“Styled In California” – Apple’s take on the California design signature

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Styled in California

Apple has been playing up its status as a California firm in its latest ads, with their “Designed in California” signature line. The company has taken some stick from critics for the campaign, which I personally rather like, and it’s a legitimate identification. Rush Limbaugh (longtime Apple product fan) has a “teachable moment” on the ad’s alleged unpopularity. Anyway, Apple is a consummate Sunshine State outfit from the get-go, a point underscored by the interesting “The Corporate States of America” made and posted to the Web by Steve Lovelace, which chooses Apple as California’s most famous corporate brand.

I’m guessing the companies depicted in the map as most symbolically representing their respective home base states are subjective selections by Mr. Lovelace and not results of scientific investigation, but his point is presumably social commentary rather than actuarial statistics.

Many are likely to be non-controversial no-brainers: GM and Michigan, Coca-Cola and Georgia, GE and Connecticut, L.L.Bean and Maine, Hershey’s and Pennsylvania, Walmart and Arkansas. Others may reflect some personal interest or bias; Harley-Davidson and Wisconsin (not a dairy company?), Dr. Pepper for Texas, Hooters for Florida. I thought Cummins Diesel for Ohio was interesting.

In the tech or tech-related sectors, besides Apple and California, there’s Verizon for New York, AOL and Virginia, and Lexmark for Kentucky (who knew? – I would’ve thought KFC), Garmin and Kansas. A tip of the hat to The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson for drawing this map to my attention.

And of course Apple’s somewhat obscure and quirky choice of Mavericks, a venue virtually unheard-of outside the surfing subculture, for the name of the next OS X version release, is steeped in California mystique.

Speaking of said mystique, for some historical context, the Prelinger Archives has posted the 14 minute video “Styled In California,” a “Montgomery Ward Fashion Presentation” produced by Fairbanks (Jerry) Productions for the retailer in the early 1960s. The alarmingly softly-sprung 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire convertible in the opening sequence of a “typical California family” enjoying a “a typical California day” points to late 1961 as the film’s probable date.

It’s a fascinating look back at an era I remember well (I was 10 in ’61), sort of a postscript to the postwar era and the 1950s, with “Mad Men” style and social motifs that would soon disappear in the turbulent 1960s.

“California has become the fastest growing fashion and design center in the world,” declares narrator Janis Paige, complete with period beehive hairdo and elbow-length white gloves, adding, “The people are happy, and it’s not because they’re on vacation. It’s because they live here.”

Apple obviously agrees with that assessment more than half a century later.

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  • Floridian

    Florida is the sunshine state
    California is the golden state