Shedding the Standard Grey Wool Dress for Real Business Insights

By John Gibbons

You may remember the classic Wendy's restaurant commercial from the 1980s that featured a comical spoof of a Soviet-era fashion show. An emcee with a heavy Russian accent announced a new category, such as "swimwear" or "evening wear," as a glum model trudged down the runway wearing the same shapeless grey wool dress. The message, of course, was that most people want to have choices in what they wear, and in the case of the commercial, what they eat.

In the information age, this "one-size-fits-all" world view has virtually disappeared. I have a customized screen saver and collection of apps on my iPhone (although I am beginning to believe that Angry Birds is pre-installed on all of them). Ralph Lauren lets me select the color of the pony insignia on my new shirts. Heck, I can even order M&M's with customized swear words printed on them - in Yiddish!

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