I know real bloggers are supposed to write every day, but this one wants his weekends back.
Henceforth householdname.com will be a Monday to Friday post.
Enjoy your weekend!
The troubling thing about this site is that there obviously must be clients out there who'd trust a computer to judge emotions.
More troubling still is that if your headline can be analyzed by a software program then it must already have been written. Ergo, it's not original.
American Marketing Institute
Here's a set of idea generation steps I've compiled over the years––it's worked for me, may it do the same for you:
1. Hit the internet. Read every link to the product. Get to know the product better than the client’s most loyal consumer.
2. What has the product currently got that we can use? Is there a name, logo, brand, benefit, already established that will give us some direction? What can we build upon? Let’s bring non-category thinking to this category.
3. What does the competitive advertising look like? Get examples––put them on a big board. Do a visual audit. Where are they going and why?
4. Start with a great strategy.
5. Every purchase is an emotional purchase. How does the brand make you feel? Take a moment to think about it, then craft ads that create an emotional reaction.
(Consumers increasingly are seeking comfort and connection from brands. Emphasis has moved from what the product does––the golden age of unique selling propositions and product demonstrations, to how the brand makes you feel––the soft sell. As Bob Lutz, GM head of design says, “These days when everything mechanically in a car is great, design becomes a huge differentation. The interior assumes a bigger role because it's where the customer lives. A thoughtful interior will provide huge long-term owner satisfaction. Cars and trucks are marginally about moving people from A to B. A $2000 used Cavalier will do that. Vehicles have become expressions of our identities. If you don't meet people's psychological needs, you're dead.”)
6. Keep all first thoughts. Try to find the cliché…then get as far away from it as possible.
8. Give the brand a distinctive voice and tone. When you zag you get noticed and take leadership position in the category.
9. Put the product at the heart of the action and weave it into the narrative.
10. Advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum. What is topical and vogue right now?
11. Is the idea exactly on strategy? Is it "client buyable." Effective advertising means no one else could substitute their brand in a spot for yours.
12. Blow it out! Print, TV, billboards, interactive, environmental, mailers, T-shirts etc. Does the idea work in all media?
13. Make the audience think they're more intelligent than you are, and they'll thank you for it.
14. Tell your story with honesty.
15. Does it pass the cool test?
16. Be entertaining. Do I like it? Will it sell? Is it new?
And as a client once said to me, a great product sells itself so just get out of the way!
I was walking down the street with a female friend some time ago and we ran into an acquaintance––a young guy sporting a pressed seventies Pierre Cardin look.
"That's a cool look," said my friend.
"Thanks," he replied, just as another guy sauntered past behind us, "But that guy's got a cool walk."
We both glanced over and chuckled with aknowledgement, probably that same chuckle you just had. Because you know exactly what he's talking about:
Some people have a cool walk...and some people just don't.
John Travolta was cool-walking down Broadway in Saturday Night Fever. You wanted his walk; we all wanted that walk. Tony Manero's stride said "I'm sexy as hell, ten feet tall, and bullet-proof."
Laban Movement Analysis––first developed by Rudolf Laban in the early 1900s--recognizes that the way we move both reflects and influences the way we live our lives.
In Bonfires of The Vanities Tom Wolfe painted a character as walking "with a pumping gait known as the pimp roll" and if you take a moment to watch any sidewalk you'll see it.
Urban kids aren't born walking like that, it takes years of practice to refine that street swagger.
Hmmm, perhaps a sneaker company might want to claim 'cool-walking'--seems every kid wants one.
I was wondering why the photo in my previous post of Bannister breaking the four minute mile had such power––aside from it being the world-changing event that it was––and then it hit me: the figures are by chance aligned along the spiral of a golden rectangle.
The tail loops through the primary point of focus--the runner--and ends on the secondary point of focus--the bespectacled reporter in the cap.
The four minute mile.
Athletes had been trying to achieve it since the ancient Greeks.
All the experts said it was impossible: our bone structure was wrong; wind resistance too great; lung capacity inadequate.
Then one man came along and proved all the doctors, the coaches, the naysayers and the countless men who'd tried and failed before him all wrong.
On May the 6th 1954 on the running track at Oxford University, Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds.
Just forty-six days later a second athlete broke the four-minute mile. And the following year, many more.
What happened? The human body didn't suddenly improve, but the human spirit did.
As Bannister recalled half a century later:
"No longer conscious of my movement, I discovered a new unity with nature. I had found a new source of power and beauty, a source I never dreamed existed."
He was in what today we rather less eloquently call 'the zone.'
Charlie Chaplin said "performance is all about entrances and exits," so if you've got a new product to sell you'd best enter with a bang and have something to say.
Louis Cartier had a vision: to design a wristwatch that was both rugged and beautiful (today we call that dissonance). In 1917 he introduced the "Tank" and it went on to become his most famous model.
Drawing inspiration from First World War battle tanks he designed a face that was a square on a rectangle. The sketch above illustrates the evolution of his thinking.
My personal preference is for brand names that are either strongly rooted in a product's design or describe the product's benefit: Papermate, Walkman, Mothercare come to mind.
Tank does both.
It simply means that every time someone mentions the name they're reinforcing the brand's objectives and values––it's free advertising.
Even the name Google has its roots in logic: a googolplex is the number 1 followed by one hundred zeros.
But the Goog is the premier search engine––its algorithms aside––because to Google is a verb whereas to Yahoo is not; it's just not nearly as pronouncable.
How important is a strong name? One of Charlemagne's grandsons named himself Charles the Bald. I'm guessing we'd all rather follow Alexander the Great into battle.
The question you must ask yourself dear art director/director/client, is that if you'd been at a casting session in the early eighties and Billy Bob Thornton had walked in, would you have picked him for the callback?
Would Juliette Lewis have ended up in the circular file?
Laura Flynn Boyle's talents buried under a bagel?
What about Woody?
Ahhh, perhaps Vince Vaughn might just have made it out from under that bowl of M&Ms into your soda commercial.
Treehugger.com––America's 11th most read blog according to Technorati––has blogged us.
The comments range from optimistic to pessimistic:
"This is fantastic. A non-judgmental, not-inflammatory message that will potentially see millions of people," to "please raise my taxes to pay for more currency pointlessly destroyed."
To add your voice, click here:
Red Interactive make a bid for electronic immortality with Red Universe, their award-winning multi-player avatar site. Log on to create your own alter ego and chat with other visitors. (Your arrow keys move your character left and right, even make him fly).
Website as resume.
This one word slogan developed by IBM founder Thomas J. Watson began appearing in IBM offices, plants and publications in the 1920s. It was eventually cast on wood, stone and bronze as a desk ornament and was for many years the name of the monthly employee magazine.
That ThinkPad perched on your lap can trace its lineage back to Watson's motto.
John Webster, the recently deceased British copywriter--and one of advertising's greats alongside Abbott, Hegarty, and Saatchi--penned this script for The Guardian newspaper in 1986.
'Point Of View' is a masterpiece of economical writing, pacing and execution. At first we think the skinhead is out to rob the businessman, but confounding stereotypes we see him save a life.
More than twenty years later I can still recall from memory the copy delivered in the resonant tones of Sir Ian Holm:
"An event seen from one point of view gives one impression.
Seen from another point of view it gives quite a different impression.
But it's only when you get the whole picture you can fully understand what's going on."
That's not an ad, that's a life lesson; indeed so compelling was this commercial that it was shown in court by a defendant who claimed the witness had only a narrow view of the crime he was being charged with and thus not in command of all the facts.
The verdict: not guilty.
An Oxford University student sits in a grand wood-paneled room waiting for his final year psychology exam to begin.
The don checks his watch then instructs the students to commence. The grad turns the page and reads the question: What is bravery?
He rocks back on his chair for a moment contemplating the question, then leans in to scribble something down, stands, and as his classmates stare in disbelief, walks from the hall.
The don walks over to his desk and picks up the paper. Beneath the question he'd written: "This is."
In sports, coaches train players to avoid paralysis by analysis. When athletes think too much it negatively affects their performance. They think too much, they choke. It's best they just get out there and play the game without thinking themselves into a hole.
Unfortunately paralysis by analysis is widespread among brands and their ad agencies. Demand for consistently favorable quarterly earnings forecasts, focus groups, a heavy-handed FCC, and gun-shy network censors have forced both clients and their agencies to become ever more risk-averse, but therein lies the paradox: at a time when ad-avoidance by consumers is at an all time high, brands need to be buying more breakthrough work, not less.
And just in case we've all forgotten what bravery looks like, it's here in the face of Mexican revolutionary Fortino Samano moments before his death by firing squad in 1917.
His very last word on this planet: "¡fuego!"
Aaron Koblin parses FAA flight data and plots it out to create these magical animations of intercontinental jet routes.
If you're flying coach, this screen-saver will make eight hours seem like three.
Be the end sequence on a Delta commercial before you know it.
© 2008 Aaron Koblin / Design|Media Arts UCLA
In Stephen King’s wonderful short book "On Writing: A Memoir of The Craft"––in this writer’s opinion the most accessible how-to book on creative writing––he describes exactly how as a struggling writer he came up with the idea for "Carrie."
“One day while I was working at the laundry, I started seeing the opening scene of a story: girls showering in a locker room…and this one girl starts to have her period. Only she doesn’t know what it is, and the other girls––grossed out, horrified, amused––start pelting her with sanitary napkins. The girls begin to scream. All that blood! She thinks she’s dying and the other girls are making fun of her even while she’s bleeding to death…she reacts…fights back…but how?”
“I’d read an article in Life magazine some years before, suggesting that at least some reported poltergeist activity might actually be telekinetic phenomena. There was some evidence to suggest that young people might have such powers, the article said, especially in girls in early adolescence, right around the time of their first––Pow! Two unrelated ideas, adolescent cruelty and telekinesis came together, and I had an idea.
The next night when I came home my wife Tabby had the pages in her hands. “You’ve got something here,” she said. “I really think you do.”
It was his first blockbuster.
All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge; King's genius is in making the connection. He knows that new ideas are combinations of existing ideas: one plus one equals three.
The new NYC yellow cab logo was surely designed by a committee; a jumble of three fonts and the new "T" subway line graphic, it offers the rider no real sensation of speed, however illusory.
Sorry Wolff Olins, but a missed opportunity to create a truly iconic image for the greatest city in the world (that was the brief, right?) in the vein of "I heart NY.
Still, at least they kept it yellow.
Two better options...