The Syrian humanitarian crisis escalates every day. But in a universe where lolcats and "You won't believe what happens next" links to Upworthy and Mashable expand to dominate news feeds it is getting more and more difficult to capture attention for anything more than a brief moment of time. Important messages are history almost as quickly as they are emitted, sucked into the black hole of the internet.
This ad for Save The Children features Stephen Hawking's unmistakeable synthesised speech announcing "The children of Syria have no voice. That is why I'm giving them mine. What will you give?". It works on a couple of levels - It is a little bit odd that the soundbites from children are spoken by a computerised voice - like Fred the text to speech option on an Apple Mac. It is disconcerting to hear, and incongruous married to the image of a young child. We are used to the beseeching tones of celebrities like David Beckham asking for your help (actually Beckham is only slightly less robotic), so you have our attention.
The reveal of Stephen Hawking's twisted frame is still confronting, even though he has become an accepted part of the cultural landscape. It has the effect of making the viewer feel a little guilty - if he will help (when he looks like he could use a hand himself), then maybe I should too?…With Beckham and other celebrities there is a slight residual impression of 'why don't you flip them a few hundred thousand from your undies endorsements?', not with the prof. I don't imagine his undies endorsements amount to much.
And then there is the clever double entendre…lending his voice…priceless.
In most categories there are conventions. We become immune to even shocking messages. Finding surprising ways to connect is always going to be a challenge - more so in the era where fast, trivial distraction is escalating and immunising people against messages that matter.
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.