Thursday, April 21, 2011

anthropological merchandizing

In light of Zahi Hawass' decision to market his own line of men's clothing (see comment here), today's post features other branding attempts by famous anthropologists:

Margaret Mead - The famous cultural anthropologist capitalized on her fame to sell a line of sex aids under the "My Samoan Sweetheart" brand. After her death, the material was rebranded as the "Troubled Teen" line.

Clifford Geertz ran a successful sports equipment business, selling many items of his own design, including Masculine Ideal(TM) brand sports padding, and Sometimes-a-stick-is-just-a-stick (TM) hockey equipment.

Brian Fagan - Arguably the most widely-known archaeologist (as opposed to Jared Diamond, who is the most widely known person thought to be an archaeologist), Fagan has lent his name to a line of mass-produced replicas of archaeological kitch.

Sidney Mintz - Teacups

Betty Meggers marketed a line of jigsaw puzzles for children. Some of her puzzles have been described as too complex for children, but Meggers denies this, saying that 1,000-piece puzzles are just the result of 6-piece puzzles breaking apart during importation from Japan.

Ian Hodder - Hodder's popular line of reading glasses come with two possible lens types: clearly biased, and pre-printed with jargon. There has been talk of expanding the line, but Hodder recently fired his merchandising team, so his future direction is unclear.

Milford Wolpoff - The famous perfume company, Lancome, created a line of seven different scents for the famous paleoanthropologist. But Dr. Wolpoff feels the scents aren't sufficiently different to warrant unique names, so he has lumped them together under one. He calls the scent "Dimorphism".

I thought of a good one for Binford, but it's too soon.


  1. Ha! I've been wondering why Hawass' field clothing (the supposed model for his line) wears out so differently from mine. Somehow the threadbare and torn spots in my field pants tend to occur in, um, less attractive areas. I must be doing something unstylishly...

  2. Good point. Maybe us peon diggers spend more time "bumming" around on the site than the big chiefs like Hawass.