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The Newest Trend Is to Be a Walking Billboard

The newest fad is to be a walking billboard…

Okay, maybe not exactly a billboard. Mobile advertisement, an on-the-go form of brand placement, if you will.

The tote bag industry is booming, as both a fashion trend and branding tool. Before this tote was trendy in the public eye, shops across the nation would hand them out upon purchase without a second thought. The stiff, unbleached cloth sported brand logos as shoppers carried their products home, where the bags soon became cast off on a hook in a broom closet or a shelf in the basement.

Many are now reaching back into these dark crevices of their homes in search of the overlooked handbags. I quickly found three in my search—one from Michaels that I had decorated in elementary school, one from a bridal shop where I found my prom dress, and another from a monthly subscription box service.

Why are tote bags suddenly all the rage? For starters, they are practical. Other bags can’t carry everything you need. A backpack might fit everything, but they are tainted by stress from schoolwork. Not to mention the back sweat they produce.

Sure, you could carry a purse, but those lose points for their impracticality. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard my mom complaining about how she can’t fit anything or find anything in her purse.

Tote bags are also giving purses a run for their money in the status-signaling category. Is it worth taking out a second mortgage for a designer name bag when you can still carry the label on your shoulder, just in a new, screen-printed format?

These tote bags are also eco-friendly and an easy, stylish way to live out the mantra reduce, reuse, recycle. Say goodbye to single-use plastic bags and say hello to the environmentally-conscious tote that will have you looking like you just stepped out of a Pinterest board.
Will these bags stand the test of time with consumers? Or recede into our closets and crumpled under our beds? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, brands are rejoicing in this momentary bliss, capitalizing on a trendy branding tool they distributed before the demand even existed. These advertising teams better take their vacation days now, for who knows how long they will have pro-bono walking advertisers doing their work for them.

Emily Hellwig

Wake Forest '23

My name is Emily Hellwig and I am a second-year student from Lexington, Virginia. I am Politics and International Affairs major with minors in Spanish and Communication. I am a redhead with a soul, avid feminist, and lover of Pepsi, the deacs, dancing, and podcasts (in that order).
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