Safety Chic

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, doom and gloom is out and “a new safety-chic is playing out across retail.”

All the Chinese slave-labor employing big boxes have jumped in on the bandwagon including Wal-Mart, Dillards, Costco and Sears. They’re all getting together to save our collective asses from hurricanes and suitcase nukes by getting us to . . . shop. Home Depot is coming out with a line called “HomeHero” which among other things includes the white fire extinguisher illustrated on the left.

“People just haven’t thought about redesigning these categories,” says Peter Arnell, founder of the design and marketing firm Arnell Group, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., which helped craft the Home Depot HomeHero line. “In the old days, you had a chunky old red fire extinguisher and you were going to hide it. That doesn’t work anymore. The world has changed.”

Funny, we thought fire extinguishers were red so that they would stand out in an emergency. But Homegrown Revolution likes the idea of yuppies in their burning kitchens accidentally grabbing the cappuccino frother. The article ends with this zinger:

“They have clearly recognized an absence in the market and that’s the fundamental proposition,” says Dale K. Cohen, founder of DKC Resources, a New York marketing strategy and growth catalyst firm. “Fear is an emotion. And whenever you tap into the emotional component of something in selling, you have a very strong, resonant angle”.

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