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Hippie Capitalism


From Burning Man to Burt's Bees, marketing peace and love is big business.

This week marked a hippie doubleheader of sorts: Ang Lee's late-'60s love letter Taking Woodstock was released in theaters and Burning Man -- the incendiary, free-spirited bash -- celebrated its 23rd anniversary of getting wasted en masse in the Nevada desert. While both the film and live event vary in style and substance, both have something in common with every single product sitting on a storeroom shelf.

They both cater to a targeted demographic. And even though hippies are purportedly anti-consumerist and anti-establishment, man, are they swayed by advertising or what?

On its surface, the hippie lifestyle seems to be fairly innocuous and benign, and when compared to groups who are known to do more than just sit under a tree singing Janis Ian songs, their blissful inactivity seems to be magnified tenfold -- a quality that isn't very conducive to leaving the house and blowing their paychecks on commercial products. But fortunately for marketing executives, hippies have attributes that can be targeted.

Peace. Free love. Music. Eco-awareness. Drugs. Healthy foods. Relaxation. Philanthropy. Nostalgia. If a brand can successfully perpetuate an image of an all-natural, Bohemian, eco-friendly product, the battle is more than half won.

And unlike your garden-variety punk rocker or emo kid, hippies are akin to a broader demographic which companies are certain will be susceptible to a persuasive message: Baby Boomers. Pushing 60 and scared out of their minds, Boomers are at the mercy of any company offering a piece of their childhood in exchange for a monthly payment and a low upfront cost.

Despite their low-key "Fight the Power" aesthetic, hippies are a viable market. Minyanville takes a look at 10 products that can take people down from their high and open their wallets.

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