The Unbridled Pragmatist
smart enough to know how dumb we are

Avril Lavigne: Forward Thinking Economist?

While reading the extended essay on the emergence of niche markets, The Long Tail by Chris Anderson (order it you will thank me), I attempted to find an example of The Long Tail in my own life.  I would not say my life operates within any niche or subgenre as popularized by the Anderson theory, I do like my fair share of indie rock and obscure youtube videos.  At the same time that is the beauty of The Long Tail; an individual need not exist within a certain niche or subgenre to occasionally consume the goods the democratization of those goods allows.  Thus, I don’t need to wear tapered jeans to purchase the newest Arcade Fire album for my ipod.

I attended second and third grade at Wilkesboro Elementary School in Wilkesboro, North Carolina; a small town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  I haven’t lived in Wilkesboro in almost twenty years yet still have an affinity for the town and periodically go back to visit family and friends.  Anyway, as I sat at the dentist in the spring of 2003 I came across this blurb in Time Magazine (about 2/3 of the way down the page).  Intrigued I Googled and came to find out that the princess of pop punk had indeed worn the Green and Gold of the Wilkesboro Eagles in her music video for the song Skater Boy.  Once the legions of Avril fans saw the video they too wanted to sport the t-shirt and orders came in from around the world (check out this story in an Australian paper ).

Thanks to Avril’s keen fashion sense the school raised enough money to order new computers, completing a technological circle.  This emergence of technology, looking the shirt up online and then going online to order that shirt, allowed a small elementary school in NC to sell t-shirts throughout the world.  This niche market would not have existed 10 years ago.  Who would have thought Avril Lavigne and a rural elementary school in the south would come to exemplify modern economic theory.  Only goes to show the power of The Long Tail.

 If interested, please click here to order shirts.


One Response to “Avril Lavigne: Forward Thinking Economist?”

  1. Hey, no fair! You’ve done this before, haven’t you? Mom, I think he’s cheating 🙂 Thanks for the great dinner conversation, JP! This post is terrific. I like the way you throw pop-culture into the mix while never straying away from the Long Tail’s central point. I agree with your assertion that folks can like any combination of things. Our frayed interests do not necessarily detract from who we are. They just prove we are alive. Anyway, great post. I look forward to seeing what else you have to say. I think I can learn quite a bit from you.

    Jessica H*

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