Friday, October 15, 2010

Troublemakers, An Homage

The best campaigns cause trouble. At the end of the day, or the end of the check-out line, it's better to be noticed than not. In fact, Gap may have planted that horrific logo to gather some relevance. And it's probably the best thing that's happened to the brand in years.

Let me be clear, 'trouble' in the creative arena isn't destructive, it's collaborative, explosive and replete with creative energy. Juicy's campaign featuring the art of troublemaking didn't get as much attention as it should have in the mass arena, but the dirty call-to-action of its copy set the brand apart from its fashion cousins in the collective industry. It elevated the brand into a different arena, where perfect alabaster supermodels lounging on white leather couches seem,...well, boring. And what brand wants to be boring? Right, Gap?

Creativity by its very nature is the act of changing the complexion of a thing, a space, or an idea. How can that be done without causing a bit of trouble? Even when campaigns tap sentimental emotion wholly and ride on the shirttails of the heartstrings, there's a spirit of unbalancing the normal, the safe, the happiness. That's trouble. Our job is to touch a nerve, to ignite reaction.

I wonder if feigning creativity to cause trouble is a new social strategy. What do you think?

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Love Haters (and How You Can, Too!)

I fall in love easily. Just look at my following count on Twitter. Every time I turn around, there’s a new brilliant person with crazy ideas and big thinking, expressing wit and irony with every post, visual creators living in color and dreamers spouting imagination and thinking into the creative stratosphere. I love everyone.

Or at least, I think I do. Of course, I’m being fed people like me. No wonder I love them. They think like me. Live like me. Work like me. I’m a ranter against homogeny and here I am creating a virtual world of people like me. Uh oh.

Social networks should have the ability to feed us people unlike us with dissenting opinions, different life perspectives and well, maybe people and ideas we don’t ‘like.’

I want it to be easier to see the other side of my opinion. My world is being colored by a socially fed optimism, a collective belief that the world is improving. That we all share a bright, shiny, democratic, creative view of the world. And when I hear a differing opinion, I balk. I balk not because I don’t want to hear it, but because I’m beginning to believe my socially delivered world is a real picture. And it’s not. How do we find dissension when our lives are constantly being endorsed by our networks?

There’s beauty in opposition. I crave it, honestly, and I see it slipping away. From a sociological perspective we should all be concerned our ‘liking’ and ‘following’ is eroding reality. Are the polarities in the world growing larger each day? Is there a giant vibrating world of hate collecting on the other side of my spectrum?

How do we bridge the chasm? Crowd thinking is beautiful, indeed, but is it endorsing a homogeny we might fear in the future?

Here are some ideas to embrace difference:

  1. Seek out the opposite.
  2. Talk to someone unlike you and engage them in debate.
  3. Visit a virtual community outside of your comfort zone at least once a month.

What are yours?

Photo credit: pasotraspaso via Flickr Creative Commons

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