The ad comes from Colombia - the headline says "The Kitchen you are imagining is in Hipercentro Coronna.". The (fake) classified ads on the page morph into a dimensional representation of a kitchen with range hood. It's a little bit funky and I don't really know if if has all that much impact - but it is interesting and interestingness goes a long way.
The ad reframes expectations. Sometimes this can be expressed a 'make the strange familiar and the familiar strange'. If you were flipping through the classified ads (do people still do that?) and came across this message would you look twice (all things being equal - if you were in the market for home improvement supplies the ad would have a high degree of salience - and if you were just passing through perhaps you'd think the retailer was more interesting and file that thought away until you were ready, able and wiling to buy).
A 'retake' is better than being ignored or lost in the 7 point type of a listings page. Come to think of it the same rule applies even if you are making a glossy double page spread in a fashion magazine. Is there something that surprises and delights.
Your mind is wired to look for patterns. We 'see' things that aren't there - mentally joining the dots. One of the most vivid examples of this phenomenon is the moving image - movement is simulated by showing static images in sequence. Movies typically screen at 24 frames per second. That roughly coincides with your brain's processing capacity - we stitch the sequence together in our our minds - seeing fluid motion. If some other images that don't follow the sequence are inserted you will notice them (no, I'm not talking about the fabled 'subliminal' messages). The foreign material will disrupt the flow.
In a sense that's the job of creativity in advertising - to interrupt the flow while still being a part of context. Your fashion spread will be wallpaper unless something about it upsets your equilibrium - the mindless rhythm of flipping the pages of Vogue Italia or Wallpaper magazine.
The best advertising does this well. You are reading Vogue in the comfortable reassurance that it will contain this month's expressions of the fashion continuum (in a way every month is like a frame of the film of culture - a step by step progression from the early 2oth Century to the present day). Ads in Vogue ten to look like ads in Vogue - so a little disruption can go a long way.
Harvey Nichols, the high-end retailer in England have a reputation for creating ads that defy conventions in their category but which also conform to the model for fashion and beauty. In doing so they not only announce their retail events - like any retailer they have a seasonal calendar and have to compete for more than their fair share of the market.
Whether the kitchen retailer enjoyed any benefit from the ad that kicked off this conversation is hard to know. The ad appears in a creative portfolio on the Behance web site (it may never have actually run in the press). But it does serve to remind that even the most moribund media can present an opportunity to cut-though with messages that surprise and delight and which can take on a second life as social objects - something that gets people talking - as we are here).
This ad for the Waitrose supermarket chain is very nicely made. It uses the talent of a big name director Tom Tagholm (who proved his chops convincingly with work for the 2012 Paralympics, taking the tape for Gran Prix gold at Cannes with Superhumans). Three things strike me about this ad:
A young boy researches gardening and makes the decision to plant his own crop in the back yard. His mum obviously supports his endeavour - but doesn't interfere, except to bring him in out of the rain. He tills the soil, plants the seeds, scares the crows and is no slug on pest control. When the bounty of the harvest is revealed and he proudly serves his assembled family a feast of roast veg.
The commercial is beautifully shot, edited and matched to a music track that evokes empathy without stretching too far into schmalz (even if it is a bit too Coldplay for my taste). Avoiding the temptation to show the family as loving supporters gazing on in admiration (or any other layer of unnecessary emotion to prove some communal bond or interpretation) and neither is the kid shunned or neglected. He's just doing his thing.
The segue is to Waitrose's produce aisle. A young employee is restocking the carrots and the voice over announces: "When you own something you care a little more - everyone who works at Waitrose owns Waitrose.". When I realised what the ad was for I half expected an obvious pronunciation that the produce was as good as if you'd grown it yourself, or a condescending - we grow it better than you could yourself. But no. It is a simple statement about the one thing that makes Waitrose different from, say, Tesco - implied, not stated - human scale and humanist values.
The story, the technique and the point are all are neatly and economically interwoven - though the sotto declamation at the end clearly signifies that this is an ad.
There are conventions in categories. They just evolve and become universal truths - it's marketing entropy - everything ultimately migrates to the black hole of the centre of the positioning grid.
Beware of universal truth - your ads should project something of your brand that no-one else can claim. That might be something oddball - the classic VW ad - it's ugly but it get's you there - comes to mind.
Waitrose are part of the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. The staff are called partners and are participants in a cooperative scheme that grants bonuses to employees based on their pay scale and discounts on goods. The claim in the ad is completely aligned to their practice.
The Game of Thrones phenomenon rolls on with parody after parody (which has to be the true measure of your cultural caché). Not only has Hootsuite created this beautifully made video in advance of the launch of Season Four of the epic fantasy but it has also created an explanatory infographic for the befuddled.
If you are planning to develop content as part of your marketing consider joining into conversations that your audience are already having amongst themselves. Butting in with material that is off-topic or just delivered at the wrong time can mean you are wasting your time at best and possibly damaging your brand at worst.
Like any social situation it is important to be interesting, helpful and courteous - trying to get people talking about your latest widget when there is a blockbuster media event in progress could be a fool's errand. Factor in big events to your content calendar - plan around events like Superbowl, All Blacks test matches and the Grammy's if Lorde is in the running for a gong.
Game of Thrones official HBO site
(This site is worth exploring to see how big budgets deal with blockbuster media events)
See how Shutterstock picked up the Game of Thrones meme - the series Houses imagined as modern coroprations to promote its stock images.
Language can have a powerful effect on people's perceptions.
When things rhyme people think the statement is more true.
Of course if you ask anyone if it is true that things that rhyme is true they will laugh at you.
All is revealed in a study named "Birds of a feather flock conjointly - rhyme as reason in aphorisms"
We explored the role that poetic form can play in people's perceptions of the accuracy of aphorisms as descriptions of human behavior. Participants judged the ostensible accuracy of unfamiliar aphorisms presented in their textually surviving form or a semantically equivalent modified form. Extant rhyming aphorisms in their original form (e.g., "What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals") were judged to be more accurate than modified versions that did not preserve rhyme ("What sobriety conceals, alcohol unmasks"). However, the perceived truth advantage of rhyming aphorisms over their modified forms was attenuated when people were cautioned to distinguish aphorisms' poetic qualities from their semantic content. Our results suggest that rhyme, like repetition, affords statements an enhancement in processing fluency that can be misattributed to heightened conviction about their truthfulness.
If you use rhyme in your advertising then likeability and the perception of truthfulness increases.
Remember OJ Simpson's trial? Well, you probably don't remember many of the details, aside from the media circus - details are far too complex to process. The jury - who had been subject to a barrage of facts and counter-facts over the course of a very long trial were told by Simpson's clever defence lawyers "If the glove doesn't fit - you have to acquit." And they did.
So, while advertising copywriters might sneer at the idea - maybe there is truth in the adage: If you've got nothing to say - sing it.
Home magazine by Bauer Media Group New Zealand is one of the best home publications on the market. It is well designed and intelligently presented. Editor Jeremy Hansen has done a fine job of keeping the title interesting with lively design and written content that isn't either so worthy it is unreadable or so trivial it might as well have been set in Zapf Dingbats*.
The home of the year issue is, obviously, an annual event. As an award for architecture it has the prestige of being the gong that lay people notice - I'm sure the architectural community can be as dismissive and jealous of their patch as any other field that distinguishes itself with awards. It is impressive how the publishers engage other media to promote the issue - this years winners have had airtime on primetime current events shows like Campbell Live (who confected an angle about local peasants being disgruntled by the presence of these alien structures - which should, apparently look more like farm buildings. Plainly a nonsense - it would be harder to design structures that look more utilitarian than these).
'House porn' is a strong media category with shows like Grand Designs growing in popularity along with unscripted drama shows like The Block. Maybe interest will wane when mortgage interest rates spike later this year?
*David Carson's dingbat layout
David Carson is an influential designer and art director whose fame erupted from his work on the surf culture magazine RayGun. His deconstructed layouts and experimental use of photography and type were ground breaking, made possible by the emergence of the Apple Macintosh and the democratisation of desktop publishing and PostScript. In one issue of the mag Carson was presented with an interview with Bryan Ferry for layout. He deemed it so boring that it may as well be set in Zapf Dingbats - making publishing gold out of journalistic straw.
This video is notable for its ability to encapsulate just about everything uniquely New Zealand in one contemporary puss-take (no that's not a mustake).
Enjoy the film.
For another dimension read the transcript of the words that YouTube automatically provides.
New Zealanders definitely have a different spin on spoken English.
Here's the lyric - based on Lorde's Royals (loosely).
The reguler type is the lyric, the bold type is YouTube's artistic interpretation (which I rather like).
I've never had a hunch for facial tatts
I'm never had a hunch foreplay shoot here
I've never eaten plankton or got beached az on the YouTube
I never even clinton also got breached is only uguu
And Mint sauce isn't after shave
Payments all season how shayari
Goblins and orcs
Goblins and all leave
And live in Auckland
All live in Auckland
And every maori's like…
All delivery Mary's
Yeah cuz no cuz
Like yeah cuz no cuz
What's goin' on Bro?
We're still number one
and food brought
Six months in a leaky boat
hits in six plus
We're throwing jandals in the air
Dave Dobbyn says Pavlova, All Black, Slice of Heaven, Hessian bag, kiwifruit, kia ora, gladiator rotorua
Dave Jones have led all blacks laws in the nation big kiwifruit here already
We don't shear
On your way to shear
Underarm bowling is just unfair
Underground Boeing is just down being emo
And we'll never be choice bro, choice bro
never be chill these
Fish and chips and chilly bins
Her voice the russian church in Chile
Never mess with Jake The Muss
This miss with Jake The Muss
Middle Earth I'm Frodo Cuz
male on Friday cuz scary
How scary is the Haka
(Youtube doesn't even try)
Pretty Scary don't you think? Tattoos on me and ewes
Pretty scary just too army
Show is free he rhapsody
I'm best friends with Russell Crowe
On the east brains with Yasouk chrome
We bungee jump and whitewater raft - down in queenstown
hang with sonjii jump in the white water raft down in queens down
And if he wasn't married I'd propose
Many three he wasn't married Hyperbad
Hot tub full of mud
Missing hot tub pool in
A cheeky, sneaky ConTiki
A shaky thing he can do to me
And then Russ is like: Romper Stomper,Gladiator, South Sydney dominator, sixty foot full o' grunt,
And then uses like rubber somebody has assinated on for 64
Throw a phone, Pack a scrum, I'm not scared
Polo grounds, line backers crime are not scared
I killed a bear with my bare hands
Of your affair with my bare hands
Then I punched a bloke, upper cut, low blow, kicked him in the shinbone, headlock, shoulder block
They're not possible to have a job project diminishing but headlock shows the box Lebanon sunblock all those
Slippin on a soap block - I was pretty good in Robin Hood and we'll never be choice bro, choice bro - fish'n'chops and chilly bins
Pretty good Robin hood a movie about the juries sure this fish and chip and chilli bum
never mess with jake the muss, Middle Earth I'm Frodo cuz
Is nevertheless when Jakob Zuma's Middle Earth on Friday
cast no deal
Keeps my calamari fresh
Slow trees are killin refurbish
Nek Minute, Nek Minute, Nek Minute We'll g
Goodnight my in
et sued for New Zealand Blasphemy
CD for New Zealand slow movin'
Ever been in a meeting when someone announced that the video they were proposing would 'go viral'? You had a hunch they were delusional (as if the Social Media Guru moniker on their business card wasn't suspect enough).
Here's a behind the scenes look at how it's really done…and what you can expect for the year ahead. Our personal pick for runaway success is 'Bun Nutting'. Oh, sure 'Clocking' has promise but we wonder if kids will find it a little bit too analog to put their hands to it.
Ok, it was a joke - but interest in the idea of Retrospective Planning seems to have captured the imagination of some of the recipients of our email burst (what, you're not on the mailing list - check your spam folder - or sign up here). Maybe we should launch a Kickstarter campaign to fun its development? - it may require a year of extensive research in the luxury capitals of the world.
If you have a story about retrospective planning drop us a line. You know the kind of thing - a lucky break that is touted as part of a cleverly devised strategy. The arena is huge - it just about covers every press release ever sprung on the world's bored media. Of course everybody knows that any venture is more than likely going to take twice as long and consume three times as many resources as expected - but, as you know, when it comes to good war stories the truth rarely gets in the way.
You have to hand it to brands that get into the spirit of April Fools Day. Its that time of year when you can poke fun at your customers - or have a bit of a laugh at a trend.
This ad is my favourite prank from a mainstream advertiser this year. Nicely observed - and I love how they restrained themselves from the obvious by not casting the male lead with a full Victorian beard.
With low cost video and a half an idea you can create content that is fun for your audience and is some thing they can talk about and share. Attention spans are so short these days you don't have to worry too much about how much it fits with your brand strategy. Include fun calendar events in your content calendar - not just the launch of the new TX-9000i. If it's on your customer's calendar - mark it on yours.
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.