think different

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There has always been a tension in advertising between strategy and creative.  The best creative ideas, creative people will tell you, come from coloring outside the lines. Think Different, to quote TBWA Chiat Day and Apple. The creative mind flourishes without bounds.

Strategy people like lines and organization. We love creativity, but our day job is about lines. Flexing the tension is another of our day jobs.

Both groups know there are no absolutes. I often say “Campaigns come and go, a powerful brand strategy is indelible.” That shit flies in one ear and out the other of creative people. 

The best strategy, though, is tempered by great creative.  And the best creative is infused with great strategy. The two create maximum advertising effectiveness and must coexist.

Le Bernardin, the NYC seafood restaurant, garners 4 Stars because of Maguy Le Coze (a neat and order freak) and Eric Ripert, creative chef par excellence.




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Apple’s earning (just reported) were crazy off the charts.  They are selling more, to more, more often and at higher price.  What’s that, the quad-fecta?  Anyway, it got me to thinking about China and Taiwan and all the other places I suspect Apple products are manufactured and it made me wonder if we Americans were ready to purchase an Apple product with a little made in America sticker on it. 

I read someone once that the most expensive part in an iPhone is the housing, the case that all the parts are contained it.  The part cost something like $7 or $16.   So let’s just ask the question, If there was an Apple US-based manufacturing group that made product solely with American parts, and the prices were 3 times higher, would people buy them?  And what would that do to the aura of Apple? As a marketer, I suspect it would cause some consumer consternation. Okay lots of consumer consternation.  But would it be so wrong?  I’m no xenophobe, trust me, but this approach might help American manufacturing learn a thing.  Then, of course, the products don’t have to be labeled “Made in America,” maybe they are quietly American.

Daring? Yes.  Jobsian?  Yes.  Think different.  (Can you say renminbi?)

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Noah Brier is an exciting, off-piste marketing strategist.  His post the other day suggesting some businesses would do well to have born on dating is a case in point. 

 Head of planning and strategy at the Barbarian Group, Mr. Brier is unique because he likes to question rules, norms and the tried and true. He looks at the blacks, whites and grays.  His mind mashes up things and, I suspect, he sometimes introduces a bit of randomness to his rigor – just for flavor. In the advertising or creative business some might call this approach disruptive. I think of it as natural. Seeds grow in the oddest places…not always where the farmer plants them. They blow around, are carried by birds, find unlikely hosts for germination. If Steve Jobs is embodied by the advertising tagline “think different” Mr. Brier of similar mind and value in a strategist’s body.

 Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Brier can go head-to-head with traditionalists – he just doesn’t always chose to.

 His monthly likemind — something he and Piers Fawkes came up with — is an audacious idea bringing people of similar views together in coffee shops around the world.   I suspect it won’t be long before he and Mr. Fawkes invent UnlikeMind.  Let’s start with one here in the states on the topic of healthcare. Might work. Peace!

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Wanting to tune into the Apple iPad press conference yesterday I spent time toggling between and one of Robert Scoble’s video feeds. It was certainly better than nothing, but considering this day and age it was pretty prehistoric. Video reboots, freezing, hippopotamus grunts, feedback, poor screen grabs aplenty.

After about 20 minutes I blew it off and brought the car to “Tony, Park Avenue.”

The event was reported to have slowed down Twitter, gobbled up lots of bandwidth and, stirring though it was, was not nearly the event for outliers it could have been.  So, as a PR event it was a fail. 

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Scoble was allowed into the Google Phone launch event and though there were some hiccups, it went much better. He streamed from his laptop. The audio was good, the video okay and the overall experience rewarding.  But had both these events been on television, the experience would have been perfect.  Were they both streamed over the net with the right software and load balancing, they would have been close to perfect. 

Apple wants to treat the press to first dibs. Also, it wants partners and employees to have a better seat.  But the press gets this stuff for free – they don’t pay for it. I know the press is supposed to influence millions of potential buyers but this is Apple.  The demand for Steve Job’s presentation and the iPad, comes from real buyers.  This event should have been open to the global public. This event should have been for the people. This event should have been handled better. Think different. Peace!

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