Marketing Code-X

Dirt Don’t Hurt

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OUTSIDE Magazine feature on endurance athletes

The CODE-X series catalogs a vast codex of source codes (aka “signs”) extracted from past audits.

The object of study in semiotics is not the signs but rather a general theory of signification; the goal of each “audit” is to build a model demonstrating how meaning is produced and received within a category or cultural territory. Signs on their own, therefore, only become truly revelatory and useful once we’ve sorted them into thematic complexes, and the complexes into codes, and the codes into a meaning map. We call this process “thick description”; the Code-X series is thin description.

Patagonia social

DIRT DON’T HURT” NORM: Damaging and dirtying your body is evidence of your character, toughness, stick-to-it-iveness.

Clockwise from top left: REI social, Strava social, North Face commercial, US Marines social

DIRT DON’T HURT” FORMS: Dirt, blood, grease worn proudly — as evidence that you’ve been through a harrowing ordeal. A photo of bloody fingers, or a mud-spattered face, tells a whole story.

From a 2017 study of the TEST YOURSELF (defined as: achieving freedom from any physical constraints holding you back) territory within the Adventure space in US brand communications.

Tags: Adventure, CODE-X, Test Yourself