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Leadership Lessons from Superman's Underpants

After 73 years of wearing his underwear on the outside, why has Superman decided to abandon his briefs?

For years I've been trying to help people see that popular consumer culture is a form of religion. It offers us a sense of value, identity, and context that traditional religions once provided. Similarly, pop culture has sacred symbols. How do I know this? Because when one of these symbols is altered the faithful will rise to protest the act of irreverence.

The Coca-Cola Company learned this lesson in 1985 when they released New Coke. And earlier this year when Gap changed their logo, hoards of angry white females rioted via social media. Gap relented and the retail deity's image was restored.

The latest victim of pop-culture blasphemy: Superman. Photographs have leaked from the production of Warner Brothers' new film Man of Steel showing actor Henry Cavill wearing a blue Superman suit without red trunks. When the film debuts in 2013 it will be the first time the character is depicted on screen without the red under(over)pants. Nerds are enraged.

The question I have is this: After 73 years ...

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