If advertising is a promise, design is performance (Part 2)
Continuing the thread from yesterday’s post about my upcoming Saatchi & Saatchi speech, if design really is the new advertising, this can be seen as good news for innovative companies. It means they can design their way into the public consciousness, even though they may lack big ad budgets.
A pioneering example of this was the launch of the Mini Cooper automobile in the U.S. market back in 2002. As I relate in Glimmer, there was no meaningful ad budget for the Mini, so instead agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky set to work creating games, paper cutouts, billboards that seemed to come alive, and cartoon books. The agency turned heads by using the Mini car as a prop in various live stunts, such as by attaching a Mini to the roof rack of an SUV (with a sign saying, what are you doing for fun this weekend?) and driving it around towns across America. At sports events, Mini car seats were installed in place of ripped-out stadium seats. Outside department stores, the agency replaced some of those quarter-a-ride mechanical ponies with miniature Minis. At airport terminals, oversized props designed to look like giant pay phones or garbage cans were installed alongside a poster of the Mini with the headline, “Makes everything else seem a little too big.” On the Web, the agency created humorous phony websites that quickly went viral—including one dedicated to disseminating rumors and blurry photographs that purportedly documented the existence of robots made from old Mini car parts.
The Mini campaign didn’t kill the 30-second commercial, but it showed a lot of marketers what life-after-the-30-second commercial might look like. It looked complex, diverse, multidimensional, experimental, experiential, and systematized. It looked like design. (For many more successful examples of this type of experiential marketing, check out Alex Bogusky’s new book Baked In.)
No related posts, but check around GlimmerSite for lots of other interesting articles.