It is Chinese New Year (in accordance with the Chinese lunar calendar).
In Cantonese the greeting is 新年好 - kung hei fat choi. In Mandarin Gong Xi Fa Cai. This year is the year of the Horse.
In any case I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about why topicality is a useful technique for promotion and marketing communication. Sometimes
If people are already talking about a subject - something that is newsworthy - then your contribution increases in relevance.
It is also an opportunity to twist an idea around to make it more engaging. The dummy example I have made might be a way of taking a product that you wouldn't normally be thinking about or talking about and placing it into the 'timeline'.
It is an opportunity to be surprising too. Some topics are serious but lend themselves to wit or humour. Be careful with your brand though. What might seem hilarious to the creative team on your account might fall flat with your customers. Given that you pay the creative team but your customers pay you it might be wise to wait a couple of beats before agreeing to a campaign like American Apparel's Sandy Hurricane ad - which caused a storm of protest.
My ad is opportunistic - there was no plan. But it is important these days to be planning to be open to opportunity. Capitalising on what is happening in the world with fresh, witty or pointed content is a mindset you should be cultivating in your activity.
It is way of participating in the conversations that happen in the world your brands inhabit. Rigid plans can easily be disrupted. German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke famously said 'No battle plan survives contact with the enemy (though he probably actually said something like 'Kein Schlachtplan überlebt den Kontakt mit dem Feind.'
What are the best topical ads or newsjacks you've seen? Leave a link in the comments section.
The Friday Frolic is a light hearted, thought provoking idea. Your contributions are welcome.
Airships are a good idea for air transport - if you're not in a hurry.
The Hindenburg disaster in New Jersey in 1937 ('Oh the humanity!') put a dampener on airships as a form of passenger transport. Part of the Hindenburg's problem was that the gas used to keep the craft aloft was hydrogen - which is very flammable. Today's airships use helium, which is much more stable.
Here's the idea. Air New Zealand invest in a small fleet of super-premium airborne hotels, taking visitors on scenic journeys across New Zealand's most stunning landscapes, stopping occasionally to sample local experience on the ground. No rush at all. You are already there - the journey is the experience.
It would be a perfect way to experience New Zealand people who are in no hurry. A way of seeing the landscape from a unique vantage point - and less challenging than a Virgin Galactic flight to the edge of space (it's almost the opposite of the VG experience).
You are already there - the journey is the experience
Taking off and landing wouldn't require the amount of space that an airport does - and the craft wouldn't create much noise - the gentle whirring of the solar powered electric propellors. It wouldn't need any radically invasive infrastructre. Maybe it could stop at specially designed and built luxury lodges along the way.
The green credentials would be impressive and reinforce New Zealand's brand promise. It would generate Few emissions and harness sustainable energy.
Dreamliners are fine for bring people to NZ but they are an undifferentiated experience - all airlines are basically the same and the sky above the clouds out of the tiny windows necessary for pressurised cabins looks the same every where.
The systems for controlling the craft in weather and for landing and docking would be sophisticated to improve safety - these days the pilot could probably drive it from an iPad and let the automatic systems run the algorithms needed to compensate for wind and weather.
While I applaud Air New Zealand for leveraging the Tolkein movies' global appeal - this project is more sustainable than the clever tactic of painting a dragon onto a plane.
What do you think? A super-premium New Zealand experience, or a flight of fancy?
The airship I have based the concept drawing on is called The Manned Cloud - one of a number of airship ideas that have been floated in the past decade. Read more about the project on Dezeen
I put the ideas in this presentation together to show a bed manufacturer and retailer how creating 'social objects' - talking points becomes a focal point for a social strategy.
One of the things that is misunderstood in social media is the idea of 'going viral' - most things go largely ignored. But in the era of 'the long tail' you have to fill the pipeline and let your customers and prospects cine to you over time.
Remember the rules:
1. Be Useful
2. Be engaging
And don't worry too much about creating the perfect work of art in your promotions. Perfectionism will freeze you - or just slow you down so much that the world will pass you by.
It all began, not so very long ago with a little company called Pixar.
Originally it was part of George Lucas' empire (before he had an Empire with a capital E). Pixar were software geeks who had invented novel, if rustic by today's standards, ways of animating with computers. Bear in mind that the effects in Lucas's first Star Wars movie were a combination of plastic models and carved polystyrene filmed against green screens. Lucas had bigger fish to fry than worry about a part of his business that didn't make much money - other than from creating a few rustic TV commercials.
After a while Pixar was wooed by a dashing prince called Steve Jobs who had lost his job at the company he started - Apple Computer (but that's another story)…Job bought in, it gave him an outlet for the Next computer terminals that he had been developing to show the dastardly board of Apple what they were missing out on.
Long story short…Toy Story.
Even though the way that people were rendered in the first film the way that real human stories were told through computer generated animated toys was a ground breaking feat.
No one does it better than Pixar - the rules they set out in this little presentation are filled with universal truths that you can apply to the telling of your own brand Stories. Get just half of them down pat and you may well live happily ever after.
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.