From time to time the idea of reincarnation is trotted out in advertising.
Top is a magazine in Brazil that covers luxury trends. In these ads they have imagined what Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates might look like if religions that promote the idea of another roll of the dice are right. Setting aside the question of - what on earth they did they do wrong in this life? to deserve such terrible fates (and in the absence of cash would another Llama breed with Mr Gates?).
The ads have been translated into English - Portuguese is the local lingo - so may have lost something in translation - but they remain kind of funny - who doesn't like to take a moment from their hard-scrabble lives to laugh at the uber-wealthy.
I'm being unkind though - in context the ads make a nice point - after all the magazine catalogs the bling and tat the nouveau riche are attracted to.
Ironically Zuckerberg and Gates are notoriously unaffected by their wealth - while Donald Trump takes his Midas touch thing a little too far sometimes - if you've ever visited Trump Tower in Manhatten you'll know what I mean.
My point here is about exposition - creating a visual ad then having to spell its meaning out - it's a bit clumsy. In this case it's easy to get the impression that the suit or the client's wife said something along the lines of: "E se ninguém entende que a coruja é senhor Trump?" - "Maybe you should put his name in the headline?
All communication is better when it is clear. Strip away as much clutter as possible. if your advertising is distinctive you might not need a logo (Bill Bernbach even suggested you might have a better chance of being heard if you leave it off altogether). If you have a strong visual story resist the urge to spell it out in words.
Fewer elements mean less chance of distraction and confusion.
A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Antoine de Saint-Exupery
J.Crew are a catalog retailer in the US. Michelle Obama wore their kit at her hubby's first inauguration bash and set the tone for a presidency that was styish but not so so much Jackie O prêt-à-porter as a Yo! to go .
Something happened the other day that is worth noting. A blogger for New York magazine wrote an open letter to the company asking them to bring back a discontinued swim suit. The retailer responded - taking out a double page spread in the magazine to announce that the togs were back in all their scoop backed glory.
The blogger acknowledged the acknowledgement online and the story loop closed.
Bloggers can be influential - it pays to listen to what is being said about your products. If they are super-fans (raving fans as Tom Peters famously labelled them) then they may be incredibly influential…'mavens' - as we are throwing around the nomenclature of big-name commentators.
Be human - even if you're a big brand. Nobody cares about faceless corporations anymore. We all know that there is someone in a cubicle or a corner office pulling the levers that make things tick…don't be too slick.
If your customers ask for something - there might be value - not just at the cash register - but also as evidence your brand is responsive and fleet of foot.
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 blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.