Wacker: Partly because information gets disseminated so fast. The devox disrupts and erodes our commonly accepted reality and replaces it with an exponentially changing series of real-ities. We call this the abolition of context. We just don't have many shared, constant reference points, and that makes it very difficult for businesses to market to customers whose sense of reality may not match theirs.

American Way: Deviant brands, you write, exist independently of the original product associated with them. They take on a life of their own, right?
Yes. Think Eddie Bauer. You've got the Eddie Bauer Expedition truck, Eddie Bauer wallpaper, diaper bags, and so on. Or Harley-Davidson. Its brand now lures consumers to buy plush toys, panties, and other things nobody ever associated with motor-
cycling. And there's Hello Kitty, where licensing is the product. It's now a cultural icon that appears on about 1,500 licensed products. Think about it. A sketch of a cat generates more than a billion dollars in sales a year.

American Way: You call Absolut Vodka a master of deviant marketing. How so?
They're the antithesis of Microsoft, trying to sustain themselves by being quite edgy. Remember the Absolut Father's Day ties, with the pictures of spermatozoa on them? That was a wonderful application of deviant marketing. You can find dozens of Absolut items on eBay, which proves that, sometimes, advertising can become a product.

American Way: There's a real paradox in your book. As ideas move from the Fringe and begin creating markets, they lose much of their authenticity.
Right. The less authentic an idea becomes to its creators, the more money that can be made from it as it's sanitized and packaged. Even when an idea becomes a cliché, there's money to be made in satirizing it.