On any normal day, due to complete laziness I would probably take the escalator. If you presented me with the opportunity to have ‘fun’ whilst climbing a set of stairs, I’d definitely consider it.
The Fun Project – Piano Staircase was an initiative of Volkswagen to see if by making the daily chore of climbing the stairs to be ‘fun’, would increase the number of people to actually use them. See the results here.
A great campaign for a product not normally associated with clever marketing, functional yes, clever no … An air conditioning company in Argentina ran a campaign offering discounts on their products to people with big noses, arguing that the big noses needed the filtered air the most. Put your snozz in the instore display, if it’s big enough to touch the sensor, you get the discount!
Words have more power than people give them credit for. In fact writers often scroll through hundreds of words before finding the perfect one, the one word that encapsulates their message completely and correctly.
It’s no surprise then, that effective cut-through communication relies on the mutual understanding of those words and their intended meaning by both sides in the communication equation – sender and receiver. We often forgot that with the rise of social media it’s not enough to simply send your message out into the world; it needs to be understood quickly so it can be processed and acted upon even quicker.
I saw a video recently of a homeless man on the street, his sign saying “PLEASE HELP, I’M BLIND”. He had a few people stopping by and giving money, but nothing that would greatly ease his suffering. He had the right message, but the wrong words to create action in his audience. His message wasn’t cutting through all the other market place noise.
The clip continues as a professional woman comes into shot. She pauses, picks up his sign. You see her hastily writing something, but you’re unsure what. The homeless man touches her shoes as she puts the sign back into position beside him. The scene changes and more donations are being given to help, the homeless man scrambling to capture all coins in his tin. The professional woman returns after some time and the homeless man recognises her by her shoes, which he’s felt again. He asks with genuine sincerity and appreciation, what did she do to his sign and her reply? “I wrote the same, with different words”.
She used the right words, in the right context to create cut-through communication and connection between sender and receiver, and the effect in this demonstration was profound. Imagine if all your communication was received this way.
I woke up this morning bursting with blog article ideas – weekend outings, upcoming events, social media trends, mind blowing marketing campaigns – but then I got to work, and the words disappeared like water droplets in the desert.
I was stuck at a creative roadblock and regardless of the subject I started on; I failed to find the flow. I started searching online, frantically trying to find a theme that could inspire readers, inspire creativity and give me a topic all rolled into one. But alas, nothing was found. Until that is, I employed a little technique I learnt during a Copywriting course with Ad School last year.
The technique is easy to learn and simple to perform. All it requires is a piece of paper, pencil, a few words (maybe a dictionary will help) and 100 blank boxes on a page.
So I took a deep breath, opened my dictionary and based on the first word that appeared (pineapple) I started drawing whatever came into my head. For one whole minute I let my stream of consciousness flow, and it was refreshing not to have to get it “right” first time around. I continued doing this, randomly finding words in the dictionary and drawing whatever idea, thought, or image came into my head until 10 minutes had lapsed.
Until that is, I arrived here, telling everyone about the 100-box technique and how it’s a lifesaver for anyone in need of a creative solution.
In times of creative droughts, how do you find and cultivate your creativity?
As a make-up lover (yes, make-up is another addiction of mine!), I am often disappointed by the majority of advertising campaigns the high-end make-up brands deliver into the market space every year. They’re often the same drab looking old ads: a model – or in some cases, a celebrity – perfectly manicured within an inch of her life so she appears in the glossy spread without so much as a wrinkle or enlarged pore, wearing foundation, a ho-hum eye colour, mascara that promises the impossible and a glossy pale lip (or if they’re feeling dramatic, a vampy red lip … oooh-ahhh!). You know the kind of ad I am talking about … if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
So when I came across Illamasqua’s Autumn 2011 collection called Toxic Nature, on a blog today (make-up lovers can read about the collection here), and saw the amazing collection’s accompanying advertising campaign, I sat up … and squealed with delight!
Not only is the makeup collection great, but the new ad campaign is TO DIE FOR! Finally! A make-up campaign that makes you think about what else you can do with makeup other than a nude lip and a smokey eye! Yes, unlike the stock-standard makeup advertisement would have you believe, the possibilities to makeup are endless, and it excites me that Illamasqua (a relatively new brand on Australian shores) has decided to showcase its amazing products in and amazing way that allows each product in the collection to shine … oh and the ads are just beautifully art directed; feast your eyes on these:
The campaign reminds me of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, however a much grittier and grown up Alice, and suits the name of the collection, Toxic Nature, and Illamasqua’s tagline “make-up for your alter-ego” perfectly. I am impressed. It’s about time make-up advertising got interesting! Now let’s see if the other leading brands take note!
Eclectic alternative rock heroes, the Flaming Lips, have always been known for their creative approach. Last year frontman, Wayne Coyne, took his obsession with fake blood to a new level, and created a one off poster made from his own blood. Earlier this year, the Flaming Lips released the track ‘Two Blobs Fucking‘ as 12 separate youtube clips that need to be played simultaneously on iPhones.
The band have continued to think progressively and embrace technology as they plan to release their new four song EP on a USB stick… inside a gummy brain… inside a gummy skull. You have to eat your way to the music! In Coyne’s words:
“It’s a life-sized human skull completely made out of edible gummy bear stuff. It also has a gummy brain inside of it and, inside of that, there’s a USB flash drive that has three new songs on it. It’s pretty outrageous.” (pitchfork.com)
They found a gummy-innovation-expert who turned out to be a big fan and took an enthusiastic interest in the project, which will be released in April.
Nothing screams “rubbish day” like row upon row of bleak grey bin bags piled along the curb. But what if we could take those boring (and let’s face it, depressing) bin liners and create art from waste, at least until the rubbish collection truck finally makes its way to the front gates or sidewalks?
Well the people of Auckland have done just that with their “Beautify Your City” campaign which aims to prevent the illegal dumping of rubbish in city flowerbeds, as well as making the rubbish placed on sidewalks impressively “disappear” before our eyes. The result of this campaign turned ugly sidewalk displays like this:
…into beautifully hedged CBD pathways and gardens like these:
So as we move towards a more environmentally friendly world, where recycling is encouraged more frequently, it’s nice to see even our unrecyclable waste can be beautified and reused, if only for a short time.
The only question I have now is when will they be coming to Australia so I can stop taking out the rubbish (which is a personal hate chore of mine) and start designing my environment?
This TED talk by Steven Johnson into the generation of ideas is sure to get you spending some extra time at your local coffee shop or dawdling a few minutes longer at the water cooler.
Johnson provides a wonderful insight into the benefits of team work and the open discussion of ideas. He dispels the idea of the ‘epiphany’ and credits good ideas to an intricate network formed through the sharing of ideas over time. The idea could have been building for a while, taking many years to form, but is often refined and polished with contributions from other networks and sources.
With the recent release of facebook movie The Social Network, where intellectual property becomes a precious, money generating commodity, it’s no wonder we protect our ideas with laws and contracts. But in the greater scheme of technological and scientific progression, are we hindering our potential to grow and learn by limiting how much of our knowledge we share?
Do you think intellectual property should be made more accessible?
One of the biggest challenges designers face is coming up with effective campaigns on only a small budget. While reading up on the 2010 Australian Effie Awards in this months edition of B&T magazine, one of the winners stood out as a great example of how creative thinking can tackle this issue. Sydney independent radio station, FBi, was in financial trouble and needed over $500,000 to get out of debt… they also had a budget of $0.00 to raise funds. Knowing that the station’s supporters were often cash-poor and only a small portion of listeners showed their support with donations, FBi needed to target someone who had a greater financial capacity. And who better than music-loving billionaire, Richard Branson?
From this idea, the ‘Ask Richard’ campaign began. Supporters were offered a prize of $50,000 to get Richard’s attention and convince him to give FBi $1 million. And so, supporters baked cupcakes, jumped out of planes, made signs, wore masks, staged protests, invented “Rich Bran” breakfast cereal, wrote songs and went nuts with Photoshop. Even though Richard didn’t donate the money, the campaign generated enough interest to raise over $680,000 in donations from other sources.
Elizabeth is a writer and has had incredible success with her book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. She is a great speaker and I just loved this TED talk that she did in February 2009. It gives a really interesting perspective on what it means and used to mean to be a ‘Genius’.