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From: Mark Jessup, Director of Marketing Communications at Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast
I've had to let go of a lot of my intrinsic loyalty to traditional advertising creative. Not that there isn't still room for the killer idea or the clever spot, but the day-to-day reality at Wizards (and I suspect at a lot of companies) is that our marketing budget can't afford to be solely aimed at mass messaging.
You can't tell people what you are anymore. They tell you what you are. And then they tell a million of their closest friends. For free. Traditional advertising can't compete with that. Inform, entertain, be a clever participant...sure. But no longer the dictator of culture.
And I think that's ultimately a good thing. I love good creative. I used to think of my print ads as clever little traps I baited with my wit to reel people in. But I've come to realize (sometimes begrudgingly) that straight-up, old school advertising has lost its persuasiveness… The jig is up. But in its place, we have the chance to "tell good stories." To take part in the discussion without overbearing it. It's like being the host at a party. Introducing, mingling, stirring.
Anyway, you add that to a noble purpose and you're on good footing. That's what I think. So huzzah, my friend.
Intellectual Ventures (IV) was the first Karass corporate client, and we're pleased to reveal the culmination of our first collaborative effort. In addition to its bustling lab full of geniuses cranking out everything from nuclear reactors to mosquito lasers, IV leads the worldwide business of invention, offering inventors a robust marketplace where ideas come to fruition.
IV chose Karass to reinvent their online presence. We genuinely enjoyed the process of bringing the site to life, and so we give you… www.intellectualventures.com.
Karassmate Steven Ricks creates lush, cacophonous sound experiences that challenge the listener's whole notion of narrative in music. Here he shares his thoughts on craft and why variation matters, as well as his most fervent hope as an artist: that his audience be inquisitive.
Sharon Olds read at Benaroya Sunday night as part of the Seattle Arts & Lectures series. It was amazing to witness a storyteller wield such narrative power. She reduced most of the audience to tears with a couple dozen words, then lifted the collective mood with a perfectly phrased introduction to her next poem, “Ode to a douchebag.”
We love the SAL logo:
The “l” a leaning volume, set down in the haphazard grace that follows narrative transportation; we are captive to a good story, and when freed by clocks and obligations we rise and stumble back into the ramshackle demands of the unscripted world.
Walking down the hill toward the waterfront yesterday, I heard the most delightful, delicate melody drifting up amongst the new green leaves of the city trees. Not wanting to interrupt the singer, I refrained from turning around. At the next intersection, I surreptitiously snapped this photo* with my iPhone, and only later discovered how incongruous the visage that accompanied that lyrical sound.
It is the juxtaposition of disparate elements that makes for good story; sometimes the world ponies up such fantastically rich source material.
* Doctored with Tilt Shift Generator — via artandmobile.com — our fave photo app by far.
A large, ungainly man in a bowler hat passes a woman standing on the street. He lifts up her skirt and hurries on. What just happened? You've probably seen this spot, but watch it again:
Clever without context fails to connect story to brand. The "Mr. W" narrative delivers a payoff that rings like the clearest bell.
The right narrative can transform a brand; when a story moves us, we are never quite the same.
Karassmate Chris Stevens at Flying Machine (Seattle web dev shop) posted this comment, which is too good to let vanish in the comment folds:
"I'd say that social media is successful not because it's a new way of exchanging ideas, but because it's actually a return to a very old one: oral tradition. It's much closer in experience to a communal storytelling than any medium invented in the period during which communities grew large enough to make oral communication impractical between the members of a group of significant size… It is now possible to engage in a communal dialog with groups of any size, limited only by the ability of the individuals in the exchange to parse the volume of communication.… And in the meantime the marketing challenge is still the same as it has been — how to make your message heard through all the white noise."
Thanks Chris. Communal Storytelling is part of the Karass DNA; we'd love to see more of this kind of insightful dialog as we trundle forward, into the glorious maw of spring.