Thoughts on marketing, creativity and innovation.

We Are Up is a strategy & innovation consultancy.

Hey, how you doin?
Hope you're coping with the hamster wheel.
Not too long till we're released back into the wild.
Stay strong y'all.
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“In this very real world, good doesn’t drive out evil. Evil doesn’t drive out good but the energetic displaces the passive”

Bill Bernbach 

Questions and Futures
The world's obsessed with answers. But questions are great, right? Big mad ones. That stretch your brain. That take you on a journey. That help you to see things differently. Yeah, questions rock. This was a good piece on questioning. How artists notice things things others don’t, by questioning how we see, what is being seen and what isn’t being seen. Which is nice, and useful.
On the subject of questions (see what I did there), one that's always worth asking is what we want our future to look like and whether we want a world dominated by a few global platforms? Right now 2/3 of ecommerce retail is ploughed through 6 points. Mad, sad and bad, particularly with ballooning ecommerce. And, with the two months leading up to Christmas accounting for up to 30% of high street revenue, the high street is now racing to save Christmas from Amazon.

Amazon's recent earnings topped $96 billion, up 37% yoy and to quote @AOC, you don't make $96 billion, you take it. While their new ad "The show must go on" was nice, along with the other giants, they need competition. Maybe a boom in vertical marketplaces will help. Online marketplaces like Bubble, which specialises in Keto & Paleo or Verishop, which feels like a curated department store and or the Yes, a personalized fashion recommendation engine, might help.

One thing is certain, we need to ask more questions. About where we're headed. And what kind of future we want. Otherwise, we'll end up with answers we really don't like.


What is Love (baby don’t hurt me)
I once sat in a meeting, with a group of senior clients and partners, talking about whether their beer brand was loved enough. We talked about the make up of love. For a very long time. And about real love and how to get it. In hindsight, it was a bit naive.

This was a good read on the overselling of brand love. Bruce makes the point that love is rare, complicated and to scale it, expensive. Better to be known first, then to achieve a positive attitude. Love as a goal has diminishing returns. And, as Bernbach said ”logic and over analysis can immobilise and sterilise an idea. It’s like love. The more you analyze it, the more it disappears.

And this piece on soft power in international relations and brands was good too. He makes three good points. Firstly, you can’t have soft power without hard power (product, ip etc). Secondly, soft power comes from people not governments (or companies) and thirdly, soft power is not easily directed to achieve specific goals but rather, creates the conditions by which goals are more easily achieved. Which is interesting and reminds me of Martin Weigel referring to it as gravity, which is good. You don’t even notice it but when it’s gone, it’s kind of difficult to do other stuff.

And somewhat randomly, here’s some recent advertising work from brands that work hard on building their soft power and seducing their customers:

Here’s Nike's latest work, Victory Swim, which is masterful.  
And here's Burberry’s new singing in the rain work, which was divisive. 
Or Absolut’s new influencer led work, which was very different 
And finally, Beats By Dre's new work, which asked a few cultural questions.
5 things we read this week:
  1. UK lockdown advice. Do f*ck all. Heh.
  2. Sound reverberations and life  and the sounds of life, both are lovely.
  3. Pandora’s 2021 guide to audio is cool.
  4. "Nobody is normal" for Childline. Really really exceptional.
  5. Welcome to the world of synthetic media.

Listening: Do yourself a favour and enjoy 4 minutes and 36 seconds of pure joy, as Phoebe Bridgers x Arlo Parks do a really super cover version of Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead). You're welcome. Enjoy.'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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