This week Adentity will be taking to the streets of Milan in search of inspiration. Milan Design Week is the biggest event on the annual design calendar, where manufacturers and designers from around the world present the latest products, trends and concepts in industrial, furniture and lighting design.
With thousands of exhibitions taking place simultaneously around the city, innovative marketing is key. Stand out events from last year included Lee Broom’s clever “Salone del Automobile” mobile installation and the godfather of lighting, Ingo Maurer, who set Milan’s landmark Torre Velasca aglow, transforming it into a red beacon to mark the location of Audi’s City Lab exhibition.
Today Apple launched yet another new product – the iPhone 7 in red. “But the iPhone 7 was launched last year, so what’s the big deal?” you may ask. Well, this is just one of the latest branding exercises for a good cause. Take the desirability of a premium product, produce it in a limited edition colour, give all the proceeds to a worthwhile cause (in this case it is RED, an organization dedicated to fighting AIDS) and you have a winning campaign that benefits everyone.
Of course, branding for a good cause is nothing new, particularly in the fashion and cosmetics industry, where limited edition t-shirts and lipsticks are just some of the items that have historically raised awareness of both the brand and the cause in question. Who can forget the fantastic Marc Jacobs’ “Protect the skin you’re in” t-shirt campaign featuring naked celebrities, which raised awareness of the dangers of skin cancer?
However, it’s not just charities, or products that benefit from the CSR aspect of marketing. The toothpaste manufacturer, Colgate, recently launched a clever Snapchat ad encouraging us to turn off the water tap when brushing our teeth to coincide with World Water Day. If brands can raise money and awareness that potentially help us all, while raising their profile at the same time, it’s a win-win situation.
Since the mid 20th century, architecture has influenced the world of advertising. Modernist architecture in particular has become something of a standard backdrop for every type of product. Its aspirational allure has come to symbolize everything from quality and good design, to innovation.
As architects push the boundaries of imagery through the use of technology and sophisticated creative software advertising is, again, following suit by employing rendering techniques used by architectural studios on a daily basis, to create glossy, futuristic backdrops, as well as dynamic product shots. Top rendering studios boast a diverse range of clients, from international architecture and property development firms, to audio and video manufacturers and furniture producers. That high end audio system you see in the magazine? It probably hasn’t even left the factory yet, and chances are its slick, luxurious backdrop is a collage of different elements all woven together to create one striking visual.
As Paul Keskeys’ article reveals, some brands are not only applying architectural rendering techniques, but also the architecture itself as inspiration to create witty, futuristic campaigns.
There’s nothing like colour to lift the spirit, as Emmanuelle Moureaux’s recent installation attests. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the National Art Center of Tokyo, the architect and designer created the poetic “Forest of numbers”, a rainbow hued matrix of 60,000 brightly coloured numbers suspended from the ceiling, arranged in three dimensional grids. Through a cut out section which forms a pathway, visitors are invited to walk through the numeric forest which occupies the 2,000 square metre exhibition space.
A native of France, Moureaux moved to Japan more than 20 years ago. Fascinated by the vibrant colours of Tokyo, colour remains the guiding principle of her work, combined with the concept of ‘Shikiri’, which literally means “dividing (creating) space with colours”. Through the use of various colourful elements Mourreaux creates divisions that are subtle and light, evoking a sense of stillness and visual stimulation at the same time.
During a recent visit to Sri Lanka, it was heartening to see Standard Chartered bank in Colombo promoting the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, also known as “The Global Goals For Sustainable Development.” The brightly coloured pictograms depicting each of the 17 goals were proudly displayed on the building’s white facade. Due to the strong visual identity of the campaign, this simple action is an extremely effective way of raising awareness of the challenges that we all face around the world.
Like outdoor advertising – one of the few forms of traditional advertising which continues to thrive – this clever use of imagery delivers the message clearly and effectively. The prominent placement of these 17 images on a high street bank’s facade brings each topic into our everyday conversations and, hopefully, our actions too.
It’s been more than half a century since Lawrence Herbert created the colour measurement standard, Pantone Matching System (PMS), yet it still remains the global language of the creative industry. Pantone affects every aspect of our lives, from the clothes that hang in our wardrobe, to the packaging of our favourite breakfast cereals.
Recently the Pantone Color Institute released its latest semi-annual report, the Pantone Spring 2017 Fashion Color Report Inspired by nature, this vibrant, playful palette is all about emotional appeal. At the top is denim-inspired Niagara (17-4123) a cool, relaxing aquatic hue, and even classic pastels, such as Island Paradise (14-4620) and Pale Dogwood (13-1404) remain on the fashion radar. However, for the most part bold, punchy shades, such as Lapis Blue (19-4045), tropical Pink Yarrow (17-2034) and vivacious Primrose Yellow (13-0755) dominate, evoking energy and confidence. These bold shades complement the current trends for simple, clean packaging emboldened with childlike graphics and creative typography in bold, playful tones.
In an article published in Wired magazine, journalist David Pierce extols the intelligence and capabilities of digital assistants. In particular, he discusses a new app, currently at prototype stage called Hound. Created by the company behind the music recognition app SoundHound, Hound takes voice recognition and artificial intelligence to a whole new level. According to Pierce, when asked a variety of questions in increasing complexity, and with follow-up questions, Hound responded accurately every time.
This is great, but we can’t help but wonder how long it will take before such AI will be infultrated by marketing strategies. Just as Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) taps into our online activity to predict and influence our future purchases, just how long will it be until brands start paying off our digital assistants?
How will we be able to trust our portable gurus to provide us with sound, unbiased information? And how will it offer unbiased answers to political questions – something that the media still cannot achieve? Only time will tell, but we confess that we’re looking forward to the day that AI can help with elusive search for the perfect wardrobe. Gotta love technology.
Smart technology has had an incredible impact on marketing and advertising, but as strategies become modular, the message should remain aligned.
This is the era of customisation. From the sneakers on our feet to the interior of our cars. Apps have transformed our telephones into indispensable tools that facilitate (and some would possibly argue even control) our lives. One of the effects of this is that products, processes, even the way we sometimes think has become fragmented – modular.
Google Ara – work smart, play smart
Tapping into this zeitgeist, Google recently announced the 2017 launch of its new modular phone concept Google Ara. Incorporating the concept of Dutch design graduate Dave Hakkens’ 2013 Phonebloks concept, Google Ara is a smartphone built around a central module board. Separate modules offer a wide range of capabilities, from high quality video or audio recording, to scanners, etc., allowing users to fully customize their smartphone. However, unlike the original concept, which offered removable basic components, such as battery, screen and microphone aimed at reducing electronic waste, these elements are incorporated into Google’s device.
Fairphone – the ethical choice
Meanwhile, during this year’s London Design Week, held in June, the Dutch company Fairphone, presented its second generation modular smartphone, Fairphone 2. Fairphone is credited with launching the world’s first modular phone as far back as 2013. Although technology wise, it is doubtful that it will be any match for Google’s new baby, Fairphone’s USP is sustainability. Unlike Google Ara, almost all of the Fairphone 2 components are removable, including battery, screen, camera, etc., allowing users to replace broken parts and upgrade easily. Fairphone also focuses on ethical production, including sourcing minerals for production from mines that support local economies, rather than armed militias.
Media’s changing landscape
Modular communication has even impacted media strategies. Print, television, web and radio used to be the simple and clearly defined mediums for advertising and marketing, but the crossover between each area (interactive TV, on-demand TV, podcasts, streaming and social media, etc.) have made strategies a lot more complicated. No longer confined to four simple categories, they have become an intricate web of channels and options all interlinked. They have become modular. Never before has marketing been so refined or so precise as it allows brands to define and reach their target customers like never before.
However, like the aforementioned modular devices, the most vital thing for success is a strong, solid framework upon which to build. The lesson to be learned is that no matter how smart the technology, or how sustainable the device, just like the modular smartphone concept, modular communication must be synced to one clear message if it is to succeed.
With an increasing number of 360° videos appearing on our daily Facebook feeds, the introduction of Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, it seems that virtual reality is here to change the game of user experience.
Jumping directly into an immersive environment and experiencing how’s it like to be physically there? Yes. Wearing a chunky device on the face? Maybe not.
We believe that using virtual reality for brand marketing would take off only when there are little barriers of participation to the users i.e. no one needs to invest in any equipment. So it’s really up to the marketers to take the brave leap and make virtual reality, a reality.
This year, we have already seen some exciting developments in the scene.
Taking simulator rides to the next level, Six Flags Amusement Park brings virtual reality to the roller coaster.
We’re ushering in this year’s spring with some of the latest trends in digital marketing. From richer content to targeted location ads, 2016 shows us that mobile is king. Mobile users are spoilt for choices, challenging brands to offer even more value-added services and communication that are relevant and useful. Let’s take a look at what’s been taking our digital world by storm.
1. Mobile only / Mobile first
With over a billion people using mobile as their only form of Internet access in 2015, mobile device usage has surpassed desktop use for the first time in history. Mobile users also share twice as often. The adage for 2016 is definitely “Go mobile or go unknown”.
2. Mobile videos
Video sharing, viewing, and even creating is now easier with bigger screens and more advanced apps. Nearly 40% of YouTube video views are via mobile. At this rate, TV commercials might just become a thing of the past.
Changing lanes without checking your blind spot? Volkswagen stops you in your swipe.
3. Location, location, location
Geo-location targeted ads used to be seen as intrusive. However, mobile users are not complaining when attractive perks are being offered.
Ever wondered where that plane is flying to? British Airways’ geo-location billboard tells you.
4. Content remains king
Longform blogs are making a comeback as mobile users now spend more time online during commutes, at home, or even during meals. Word-of-mouth marketing has now gone online through bloggers, celebrity tweets and social media.
In other words, cross channel. Internet users are exposed to every form of media everyday, so why not target as many of them that are relevant to you as possible? Facebook and Twitter remain the powerhouses in social media, but Instagram and Snapchat are fast-growing channels to look out for.
Everyone’s has played tag. But what about Twitter Tag? Volkswagen Polo shows you how.
6. Native advertising
Ever seen the “sponsored content” link that appears on your Facebook feeds? These communication channels use shared data to give Internet users what they are interested in, thus concentrating advertising to only your target consumers.
7. Go niche to make audience feel special
Understand your customers, know their needs, and give them what they want. Digital data clearly points to ongoing trends and preferences. Using this to reach individual users in a personal way lets them know that you understand them better, and in turn, they’ll feel more connected with your brand.
Nike lets runners trade their Fuel points for exclusive products. Want a T-shirt? Run for it.
8. Digital goes print
Logging off can also be a way to standing out and avoiding the clutter. Instead of just a link your target audience shares on social media, your digital business can be turned into a guerilla billboard or a printed statement, alive even when WIFI isn’t.
Airbnb and cnet has gone IRL and printed their own magazine. Be present both on- and offline.
Ever pictured a fantasy world where time and space are mere illusions to be warped and bent to your heart’s content? Ever imagined yourself walking through the sands of time, into a Roman colosseum in the clouds? How about surfing on the waves of proportion, feeling the galactic winds in your face?
It’s all possible in Jati Putra’s digitally created universe. It makes “Inception” look rather mild, doesn’t it?
Digital art has always pushed the boundaries of reality to feed our imaginations with visions that could only be fathomed by our dreams. What’s the next step in this realm? What could Oculus Rift do for us? Would we be really able to explore new worlds on our own two feet? Let’s wait and see.
Everyone can write copy. Getting it right though, is kind of like rocket science. But fret not, Adentity’s here with some tips that can help you get better at it.
1. Believe in what you write
If you’re not convinced by the product, you can’t convince anyone else.
2. Never assume readers don’t read
You just need to write something that they will.
3. Talk to your readers, not your clients
Don’t use jargon. Don’t use marketing buzzwords. Write the way you talk.
4. Engage. Not indoctrinate.
Talk with your audience. Not at them.
5. Refrain from utilising superfluous diction
6. DON’T SCREAM!
Exclamation marks rarely add excitement! They just make your readers anxious.
7. Talk benefits, not features
“Work faster” is easier to relate to than “More powerful machine”.
8. Don’t use useless trash adjectives
New innovation. Round circle. Completely full. Cold ice cream. No.
9. Never write copy just to fill space
Stop when the message is delivered. Inserting sentences just to fill up that ‘blank space’ makes the message less powerful and you’ll often end up with meaningless information that really doesn’t help the reader. It doesn’t even look pretty.
10. End with a call to action
Let’s start writing better.
In the past century, humanity saw the industrial evolution, which changed the face of the planet forever. In recent years, we’re seeing another breakthrough that could possibly accelerate human evolution, construction, and creativity.
Yes, welcome to the world of 3D printing. The development of this technology has brought about 3D printed shoes, clothes, food, prosthetic limbs, and even houses. Would this revolutionalise the housing market? Would this finally improve the lives of millions? What’s next? Should we be expecting 3D printed internal organs that will finally beat cancer and viruses? 3D printed food that would eradicate global hunger?
Take a look at these breathtaking examples and let us know what you think.
Glowforge is the crowdfunded 3D printer that lets you print just about anything at home.
Now, anyone can draw castles in the air with 3Doodler 2.0.
Sustainable 3D printed food might already be here.
Every time we walk into the fruits and vegetables section of the supermarket, we seem to expect brightly coloured, perfect looking apples, oranges, potatoes and eggplants. It somehow gives us the impression that they are fresher, tastier, and even healthier.
But in reality, most fruits and vegetables don’t look perfect. And most of the time, supermarkets, knowing that these “less perfect” produce can’t be sold, throw them away by the tonnes, even though they are absolutely fit for consumption.
In line with the 2014 European Year Against Food Waste, Intermarché, one of the biggest supermarket chains in France, decided to make a change by putting these inglorious food back on the shelves, at a 30% discount, in an attempt to change our perception of “ugly” fruits and vegetables, thus reducing food waste.
We salute Intermarché’s effort to make our world’s consumption less wasteful, and to shake our inaccurate perception of “Inglorious fruits and vegetables”. Let’s hope the supermarket near you would start making this difference too.