Things are only ever something in context of something else.
“What does stilton smell like?”
“It’s a bit like smelly socks, or a sweaty t-shirt.”
Nothing is just.
EVERYTHING only makes sense once it has been put in to context with something else.
You cannot describe the smell of stilton, without comparing it to a smell you already know.
I’m not just talking about stilton.
This is everything, and in my case, this is advertising.
Products mean nothing to anyone unless they have something to compare it to, something to draw comparisons from, something to use as bearings.
Remember that you can’t just put something in front of someone and expect them to like it.
It has to be in the context of something else.
Ironically, it’s now I’m meant to be revising for 2 exams.
But my priorities seem to be lying elsewhere at the moment, namely trying to find a job.
OK, here it is, another rant.
Exams, exams, exams.
Why don’t I like them? I study a very opinionated and very changing subject.
Exams are based on fact. Fact doesn’t exist in advertising.
Market research, the lecturer’s opinion, and a text book of someone else’s opinion is what I’m examined in.
Why not examine me on my ability to argue my point, whatever it may be, regardless of what that may be. Whether or not it’s a point of view someone else has said before.
New never goes down well in an exam, because what’s new isn’t in the marking criteria.
Celebrity endorsement works well when the celebrity in question reflects the values of the brand they’re advertising.
I think this advert is poor anyway, but Sky’s money could be spent better elsewhere rather than sticking Jennifer Aniston in it. Anyone would do, it doesn’t need a celebrity.
General rule: Celebrity endorsement isn’t needed unless it corroborates the message being put across. This doesn’t.
I pay in excess of £3,500 a year to attend university.
Yet, for some reason they seem to think it’s a rule that I attend lectures and seminars I don’t want to, and treat me as if I am still at school.
If I paid anybody else £3,500 a year (for anything), I would be treated so.
I, as well as everyone else, am a customer of university.
I am a customer of the education system.
I wish they would treat me this way.
Let education be what you want it to be. Let them suit you. You write the terms and conditions. You define what you want to do and where you want to go with your life.
You too are the customer.
It’s Christmas Day. The customary soppy rom/com drama (loosely based around Christmas films) are on. They tend to be the same plot. All is good. Things go wrong. Things get better. We all live happily ever after, with the whole film ending in a deep life message.
To avoid embarrassment, I won’t spill on the name of the film, but I was listening to a speech half way through about how the one language that brings the world together is love. Cheesy, I know.
But, it did get me thinking. That’s how advertising works. People are from all different walks of life, different ethnicities, different social backgrounds, different amounts of wealth and so on. But, there are a few things that we all share. The best advertising works when it taps into these universal human emotions. Human truths, love, nostalgia, friendship, happiness. It doesn’t matter what language someone speaks because we all speak and respond to those feelings.
The best advertising works when it harnesses these human truths and feelings.
- Drake, Lord Knows (Take Care)
I was listening to this album earlier, and heard this line again:
“Looking for the right way to do the wrong things”.
It got me thinking, this is such a beautiful way of defining creativity.
Creativity, by its very nature, has to be original. To be original, you must not be conventional. You have to break the rules. But, in breaking the rules, you have to make it meaningful, you have to make it work. In making the wrong work, you make it right.
A drumming gorilla, now right.
Mash potato martians, now right.
In creative advertising, you have to look for the right way to do the wrong things.
The other day a group at university and I were tasked with creating some kind of guerrilla/ambient piece within Bournemouth to help improve the town, to tie into the Bournemouth Arts Festival and to encourage a commercial sponsor, if for nothing other than to earn more money for the event.
Our idea was fantastic, a bridge held up by cylindrical pylons became the site for Trebor Extra Strong mints being so strong that they could support the bridge. It was photoshopped brilliantly, the idea was sound and we were ready to pitch the idea to our lecturers.
I was the only advertising student in the group. Everyone else studied marketing. If you don’t work in the industry, you may not realise the extent to which these two groups ideas and thought processes differ. The others in my group wanted to pitch the idea talking about synergy, deep brand messages, and so on. I said we’re not doing that. I said we weren’t going to give them any justification, it has to speak for itself. They have to get it straight away or it’s failed as a guerrilla exercise in every way. We’re not standing under this bridge with a placard explaining to people the brand messages and how it fits with this and that strategy. People will walk under this bridge and see the idea and have to get it. It has to stand alone and it has to speak for itself.
The marketing students in the group forgot the audience they were speaking to. They were trying to convince themselves before trying to convince others that the idea worked. In my opinion this is why so many ideas, in any line of work, fail. People forget who they’re talking to. Colloquial behaviours are key. Remember the audience at all times, you’re not selling the idea to yourself, you’re selling it to them.
If your aim in life is to be happy, one would most likely rightly assume you are currently not happy. Or at least what you would describe as happy right now. That’s fine. Because in my opinion, we are never happy. Humans seem never to be able to be content. And that is why we are always miserable. Because nothing is ever good enough. The grass is always greener. This is true for the vast majority of us. There is always something we strive for; and we have a nagging thought that attaining that item will get us closer to what we define as happiness.
Hands up ad men, this has something to do with us. We trade in happiness. Nothing else. Every advert sells some form of happiness, whether its a new washing up liquid or a new car or a holiday. Everything is supposed to make you happier.
You will start being happier when you begin to disassociate goals with happiness. Happiness is in the present. Goals are in the future. Enjoy where you are in life. Don’t think that achieving goals will make you happy, because not only are you lying to yourself, it means you will never be happy.
You must separate your life goals with happiness. Spend time with the people around you. Share the best moments with the ones you love. Keep your mind on you and those you care about. That is the journey we go on. That is where happiness lies. Enjoying the journey.
Everything else is a pitstop. Small resting points along the road we travel on. The pitstops don’t make you happy.
Life is a road trip. Don’t think about the stops. Don’t think about the end point, enjoy every sight you see, every word you hear, every lesson you learn and every person you meet. Because it’s not going to happen again. And then, when you’re old and you think about how you should have enjoyed those moments, that’s what makes you unhappy all over again.
“As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy” - Walter Landor
36 minutes of creative inspiration
I was at work the other day. We were talking about how children of mothers who took cocaine during pregnancy would come out of the womb addicted to cocaine. I disagreed. The baby does not leave the womb and crawl to the street corner to get his cocaine. He is not addicted. Let me repeat. The baby is not a cocaine addict.
In my opinion, addiction is entirely psychological. I understand that drugs affect us biologically. Obviously. But that is not addiction. When people say it’s too hard to give up smoking, or to stop gambling, or to stop any form of addiction, that means that that their mind is not in the right place. Anyone can do anything. You have to think you can. Your biological problems don’t get you up off your sofa, walk to a drug dealer, spend copious amounts of money on drugs and then take them. That’s your brain rationalising and concluding that in order to get over this lull, you need to buy more drugs. Drugs affect you biologically and psychologically. Addiction is psychological.
Anyway, I’m getting too involved in the debate again.
The person I was talking about this to was a psychology student. His rationale for his argument was what he had learnt in lectures. The books from the library backed up his argument. He asked me what I studied. When I said advertising, he laughed, and said: “See, science degree vs advertising. I win.”
This annoyed me, because of the illusion that by something being a science it is automatically correct. That’s not true.
It doesn’t matter what I study. My opinion is just as valid. But the arrogance of science to warrant their students to say that what they say is fact confuses me. There’s no such thing as fact. Whether your science books tell you you’re right or not, it doesn’t matter. The smartest men in the world once thought the world was flat. They were scientists. People used to believe that Earth was at the centre of the universe. They were scientists.
The point I’m trying to make is that science is not replaceable with fact. ‘That’s science’ is not ‘that’s fact’.
Science is not right. The connotations of science mean people take their findings as fact, only until someone points out something new, when we then laugh at the previous hypothesis. How could we possibly have thought that?
Science is arrogant.
This is why I love what I do. Everything I believe I have to justify and sell to someone. There is no right and wrong, just successful and unsuccessful. Nothing is taken at face value. Everything is scrutinised, so you are constantly pushed to make everything you do better. Science is taken as fact. That’s wrong. Surely I’m not the only one to think it ridiculous to take what text books and teachers tell me as fact?