Monthly Archives: May 2015

Anatomy of An Insight: Nazis Against Nazis

It is hard to imagine a more deplorable event than Nazis marching in town where Rudolf Hess was buried. Luckily these sad creatures got a dose of creative thinking and became part of the Germany´s most involuntary charity walk:

Insight: You fight against hate with love. Sarcasm is also the best tool to insult stupid people (i.e. Nazis) without them realizing it.

Sometimes the best way to beat them is to join them., regardless how dishonorable they are.

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Hip-Hop Innovation & About Being The First Magpie

“Good artists copy, great artists steal”
– Pablo Picasso

There was an interesting research lately about musical patterns in US pop charts from 1960 to 2010. One of the most headline-catching “findings” of the study was that the Beatles was not really that innovative, but was merely channeling existing patterns in charts. Contrary to hip-hop, of whom the researchers put to pedestal as the most important music revolution in charts.

“There’s three of us but we’re not the Beatles”
– Run DMC (King Of Rock)

Which sounds about right: the evolution of music has been a series of artists, intentionally and not, building on each other.

“Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant sh*t to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother f*ck him and John Wayne”
– Chuck D (Fight The Power)

As a life-long hip-hop fan, it naturally tickles my fancy that the research highlights hiphop as one of the most revolutionary turning points in music charts. Hip-hop is the evolution of music. Through sampling you can turn every musical genre to a potential hip-hop song. Rapping enabled you to have much more message and words in one song as you are not confined by traditional song structure and need to have catchy chorus. You also do not necessarily need to be able to sing or play instrument to make hiphop (little bit similar as in punk). Hip-hop serves as the blueprint on how the innovation should work:

  • Use, alter, remix, combine existing material. Other man´s five-second-horn stab is other man´s full song.
  • Rethink the traditional form. Rapping is a closer to preaching than singing. With the abandonment of the traditional harmony and music conventions you free up more time to deliver your message
  • Democratize the tools. The more inclusive are the tools, the more opportunities there are for new interesting and surprising things to happen.

“Most decent popular music researchers would probably agree that the Beatles were not so much innovators as musical magpies – and that’s not a criticism. They, like all of us, listened to all sorts of stuff and were duly inspired”
– Mike Brocken, director of world´s first Beatles master degree (!)

There has not ever been such thing as a solitary inventor. Innovation is not about figuring stuff out in isolation. It is ability to combine existing things in new ways. It has never been about being the first. It is about being the first magpie.
Apple has not really been the first in anything, but they are the most innovative and also the most profitable company in the world.
Our obsession in coming up with something new is a quest doomed to fail. We should concentrate to listen to all sorts of stuff, be inspired and combine that existing stuff in new ways.

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Rethink What You Take For Granted

“Turnstile has to make a sound, it might as well be beautiful”
– James Murphy

Last week I wrote about sponsorship and one point I forgot to mention was how brands are the patrons of this modern age. Catholic Church used to support the great artists. Now many of the great projects would not happen without the support of beer brands. And that is why I am supporting beer brands by consuming their products.

We can rationalize on how the project to turn subway turnstiles to play music with James Murphy fits into Heineken´s brand onion (or diamond for that matter)*. Whether it is good for the brand or not, does not change the awesomeness of the project. It also makes perfect sense for subway commuters. We have taken for granted that those turnstiles have to make certain sound. That certain sound is currently unobtrusive at its best, invasive at its worst. It actually feels totally weird that they do not play melodies.

Other great lesson about this project is that there are so many hidden opportunities around to rethink conventions. Some of them are opportunities for brands, some for art and some are in the intersection of both.

*They have this thing about improving cities, so I would say it is nice fit for that one.

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Just Say The Obvious, but Do It With Flair

Sometimes advertising is just about being simple:

You show the product.

You show how the product is used.

You tell what you offer.

You tell what is new.

You tell that you have a discount.

Essentially you are doing what your supposed to do, but with a flair.

Sometimes you have to state the obvious, but do it with interesting way instead of trying to find your idea from the obscure.

Great speakers are not necessarily having the most original and inspiring thoughts, but they are delivering them in the most original and inspiring way.

That is the magic we have to bring as agencies. Because quite often people just need the obvious, but they have to be lured to hear that.

No matter how interesting your product is, the obvious can be truly boring. Especially product demos, which can be a total bore even for the most interesting products (take whatever Apple ad). If you have gift of the gab, you can do exciting, attention-grabbing and fun product demos for mundane products as well:

This Droga5-campaign for Under Armour won at Big Show (Best Interactive & Best Social). It features Gisele Bündchen punching and kicking a bag and same time projecting comments (both positive and negative) about the partnership:

Using celebrities is not an idea. It is an effective tactic, when done right. And to be honest, for many brands using well-known people is the only way to elevate their brand to rockstar level. By paying celebrities you upgrade your brand´s appeal, but it is not about slapping some mundane celebrity endorsement to your boring product and expecting to become interesting. It is making most out of that collaboration with celebrity: not just having a pretty face, but having the right pretty face (who can kick ass as well). Essentially the above Under Armour ad is a product demo, just that the person using the products is way more interesting than you.

This ad from Nando´s featuring Mac Lethal showcases that you can even make reading your menu sound interesting:

These examples show that often you don´t need a surprising insight, complicated transmedia storytelling or even a drone to create cut-through. You just need to what you are supposed to do, but do it with style.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Hungry Jack´s Pack That Scares Birds

It is an award season and there is a sudden torrent of relatively dubious case study videos popping up. Not any idea is the following campaign really executed, but it would be awesome if it would be. Some brilliant and functional packaging design shown in here:

Hungry Jack’s – The Pack That Scares Birds from Sarah Parris on Vimeo.

Insight: There is not anything better than eat junk food outside. Unfortunately almost anywhere from Helsinki to Singapore birds are ruining that experience. Pigeons and other parasitic birds are shameless and aggressive in attacking your meal. When shooting is (unfortunately) out of question, we need different solutions to keep pests away from our fries.

The solution shown in this video looks valid at least based on my experience on building scarecrows. Unfortunately birds tend to get accustomed to many of these methods, so it would be interesting to know how long the holographic packaging actually scares the birds.

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