Culture. Technology. Creativity. Brands.
We Are Up is a strategy & innovation consultancy.

Hey. Busy couple of weeks here. Bit late with this, soz. Hope you're well.
Gifs by: Bill Domonkos
"And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Pushed too far

Every business loves new customers. They're great. So a lot of them used digital advertising, cookies and 3rd party data to help find new customers. It allowed them to cast their net wide and find people who looked like their customers. But Google's Chrome (the biggest web browser) is ending 3rd party cookies and it could be painful for marketers. The end of the cookie is just one of many changes around privacy. The World Federation of Advertising wrote about it in this report on the future of data driven marketing. Everyone's had enough. 

It's mad, because the internet's been built on ads. And it's helped tech conquer the ad industry. Now, as Bob Hoffman points out, Google, Facebook and Amazon command the entire ad ecosystem, with more than half the pot. Even late to the party Amazon, is turning into an ad centred media company, because its ad business is so profitable. And all this Hoffman says, has turned the ad industry into a giant electronic yellow pages. 

John Hegarty (legendary BBH founder) meanwhile, laments that the ad industry has given up on persuasion. He says “we now believe that stalking is the way to actually create success, as opposed to seducing. And I think that's a real worry”. And you'd be inclined to agree too, when you see brands like Lynx putting posters and branded goods into people's houses as they scramble desperately for attention. Little wonder then that advertising ranks 2nd lowest in a recent Irish study of professions we trust.

But, despite all this, there's always hope. Uncommon Studio's ad and line "We didn't lose hope, we planted it" for B&Q gives hope for better. Remember when you push too far, the only option is to pull it back. (That's a line about moving from push to pull in case you missed it).

You’re so different
Brands struggle to be different. Always easier to get the familiar approved. The conventional. Feels safer. Much more difficult to break new ground. Richard Shotton wrote about standing out and breaking conventions and used the death metal band Party Cannon as an example. Their distinctive and different childlike rainbow balloons logo, broke the conventions of the death metal category. They demanded attention. And as the Von Restorff Effect has proven, what we notice, we remember.

Marketing science on the other hand (Sharp, Ehrenberg Bass and all that), stresses distinction (being you), over differentiation (being different). So much so, that it’s become a bit dogmatic. So, good to see Ethan Decker's heresy, making the point that there’s always wiggle room in marketing science . Marketing science needs to be balanced with creativity and there's still space to be unpredictable and a bit different. Thank god.
5 things we read this week:
  1. Creativity needs an outlet. Yes.
  2. 3D printing organs is almost here. Holy moly.
  3. Get some perspective.
  4. 16th century dinner party knives. Cool.
  5. Horny ads are on the way. Brace yourself.

Listening: This short film was beautiful. Directed by iconic Japanese director, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 'The Centre Lane' is a five-minute film telling the story of Japanese swimming prodigy Rikako Ikee and her route back to competition following a devastating diagnosis of leukaemia when she was just 18.'ve got this far.....good hustle....

Just to say, this newsletter is a labour of love. If you have any feedback, good or bad, it's welcome. Also. if you have a challenge or you're feeling a little stuck, we'd love to help. 
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