So I’ve neglected this blog a bit recently, but by popular demand* (true story) I’m making it a priority. For now.
Let’s talk about two possible ways this after-the-jump ad below happened:
Route 1: They started with understanding where the target market is. Somebody came into a meeting at Crispin Porter + Bogusky with statistics, a PowerPoint deck full of bullet points and horrible animation and too-many-words-on-a-slide and one of them said something like, “57% of our target market who live in metro areas use public transportation.”** Fingers-crossed, someone was inspired by this…
“Well, what’s that like? That experience of public transportation. It’s hot, you wait, you are bored, you avoid eye contact at all possible costs, you are sitting next to somebody, and heaven-help-you your thighs might even be touching and so to do all this you look down at your iPhone or Android device or Blackberry (those poor bastards) and read email or Twitter feeds or fascinating Word Press blogs, or hell, even read spam. So they wait a lot, and their phones lose power.”
"Plus, it's really awkward when the person next to you brings their human head along. Wait...what?"
So you know your target market, you know their problems. And if you want to be relevant, you solve that problem. Let’s go where they are (waiting for public transportation) and let’s help them. We could entertain them, distract them? We could give them information they might need on their way home? We could charge their phones. Hmm… what would help them? And what would work for us?”
So you take a breath and say, “What’s the product again?”
Two big points to make here:
Consumer touchpoints– anything that the consumer comes in contact with is a potential place to engage them. If you own it (salesperson shirts, beverage labels, delivery trucks) and you aren’t taking advantage of it, you are crazy. Even if you don’t own it, there are places you might be able to engage them. I tell my students that you could have members of your target market take pictures of whatever is in front of them with their phone and send it to you, and then it’s up to you to think about how you could engage them on anything in front of them.
Consumer experience– if consumers can find you in a strange and engaging place, they may be more entranced by your brand, like your brand is Lloyd Dobbler standing outside your window holding a boom-box over its head playing In Your Eyes. (Forgive me; I’m from the 80’s.)
Guinness has known about this for a while. They have a long pour that’s part of the “process” of getting a Guinness. And it’s thick and substantial, and they reinforce all of that with this:
Poofy and substantial enough on the top to take a shamrock. And if you got that, you’d be all “Cool!” And then you’d drink it and your poor, American, Bud Light-addled mouth would drink it and say “WTF is THIS??” (Push through; learn to drink a real beverage, my dudes.)
To engage your consumer somewhere surprising and temporary- like the top of your drink- is pretty cool.
So what do we do with this information:
- If you sell beverages and can stamp or draw a cute messages in there, do it. It’ll engage your target market, and reinforce a lovely little relationship.
- If you don’t sell beverages, but know your TM consumes them the way Charlie Sheen consumes, well… nearly everything, can you engage them here? Is there some monochromatic message you can communicate?
- And you don’t just want “matched luggage”- you want to think about how the beverage ties in with your message? If it’s a hot beverage, maybe good for a warm tourist destination, reinforcing a warm message. If it’s fluffy like in the beer or on a fluffy espresso, maybe something for something soft, or tall, or poofy. Or if it’s an enjoyable beverage and you know that people are sitting and relaxing, you could reinforce the “relaxing” or the “taking time” aspect. Brainstorm on the characteristic you want to reinforce.
So I’m in love with this street art. Forgive me. And the stuff on the Street Art Utopia site is really cool. Since a lot of ambient media that we see is basically street art with a commercial purpose (which I’m sure would make true street artists cringe), it’s a great place to get inspired.
With all those acknowledgments out-of-the-way, I wan to talk about this kind of image:
I’m sure this kind of “art” has a name. I’ve heard it called forced perspective, and according to the Street Art Utopia site, it’s 2-D lines. And it is; it’s basically making a 2D image in a 3D world. How do you put elements of an image there are at different depths and angles, and make it appear flat if the perceiver is standing in the proper place. I’ve never encountered one in real life, but if I did, I can imagine standing in the proper place, moving over a few feet, skooching back over to the right place and watching all the pieces slide into place.
So it looks like this kind of stuff:
So you want to say your paint makes for some natural colors. It’s the low-hanging fruit to say “We’ll add, right? We’ll have a picture of a guy painting like seashells or something.” But it’ll be a full rectangle of a picture. SO what if we turn it around. Instead of saying “Paint something natural” we say “Let the natural be the paint.” And thus we have this:
So this certainly would get your attention…
But really it’s a boat made into the optical illusion that it’s sinking. (More information about it here.)
You wouldn’t want to use this in a marketing communication just to get attention, like “Eat at Joe’s Crab Shack.” You’d want to figure out how it fits into the meaning of your communication. Like “We have quite a load of shrimp down here at Joe’s Crab Shack.” Although that’s a lot of words when you are hung over and hanging out on a beach.
- This type of execution would be most effectively done as a “demonstration” of an issue or benefit. What can you demonstrate in your brand or brand meaning?
- So why would this specific nonsinking sinking boat work? Are you talking about how heavy or big something is? Are you talking about being pulled down? Held back? About mysterious stuff underneath? Are you in trouble? Stressed out? Having a bad day?
Hilarious, right? So on the surface it seems like the advertiser got defeated.
Yeah, well okay, they did. But that’s not the point.
The point is: why is it funny? It’s never terribly funny to explain why something is funny, but what can we learn from this in order to create our own interesting communications?It’s funny because the enemy is in charge. The enemy is fighting back, in this case successfully.
So how do you shock? How do you surprise? You be the opposite of the norm. What do we expect in advertising? Some toothy endorser holding up the product and talking about how awesome it is. What you don’t expect is somebody saying “Wait up, just one minute…”
Brainstorming: Who wouldn’t want you to be successful? Who would want you to fail? Who is your “enemy?” What would they say about you? How would they try and take you down? What tactics would they take? And can you somehow use that yourself?
So here’s an interesting idea- a billboard that reacts to color. When you stand in front of it, the little face changes color depending on what you are wearing.
And here’s a video with an explanation of “why” and how that for no apparently reason I’m utterly unable to embed and have stopped trying.