When I returned from China and rode the NYC subway for the first time (in years), I noticed a young dude wearing a baseball cap with the sticker labels still on the bill. I assumed he’d forgotten to take it off, and chuckled to myself thinking it looked a bit silly. But then, I started noticing more and more of them. Sometimes they only have a round gold sticker of 59fifty brand. Sometimes it’s a big sticker that covers the entire bill. I was so mystified that on numerous occasions I considered stopping a hat wearer and asking him about it. (But I had a feeling it was a very dumb, probably unwelcome question.)
So today I decided to get down to the bottom of this mystery by Googling it, and it turns out that people have a lot of opinions about this trend! Apparently, the stickers are left on because some people think it’s cool (don’t ask me why) and they also want to prove that the hat is authentic. This trend has been around for quite some time, and it’s been the source of many heated discussions! Some people say it’s associated with being gangsta or thuggish or whatever. Others say it’s annoying and douchey and plain ol’ dumb. There are even Youtube videos defending this trend. I like the guy in this video: he knows a lot about these hats and says that one of the major reasons for keeping the sticker on is to protect the bill from getting dirty. Just like grandma and her sofas covered in vinyl!
But really, this is like a marketer’s dream, isn’t it? When your product and brand are so popular that people want to leave the label on and show it off to the world? It kinda reminds me of the Gap drawstring plastic shopping bags, which all my middle school (girl) classmates in the 90’s proudly used as gym bags. I even had friends fight over a bag once. I think Gap still uses the same design, but I doubt anyone fights over them nowadays.
Anyway, 59Fifty is definitely something special. I would love to talk to the marketers at their office and hear their thoughts on this whole trend. (BTW, there are also a lot of discussions on-line about how to take the 59Fifty stickers off. Which is weird. I mean, is it that hard? What IS it about these stupid stickers?)