Advertising agencies stress the distinction between message inputs and what people take out of communication. The message needn't be too literal. Take the audience on a journey and let them draw their own conclusions; don't beat them over the head with a blunt message.
The subtlety of good advertising and the art of priming an audience to be receptive to communication is perfectly captured in a scene from the film Inception.
If you haven't seen the film, stop here!
In Inception, a rational message needs to be delivered to the heir to a great business empire - that he should dissolve his father's business. But, this is a message he simply won't buy. Only through tapping into the emotional power of the bond between father and son, in a way that delivers a positive emotional outcome, will the message ever have a chance of success.
The way forward is to convince the heir that his ailing father didn't want his son to be like him, but rather find his own way in life. The young man could not be forced; he needed to come to the realisation himself.
Monday, July 19, 2010
With vast quantities of data at our disposal and the need to make sense of it all, data visualisations, from tag clouds to timelines, are more in evidence online than ever.
The Blog Herald has published a nice infograph on the rise of Twitter. Click here for a larger view.
Following on from "Google flu", a project initiated by employees at Google in 2008, which aimed to monitor flu outbreaks through search, now we have "Twitter flu". Twitter and Facebook status updates are potentially more effective as predictive tools because people enter more words than they would typically do for a search query, so you can get a better idea of context.
Scientists at the Intelligent Systems Lab at Bristol University in the UK collected a database of over 50 million geo located tweets and, by identifying which words were associated with higher incidences of flu, used the data to generate a predictive model.
Any sort of viral effect could be predicted in this way - not just flu but contagious ideas, films or anything that generates chatter in the social space.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Isaiah Mustafa, having created hundreds of personalised videos for his fans, bids us farewell. There's only so much one ridiculously handsome man can do.
See this Mashable article for the numbers, showing how ridiculously successful the Old Spice campaign has been. And here's a sample of the best personalised videos.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
When I was in London recently, I noticed that the transport system has gone awry. Instead of the usual delays without warning or explanation, pre-recorded and even real voices are now taking great pains to explain the cause of the problem and reassure passengers that they'll be on the move shortly. It's quite disconcerting. I was half expecting a "have a nice day".
Monday, July 12, 2010
The English are not usually a flag-waving nation, but they do make an effort once in a while. The World Cup, for example. But, following our inglorious World Cup defeat (again) by Germany, the spoils are in evidence on motorway hard shoulders the length and breadth of the country. Here's a sample out of hundreds of flags thrown out in disgust from cars on the the M11, which runs through Essex and Cambridgeshire.