Hipster Irony

by Nate Torvik on September 20, 2012

I’ve occasionally been annoyed by a skinny-leg-jean-wearing Joe cool who was obviously more in love with looking at his Ray Ban glasses in the mirror than watching where he was walking. After spending seven years living in Los Angeles, I’ve long-suffered the hipster phase of fashion trends.

We all know the movement by now—slicked and unkempt hair, cool nerdy sweater vests, bracelets that stand for important social causes, and perfectly groomed facial hair. It’s pervaded the population to a degree that Toyota recently decided to have some fun with it.

At the annual music festival, Bumbershoot, in Seattle, Toyota set up the ultimate irony of a game, “Whac-A-Hipster.” Ridiculously popular at the hipster-infused festival, the game is based off the classic “Whac-A-Mole,” in which you have to use quick hand reflexes to bop the head of a mole as it peeks up at you through one of six holes. Instead, Toyota fashioned a plastic model of a classic-looking hipster to replace the mole.

This retro game was clever enough to be cool for the “in crowd” at Bumbershoot. It wasn’t surprising that Toyota should sponsor such an incongruously genius game as the Prius v “Whac-A-Hipster” at this Gen Y music fest. The festival took place over three days in the beginning of September in Seattle, the well-known capital of hipsters, so it was a perfect jumping off point for both the ironic game and Toyota.

The automotive company isn’t foreign to comedic satire, as seen through their ad campaigns of the past year or so. Their Super Bowl Camry “Reinvented” commercial, featuring babes in bikinis, both female and male, and a masseuse cop, is an example of the sense of humor that Toyota is branding themselves with. While the Prius c “LIFE” commercial, featuring a group of youthful 20- to 30-somethings happily playing a board game with the Prius c as playing pieces, shows that they know what is popular with their target audience.

Toyota had released an article for the Bumbershoot Festival that stated the “Whac-A-Hipster” game “will offer folks the chance to live out their hipster-whacking fantasies.” Other Prius inspired games and prizes found under the Toyota tent were the Prius Plug-in and Charge Up Station, where up to five youths could cool down in the electric hybrid while conveniently charging their cell phones, or Prius-shaped popsicles and Bumbershoot bandanas. There were even Prius family models on hand to test drive.

It’s possible Toyota knows what it’s doing when marketing to today’s youthful generation. They certainly know how to get me excited about playing a silly game usually found in pizza chains. After all, who wouldn’t want to “Whac-A-Hipster?”

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