Last month, I bought a set of plastic cups for my toddler to drink from a glass. However, my son found that plastic cups could be used in a wide variety of ways other than their primary destination; such as for example stacking them, or throwing them on the floor. To me, using influential creativity in the advertising world is not a dissimilar process.
Your target audience can either accept the information and drink your every word, or accept it without processing it, or he can refute the information. That’s when the danger of losing the attention arises.
Influential creativity is about choosing the right vector to convey your message:
Music is a big influence in my life; from the beat to the lyrics, I feel and love songs for different reasons. Some songs are more influential than others, either to me, you or to the world. One of my favourite songs of all time starts with the lyrics “Mama, I just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled the trigger now he’s dead”. I don’t like this song because of its lyrics, and I doubt anyone does. This song has had a massive impact on, not only a whole generation of musicians, but also on the general public. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the song that has been recognized so many times as the best song of the past few decades for its sheer craziness and arrangement, which influenced the evolution of music. Another song, also one of the best of all times, but with dramatically different lyrics is “Imagine all the people living life in peace”. “Imagine” makes you stop and think about what the world would be if we stopped focusing on borders, religions, and material possessions. John Lennon‘s song appeals to people because we all want to live in peace, it’s an ideal.
From the advertising world, we can also encounter dramatically opposite messages that would still both appeal to anyone in this day and age. The Coca cola advert on the “Social Media Guard” and the EE’s Kevin Beacon “It’s a no Brainer” advert couldn’t be more different. Kevin Beacon promotes the possibility of accessing the same internet network whatever device each family member uses, whereas Coca-cola promotes bringing people together by guarding family members from social media. Somehow, both appeal to everyone because although we all need a reliable internet broadband, we want to respect traditional values.
Last week, I was invited to an art installation called I am not the Cancer. It was about combining art and information on advanced breast cancer. The art installation consisted of 6 TV screens showing face and back of the head of 3 silent patients suffering from advanced breast cancer. Opposite each TV screen was a comfortable armchair; and above each armchair was a speaker from which you could hear their devastating story. So to hear their story, you had no choice but to sit in this armchair and look in the eyes of this silent patient on the TV screen (not a comfortable thing to do). The point of this art installation was to make you realise that, however uncomfortable it is, that’s how we should support friends and family as opposed to using escapism as a coping method. This art installation was created to make you feel differently; like John Lennon’s song, to question yourself in order to make you behave differently.
Influential creativity is all around us, from everything we see, everything we hear, which ultimately leads to how we feel and behave. How we use creativity to influence our surrounding through music, art or advertising is about connecting with an audience on a personal, emotional or practical level. It is about understanding their lives, getting comfortable with them and letting them know that you are here to make them feel better, or be better, or make them question themselves by providing them with an emotion, an ideal, a service, or a product.
As a science blogger of Science is So Sexy, I use influential creativity to connect with my readers, the tone is light - I don’t write the same way I used to when I wrote academic presentations and my thesis for example - and I assume a Sexy persona in order to feed scientific information to my readers without them using the usual escapism method that most people employ when hearing the word Science. I know who my readers are, what they expect when they come by my blog and what I can do to retain their attention. The best blogging tip you will always find on any blogging blog, is “amazing content”. But once you have your amazing content, you have to dress it up using the right fashion tools so people will want to read and see more.
Last but not least, I cannot forget that I am a job applicant trying to convince you to offer me a job in your company. Job interviews are also all about influential creativity: how do I answer competences questions such as where do you see yourself in 5 years or what is your biggest weakness without sounding boring and common. I am the product and services. What are your needs? How can I fill those needs? Using my personal and professional experiences, we want to make sure we fit together and we can build the best team.
Like the cups, I need to make you drink my every word, I can’t be on the pile of boring candidates and I certainly don’t want you to throw away my application. If I managed however to retain your attention and make you want to see more of me, that’s also what influential creativity means to me!