Thursday, September 20, 2012

Game of Brands

If you read this blog regularly (and THANK YOU!!! if you do), you will have noticed a distinct slowdown in my postings.  Partially, a crush of new work has caused the change in tempo.  However, truth be told, I have let books swallow a frightening portion of my spare time.  More specifically, I’ve been reading the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, better known as:

It’s time I came out as a geek.  Sorry, mom.

What can I say?  I loved the HBO series and decided to read something less dense than the other two books I read this summer.  OK, I also read one about whaling, but I’m trying to sound brainy here, OK?

While a book series set in a sex-positive fantasy universe patterned after medieval Europe may not seem relevant to marketing, I beg to disagree.  The books tell the story of several families battling to rule a continent and each family constitutes a brand of sorts.  Each family has a herald emblem, which serves as a logo for the family.  Similarly, each family has a motto--a tagline, if you will.  Finally, each family has distinct characteristics--the Lannisters are wealthy, the Greyjoys are piratical and so forth.

So, allow me to amuse myself and any other geeks out there with The Game of Brands, an attempt to match the competing factions of the Song of Ice and Fire series with the most appropriate brands.  Moreover, I think the notable members of each family match up well with specific sub-brands.  Let’s get our geek on, shall we?  One warning: I’ve got a few spoilers in here for those of you who haven’t read through book three...

(and may The Others take you if you don’t care)

House Lannister

Too easy

Let’s see, the Lannisters have power and arrogance and shit gold (spoiler: not really) to boot.  What other brand combines those characteristics better than the car four out of five investment bankers recommend?

Lord Tywin


The paterfamilias of House Lannister possesses a stern countenance and a mighty arm, which I translate as the double-kidney grill and 12-cylinder engine of the 760.  Haters of BMW and the Lannisters alike can’t wait to see either of them wrapped around a tree.



Queen Cersei seems comfortable and a bit fast yet also stunningly well-built.  Sounds like a 535i to me.



Cersei’s twin Jaime sows fear as a peerless swordsman, thus adding a hard edge to the already pretty hard 5-series.  Spoiler alert: you might want to order yours as an automatic, Jaime.


2002 tii

Known as “The Imp,” “The Dwarf,” “Halfman” and many, many other unpleasant epithets, Tyrion suffers the scorn of his whole family and pretty much everyone else.  However, much to their regret, they refuse to look beneath the ugly surface to discover the cleverness within.

King Joffrey


A little bastard in so, so many ways...

House Baratheon

The Baratheons cleave close to the English model of kings, at least the model celebrated in song, story and BBC miniseries.  They blend courage, grace and steadfastness to steward their kingdom to greater glory, much in the way that Land Rover carried loyal British troops to victory in WWII and a bunch of ugly colonial conflicts we’ll politely elide here.

King Robert

Range Rover

Robert serves as the series’ stand-in for Shakespeare’s Henry V--possessed of wit and an easy confidence that inspires confidence in others.  With the top-of-the-line Range Rover, you half-expect to hear the St. Crispin’s Day speech every time you fire up the engine.  Such a beast befits the noble Robert.  Also, his choice of warhammer as a weapon surely refers to the Range Rover’s near-constant need for a mechanic.


Land Rover Defender

The cramp vehicle with the flinty ride suits Stannis, described as brittle iron to Robert’s flexible steel.  Clearly more warlike than his brother, Stannis lacks Robert’s soft touch yet offers his own sense of confidence.  (Disclosure: Stannis is my favorite character because he’s such a hard-ass)


Range Rover Evoque

I think you know what I’m getting at here.

House Targaryen

Clearly not afraid to think different, the Targaryens rely on a unique source of power--dragons--the way Apple relies on Johnny Ive.  Both houses, of course, descend from a legendary ancestor (Aegon the conqueror and some guy named Steve).


iPhone 5

Let’s see: curvy?  Check.  Beautiful?  Check.  Concealing great power and sophistication?  Check and check.  Queer-friendly?  Yup.  And (spoiler alert) comfortable with slave labor from the East?  You bet!  Come to think of it, Siri could be a great dragon name.


The Newton

Daenerys’s older brother Viserys comes off as a pompous twit, not unlike the iPhone’s distant ancestor.  Also like the Newton, Viserys failed to connect with anything and ended up on the ash-heap of fantasy literature.

House Stark

From the Great White North, eh?

The plain and quietly strong Wardens of the North could easily pass for Canadians, given their love of winter and comfort around wolves.  OK, so they would have to be a particularly VIOLENT bunch of Canadians.  And, just as the Starks bent the knee to the Iron Throne in generations past, Molson submitted to Coors in 2005.


Molson Canadian

Not much to say except that Eddard is the purest and Starkest of the Starks.


Canadian Light

‘Nuff Said


Molson Exel Non-Alcoholic

A lordling who can’t walk is kinda like a beer that can’t get you drunk.

House Greyjoy

Hostility to Intellectual Property is our Brand!

The piratical Greyjoys have nothing but contempt for tillers of the soil or those who purchase with coin.  They built their domain on stealing stuff.  I think a brand that only exists to copy others fits them well.



A tough old boot that IN NO WAY resembles a Timberland boot fits well with a guy who (spoiler alert) could use some better footing.



Seems like a weasel kinda shoe for a weasel kinda guy.


Lunacy - Chopper

Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman!

The Night’s Watch

None more black

The men who guard The Wall may come from any walk of life from lord down to gutter rat, but once they don black leather, they become brothers.  Sound familiar?

Jon Snow

A bastard of a different sort

Jon Snow spends much of the series fretting about his bastard birth.  No doubt he would have found solace with 76 cubic inches between his legs.  Harley’s muscle bike is something of a bastard itself.  The wizards of Milwaukee collaborated with Porsche to build their first liquid-cooled engine, something that stands out from the other V-twins.  And, of course, it comes in black.

The Dothraki

Unrepentantly Savage

An admixture of Mongols, Huns and Banditos with a dash of Bedouin, the Dothraki cultivate an especially wild image.  Both tequila and the Dothraki can be hard on the head.

Khal Drogo

Cuervo 1800

Somewhat smoother than the average Horse Lord, the leader has not lost a whit of savagery.  Also, he's built like a brick shithouse.

Certainly, I’ve left more than a few characters out of the mix.  I happily invite you to add your own ideas in the comments below.

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