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 let’s talk about what we can learn from street art. These aren’t examples of guerilla/nontraditional/ambient communications, but we can learn from it.
So today let’s talk about using your environment. Using legal graffiti can be a great way of making your brand feel really local, personal, and incorporated. If you take it a step further, where you haven’t just painted on the walls, but really built into the environment, you’ll get even more personal. People will appreciate the effort.
Now for these particular examples:
Lovely. Some version of this could be used to talk about hair. Needs a cut? Unmanageable? Want a natural look? Could do it when the plants are blooming, and talk about “Freshening up for spring.” Or if the plants are more overgrown, could paint face as if it were peeking out, and talk about needing to clear away brush, or not seeing the forest for the trees.
And then there’s this:
Want to do a PSA about polluted water? Got it. Or if this is over clean water, could do something about how the water tastes so natural and is from a fresh spring. Or any sort of pipe oriented thing; Maybe could do a PSA about how nasty cigarette smoking is.
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?
Innovative use of mundane objects to tell a completely different story. Notice how you spend some time looking at each aspect of each visual to see how they did it. That’s what you want a strategic communication do- be interesting on its own without turning up the volume and irritating everybody in the room. When you brainstorm on nontraditiona media placements, can you “see” things different ways, and make them into something new in way that supports the message?