I’m starting to tire of the name of this blog series. I crave novelty. I’m not a starter-finisher. I’m flighty. Commitments are liquid to me. I’m not sure I ever really liked corned beef anyway. Does anyone? Every day I’m searching for the new thing. I have no time for this long game; this story arc; this slow burner. I like experience curated, carved up, collected and distributed in parcels. Yesterday is a century old to me while it’s still today – I can’t help it; “the TV did it to me!” A whole thing is a waste of attention; a chain of glittering bits is more compelling, more energetic. I forget the beginning of the sentence before I’ve discovered the ending. It’s the disease of the digital age, a natural outcome of being immersed in a sea of media.
The question I ask myself most often is the one you’re asking yourself right now: What am I on about and where is this going?
The Internet. That’s what we’re about here; a big machine for endless novelty. Look: a picture of a cat! The cat is wearing a hat. See this: a picture of a dog. The dog has no idea what he’s doing. I feel like the dog some days – “that’s why it’s funny”!
Memes and mash-ups, the human urge for novelty and escape, the stuff and the process of creativity: recombination. Maria Popova of Brainpickings (who you follow, don’t you? And if you don’t you may need to reflect on your life choices), talks here about the latest in a series called “Everything is a Remix” about how ideas are combined into new ones. Reminds me very much of a great book I read last year called Where Good Ideas Come from by Steven Johnson, which everyone should read. There’s nothing new in the world, but that’s OK – it’s the old stuff that we jam together that makes the new stuff good.
So if you’re ever stuck for an idea take two things you like and see what they’d be like combined. Like a dolphin and a wolf. What would a Wolphin look like? Great, that’s what.
Tenuously, I’m continuing in the vein of little chains of experience and stories with an email recently sent round CP&B in LA by the CEO Andrew Keller. Posted in edited form on Fast Company, this email, though complete with some slightly toe-curling brand-speak, is a very perceptive insight (and clarion call of sorts) into how brands are really built in a world defined by social interactions over, and not over, digital media. I particularly like the bits about sculpting the legal copy lines on posters as a branded moment. Speaks to me very much about the minutia of user experience online.
I once spent three weeks on the phone with the CEO of an office furniture supply company co-authoring with him the copy on the confirmation pages of his website. Just the confirmation pages, i.e. the page you get after you change your password or your address. He was obsessed by it and by the end of the process I realised he was completely correct. These little moments, that seem inconsequential often to us with our big ideas and our creative canvas, are the real practical conversation a brand is having with a consumer; guiding them, earning their trust and their loyalty.
Here’s a great example of a campaign made of strings of little moments. Prometheus is, in my humble opinion, one of the worst things ever to happen in film ever, but the campaign in the run up was a masterpiece. Adverts better than the product? They used to crow about that round London-town; seems in the world of film it’s possible again. Fast Co again with a case study focus on the campaign.
I’m keeping it relatively brief this afternoon, as I’m in grave danger of jumping the shark here, so I’ll stick with the theme of telling a great story in the service of marketing and leave you with this week’s must-read: a Craigslist advert for some second hand golf clubs.
That man deserves a Cannes Lion for that.