Our Palaeolithic ancestors forage across a dusty plain, surrounded by sheer stone cliffs. In the middle distance a few of them drink at an evaporating pool. A fight about the water breaks out between two opposing groups.
The more aggressive males on both sides throw their arms in the air as they move toward each other, screeching. The victors scare off the original group and let out a howl of victory before settling down to drink at the pool, which continues to evaporate.
Overnight, an obelisk appears in the centre of the pool. The apes draw near, circling the black stone, reaching out to timidly touch its cold, imposing face. And, suddenly, evolution.
This is, of course, one of the most famous scenes ever filmed: the opening of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’ve been reflecting on this scene a lot of late, because it’s starting to feel familiar to me. It could easily be an allegory for the changes in our industry over the past few years.
It came to me as I was pondering the difference between old-school creative "integration" and modern, connected creative. As different agencies fight it out for the evaporating pool of creative campaign work, drying up under the strength of the programmatic sun, great and evolutionary creative, more than ever, needs to be as powerful as that obelisk. A clear, magnetic idea that draws everyone toward it. A focused thought, and a set of behaviours that allows everyone to work alongside one another to evolve. To build a bigger, bolder and more single-minded concept of a brand that works as well in POS and customer service as it does in big sweeping brand ads. One that gives a clear voice for every channel, whether it’s an event or an always-on social strategy. Truly connected creative that can last three years, not three months.
True brand marketing efficiency comes from creating connected ideas that exist naturally through the consumer’s entire experience with the brand, service or business. Creating a single, focused concept that delivers a disproportionate share of voice by making all voices speak as one. A recent report stated that the average client has 17 different agency partners. That’s 17 different belief systems that see the world in different ways, fighting over the same pool, rather than understanding their role. Seventeen different conversations all trying to be the main one, rather than evolving together. What’s needed is one clear concept that everyone knows how to work with.
That’s the way we work with our clients at Mr President. We find that connected thought, which works through its simplicity and stretches across every part of a customer journey. Something substantial, with real staying power, which builds something more potent than brand awareness – brand significance.
The "Come out for LGBT" work for Stonewall is omnipotent because it is something to focus all communications around, be that at a grass-roots level with community groups, schools and businesses, or in one of the national creative executions that have made, and will continue to make, noise.
This approach is why I believe our best work has proved so effective, creative and human.
We can see the same wonderful traits in other brilliant connected ideas, such as Ikea’s "The wonderful everyday". More than simply a line, it represents the heartfelt belief of the business and the trajectory of travel for a store that has transformed itself from focusing on big-ticket items to embracing everything that makes life wonderful in the home.
These are creative ideas that connect all marketing activities for a brand. That connect all channels. That connect the entire user experience of the brand. That connect all the people within an organisation and all the third-party partners they work with.
Laura Jordan Bambach is the chief creative officer of Mr President