Make Mine One-Of-A-Kind

At a time when computerized automation is the way of the world and even things like ads are becoming mass-produced commodities, there’s a counter current that’s also running strong. The counter current is our growing desire for hand-made one-of-a-kind products.
According to The Wall Street Journal there’s a growing number of companies entering the customization space.

Customized goods appeal in particular to younger customers who have grown up with personalized ring tones, avatars and the like. “It’s almost a base expectation that a product should be tailored to one’s personality,” says Avery Pack, founder of, a custom bicycle manufacturer in Dania Beach, Fla. The two-year-old company’s bikes, which cost between $400 and $500, come in three styles and up to 10 colors for parts such as tires, grips and saddles. “Nothing needs to match,” says Mr. Pack. “Your front rim can be baby blue and your rear rim a crazy green.”
Designing a product online from scratch is a highly interactive experience, something young consumers are used to, says Joshua Kace, co-founder of, a custom beef jerky business in Jersey City, N.J., that launched last month. Customers can choose from two types of beef, two marinades, four rubs and two glazes to create up to 60 combinations costing a minimum of $12.50 for a quarter pound.

Donna Fenn at BNET also looked at the trend toward customization recently. “Mass customization is all the rage and we seem to be able to design just about anything for ourselves Converse sneakers: Pandora radio stations; Threadless t-shirts; SkinIt skins for our electronic devices.”
Customization, of course, is not something mass marketers can relate to. Massive brewers for instance imagine that their beer will act as a badge that drinkers wear. “Hi, I’m Dave, a Bud man,” the beer titans imagine me saying. But now that “I” want a beer made just for me by my homebrewing neighbor, Bud is S.O.L.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.