After almost a year of determined work my friend Alberto Maestri and I have finally published our last book, of which we are very proud. It’s called Customer Experience Design and it’s about how companies can design memorable brand experiences.
How relevant is this topic? Indeed, its importance can hardly be overestimated. Today all main companies are competing not just in improving their products and services but also in the so-called experience economy. And this new dimension of the economy is more and more digital – meaning that that the most competitive companies are those which succeed in providing highly satisfying online experiences, that are seamlessly connected to the physical ones.
The book contains a lot of references to many authors who in recent times have analysed these developments, providing excellent insights. It also includes a charming preface by Robert Rose and a stimulating final comment by Cosimo Accoto. Compared to the other authors dealing with the same issues, our main point of difference is the special role we assign to all kind of digitally shared experiences.
A week after the launch of the Pepsi ad that has inflamed the Internet, the dust is starting to settle. And it becomes clearer why so many people found that ill-advised video so offensive.
It’s definitely unusual to concentrate such a long list of blunders in one single commercial. From a storytelling point of view, it might be useful to take the most troubling ones into consideration. The exercise could be beneficial to the Pepsi brand (learning from one’s mistakes is the first step towards redemption) and to all the other companies mulling to address the Internet-savvy, culturally aware Millennial generation.
Too many adverts today are flat and uninteresting. Some instead have incredible impact, are easily remembered and often shared. Curiously, many in the advertising business are unaware that in most cases the latter have a precise element in common: a plot twist.
This element is pretty close to the roots of humour – but should be taken seriously. In fact, it could be worth a lot of money by helping make your ads much more impactful and memorable.
Consider a simple sentence: “Once I had multiple personalities, but now we are feeling well.” If this sentence makes you smile, it’s because from a first frame of reference (mental awareness) it jumps to a second one (mental insanity) in a sudden and surprising way.
The elderly man sits on his bed alone or at a table surrounded by others in a depressing retirement home. He gazes into space, thinking of his past glory as a marathon athlete. After rediscovering his well-worn Adidas training shoes, he suddenly tries to regain a sense of freedom by running again. But the nursing home staff cruelly blocks all his attempts and confiscates his shoes. After a while, his retirement friends help him recover them – and, with their bodies, prevent the staff from stopping him and killing his dream. The old man breaks free, runs away and raises his arms in a sign of elation.
This emotional “Adidas Break Free” ad has spread incredibly, reaching 9,8 million views on YouTube in just a few weeks. A huge success by all standards. But the interesting fact is, it’s not an Adidas campaign.
The commercial that gained the top spot on Advertising Age’s Viral Video chart covering the week through Sunday is absolutely amazing. Featuring a stuffed bear couple arriving at Heathrow Airport after a flight, amid human actors, it could have easily turned kitsch. Instead, it is extremely delicate and tender, even moving. The fact is, its structure and form are the perfect recipe to get us involved.
According to Advertising Age’s brief article, this message had an incredible viral success, receiving more than 67 million views in just one week (see Heathrow Joins the Viral Video Chart with Unbearably Cute Bears’ Arrival by Rebecca Hia). What reasons may explain such an impact?