Smith and Wesson's new tweet is a plug for Proud Boys

Originally published at: Smith and Wesson's new tweet is a plug for Proud Boys | Boing Boing


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I was thinking of something else but then I remembered that “Peanut Butter” is one word.


Punch of Bricks.


Is there more to this story? They explicitly reference the clothing as having to do with “Perce|eption Brand,” which seems to clear them of making a covert Proud Boys reference. Turning off comments seems like it would be par for the course when one is a merchant of death involved in the domestic assault rifle trade. I’m not seeing a Proud Boys connection here.


Which is exactly the desired response they want you to have, because you’re not their target audience. The neo-nazis have usurped all kinds of ordinary imagery and symbolism, desperate to cling to the belief that there’s a whole huge groundswell of people who support their 1000-year-reich mentality. So if they see someone in a PB t-shirt, or the number 88, or an OK thumb&forefinger, or Pepe the Frog, or Kek-anything, they get all excited that someone is blowing their particular dogwhistle.

The way to think of it is “if someone is warning you that a thing is a neo-nazi symbol, believe them.”


So, like it’s a sponsorship or what?

Instead of MAGA banners, panda heads and buffalo horns at the next insurrection it will be Smith and Wesson, Colt and Beretta swag?


Not gonna lie. I liked it better when fascists and corporations supporting fascism kept themselves hid in the dark cracks at the fringe of our collapsing civilization.

That said, I can’t think of a corporation that wouldn’t embrace full on fascism were some of them not dependent on the more left-leaning Boomer dime.


“tactical athelete”

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I was just having difficulty because the explanation for why this is a Proud Boys reference was rather sparse: “here’s a clothing brand somehow connected to S&W that apparently coincidentally has the same initials as Proud Boys with letters that ‘look the same’ (even though the fonts look nothing alike).” That’s… not much of a connection. Knowing that the logos are similar because Proud Boys always have their initials in yellow (not because of the font) is a little more convincing. Knowing that “Perception Brand” (or “Perceeption Brand” or “Perce|eption Brand” or whatever the fuck it actually is) is apparently a brand new product line of Smith and Wesson’s is a lot more convincing. (Assuming that’s true? That’s what others are asserting, but I can’t tell.) That Smith and Wesson don’t seem to care what PB stands for (and it doesn’t really make any sense, as it’s a branding term impossible to google) and don’t seem to be promoting it much under the full name is evidence as well.

I see right-wingers creating all sorts of ludicrous conspiracy theories of things being connected based on having the same initials, so I like to have a little more than that (i.e. that the brand is recent and doesn’t pre-date the Proud Boys, for instance). It’s not like anyone on the right has said anything about this, or been seen wearing it, or made the connection themselves, like all your examples. There are enough gun brands openly siding with the far-right these days that I don’t want to spend time chasing mirages, if that’s all it is. (But it does seem to be more than that, based on what I’ve seen elsewhere.)

When the right do it, sure. (Even the “ironic” usage of something as far-right symbols quickly became un-ironic when the right are actually using them.) But there have been a few times when someone claimed something was now a neo-nazi symbol because they leapt to the wrong conclusion based on insufficient information, or because someone was making a bad-faith claim, etc.

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When you choose to partner with another brand, the choice of what you highlight is mutual. So let’s look at what products are available that they could be advertising. There is only one shirt on the PB website with a yellow logo. “Support Your Local Enforcer” T-shirt/ Short Sleeve – Perceeption Brand Store It has a yellow PB front logo and on the back a bloody brass knuckle in yellow saying support your local enforcer. The best case scenario is that it is a pro-police brutality message, with the more believable option being that it is support for extrajudicial violence by right wing paramilitaries. But hey maybe the company just didn’t see the connection. Let’s look around a bit more. “Booosted” slaps – Perceeption Brand Store Oh look anti-vax slap up stickers. We have inverted American flag imagery “Smash Your TV” T-shirt/ Short Sleeve – Perceeption Brand Store And bloody roots of the tree of liberty imagery. “510” T-Shirt/ Short Sleeve – Perceeption Brand Store

But hey, maybe the site is dripping with plausibly deniable right wing imagery, by chance. They could have been at it for ages. If we pull the registration for the site it is about a year old. Their Instagram (2200 followers) goes back a little further, but not even a full two years. Same deal for the Youtube (8 whole subscribers). So it looks like Smith and Wesson partnered with a company who chose a Proudboys look alike logo, after the Proudboys were in international news, chose to highlight a non-Smith and Wesson related product with a company with no substantial following. Why? If we’re going to extend a good faith assumption to SW there should be a reason. It isn’t following, mass market appeal, or a company who has the market cornered. It looks exactly like what high fashion houses have been up to for ages, bait people with plausibly deniable monstrous actions and let the outrage serve as free marketing in outlets who wouldn’t otherwise carry your message.


“Perception Brand” is the kind of name that someone would come up with if the name had to be abbreviated to “PB” and nothing else mattered.


I kinda laughed at the idea of referring to the brand as “Poster Boy”.


Their brand identity seems sketchy as hell. The word mark is “Perce|eption brand”, which seems tailor made to hinder a search.
Strange spelling
Uses a bitwise operator
Very similar to “Brand Perception”, a technical term in Marketing circles.


Another thing that comes to mind for this is that Pb is also the chemical symbol for lead. that’s another not too subtle message that they’re sending.


Yeah, even if there’s no attempt to make a Proud Boys connection, the shit they’re selling is reprehensible enough on its own. Though I’m now convinced they are trying to make a PB connection, based on what I’ve subsequently seen.

Yeah, exactly.

I think it must be - they’re not even consistent about that ridiculous branding, and searches are going to default to “brand perception” anyways. Seems like it would be impossible to operate a store under that situation (unless they’re just counting on S&W passing on customers), so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it get simplified to “PB” clothing at some point…


They really are strange. No “about us” page, no contact info, no gushing declarations about how red-blooded they are, just some social media pages which dont say much. Its like they’re going out of their way to avoid building a brand.

Then S&W just happen upon their products? I’d wager the company is owned by a smith and wesson exec.


Yeah, it’d be interesting to know who owns the company (and who the models are in the product photos)… I suspect there are some layers here.


Of course they did.


I’ve been known to play chess occasionally (and badly) - can I claim to be a ‘strategic athlete’?