Chris and brand loyalty
|“||You gotta have merchandise because it's like a wedding ring for the product. And it makes it- and then the fans will- will continue to support you as long as you have the merchandise a- it's like a wedding ring.||”|
|Chris, making his thoughts on branding as clear as he can.|
Brand loyalty is a consumer's commitment to repeatedly purchasing a product or service from a particular company or business. Companies use advertising, loyalty programs, product placement and contests to establish a brand which consumers will recognize, consider valuable, and seek out at the expense of other brands. Due to his difficulty separating reality and fiction, Chris tends to think an advertisement is a literal documentation of a product's effectiveness rather than an intrinsically biased attempt to lure consumers and, as a result of his sense of entitlement, he views winning games of chance as a validation of his self-worth. These qualities, in combination with his rigid thinking, fear of change and attraction to routine, has led Chris to have intense brand loyalty for certain products as well as hatred for their perceived rivals. His loyalty even extends to areas that would not normally be considered "brands", such as mental disabilities and sexual orientations.
|“||Oil of Olay brand bar soap... Softer, smoother skin in a week or so! And, not only that, it gets you clean, and it makes you smell good... I just used it to wash my hands! And I use it in the shower! To wash myself vigorously! I certainly do not use any animals, my own jizz, or anything else other than Oil of Olay brand bars of soap. And Axe body wash. And shampoo, and conditioner. Available in anti-dandruff form! But anyway, Oil of Olay. Softer, smoother skin in a week, and makes you very clean. Have a nice day!||”|
|Chris, promoting hygiene products without irony.|
Chris considers his choice of brands to be a major component of his identity in the much the same way as other things. In general, once Chris has committed to a particular "brand" he will stand by it regardless of its quality. He considers those who abandon a brand in favor of a competitor, such as Sonichu fans who became fans of Asperchu, to be "hypocrites". Chris seems to consider being a consumer of a particular brand as something like a relationship — at one point clumsily attempting to use a mangled quote from the video game Brütal Legend to explain this strange belief, saying that merchandise was like a wedding ring and that as long as there was branded merchandise available, fans should stay loyal.
As Chris's allegiance to brands plays such an important role in defining Chris's personal understanding of his identity, he feels highly threatened when either his favorite brands or his loyalty to them are called into question. Many of Chris's most notorious outbursts are a direct result of this insecurity. While this was the basis for much of Chris's internet trolling, it apparently dates back into Chris's early life when school bullies, in a form of proto-trolling, would tell him that Sonic the Hedgehog was dead in order to get a rise out of him.
Chris is highly susceptible to marketing and branding; he feels strong loyalty to brands even, and perhaps especially, if they are essentially identical to their rivals. He is drawn to virtually every attempt at generating brand loyalty, compulsively entering any contest he encounters and fastidiously collecting various loyalty points, including My Coke Rewards and McDonald's Monopoly.
Chris seems to struggle to understand the economics of advertisements, instead seeing them as positive features in the media he enjoys. He happily included his own versions of advertisements and product placement for real brands in his Homemade Nintendo Power magazine and nearly every issue of Sonichu; he seemed genuinely surprised that Coke, for example, wouldn't want one of his fake Coke ads — "hand-drawn charm" notwithstanding — on the CWCipedia. He also frequently states that his videos are sponsored or "brought to you by" various companies with which he has no business relationship and uses his own variation of marketing speak to plug their products. Likewise he often attempts to promote his favorite brands by parroting their advertising language, a habit he has had since at least high school.
He is a vigorous defender of his favored brands in unusual ways, warning his readers not to purchase pirated versions of Little Big Planet (a PS3-exclusive title) for Xbox 360, despite the fact that this is impossible.
|“||HERO OF MY LIFE||”|
Sonic is the quintessential example of Chris's intense brand loyalty. Chris is, in many ways, the product of Sega's attempt to allow people to feel a personal connection with electronic appliances. Following Mario's success for Nintendo, Sonic was designed to appeal to young children and act as a mascot for Sega. He was concocted by combining elements from other popular cultural elements of the early 1990s, including Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, and Santa Claus. Part of Sega's strategy was to employ a multi-pronged marketing technique, including video games, television shows, toys and contests. Chris followed all of these closely and in a fateful moment became the winner of the Sonic the Hedgehog Watch & Win Sweepstakes, which cemented Sonic's place of honor in Chris's mind. Sonic became Chris's "lifelong hero," replacing his previous "lifelong hero" The American Rabbit (despite Sonic's much greater grip on his life, Chris has often felt compelled to mention the American Rabbit, as if out of some obligation). While Sonic was certainly a popular franchise, particularly in the 1990s, Chris became obsessed with the hedgehog to a level likely unanticipated by Sega. During the 1990s Sonic occupied nearly all of his thinking, serving as a fantasy world in which he could escape from the realities of daily life. Chris would generally combine Sonic with whatever he was doing, whether it was replacing the characters in Goosebumps books with Sonic characters or combining Sonic with basketball to form the recolor "Bionic." Over the past two decades Chris has purchased nearly every Sonic-branded game, toy, and bit of merchandise, and seems to view Sonic as something resembling an old personal friend.
Instead of growing up and moving on when the Sonic brand began to grow stale at the end of the 1990s, Chris merged Sonic with his other beloved franchise at the time, Pokémon, to create Sonichu, who has largely replaced Sonic as the primary character in his internal fantasy world - although Sonic still makes occasional cameo appearances.
Despite Sonic's sidekick Tails' major presence in the Sonic canon, Chris rarely refers to him and conspicuously left him, or any recolor of him or two-tailed anything, absent from Sonichu. Some have speculated that this may be due to popular schoolyard rumors that conjectured that Sonic and Tails were in a homosexual relationship. Chris's notorious homophobia may have caused him to have an aversion to a character that he imagined might have tempted Sonic from "the straight path."
Although Mario and Nintendo were vicious rivals of Sonic and Sega, Chris seems to have been largely oblivious to this tension (or simply didn't care because he liked both brands) and never subjected them to the kind of hatred he would aim at rivals of his favored products later in his life.
Chris appears to worship Sonic the character more than Sonic the brand, as he would be easily teased at school when other students said that Sonic was dead, and believed that YouTuber "hotdiggedydemon" had murderous intent against the fictional character in Sonic: Too Fast? and insisted that Sonic was alive. Chris's almost religious dedication to Sonic reached a surprising limit when he vandalized products and assaulted staff over a superficial change to Sonic, the color of his arms.
Playstation 3 vs. HEXBox
|“||Sony's Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable are Truly a place I can call My Digital Home. :D Happy Anniversary, Playstation 3; you are Truly the Best Life Upgrade Ever||”|
|Chris expressing TRUE and HONEST love.|
Perhaps Chris's best known case of brand loyalty is his sycophantic love of the Sony PlayStation 3 and abject hatred for the Microsoft XBox 360. While fanboyism for these video game consoles is certainly well known and the rivalry between these products is referred to as a "console war", Chris, as he frequently does, took it to a new level, irrationally hating the Xbox 360 and heaping love and money on Sony. Chris was obsessed with the PlayStation 3 long before he was able to purchase one, stating that he would throw out the cure for autism for the $600 hunk of black plastic. When he finally bought a PS3, after failing to win it in a contest, he considered it to be the "ultimate life upgrade". The PS3 and its online component the PSN, where he has spent thousands of dollars, became an extremely important part of every day for Chris. He would also use his limited budget to purchase numerous Sony branded accessories, including a flat-screen TV, a PSEye, PSmove, PSmove Sharpshooter and multiple Guitar Hero controllers. Chris seems to find more pleasure in the purchasing of PS3 content than in its actual use. He frequently buys downloadable content for games he does not own. Chris seems to consider the PS3 and its games and accessories to be a genuine life improvement or something akin to investments rather than a glorified hugbox; how these electronic gizmos do anything but distract him from reality remains unclear. Chris went to great lengths to express his distaste for the PS3's primary rival: the Xbox 360, or "HEXbox" as he liked to call it. When Chris would propose a video game such as Christian Weston Chandler's Adult Chronicles, he would make sure to state that it would be for all consoles... HEXbox excepted. Chris went as far as defacing in-store advertisements for the Xbox while yelling "kick that hex-bawx" and frequently lashing out at those who appeared to like or be affiliated with the Xbox.
Chris's reasons for hating the Xbox 360 have never been clearly defined. When pressed for answers, Chris would generally cite Xbox Live's (Xbox's online component) cost or the infamous "red ring of death". He would later admit that his anger stemmed from jealousy over being unable to afford an original Xbox and that the aforementioned reasons were merely excuses. Though he later softened his stance against the Xbox under the influence of Jackie, the rivalry between the consoles and Chris's loyalty towards Sony was at its peak during the height of Chris trolling. This caused his hatred to become well known and the Xbox 360 to become a bit of a mascot for trolls. Chris also associated the Xbox with trolls, depicting Alec Benson Leary as an Xbox user. Even though he has recanted much of his hatred towards the XBox 360, he has not made the choice to purchase one, despite spending the vast majority of his money on video games.
Chris once felt similar hatred towards the PlayStation 1 and 2, which were at that time rivals to his beloved Nintendo 64 and GameCube respectively. His hatred for Sony and its gaming products, described by Chris as equal to his contemporary hatred of Microsoft, evaporated when he purchased a PlayStation 1 at an SPCA rummage sale for a "bargain." He intended to sell it for profit, but instead played it and found it to be enjoyable. Instead of learning from this, discovering that rival consoles can be equally enjoyable, Chris simply became a Sony fanboy (in addition to a Nintendo fanboy) and began hating Microsoft.
Autism vs. Asperger's
|The first words that comes to Chris's mind when he thinks of Asperger's syndrome|
Chris extends his loyalty to brands far outside the normal realms of products and services and into the world of mental abnormality. He is extremely loyal to his diagnosis of autism, swearing by "my autism" multiple times and considering it to be an integral part of his identity, despite having serious difficulty grasping how the condition affects his ability to function. Just as with the PS3 and Xbox 360, Chris has identified a rival to autism in Asperger's syndrome. This is a classic case of Chris's propensity to choose one "brand" over another despite the fact that they are identical; Chris's "high-functioning" autism and Asperger's are essentially the same diagnoses. Chris feels that people with Asperger's are trying to "steal his limelight" and in fact stated that the name of the disorder, beyond merely sounding like "a bad cut of meat," brought to mind "competing retards." He seems to believe that people with Asperger's syndrome are somehow faking their symptoms.
Chris's loyalty to autism and insistence on believing it to be different from Asperger's syndrome, forces him to ignore any kind of reason. Initially his unusual feelings on the matter were unknown and he was able to blissfully hold onto his ignorance unopposed, but when they were discovered and the outside world pushed him on the issue he displayed a stunning slide towards the grossly irrational. Initially, when confronted by "fans" in the mailbag, Chris claimed, while pointing to the Wikipedia articles on the topic, that the two were differentiated by the age of onset (which is complete nonsense), but quickly decided that his "mind was closed" to the matter and refused to answer any more questions on the topic. When pushed further by Vivian G, Chris went as far as to say that he was willing "live this lie than believe that truth."
Harry Potter vs. Pokémon
|“||He dared compete against Pok'emon, PLUS he is a total Spaz, and I just do not care for him at all.||”|
Although this is not seen as a traditional rivalry by the rest of world, Chris has a strong dislike of the boy wizard Harry Potter because he perceives him to be a threat to the Pokémon franchise. Chris calls him a "total spaz" and at one point even threatened to kill the fictional character. His hatred appears to stem from Chris's perception that a brand was once again "stealing the limelight" from something he identified with, in this case Pokémon. While Pokémon was aimed at younger children, Harry Potter targeted a slightly older, more literate demographic. To Chris, the choice was obvious.
In later years Chris softened his stance on Harry Potter and at the request of Jackie, he dressed up as a wizard and made reference to Harry Potter.
|“||Listen People of Nintendo, DURING MY LIFETIME, my family and I have invested THOUSANDS of American Dollars and Cents in Nintendo Video Games and Systems from NES and Game Boy to Gamecube/Wii and DS/GBA.||”|
|Chris, expecting his loyalty to Nintendo to be repaid.|
Chris has been a lifelong fan of Nintendo products, and although his love of Sonic prevented him from becoming obsessed with Mario, Chris has owned nearly every Nintendo console and handheld since the NES (there have been no signs of the infamous Virtual Boy). His relationship with Nintendo and his interactions with Shigeru Miyamoto, who he believed was interested in producing a Sonichu game, displays Chris's odd understanding of consumer/corporate relations. It appears that Chris believed that his loyalty to various corporate interests would be recognized and returned in a reciprocal fashion, as he listed his multitude of Nintendo purchases in an attempt to convince the game developer to work with him.
|“||I am straight; do not label me otherwise. I would rather suffer a painful gender-change operation than ever be a homo.||”|
|Chris demonstrating proper use of a semicolon.|
|“||Also, I Swear as God and Jesus as my Witnesses, THE FIRST TIME, and maybe the second time as well, I HAVE SEX WITH A WOMAN, I WILL Video Record the Whole Thing and Upload it onto RedTube, so FINALLY PEOPLE can SEE what should have been seen almost a Decade Ago.||”|
|Chris discussing his plans for his first time with his webmaster.|
Chris's allegiance to heterosexuality and hatred for homosexuality could be seen as a form of warped brand loyalty. To Chris, heterosexual love is the most pure joyous expression of emotion that can be experienced, the search for which is the noblest of quests. Its opposite — homosexual love — on the other hand, is a warped dangerous temptation and those who practice it are worthy of scorn. Chris has even forgone platonic same-sex friendships in an effort to avoid any possibility that he might associate with and be tempted by a homosexual. Just as with his hatred for the XBox, Chris is completely closed minded when it comes to evaluating homosexuality; to him it is the enemy and the mere thought of it makes him blind with rage. Despite his efforts at finding heterosexual love, Chris seems more concerned with insuring that he is properly labeled as a STRAIGHT man. His efforts to prove to the world that he is in fact not a homo include going as far as planning to record and publicize his first heterosexual experience against the wishes of his hypothetical partner. Whether Chris's hatred for homosexuality stems from jealousy, as it did with his hatred for the XBox, is unknown.
The origin of this loyalty can be traced back to his childhood: Bob Chandler, being a not-so-nice Southern gentleman, not only disliked homosexuals in the traditional bigoted manner, but suffered from frequent paranoid delusions regarding their role in his life. When Chris ran into trouble at Nathanael Greene Elementary School Bob blamed the problems not only on the principal (who he was certain was a homosexual), but on the school board which, for reasons left unclear, he believed to be stacked with homosexuals who despised his family. Even the incredibly naïve Christian was capable of seeing that this was, at the very least, an exaggeration, if not a paranoid persecution fantasy. Nevertheless this kind of hatred and paranoia sunk into Chris's mind and was compounded by Bob's unfounded and bizarre belief that Chris's trolling originated with several homosexuals who he believed frequented the GAMe PLACe.
Chris's feelings on lesbianism are more nuanced. While he still feels the Biblical injunction against same-sex coupling applies, scissoring is just too hot for him to condemn.
|“||I respectfully and humbly request that on the package a statement li—such as "DESIGNED ONLY FOR STRAIGHT ORIENTED MEN"||”|
Chris's loyalty to this multinational deodorant brand (called Lynx in the UK and Australia) is a classic example of Chris taking advertising literally. Early commercials for the deodorant depicted women throwing themselves at men in a manner reminiscent of Chris's desire for women to approach him in public. Rather than seeing this as hyperbole, Chris seems to believe that the product may have this effect in reality. Obviously Axe has never worked as advertised for Chris, but he has maintained his status as a loyal customer for many years.
Axe is also an example of how Chris considers the products he buys an integral component of his identity. As a loyal Axe customer, he was deeply disturbed when he was told that Axe was popular in the gay community, and he felt the need to use YouTube to request that the Unilever Corporation use labels to specifically forbid homosexuals from using their products.
|“||Tea for a dollar, in a Large Cup, at McDonalds; go Dollar-Menuaires!||”|
|Chris, plugging his favorite restaurant to the trolls.|
Chris is a lifelong acolyte of McDonald's and thus dislikes its main competitor, Burger King. McDonald's is a major component of Chris's life. He eats a significant percentage of his meals at the popular fast-food restaurant, considers it the perfect location for a first date, and features it as a location in several issues of Sonichu. One of his most cherished and sickening fantasies involves having sex with his sweetheart in the handicapped bathroom of the local McDonald's. Chris has little love for Burger King, although he certainly never mentioned refusing to eat the food when dragged there by his father, who preferred it to McDonald's (Bob and Chris apparently did have some dispute about coupons with the Manager of their local Burger King, resulting in Chris's bizarre attempt to get his trolls to troll the Manager by creating an article on the CWCki). Chris has never mentioned having any strong positive or negative feelings toward the Wendy's chain before his brief stint as an employee, and seems not to hold animosity toward the chain as a whole despite being fired from his local store after three days.
Some time in 2012 Chris seemed to have turned on McDonald's, urging people to avoid the Forest Lakes location as he believes he has been discriminated against due to his autism and foul mouth. But in 2013, he plugged it on Facebook: Eat Healthy with Premium McWraps, Apple Slices and Tea. (Note that McWraps contain up to 620 calories, and the tea 220. And even the apple slices have been found to be crawling with Listeria.)
Coke and Pepsi
Surprisingly, Chris does not appear to have a specific long-term loyalty in this classic example of a nonexistent choice. He has been known to drink both, but claims that Sonichu drinks only CWC Cola, a variant of Pepsi with a special ingredient. At one point he supported a boycott of Pepsi due to its alleged "gay-friendliness." He has been known to hoard My Coke Rewards points; in the Ivy Q&A, Ivy describes his becoming miffed at having to use his points to buy a different version of a song he already owned to fulfill Ivy's request for a video. One might think that a few points are a trifling thing when sweet, sweet china is the potential reward, but then one probably isn't Chris.