A unicorn in Atlanta

by Tiger

In this era, where communication is often done through "memes", slogans and quotes attributed to famous people, it is quite easy to find "fake authors".  

We often come across quotes complet with photographs of famous people who have never actually said such a thing. 

For example, the sentence “'If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain” is often attributed to Wiston Churchill, without his knowing anything about it.  

However, if by "liberal" we also include being "rebellious", it would be really sad not to be one at 25 for there is plenty of time after to go back inside the "box", put on your slippers and complain about the neighbor listening to music at high volume (which also depends on the type of music).  

Going to a destination "stubborn and contrary" is something that we should all do, at least every now and then, and regardless of age. After all, the figure of the rebel, of the one who goes against the mainstream, is too fascinating to go unnoticed. It is no coincidence that this figure is often used in advertising, from the famous Levi's in the '80s and '90s, to the “Think Different” campaign with which Apple began its climb that has led it to be the most capitalized company in the universe (well, at least the part of Universe we know of).

In that Apple commercial and the print campaign, the rebels are celebrated along with the “crazy one” who see the world differently, so crazy enough to think they can really change the world.

But you don't necessarily need to be a first-rate hero, you can also be a “hero of Suburbia” and reach the top of your (micro) world and feel like a true rebel.  

A place of honor in the ranking of the rebels of (almost) useless causes can be easily given to Mike Cameron, an unknown American student. It is the end of the 90s, we are at Greenbrier High School in Evans, a small town a few kilometers from Atlanta, where the headquarters of Coca Cola is located, a rather important presence around there.

As a matter of fact, in order to forge new minds, the Atlanta giant has been organizing competitions in schools for years, with prizes of up to $ 10,000 for the school that finds the most creative way to spread the image of Coca Cola.  

A Trojan horse to fill the classrooms with the logo and colors of the most famous "soft drink" in the world. 

March 18, 1998 is "D day" (actually it would be better to call it "C day"), the principal of Greenbrier High School is in fibrillation, everything is organized to the smallest detail to win that award, in full Notrh Korea style, the apex of the program includes the giant writing “Coke” formed by the students.

At the moment of the aerial photo the photographer notices something wrong, there is a boy wearing a shirt different from all the others, it seems that someone has not done his homework, but the scandal breaks out when he realizes that he is not simply wearing a different shirt, he is wearing a shirt with the logo of the arch-rival Pepsi.  

Great moment of embarrassment, the principal is called and everything stops. 

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square
holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo...
APPLE Commercial 1997

The author of this act of treason is identified, Mike Cameron, a senior. Mike claims he is wearing the Pepsi shirt by chance, while someone else told the principal that the young rebel put it on deliberately for the photo. A lucid and conscious choice to boycott Coke.

Whatever the version, the principal does not take it very well, because that act of insubordination costs the school the prize offered by Coca-Cola, but in return he makes the good Mike "win" 1 day of suspension, guilty of having ruined the Coca-cola day, and guilty of wanting to be the "round peg in the square hole" for a day.

When asked why, he will simply say: "I walked into school wearing a Pepsi shirt, because that’s my personality. I don't like to follow the trend of everyone else. "  

Well, this is not really a rebellion that changes the world, but as mentioned, sometimes small gestures are enough to feel like a hero.