Knit happens. Get your wallpaper on!
Contrary to the catchy title, this isn’t going to be an ongoing series where we recap the week. OK, so we’re recapping the week, but whatever.
Chillin’ in Carmen
Karla, our Senior Art Director, was in Carmen on Monday talking to a group of 30 girls for a program called Girls in Gaming. The program’s pretty much what it sounds like: covering everything from animation to graphic design to video game development, Girls in Gaming helps girls get involved in the world of digital creativity.
What did Karla talk about? Oh, you know, the usual: what it’s like to work in the graphic design world, how to be successful in the graphic design world, the importance of making connections in the graphic design world; pretty much everything graphic design world related. The girls asked lots of great questions, and Karla had a great time seeing all the awesome stuff they’ve been coming up with.
The girls also spent the morning with Robin and Sandy Debreuil of Debreuil Digital Works. The brothers, from Miami, Manitoba, are really nice video game developers whose work can be viewed here. You can also check out this video profile New Media Manitoba did about them.
‘The Prez,’ Chris Clarke, is in Toronto. Leaving sometime yesterday, right now he’s probably passing judgement as co-chair of the ‘Best Album Packaging Judging Committee,’ which is responsible for awarding ‘Recording Package of the Year.’ Here’s last year’s winner:
To see some previous winners, click here. We wish him a safe return home and hope he doesn’t have too much fun in his ivory tower.
Speech! Speech! Speech!
Our marketing strategist, Chris Brown, had the honour of giving a speech this morning in front of members of the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association. For the past year, Velocity’s been hard at work rebranding MHCA, and today we finally sent it out into the world. While feeling a little bit of Empty Nest Syndrome, we’re proud of the work we’ve done, and we’re looking forward to seeing MHCA becoming an even stronger voice in Manitoba because of it. Chris talked about this in his presentation, as well as showing off the new logo, tagline, and previewing the gorgeous new website.
In attendance were several other Velocity Branding members: Karla Burr, Colette Boisvert, and Lee Froese. Melody Richardsof OYA Creative, who was responsible for the brand strategy, also joined us for the lovely little breakfast. We’ll be posting the logo and website next week.
Here’s Chris presenting. Whenever you have a chance to put a cow into your presentation, do it.
Edition 5 of the wallpaper series. Only one thumb was injured in the making of this wallpaper.
Our fourth edition of Wallpaper of the Week is now available. Now with iPad wallpaper!
Call of Duty’s “There’s a Soldier in All of Us” TV spot is perfectly executed. Which is exactly the problem.
Call of Duty’s “There’s a Soldier in All of Us” TV spot is a perfectly executed advertising concept: a war zone featuring ‘soldiers’ from all walks of life- from a multi-million dollar basketball player to a sometimes-funny talk show host, to a little girl and elegantly-moustachioed line cook- the spot powerfully highlights the appeal of Call of Duty: it’s a game that the young and old, famous and not so famous, moustachioed and non-moustachioed, can enjoy. And judging the spot solely on this, it’s a superb execution. However, nothing is created in a contextually void vacuum- especially advertising. Which is why the spot is troubling.
The spot, created by ad agency TBWA, should make every viewer uncomfortable: with its depiction of regular people acting as soldiers nonchalant about the destruction around them, the minute-long ad trivializes the reality of war. (And the usage The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimmie Shelter’- a song written about the chaos of the Vietnam War- further solidifies this trivialness.)
But who should we blame for our discomfort? The advertising agency that produced the spot? The client that approved it (Activision)? Unfortunately, neither. The blame, it seems, rests on the consumer.
“There’s a Soldier in All of Us” is a reflection of what war has become to us today: a concept so far removed from our daily lives that it can be seen as a commodity of enjoyment. TBWA’s Chief Creative Officer described the spot as dramatizing “what it’s like to play the game.” He’s right: Call of Duty is about people from every walk of life converging online to engage in simulated warfare for pure entertainment. But this simulation of destruction isn’t TBWA’s fault, the spot’s fault, or even Activision’s fault. Consumers want to play Call of Duty, Activision wants to make money by consumers playing Call of Duty, and TBWA wants to make money by helping Activision. If consumers didn’t want play the game, there’d be no ad, there’d be no game, and there’d be no release date the week of Remembrance Day.
The role of advertising is often misunderstood, with the industry being accused of manipulating consumers. But at its core, advertising is a reflection of a society’s values. As such, it’s very rare to see an advertising concept that isn’t trying to connect positively with a receptive audience. (Why would advertisers alienate groups that keep them in business?) For example, if IKEA comes out with a TV spot that has a same-sex couple shopping for furniture, it’s not because they’re trying to be ‘edgy’- it’s because they know there’s enough same-sex couples shopping at IKEA to rationalize the marketing strategy. Likewise, Molson Canadian’s famous “I Am Canadian” campaign targeted Canadians because Molson realized that, well, Canadians drink Molson Canadian. And it worked. Why? Because the campaign reflects everything that Canadians think they are: smart, peaceful, and fun-loving people.
“There’s a Soldier in All of Us” is very much the same: TBWA was probably working with research that suggested some (but not all) who play Call of Duty feel like a soldier when they play. Is the experience of Call of Duty the same as real warfare? Of course not. But not all Canadians are smart, peaceful, and fun-loving either, and yet Molson’s campaign is one of the greatest in Canadian marketing. Advertising is more about reflecting back at us what we want to be and less about what we actually are. Whether that’s good or bad is another article.
The release of Call of Duty and its troubling TV spot before Remembrance Day was inappropriately timed. But gamers will be playing Call of Duty next week, next month and next year. Shouldn’t that be the real source of our discomfort?
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
If you’re interested in marketing, branding, advertising, technology- or anything else that we’re interested in- here are a few accounts to add to your Twitter. They’ll either make you laugh or inform you- or, in the first case, make you laugh while informing you.
The Hulk’s apparently got himself a Graphic Design job and is rocking a life of dark-rimmed glasses and flannel. His good design advice is made extra authoritative by ALL CAPS. A great replacement of the now-defunct Angry Rand Paul.
Great inspirational quotes for anyone who has ever had to write something- and, for those who write professionally, a must-follow.
Not much here besides facts we didn’t know were facts.
Funny (and sad) mishaps in the world of journalism.
Inspirational and blunt creative advice from the beard of Lee Clow (Chairman of TBWAWorldwide.) Not sure if it’s actually his beard tweeting…
Wisdom from Terry O’Reilly, one of Canada’s best persuaders. His radio show ‘Age of Persuasion’ is also a must-listen.
Stay current on the latest marketing and media news.
The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog. One of the best out there, and it covers a wide range of media news.
That’s what we have for now. Any that we’re missing? Send us a tweet: @velocity_brand (http://twitter.com/velocity_brand)
This post was written in 15 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. It was looked over once, maybe twice, then uploaded onto our server and displayed for the world to see.
This post isn’t perfect- in fact, we’d argue the prose is very robotic, which makes it sound like we’re angry or constructing some sort of revolutionary document. But in 15 minutes, it’s hard to work out all the kinks of style and structure. (And maybe we wanted to sound like a revolutionary, anyway.)
Too often, the thought of creating something that will be judged by others (a necessary occurrence in our industry) is met with destructive paralysis. We put off doing a project because we’re scared it’s not going to be perfect; we delay writing that first paragraph because we know it’s going to be rejected by whoever’s in charge of rejection. But creativity never stops. And even if it’s not perfect, ‘creatives’ have to create.
This post might have bad grammar in it, or one too many words. But we’ll argue that you can still get the message. And what’s the message? Sometimes we’re too focused on perfectionism when we need to be focused on getting our ideas out there. You may have the greatest outline for the greatest article, but until you write it, edit it, and submit to the world, all you have are empty intentions.
Your business might have a product that will change the world, but until you file a patent for it and get it in front of a consumer’s face, all you have is an unrealized dream. And everyone has a brain full of those.
Our heads are full of countless ideas that we’ll never get out into the world because we’re too afraid: of rejection; of the constant tweaking and refining; of the vulnerableness we expose ourselves to when we share what we’re passionate about. In a creative world, fear is our greatest enemy.
This post isn’t perfect. But you’re reading it. You may not have learned anything from it, but it’s here. And that’s more than we can say about all the other ideas that sit in our head, delicately tucked away until they’re ‘just perfect.’
Perfect doesn’t always see the light of day. But good enough always will. You’re reading this, aren’t you?