April 7, 2009

art, the kinetic quality and social objects


Vinny Warren, a highly respected Creative Director in Chicago [He wrote the Budweiser "Whassup" ad campaign] has kindly hung his new "Bluetrain" print in a key focal point of his agency, the conference room. He blogs about it here.

Fresh from the framing store, it’s one of just 85 signed Hugh MacLeod prints from the first in a series of limited edition prints he’s doing. This was always my favorite cartoon of his. I used to have a b/w printout of it on my office wall. It pretty much sums up how I feel generally. And I love the wildly optimistic yet utterly truthful tone. The text reads: THE MARKET FOR SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN IS INFINITE.
This advertising connection got me thinking about something I posted back in February, 2004, during the tail end of my own advertising career, called "The Kinetic Quality":

"The Kinetic Quality": All products are information. The molecules are secondary.
The future of brands is interaction, not commodity. It's not something you buy, but something you paticipate in.

i.e. a brand is not a thing, but a place.


In the old days, the three most important words in advertising were "Unique Selling Proposition". To me, the three most important words are "By Interacting With..."

-By interacting with Gerber, she becomes a better-informed mom.

-By interacting with The Wall Street Journal, she becomes more tuned into the world of capitalism.

-By interacting with Apple, she brings her entrepreneurial dreams closer to reality.

-By interacting with McDonald's, her busy schedule is made slightly easier by avoiding a lot of fuss over lunch.

-By interacting with Ralston Purina, she becomes more attached to her canine friend.

-By interacting with your brand, she becomes...?

A good brand is a two-way conversation.

What we bloggers know about the nature of information (a great deal) can be applied far beyond our usual diet of media, politics and journalism. Because all products are information. All products are ideas. The molecules are secondary.

Back when I wrote that, I was an advertising creative i.e. selling other people's stuff. Now I'm selling my own stuff i.e. my prints. And the same rules still apply:
-By interacting with gapingvoid, Vinny Warren [or whoever] becomes...?
The short answer is, roughly: "Better able to articulate his own worldview to himself and to people around him."

That's the idea, at least. Which of course, is THE WHOLE PURPOSE of art in the first place: Self-expression through third-party "Social Objects".

Anyone who's ever owned an iPhone or a Harley Davidson will know exactly what I'm talking about...

[Sign up to the gapingvoid "Crazy, Deranged Fools" Newsletter here.]

Posted by hugh macleod at April 7, 2009 9:17 PM | TrackBack

Love this post. I was starting to worry that this blog was becoming more about "selling stuff" than the brilliant articulation of ideas that made it famous in the first place. I stand corrected.

Posted by: Brian G. at April 8, 2009 11:20 AM

Brian, yeah, I had the same worry myself. But my career did take a massive quantum leap recently, so an equally massive period of re-adjustment was in order.

Posted by: hugh macleod at April 8, 2009 11:32 AM

Exactly, well said. I create my art to start the conversation, to create the connection of people to people to music to culture to humanity.


Posted by: Daniel Edlen at April 8, 2009 11:32 AM

By interacting with gapingvoid, Vinny Warren [or whoever] becomes...?

...part of the global digital tribe that "gets it", would be my attempt.

as an irish catholic it feels a bit like having a religious statue or relic in your house. a reminder of who you are. if that makes sense.

thanks for the mention hugh!

Posted by: vinny warren at April 8, 2009 11:54 AM

From my perspective (as someone who is involved in creating online marketing strategies for different brands on a regular basis, this is a great way to think about how customers and potential customers interact with the brands I work with - thanks for the food for thought! That's why I always come back to this blog.

Posted by: Jacqueline Zenn at April 8, 2009 9:21 PM

By interacting with gapingvoid, Vinny Warren knows he's not alone.

Rock on, Hugh.

Posted by: Alex de Carvalho at April 9, 2009 3:43 PM

I really liked it. I also gather a collection of business cards.

Posted by: Creative BusinessCards at April 16, 2009 5:10 AM