Highlights: Jaywalking Country Bumpkins

chip wilson in new york
Does it look like this man is jaywalking? (From NYTimes).

No donuts again this week, dagnabit!


An outcry arose, aimed squarely at drivers. The public regarded them as murderers. Walking in the streets? That was normal. Driving? Now that was aberrant—a crazy new form of selfish behavior.

“Nation Roused Against Motor Killings” read the headline of a typical New York Times story, decrying “the homicidal orgy of the motor car.”

Interestingly, the tide turned when motordom convinced the public that the streets were for driving, and not walking. How?

Motordom began to mount a clever and witty public-relations campaign. Their most brilliant stratagem: To popularize the term “jaywalker.” The term derived from “jay,” a derisive term for a country bumpkin…

The use of “jaywalker” was a brilliant psychological ploy. What’s the best way to convince urbanites not to wander in the streets? Make the behavior seem unsophisticated—something you’d expect from hicks fresh off the turnip truck.

  • The next article in the magazine was about a chain of coffee shops that was eventually purchased by a couple “whose romance had begun there 5 years earlier”. Similarly, in an article about Chip Wilson, the former Lululemon CEO, last week, his wife describes Lululemon as: “where we fell in love”. A suprisingly soft insight, given that in the rest of the profile, the man comes across as paternalistic. Like with this snap:

“It has turned from being a woman’s company to being a man’s company,” he said. “It didn’t follow through on building a pipeline of women. We got a lot of women who were older, and they didn’t develop women under them. I think they were trying to protect their jobs.”

  • While on snaps, and brilliant PR strategies, I liked this piece on gossip. Because I love it, I love the goss…. so much! Some loathe humanity’s most ancient form of social control… not me! (Link from Cupcakes and Cashmere.)
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