new products by actually trying them out.
Think of tryvertising as a new breed of product placement in the real world, integrating your goods and services into daily life in a relevant way, so that consumers can make up their minds based on their experience, not your messages.
Think 'obvious' activities like handing out product samples, and more subtle, integrated product placements that are part of an experience or solution.
Product placements that become part of the landscape, part of the real world where consumers hang out and certainly don't mind trying something as long as it makes sense to them.
When squatters moved into Soho in the 1960s, the NYT wasn't standing by with its Magazine detailing the national obsession with real estate; as cities like New York are continually transformed it's interesting to ponder gentrification's trajectory in relation to how architecture, planning, marketing and real estate are all practiced.
Why? Because what occurs in Brooklyn nowadays greatly influences so much of what happens elsewhere.