Picture the scene. You’re in a remote village in Belgium, quietly enjoying your cappucino al fresco style when all of a sudden someone pushes a button and all hell breaks loose! Brilliant.
I’ve always liked the way the music industry tries to push the boundaries of creativity to help sell their records. In fact, they face similar challenges to corporate brands in that they’re both trying to find new ways to get noticed and build a fanbase in an overcrowded market. I imagine in musical circles it’s what’s known in the trade as building band equity!
Anyhow, the actual point I was going to make was that we can draw inspiration and learn a lot from the music industry and vice versa. In fact, I wrote a post about this last year where a particularly creative treatment in a musical video was adopted for an advertising campaign.
On that note, I came across this fabulous music video today for Groove Armada for their latest track ‘Look Me In The Eye Sister’. An original yet simple concept, beautifully executed.
A great mashup here of google earth and Grand Theft Auto.
That’s the last time I lend the car keys to the wife 😉 (sorry, cheap gag!)
Russel Davies gave a fascinating talk recently about our innate desire to be playful; or more specifically the human tendancy to pretend or amuse ourselves in role play in our daily lives. It’s that childhood instinct to be someone else whether that’s a soldier, a CIA agent, a fighter pilot, a catwalk model or even a princess.
He gives an array of examples where companies or brands have tried to tap into this insight from designing combat trousers, barbie dolls and luxury performance watches to more immersive examples like those meticulously designed large-scale model railways or the all-consuming computer games we see on the market today.
All these designs combine basic functionality with the act of pretending. So a watch may tell the time but the added value it really provides is the fact that when you wear it you feel more like a pilot!
Applying this logic to the world of advertising you can see many ad campaigns appealing to this sense of pretending.
Gillette gives you licence to believe you’re an alpha male with the chizelled jawlines of famous sportsmen, whilst Armani somehow convinces you you’re going to look like David Beckham as soon as you strip down to your cacks…yeah right!
Likewise, The Lynx Effect appeals to man’s desire to transform himself into a sex god!
This insight is hardly revelationary as it’s been a technique exploited by many brands ever since advertising began.
However, I don’t think that’s the only point Russell Davies is really trying to make. He later expands on this idea of pretending and suggests that we’re seeing the emergence of what he calls ‘Barely Games’. These are essentially applications or utilities which tap into our subconsciousness in a less overt way than perhaps the full blown computer games, whilst still appealing to that childhood instinct of being playful and the act of pretending.
He quotes Foursquare as an example as it complements your daily life by rewarding you with rewards when you frequent particular retail outlets or restaurants, earning badges along the way. If you become Mayor of a certain establishment you’ve achieved the ultimate reward status.
These sorts of games don’t require 100% attention but simply complement our lives whilst still appealing to that basic human desire to be playful. He concludes by showcasing a protype of his own Barely Game which I think is absolutely brilliant and so ahead of its time. I wonder how long before we see gaming manufacturers, app developers or brands cotton on to this insight and design games, apps or utilities which fit into our every day lives whilst satisfying this curious childlike behaviour.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I’ve heard of branded sheep before but branded flies must go down as one of the craziest, most inventive ambient stunts I’ve heard in a while. But this is exactly what a German book company called Eichborn did at the recent 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair – they attached little banners to a number of flies and then released them onto the unsuspecting public.
Flies are a nuisance at the best of times so strapping branded advertising messages to them could arguably be perceived as the most irritating form of advertising ever conceived. However, as a one-off stunt it’s a superb idea and seems an inspired way to get noticed in such a competitive environment where every exhibitor is vying for consumer attention. Pure genius.
I must say I was impressed with this new technology which enables advertisers to feature a tiny video screen within their magazine print ad. According to PSFK, CBS used this technology to promote their full line up of CBS shows in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly. When the reader turns the page to reveal the DPS print ad, the video automatically starts playing.
It’s all thanks to the paper-thin hardware developed by Americhip which can store up to 45 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours of video, depending on the size of the memory chip.
But clearly it doesn’t have to stop at print ads. Now that this type of technology exists, we can expect to see an increasing number of brands adopt it across a variety of offline media, from inserts, take-ones and brochures to packaging, POS, direct mailings and Christmas Cards. To get a sense of its versalitity and interactivity, check out this video below.