Mark Zuckerberg, the “Face” of Facebook, just acquired Instagram for $1 billion. Was it a convoluted and overly ambitious publicity stunt, or a brilliant business maneuver to profit from the younger generations’ unhealthy obsession with anything but the present? Here’s a list of companies Facebook is most likely targeting, if their plot to eventually own and trademark the term “nostalgia” is ever to come to fruition:
1. Levi Strauss & Co.
Background info: Sedentary kings of the past-in-pants form, L.S. & Co hasn’t been doing all that much recently to re-brand. In fact, if they were a family out to dinner, I could see them crowded around a buffet, playing mouth basketball with biscuits and secretly slipping half-eaten butter packets into their pockets.
Why buy: Levi’s, a company that made pulling in $4.4 billion worth of revenue in 2010 look easy as shit, started out in 1853 by outfitting San Franciscan gold prospectors in jeans that helped them dig for fool’s gold without passing out from excessive chafing. Several decades later, they would profit wildly from Hollywood westerns, James Dean, and cigarettes. Did I mention the Marlboro Man? But wait! They’re also known to have been the first to air condition their sweatshops. In Europe, people still spend primo euro for the brand, because American irrelevance is always relevant over there for reasons beyond my comprehension. CustomizeMyLevis app, LevI’s, MEvi’s?
Estimated purchase price: $35 billion
2. Clear Channel Communications
Background info: This radio thing is coming back, I tell ya. Back before the collective streaming video consciousness, when no one drew anything but Jesus and his posse, we sat our asses down and listened closely to shit. I think we youngs would be into that type of activity, especially the sitting and staring part.
Why buy: In 1992, the FCC gave Clear Channel a bouquet of money by allowing single companies to own and operate more than one AM and FM radio station in a single market. By 1995, they owned 43 radio stations, and in 1996 they bought up over 70 media companies in addition to even more radio stations, settling in as an elite American media conglomerate. They take this monopoly shit to the next level, but they’re dead if they can’t keep up with digital. That’s where Facebook comes in. <Links
Cherry on top: This guy is their CEO. His name is Lowry, and he’s hungry for human meat.
Estimated purchase price: $220 billion
Background info: Books went out of style a long time ago, but Goosebumps has that sweet odor of 90s nostalgia that’ll bring weeping Harry Potter readers back to the shelves, especially if Zuckerberg finds a way to incorporate Facebook into its inevitable re-launch.
Why buy: Hear me out. Remember when R.L. Stine, or whoever was ghostwriting those books in the mid-late 90s, came out with that awful “Choose Your Own Adventure” series? Remember being pissed off because it was a totally pathetic cop out for a writer to relinquish his/her narrative authority to some bratty half-literate punk who didn’t know Waldo from Walden? Me too. Put the concept on Facebook, with all your friends taking turns on plot points, and this has some serious time-gulping web app potential. Throw in an animated component and BAM. Jenga. Er, Zynga.
Estimated purchase price: 4 billion haunted dummies
Background info: The gnarly, chewed-up green and yellow metal ferrule of a well-used Ticonderoga #2 pencil persists in my memory as one of the best reasons to discontinue a friendship with the kid who lent it to me.
Why buy: If you watch college football, you’ll immediately recognize DT’s director of business development Lee Corso, who is known for his pencil-waving antics and broadcasting catchphrase “Not so fast, my friend,” which he now employs when fellow pencil executives make far-fetched predictions at board meetings about the role of pencils in space colonization. Roald Dahl purportedly sharpened six of these bad boys each morning before beginning a day of writing. What he did with all those shavings is beyond my knowledge.
Pencils, like notebooks, are taboo in our time of digital record keeping and environmental consciousness, but nothing says love connection like the feel of a splintering graphite syringe snapping under your fingers in the middle of the verbal section of the SAT, led dust spraying into your open wounds and sending you into a caffeine-induced panic over your certainly doomed future. Thanks, Dixon Ticonderoga. Nostalgia sure is a bitter pill to regurgitate.
Estimated purchase price: $5 million, or Roald Dahl’s preserved writing hand
Background info: Once a refuge for atavists and bitter old scoundrels alike, AMC (formerly American Movie Classics) pulled the plug on its dying core audience in favor of a more nubile, zombie, sex and violence fetishizing one in the youth of America.
Why buy: Elements of nostalgia still feature prominently in AMC’s original programming, with Mad Men’s double-layered romantic/desperately sad ’60s period piece and the totally un-relatable trials of transcontinental railroading on Hell on Wheels. Rounding out the American identity according to AMC is Breaking Bad, which puts everything that’s happened in America and Mexico since 1865 into a beaker, mixes it with ephedrine and phosphorous, then crystallizes it into a hideous substance that slowly corrodes your brain until you turn into a zombie. This is about the time you start watching The Walking Dead.
Estimated purchase price: $45 googols