Pluto in Aquarius : the Death of the Brand?

How about the logo of your favourite burger company tattooed on your back? Or your favourite supermarket, or your motorbike, or that American coffee house, or that Swedish furniture company?

Gertrude Stein is quoted as saying “I am I because my little dog knows me”, thus circumventing the logic of the philosophers of the enlightenment who are because they think. But now my sense of identity comes from my favourite brand of beer or chocolate, my favourite maker of luxury handbags and so on.

So disconnected are we from our Selves, so in thrall to the corporate brands that some people have the need to stamp their logos on their bodies. Permanently, indelibly.

You don’t have to go that far of course. There are also the t-shirts, the baseball caps and the tote bags. Anything that the corporate entity can use to spread its name and increase brand awareness.

“How Capricornian!” the astrologer will say. Capricorn being the sign associated with the world of corporate business where individual identity is subsumed under an impersonal structure. A world where we are reduced to the role of producer or consumer. Where our position in the hierarchy is all important. Where the c-suite wields Olympian power. Where even our rebellion is corporatized, packaged and sold back to us.

But maybe the emblematic power of the brand logo has reached its peak now that Pluto is coming to the end of its transit through the sign of Capricorn where it has been since 2008. It is now (2024) about to take up residence in Aquarius for the next 20 years and the whole nature of business, in particular the business of marketing is about to change.

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It’s a massive cop-out to say ‘let’s see what happens’. But with Pluto in Aquarius ruled by the notoriously disruptive planet Uranus we can only talk about general trends. We could look at the last time Pluto was in Aquarius but we’d have to go back around 250 years, to the late 18th century, the beginning of industrialization and the time of the French and American revolutions. It goes without saying that our world is totally different from those times. We live in an unprecedented technological environment now where the speed of technological change is not only fast but accelerating.

There is no longer one definition of reality. Social media allows each of us to define and live in our own reality. In fact, our society has become a multiverse. And how we find our place in it is up to each of us.

As Pluto leaves Capricorn, on the way out are the monolithic definitions of the world granted to us by all-powerful corporations. We could see the breakup of some of these monoliths into smaller independent units as happened with the Bell System in  the US in 1982. As Pluto takes up its 20-year residence in Aquarius, power shifts more and more to relationship-based, community-oriented, small-scale systems, signalling among other things the decline of mass markets and the end of branding, allowing each of us to become mavericks with our own cohort, our own connections.

Ben Belinsky

April 2024

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