OK, I am a word person, and do tend to focus on ideas expressed in language, as opposed to graphics. A witty headline will usually grab my attention more quickly than a clever graphic. But I am not immune to the appeal of the unexpected, be it in a phrase or a logo.
And when anything passes the “Smile test,” as in, "Did I respond warmly to the idea” then I don’t care if it’s a finished commercial or a rough idea sketched on a torn napkin.
As the following shows, I don’t even care if it’s a marketing idea. Clever and unexpected is wonderful in art, architecture, fiction, movies and theater, as well as good advertising.
So, with little further ado, except to say, “enjoy,” be prepared to click and smile.
Maybe it’s selling black jackets? Or perhaps choral music? Or is it because I am the father of two girls that I don’t care what it’s selling?
Because in 46 seconds this video has the emotional impact of the entire Sleepless in Seattle movie. Why it has fewer than 700 views is hard for me to understand, but my legions of reader will soon dramatically increase that number. It is totally visual, so no worries if you don’t understand a word.
(Turns out, a German DIY company, Hornbach, recently released this spot, so I guess they’re selling house paint. )
If you’re wondering whether, in this age of big data, hard numbers and CFO’s running giant companies, if there is still a place for an emotional story to make the sale, wonder no longer.
Every once in a while I come across an ad that is so good I can’t wait to share it with you. And then there are the ones that I want to share because I just don’t get it, like the one above for Extra gum. I simply don’t understand what they are trying to say.
Well, that’s not totally accurate. I assume that the message is that the gum is long lasting. But you almost have to intuit that thought, because it surely is not communicated in the ad. Not in the headline, not in the slogan, not in the visual.
Though admittedly that thought is referenced in the single line of copy, “Sometimes, the little things last the longest.” But it comes out of nowhere, or, giving them the benefit of any doubt, at its best is a convoluted link from the headline.
I do like the fact that the ad is not cluttered. Just wish it were clearer.
Chopped liver, decorated with mushrooms and carrots. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What do all the foods above have in common? They each are polarizing tastes; some love ‘em, some hate ‘em. But few feel neutral about them. (As a wise sage said, long ago, “It was a brave man who first ate an oyster.”)
I am food fortunate enough that I will eat most foods, though I have never developed a taste for tripe. But at least I have tried it, so I don’t just think that perhaps I will not enjoy it. I know I do not like it. “The point is to be willing to try things that are unfamiliar.” That last sentence is in quotes, since it is taken from an interview with Julie Myers Wood (C.E.O. Of Guidepost Solutions) in The New York Times.
It is in response to the question, “What advice do you give to college students?” Her full response was,
“One thing I always say is ‘eat the sushi.’ When I had just graduated from college, I went with my mom to Japan. We had a wonderful time, but I refused to eat the sushi. Later, when I moved to New York, I tried some sushi and loved it. The point is to be willing to try things that are unfamiliar.”
So true for us creatives, on so many levels. If what you create doesn’t make you a little uncomfortable, it probably is too safe. If you refuse to try something new, because it scares you—even just a little—then you are not taking enough creative risks. This doesn’t mean that just because something makes you uncomfortable it means it is the right answer. Heck, it could just be unappealing tripe, which will never work for you. But you never know until you at least taste it, and broaden your palate.
The creativity and imagination of those who do these spots for Honda is very impressive. As is this spot, slightly over a year old, but one that has just come to my attention. And I am bringing it to yours. It visualizes the inventiveness and curiosity of Honda engineers. As Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Danny Meyer, of restaurant fame, and Michael Kors, fashion guru, were interviewed in the New York Times. When you have the time, read the entire fascinating article. But for now, let me quote one section of their (condensed) responses, which has particular relevance for us creative types.
MK: I have to make time to daydream and change my eye. DM: Change your eye? I like that. What does it mean? MK: Mrs. (Diana) Vreeland was right: “The eye must travel.” You have to see something different, even if it’s just finding a new way to walk home. Or taking an extra day on a work trip. DM: Don’t you get good ideas when you do things like that? MK: Absolutely. You’re seeing something different. DM: And connecting dots you never could at your desk.
Basically, the thought is that to see something differently, it helps to do something differently.
If you read my blog, you almost certainly appreciate clever words. And whoever put this list together must really enjoy our language, with all its idiosyncrasies. (Though, among others, they left out, “I am certain you will relish the relish.)
I am sure you will relish this holiday diversion.
(Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.)
1) The bandage was wound around the wound. 2) The farm was used to produce produce. 3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse. 4) We must polish the Polish furniture.. 5) He could lead if he would get the lead out. 6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.. 7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present. 8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum. 9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes. 10) I did not object to the object. 11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid. 12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row. 13) They were too close to the door to close it. 14) The buck does funny things when the does are present. 15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line. 16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow. 17) The wind was too strong for me to wind the sail. 18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.. 19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests. 20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
The list creator added, “Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.”
Andrew & Peter Fabrikant buy diamonds and estate jewelry. I have seen their ads in The Times for many years, but this is the first time that I noticed this version. Which got a smile (my way of intuitively knowing if I like an ad/headline/slogan.) I really like the phone number and line, “Give Us A Ring Today.”
And who would have thought I would feature a book that I did not write? But I smiled (see above) when I saw the subtitle. I bet you will too.
Neither of these two will win fancy creative awards, but both show that someone is actually paying attention and caring.
Rather than do a third nice idea, but keeping with the tradition of doing everything in threes (not sure where that custom started, but I am uneasy about contravening it), let me present a poster that made me smile, though more in puzzlement than appreciation. I come from Brooklyn, and have never seen this combination of letters as the abbreviation, which may be why I noticed it.