It's like a 47-year-old man shopping in the "Divided" section of H&M.

It's like a 44-year-old collagen-lipped divorcee who, on asking someone in a bar how old she looks, receives the reply: "45."

It's like Greece's Finance Minister Yaris Varoufakis, who still believes that his casual upturned-collared look not only makes him sexier, but also makes his figures look sexier than they actually are.

Yes, Whole Foods has looked in the mirror and seen the darkness.

We've got wrinkles and we'd look really stupid if we suddenly got nipple rings and a neck-tat.

Brands are sometimes slow to realize that they just don't have it anymore.

Whole Foods, however, has performed an intervention on itself and admitted to its essential dowdiness.

In an earnings call on Wednesday, it announced that it will open a new chain of stores. They will be cheaper, and "hip, cool, technology-oriented and unique."

Does the company really mean Wholly Uniqlo?

Whole Foods' CEO John Mackey said that the new concept would be "complementary" to the Whole Foods brand.

I wonder if he meant "We're going to own it, but we hope the hipsters won't realize we own it."

How many hip Mac-wielding, Apple Watchers realize, for example, that those cuddly, homey Burt's Bees products are actually owned by Clorox?

How many bettated stoners still cuddle up to and with Ben and Jerry's outre ice creams and not for a moment consider that they're owned by Unilever?

Could it be that Whole Foods has gone in for a self-examination and realized that it's now just the Organic Safeway?

Does it now need a younger lover, but a surreptitious one? It seems so.

That's what happens when you once had street cred and then you suddenly reach for Wall Street Cred.

That's what happens when you begin in organically weird Austin and you suddenly appear in organ-shivering New Jersey.

Face it, Whole Foods. You're old. You're the Grateful Dead of the gratefully alive because they now eat organically baked potato chips.

Brands, like humans, don't often age gracefully. Brands, like humans, expand as they get older. For younger people, these expanded entities just aren't attractive anymore.

Apple is one of the very few brands that has somehow managed to combat time and remain in some way sexy. Surveys still suggest that almost 75 percent of teens want their next phone to be an iPhone.

For the rest of the aging cohorts, the picture isn't often so pretty. They can still make money, but they can't get their sexy back.

They hope that, by getting (or creating) someone younger, they can still profit from sexy.

I wonder what the new Whole Foods brand will be called. I hope to heaven it's not Hip Foods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published on: May 7, 2015