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?”
There’s a certain terror that some marketers have of leaving somebody out. We need to appeal to more people, we need to increase our chances of being liked by somebody, we have to make it widely acceptable. We also think we need to oversimplify everything, and talk to people like they are 5 years old.If we make our advertising or our communications too difficult to process, people won’t process it.
As they say on the Family Feud: “EHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”
People don’t give a crap about advertising. Or put more elegantly by Howard Gossage:
“The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interest them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”
So be interesting. Focus your efforts. Talk to people the way they talk to each other. And don’t be afraid to make it a puzzle. People like to be intrigued. They like to solve puzzles. And they like to solve puzzles that maybe everybody else can’t solve. Think about those people you know who like to brag about doing the NY Times crossword in pen. (And think about how much you enjoy poisoning their Earl Gray tea.) So take this for example:
Now, I know what this says, if only because I was born before 1985 and can read an analog clock. But my Fancy Mathy days are too far behind me to remember how to do everything here. But somebody out there who makes binary jokes (“There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who get binary, and those who don’t.”) thinks this is fantastic.
So what do we learn from this: put the effort into find out how people talk. And don’t be afraid of making the message obscure to large groups of people. Google knows this:
Solve the puzzle, find a link to a job site
And as a side note, being obscure to large groups of people can also get them intrigued. “What does it MEAN?” We don’t like unsolved puzzles (ah yes, the Gestalt psychological principle of closure) and might just take the effort to find them. And if you have motivated people to approach your advertising and to find more out about it, you’ve definitely created something interesting.
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.