What brand of merchandise wouldn’t want a shout out at the Academy Awards?
“Shinola watches! Unbelievable! They’re saving Detroit!” said “Green Book” director Peter Farrelly as he pointed at his wrist while accepting the award for best original screenplay.Detroit Free Press
But the reaction of most Detroiters (in our best Deh-twah accent) is
au con·traire . My favorite is from our new Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.
The marketing department swung into action threading this PR needle.
I would never pay $500 for a watch. When I need to know the time I look at my phone. But I know a number of people who wear Shinola as a proud pro Detroit statement. But many others bristle at appropriated “made in Detroit” cred. Detroit’s Storyteller, Aaron Foley captured the ambiguity in a 2014 article for Forbs Magazine
But it was the “Made in Detroit” ethos Detroiters began to hone in on next. Is it genuine, or co-opting a city narrative to sell a product?
Okay, so, maybe the potatoes shredded up at the Better Made plant might not have been grown here, but Better Made earned its stripes to call their chips a Detroit original. Those respects have been nonexistent with Shinola, as people began to pick apart the little things. The boxes for the watches are made in Minnesota. The parts for the bicycles are made in Wisconsin. The company has a $14.5 million flagship store in New York City! — say it like an incredulous cowboy in one of those old Pace salsa commercials. But what about the tinier Detroit storefront?
It was likewise not lost on many that this declaration of our so called corporate savior came from the director of the “Green Book” another movie about a white savior rescuing a Black man. I also had to chuckle at one of Spike Lee’s comments.
Every time somebody’s driving somebody, I lose.
Was the Green Book better than Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Favourite. As Rashida would probably have said it, “No F*****g Way!”