The town of Agloe, New York shouldn’t exist.
It was a ’paper town’, a made-up place cartographers use to prevent copyright infringement. Any competitor map that replicates the fabricated town therefore must have copied theirs.
But, as novelist John Green’s TED talk about Agloe demonstrates, it wasn’t that simple. Travellers saw it on the map and visited but finding nothing there, people built what they expected to find.
Agloe became a real place because it fulfilled a need nobody previously knew they had.
Brands sometimes forget their power: to not just meet needs, but inspire them.