Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The rise of the machines has begun...

I've been working on a campaign for a big IT brand this week. The brief has been to 'move the brand on' (i.e. make it look and sound cooler) and make it connect with an age 12-24 audience (as well as a 45+ audience - I like such focused strategy). According to the brief, the work has to use humour and irreverence.

The trouble with IT companies is that they haven't a fucking clue about how to communicate with people. It's a weird thing, because the IT marketing people all appear to be human beings, yet they have no idea how to talk to other members of their species.

Now here's a thought - maybe they're NOT human beings? Perhaps skynet-style AI supercomputers do exist and they're attempting to infiltrate our society through marketing 'replicants'. I often wonder, as I sit in meetings with them and listen to new acronyms, what would happen if I took an iron bar to their heads. Would white milky stuff and plastic parts be dashed onto the boardroom table?

If I were paranoid I'd suspect a conspiracy. Maybe all the advancing technology that's being sold to us is a honeytrap - perhaps iPods are actually brainwashing tools? Maybe the disintegration of our society isn't due to our iniquities, but all part of the IA plot? Perhaps the plan is to get us to wipe ourselves out?

Ahem, getting back to this brand campaign...

We came up with a nice idea that used real people (not the smiley, perfect, carefully multi-ethnic Americans sitting joyfully in front of their brainwashing machines - sorry, laptops) and real situations to get over the benefits of the product. The tone of the scripts was cheeky and irreverent - teenagers trying to get one over on the adults etc.

The client liked it, after a pause as the IA fed back the appropriate response (possibly via Bluetooth). However there was a problem - she had to show the work to the 'brand compliance and ethics unit'. Now I don't know whether this is another IA entity or a committee of some description, but it's job is to make sure the brand isn't associated with nasty human failings like dishonesty or selfishness - even in the form of fictional characters.

Now this leads me to the crux of this particular rant - how can you connect your brand with human beings if the people in your ads can't display the flaws that make us human? It's this kind of stupidity that will - thank god - ultimately mean the failure of the IA ultramind plot...

1 comment:

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