Quite liking the new Ikea ad. Looks great. And I 'get' what it's saying. Maybe a bit too explicit on the old pulling of the heartstrings tho (even for a cat lover!). And I guess, for that reason, it doesn't feel completely Ikea to me - always thought the brand should have more of an edge to it...
That said, I REALLY like the 'making of' film. Which actually feels much more on brand...
Speaks for itself really. Product, price and all that are obviously important. But ultimately, your brand is only as strong as the story it tells (the brand is the story)...and the best story (teller) wins...
Neil points us to a film made by IDEO in which they offer up 3 possible future book concepts, that make full use of emerging interactive digital technology...
Now the bit of me that likes a good gadget thinks these look great; something I would really love to get my hands on. But then the bit of me that loves books (or more accurately story) kicks in with a different point of view. Which I'm not sure I completely agree with myself, so consider this a deliberately polemical piece.
Now call me a luddite (and I'm sure some will), but one of my issues with technological development is the view that it always (by definition) makes things inherently better. Often though, it seems more a case of 'because we can' being brought to bear on something that works perfectly well as is (case in point the feature creep that has loaded the new home phones I've just bought with pointless 'benefits' we will never need).
And I guess (when I have my pessimistic hat on) that's how I feel about next gen digital book ideas like these, particularly when it comes to fiction and how the kind of interactivity promised changes the nature of story, story telling and the role of imagination (by the way, I should say that, for non-fiction, I have far less of an issue. But even here, much as sat-nav has eroded our ability to navigate, I do think there are dangers in removing the need to find stuff out for ourselves).
Obviously technology has been evolving how story is told constantly since the dawn of time. And clearly even the basic, archetypal stories (the myths and fairy-tales we all know) themselves evolve...albeit slowly. But through all previous technological iterations, from cave painting to Kindle, there has always been one important constant: that regardless of the technology used to deliver it - the initial hand written draft, the printed version, the audio book and the digital download - to borrow from Led Zepplin, the story remained the same.
But if we are won over by the belief that says technological development is always right and good, my fear is that these new interactive technologies will move the goal posts (for fiction at least) in potentially damaging ways we have not yet fully grasped.
After all, a story (whether novel, TV show play or film) is not the same as a burger, where the experience is improved by 'having it your way'.
We do not invite people to turn up at art galleries with their poster paints to make improvements, or to personalise to better suit their particular tastes (unless you're Banksy, where a different statement is being made...and look at how upset he gets when people play around with his work!). So why do we think 'story' will benefit from this kind of interactivity.
I don't want user generated Hamlet - as with 99% of UGC, it would be rubbish. Nor do I want the ability to personalise 'my' Hamlet (so maybe Laertes shouldn't kill Hamlet this time). I don't even want to fill the gaps - to have the back story, the facts, the explanation of the difficult bits. I want Hamlet as Shakespeare intended, the story he wanted to tell driven by his vision.
Because any story is written with a purpose in mind, from the highest literature to trashiest summer blockbuster (let's not be snobby about this). And as exciting and empowering as it may be, this potent dialogue between story teller (either in person or mediated through the pages of a book) and story hearer (either individually or collectively) may be what interactive technology is in danger of destroying.
With any half decent writer, what's said and unsaid, put in and left out is all done for a reason. And this interaction between the written story and our imagination, as we are forced to think, fill gaps, and paint pictures in our minds, is what makes the 'fixed' narrative so powerful and important. Having to think and work at something is not a shortcoming or hindrance, despite what our 'have it easy' culture might argue. These are valuable commodities not to be dispensed with lightly. To have all information handed to us on a plate does not seem to be a step forward to me.
Equally, how the story ends, who dies, who gets the girl, is like that for a reason (whether we like it or not). So who are we to say it should be different? We should instead be grappling with the 'why', and how this makes us feel, not changing things to suit our own needs.
This isn't to downplay or discredit the place of remix culture, which is maybe more evident in music and film than the written word. But the remix is (usually) an act of creativity in its own right, something that has involved thought and effort, and makes a point worthy of consideration. It's very different to being given the 'press of a button' option to read Lord of the Rings as if Gandalf survived crossing the Bridge of Khazad Dum.
Nor am I saying that you can't write something valuable within the paradigm of interactivity. Used correctly, there is potential for great, thought provoking creativity (and we have seen that in gaming - but old-fashioned that I am, I do think a game and a 'book' are qualitatively different: dig below the surface, and stories in video games are pretty superficial).
Being cynical then, the reality could be an 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach. Where great story telling requires a simplicity and clarity of vision, and a lightness of touch (which might still manifest itself in intruige and deliberate complexity), interactivity may lead to a creative laziness that says chuck it all in (can't decide how that character should act? Let the reader choose), instilling a similar laziness in the reader - why think when you can be told.
And then, looking beyond our own individual (reading) experience, and whether this will be enhanced or not by interactive technology, what will be the cultural impact?
I'm no expert, but surely a shared culture is dependent in some way on common building blocks. So whilst we may differ in our exposure to and appreciation/understanding of such cultural foundations, there is a risk that we will undermine all that makes a positive common culture possible, with the social benefits this brings, replacing it with a personal cultural experiences that are relevant only to me, and only now.
And for all the talk of empowerment and control, I'm just not sure this is a good thing.
But who knows, the kind of interactivity IDEO posit may turn out to be a brilliantly revolutionary development that rivals the printing press in its positive impact on culture and society.
I don't know what Hugh's intention was, but I had taken his words at face value. Much as 'good is the enemy of great', as the old saying goes, I saw 'great' in this context as a linear progression, the next step on from 'good enough'.
But is that really where great ideas come from? Are great ideas simply better good ideas? If you keep working at what you do well, do you become great? Or are better good ideas just that - better good ideas?
Process and improvement are important, and do move things on. But history suggests this isn't where greatness comes from. If we look at the (really) great ideas, paradigm shifts and significant human achievements that have genuinely impacted on the world, they aren't usually good done better.
More often they start from a very different place - with a bad idea (as in something that generates the "that's a really bad idea" response).
Obviously some things really are a bad idea - swimming with sharks wearing Lady Gaga's meat dress for instance. But look at all truly great ideas, from the theory of evolution to Post-it Notes, and the initial response (of others, and sometimes even the 'inventor') was typically the 'bad idea' one.
Because (what will become) 'great' will almost always be unusual and unexpected...and so look 'bad' to many. And often they may be right (genius doesn't happen, or get it right, every time). But often enough the nay sayers will be proved wrong, and the world changes. Which is where conviction, confidence and an ability to learn from failure come in. Plain dogged, bloody minded determination.
Maybe then it's not that good ideas have to die for great ideas to live, but that bad ideas need to survive and given the opportunity to grow into greatness.
So next time you're looking for a great idea, why not avoid what's logical and right, and don't just try to do good better. Instead, free your mind to think the illogical, counter intuitive, wrong, bonkers or just plain bad.
Who knows - you may not get something better, but you might just get something that ends up being great (if you're willing to fight for it)
Really nice film that draws parallels between the spirit of creativity and the passion for extreme sports. Didn't even realise it was a piece of branded content for Relentless till the end.
Now I'm not in the target market by a long stretch, know very little about Relentless, and would never drink it in a million years. But this (and other stuff on the Youtube channel/ website it made me want to check out) did leave me seeing the brand (paradoxically) as both cleverer/more 'arty' than Red Bull, but also a bit more real and gritty as well.