What’s that saying; two things you can be sure about in life is death and taxes. May I suggest that the other inevitability is change.
Civilisations come and go, fashion and cultural trends rotate and someday we’ll all turn into robots. In the mean time, the global economy is imploding and the 99% are voicing their opinions on an economic system that has a few inherent flaws.
So where does this leave advertisers? Well it’s clearly not a time to only ‘sell’. One good and jolly sensible reason being that there’s generally less money flowing in the 99% sphere. This means an opportunity for communications that engage and create dialogue.
Inspired by some art house sensibilities, Motorola have started the conversation with a series of ads that pose an existential question of ‘What does Abundance mean to you?’.
Featuring a range of Japanese creatives and thinkers, each one in turn answers that very question. An interesting and innovative strategy that proves particularly poignant given the Japanese peoples’ attempts to recover from national and personal tragedy.
In times of uncertainty, nostalgia is often the prescribed remedy. An alignment with an audiences real concerns though, has to be the future. I’m not sure how radical the ‘brand message’ will get over on this side of the pond, but the consumers appetite [and taste] is slowly changing; becoming just that little bit more discerning.
Leading brands of the future will have to extend the idea of purpose to more than CSR policies, making them integral to their brand values and indeed communications.
Watched an interesting news piece on Channel 4 News about the withdrawal of funding from the Poetry Book Society by The Arts Council featuring Carol Ann Duffy and Kate Tempest.
As we all know this year has seen the culling of many arts organisations financial life lines as the government turns the tightening of belts into strangle holds.
We recently spoke about this very subject at Progressive Londonalongside eminent artists such Bonnie Greer and Mark Wallinger, offering ideas on the way foward. One of the key words we used was ‘relevance‘ and it’s a word we find ourselves using quite frequently.
Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy argues that without the necessary support the ‘whole setup will crumble’. When Kate Tempest was asked about her feelings about the matter she said;
“I’ve got no idea what it is. I’ve never heard of it. Sorry. It’s not relevant to me or what I’m doing, although not to dismiss it, it’s just not on my radar.”
Kate Tempest’s introduction to poetry like many contemporary poets was through Hip-Hop. The artform has long been appropriated and remixed to appeal to a younger generation, with the latest reincarnation being ‘Poetronica’. I’m not really one for daft sub genre names but for the purposes of an argument, Poetronica is, you’ve got it, a blend of Electronica and Poetry.
Organisations such as Apples & Snakes, (performance poetry & spoken word) have consistently been attractors of new talent such as Kate Tempest because it has remained relevant.
Kate’s comments illustrate that whether you produce high end art or sell second hand cars, if what you’re doing is not perceived to be relevant to audiences it will just fall on deaf ears and worse than that, die a death.
We have a generation of young folk who have acquired touch-typing skills any Executive PA would be proud of, through constant texting/BBing and social media updates. Then on the other hand – an older generation who book holidays and pay bills online, happily declaring themselves as silver surfers.
The virtual world is here to stay. However, with the good there’s always the bad and the virtual world wouldn’t be in equilibrium, but spinning off its microchip axis.
With the genuine revolution of communication via the Internet, it’s also managed to feed the deeply narcissistic tendencies of human nature (along with celebrity obsessed culture, but that’s whole another conversation). Roll on social media, a place where everyone can feel a little loved, or indeed hated and maybe make up for those years of not being the most popular kid in school with 600+ virtual friends.
To help people celebrate and look over those vast ‘social media’ memories, Intel have created an app that allows Facebook users to create their own virtual museum. Now I do not have a personal FB account so haven’t tried it out personally. But because of the wonder of social media, I didn’t have to, I just needed to look at the inevitable YouTube uploads.
As I expected it looks like a super swish, stylish piece of work, making everyone’s ‘social’ life look like it could be entered for the Turner Prize. The things is that it needs to be slicker than the average. Clearly shot with Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind in mind, the Blue Sky thinkers who saw the opportunity to create an emotive connection with the device that ‘powers’ all this interaction – the Intel core i5 – what they’ve actually developed is a virtual stalker masquerading as gallery curator.
Our Sam in the office signed up, and felt a little disturbed by both how much he’d posted up online, and the things this Museum actually had access to. For many though, this app will achieve the desired effect, despite making us perhaps a bit more self-absorbed and a tad more virtually insular, as summarised by a quote on the Museum of Me YouTube page;
“This App is AWESOME. It’ll make you feel special and connected even if you think you’re not” – BiscuitXT 2 days ago
When I ran across this outfit it made me chuckle. The Web 2.0 Suicide Machinesounds like a thrash band but no, it’s much more useful than that. The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine offers a way out for all the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn junkies and way back to the people in their real lives.
The saying suggests everything in moderation, but I feel we’re in a time where if you’re not web 2.0ing it, you’re just not doing it. Marketers across the land would acuse me of blasphemy, as it’s working out to be a great way for businesses to ‘engage’ with customers – true. However, I’m not so sure about all the benefits for the regular joe, who posts up his pics of his beloved dog, who tells me what he shouldn’t of gotten up to that weekend, and that he really, really, likes banana shakes.
Partly why I think the phenomena took off ‘phenomenally’ is because it enables many to have their 15 minutes of online fame (check out the Revlon offer of a makeover for Facebook pics). Andy Warhol could never have guessed his vision would have taken on a whole new web 2.0 reality.
But I think we may just see the tide turning, albeit very slowly. For some, the new virtual christmas toy has lost some of it’s shine and has been put back in the box with the rest of the once greatly loved novelties.
Facebook are taking it all very seriously; they’ve issued the outfit with a Cease and Desist letter from their lawyers. Web 2.0 Suicide Machine has helped befriend one and half million friends, which is a drop in the 2.0 ocean, sure, but it may just turn into to a tidal wave.
It’s not often we’re left with our mouths truly agasp in front of the tele-box, but this is surely a week of discontent, as we turn our attentions to the recent Fair Trade advert from Cadbury.
Occasionally, when the intelligencia of the Ad world sit round a table for some blue sky thinking, messages are created that are both beautiful in their simplicity and relevant in their delivery. When the pseudo intelligencia sit down around, what might look like a very similar table, then often, to paraphrase a famous word to Houston, we have a f***ing big problem.
If you’re a loyal twenty%er and have had a good ramble round our humble site, you’ll know our perspective on the successful selling of beans, as opposed to cultural / social economic phenomena. According to Barbara Crowther of the Fairtrade Foundation, the ad totally captured the love of music, dance and community celebration that anyone who has ever visited Ghana will instantly recognise. According to Cadburys, one focus group member went as far as to suggest that the advert portrays life in a typical Ghanaian environment.
A typical Ghanaian environment? Would that be the fat-lip shaking and bug eyed buffoonery that a marginal percentage rise in revenue might induce? Or perhaps the idea that life really is one big party for the struggling cocoa bean producer?
What with consumers worldwide spending £1.6bn on Fairtrade certified products back in 2007, and with no doubt been another bumper year, your average Fair Trade deal amounts to what are effectively the crumbs off of a very, very big table.
And while consumers and marketers may appease themselves with this newest ode to conscientious consumption, we’ll all do well to remember that economic independence and real fair trade practices, rarely come under the guise of a sticker. By finding authentic artists and authentic dancers, Cadbury seem to have embraced the authentic aesthetic, but totally missed the point.
All aesthetics and no substance may not make Jack a dull boy, but it does still leave him at the mercy of next years crop harvest.