If you tell me this isn’t the best 5 minutes you spent today, I won’t believe you!
Archive for the ‘Experiences’ Category
I really do want to believe this story is real. That somehow a guy in New York found a film canister in the snow and, struck by the beauty of the shots taken in during the New York blizzard, has made it his mission to find the owners. But there’s something about it that doesn’t ring true, whether it’s the fact that he starts out by saying he wanted “more adventure” in his life this year — and the response he’s getting will certainly give him that — or the way the whole video seems to be more about him than the mission. But I do want to believe it.
Then again, I can say the same thing about a great ad campaign: If it’s a compelling story then I really want to believe it’s real. And in that sense, whether it’s real or not is irrelevant. The main thing is that like any great story, it engages us enough that it feels real.
Absolutely nothing to do with marketing or design or any of that stuff. Just a video of people doing amazing stuff and not failing. It struck me that this type of content — not laughing at other people’s failures — is fairly rare or, at least, not that viral.
Boy I’m on an Apple bashing binge!
I’m buying something* on Apple.ca and as I’m filling in all my credit card info I notice that the final number seems a bit low. Then I notice this little text bottom left on the page:
So as far as I can tell, Apple expects me to put in my credit card info, click Place Order, and THEN they’ll tell me what I’ve just paid. Why, sure thing guys! After all, you’re Apple! What could go wrong?
It seems to me that back in, oh, 1999, retailers like Amazon figured out that expecting people to give you a credit card number without knowing the consequences was an impediment to purchase. Apple is thinking different indeed.
No, I did not go through with the purchase. Not that they care.
* Shh it’s a gift. About $600.
There’s such a wonderful bait-and-switch with this ad for Carlton beer. With the gorgeous slow motion photography and seemingly operatic soundtrack, at first glance it would appear to be in the vein of their famous “big ad” of a few years ago. And I guess you can see the similarity of thinking in the whole “parody of epic stuff” angle, but what I love about this one is that the story doesn’t reveal it self immediately. You see the dart miss, and that’s your first clue that this isn’t going to be about true greatness, but then comes the bad dancer, and you start to realize something is up. And just when you are in zone and enjoying the idea of a bunch of dorks spilling beer, hurting themselves and doing dorky things – all made epic with slo-mo – you get this lovely icing on the cake moment as you realize the opera voice in the background is singing, “Blah blah blahhhh… slo-mmoooooooooooooo….” to wrap it all up. Lovely, mate.
Just enjoy this funny “open letter” (providence unclear), and move on. Found here.
I love this new campaign by Mini USA, challenging Porsche to a track race. It’s so simple, and not even totally original, and yet everything about it is brilliant. So, here it is:
Why do I love it?
First, it’s a buzz-worthy challenge where Mini has nothing to lose. Even if, you know, they lose. They’ll have succeeded in putting themselves in the same conversation as a vehicle synonymous with high-end performance. That alone is a cooper — uh, coup (oh God I kill me) — because I’m sure I’m not the only one whose initial affection for Minis cooled considerably as they saw it driven around town by the same crowd who bought Beetles in the previous decade.
Yes I’m a snob that way. Sue me.
But my point is, they’ve reminded me the Mini Cooper is a serious performance vehicle and they’re willing to show me how serious. And if Porsche doesn’t respond, or responds and loses, well it’s a jackpot all round for Mini.
Second, they’ve defined and stayed true to their brand in the challenge: it’s low-key and cheeky, but underpinned by a relaxed confidence. They set up the differences between the brands clearly, with the Mini taking the “non-pretentious” role. Jim says that Porsche is a great car, noting its quality, performance and the fact that it’s also good if you’re losing your hair and want to attract women. He also wears a t-shirt, while Porsche’s comically named Detlev Von Platen (really? that’s his real name?) is shown looking smug in a tux. Note that in the old-style “fight card” that comes up, the two cars are called “The Mighty” Mini Cooper and “Fancy Pants” Porsche 911. So there’s a class war implied here too. Perfect.
Third, the aformentioned spokesman, Jim McDowell, is the “Head of Mini in the United States”. Now there’s no question he’s an engaging guy, but also he’s not a slick spokesman type. He has additional credibility because he actually worked for Porsche and so, again, you get the sense that this is more than a stunt because he has inside knowledge. Most importantly, he’s not taking himself too seriously. He has an “executive at work” plaque on his desk and I like how his T-shirt changes and serves as commentary. “Are you man enough?”
But most importantly, Mini has created a situation where their audience is compelled to align themselves with one brand or the other. That’s the real score. For me, I find myself really wanting to watch this because I’ve always been a Mini fan (albiet lapsed as I mentioned) and would like to see how it does.
And within the context of this challenge, they’ve given me a way to express that without feeling like someone who traded in his Beetle. Kudos.
For the longest time, a primary joy of art was that people experienced it with a sense of wonder and awe: “Oh my, that is SO beyond anything I could ever conceive.” In other words, the craft behind the piece was an essential component. You heard a symphony, saw a great painting, and you just couldn’t begin to understand the minds that could create such a thing.
Modernism undermined much of this, replacing the awe for all but Art Majors and Art Dealers with the infamous, “My kid could do that!”. Yet, I would make the argument that some of the most compelling work in this way comes from the world of design and advertising, not the fine art world. Granted, maybe not earth-shattering awe, but still. You take what you can get.
Now aside from the fact that this is clever and well crafted (by the way, it’s that the type reads both ways, but you knew that right?) with the element of surprise all great pieces have, it was the comments below that caught my eye:
“I saw this a while back and it pretty much blew my mind. Mustve stood there flippin the thing ten times. It really is incredible”
“That just blew mind mind! Who ever made that is a GENIOUS. or just really cool”
“off to blockbuster
who am i kidding?
I mean, that’s what any piece of design or marketing should inspire, no? Engagement, then an urge to have it?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming this is the equivalent of a symphony or the Mona Lisa — and not only because Da Vinci wasn’t trying to get you to buy a DVD — just that I love design and marketing that operates on the dual level of meeting the needs of the product, then giving you a little free gift with it that isn’t a tote bag.
The Nike Music Shoe video is a viral phenom, and rightly so… What? You haven’t seen it? Oh, jeez, don’t forget to put on some sunscreen. Your skin will be sensitive to the sun after all that time in the cave. Here it is then:
Okay, anyway, why “rightly so” (if it’s not obvious)? Because it has all the key components of “sendability”: A familiar object being used in a startling new way; a narrative build; way cool music, and, not least of all, it makes you ask the question: Can this be REAL?
Well, to the last question, apparently yes. Here’s the “making of” video, which I like almost (but not quite) as much as the original video. I feel like a magician has showed me how he sawed the girl in half.
I haven’t gone through all the stories yet, but wow. Echos of the HBO Building Stories, but with a twist. Check out the “multiple angle” stories like The Affair or Art Heist. The concept is that great stories can be revealed by looking at them from many angles, and the “Ah ha!” element is subtle but rewarding.
Then if you “zoom out” there’s a larger story going on that links all these vignettes together. Or I assume that’s the case, and if I find myself with a whole bunch of time then I’ll know for sure.
The production values are spectacular, and it’s a pretty cool interface (although if you hated the WaterLife interface as I recall some did, don’t bother with this one).
In the end though, I wonder if it’s really a “web” experience? This is the way I’d like to interact with content on a TV more than my computer monitor. What do you think?