Telenor’s overall marketing concept this season is that they want to help and support you. Hardly an USB position, but fair enough. Telenor is trying to trick you into one of their stores where the staff can act as gods/guides to the complicated world of telecommunication. How to set up Facebook on your mobile phone, for instance? Fair enough even here, and I am sure that this is a relevant message for some.
But why make a simple message like this more complicated than it really it? I consider their last commercial on the Danish market as an expensive, confusing and artistically blown out example of how you muddle a basically good idea. My 2P. It hardly moves anything. Least of all market shares.
I might do a proper CET (Communication Efficiency Test) on this commercial. Yes, I think I will.
Please take my wording here as a result of first impressions. That might change after a test.
Read more about Telenor Danmark.
Please read this carefully. This is important information for grasping barebones’ ideas on advertising.
The three zones of adverting
What you see above is the newly conceived barebones advertising diagram. It is an illustration of how barebones sees, and defines, the main zones of advertising. How it sees advertising.
There is no part of advertising that falls outside the three zones. The definition is meant to be exhaustive. This means that there are three zones, and only three zones, of advertising, and that every gesture to advertise to a marked will fall in one or more of the three categories.
One thing is important: when you read the diagram you should read what you actually see: 1) There are no straight lines in the diagram, only curves. 2) The zones are all overlapping. Zones are fluent and they are all overlapping.
From here on we will talk about red zone advertising (above the line), blue zone advertising (below the line) and grey zone advertising (beyond the lines).
I am sure that you are already familiar with variations of the first two zones. And you probably already have an idea of the third zone, as well.
The parts of advertising
For barebones, however, it is not just a questions of mapping advertising in three zones. There is a bit more to it than that. With the zones comes the question of interconnectedness and constitution. Here is one thing you should remember: the zones of barebones advertising don’t stand together as pieces belonging to each other, they stand together as moments constituting each other.
This is an alternative way of dealing with advertising. Based on barebones resources we have simply dealt the cards anew.
The distinction between pieces and moments is a phenomenological theme. Roughly speaking pieces are parts that can be separated from each other, and in themselves constitute new independent parts. Like a branch that is cut from a tree and constitutes a new and separate unit (that again can be split into smaller parts). Pieces are independent parts.
Moments, however, you cannot take apart in the same way. Colour, for instance, is a moment and it can not be separated from that which it is colour of. The colour of the wall can not be separated from its extension. Every time there is colour there is extension. Colour can not be separated from its extension like a branch can be cut from a tree. Moments are nonindependent parts.
Here are the implications for advertising: The red zone, the blue zone and the grey zone of advertising are not related to each other as independent parts constituting the advertising message. Each zone does not potentially constitute pieces of the message. The zones constitutes potential moments of the message.
Following this line of thought the implication for advertising is severe. Both in the way you theoretically may want to look at advertising in the future, but most importantly for your understanding of message content (and form) in real advertising.
Messages are constituted by moments. That goes for advertising messages as well.
There will be much more about this in forthcoming posts. Let’s leave it here to take a quick look at what the red, the blue end the gray zones of advertising covers.
Red Zone Advertising/Above the Line
Red zone advertising is mass communication. Commercials, print ads, posters, brochures. You know the lot. To get attention for your mass communication, you need to break through the barrier of contextual noise.
The colour of attention is red.
Given the right position red zone advertising is for everyone to see, to explore and to react to. By the right positions is meant e.g. that you need to be in New York to be exposed to a New Your poster. You need to have the newspaper, the periodical, the television set tuned into the right channel, to be exposed to the ad, poster of commercial placed in that medium.
Blue Zone Advertising/ Below the Line
Blue zone advertising is not mass communication. It is selective and directed at you personally. Goes often by the name of direct communication. Reaches you with the post, is given over the phone, is displayed at your favorite web site. It is handed out to you by the sales person. Could come as a mail to you inbox as well. You know the lot.
This form of advertising is blue zone advertising because it is, or should be, so well controlled, or targeted, that is reached you and grabs your interest by the share being there. It is precise communication.
The colour of precision, is blue.
Grey Zone Advertising/ Beyond the Lines
Grey zone advertising is traditionally not reckoned as adverting at all. On barebones communication it points to all other types of communication that reaches out from a person, a product or a company and thereby influences the chain of events that makes up the brand of a particular substance.
The reason why barebones stress and rephrase this type of communication (as advertising) is that, whatever you say, this zone of communication has an advertising effect. It pushes your attitudes towards a person, a company, a product or a service. It stimulates or it blocks business. And stimulation, in a broad sense, is what advertising is all about.
This however is not always recognized, but there seems to be an increasing awareness of this fact. At least the area is obscure as to what grey zone activity does in terms of image and of selling products and services.
The colour of obscurity is grey.
More to come
Let’s leave it here for the moment. What you need to remember from this post are the three zones of advertising, and that messages are constituted my moments.
It seems that Danish telco and advertising big spender, TDC, has run into problems with their celebrated commercials featuring two middle age nudes, Claus and Britta. The two average Danes are played by Danish actors Kirsten Lehfeldt and Peter Frödin.
In a note posted at the fan site on Facebook , TDC ‘s site administrator, Jesper Ammitzbøll, says that he is no longer allowed to post the commercials on YouTube. He has taken all commercials off Facebook as well, not risking that the fan site is closed down. Jesper Ammitzbøll is working hard to find another solution, he says in his Facebook note Friday. The Facebook fan club at that time reaching close to 25.000 campaign enthusiasts.
Luckily, the embedded commercials on barebones communication are still working. You can enjoy Claus and Britta here and here. Hopefully TDC will manage to fix the problems. If not, the films may go from barebones as well.
The question is still, however, if Claus and Britta are more than entertainment? Are they also good for business as the couple evidently now challenges the code of international conduct on both Facebook and YouTube? That issue will be interesting to monitor over the next months.
Sometimes commercials can be just brilliant. Watch the commercial found at YouTube, or make your own version here. Be your own hero. English version.
First day of the new year. What is going to happen on barebones communication in 2010? As so far as this is, and should be, predictable, the idea is to move closer in on advertising. To enter the no man’s land of advertising. And to do so with the barebones toolbox in hand.
That said, updates and continuations will progress on all barebones themes; semiology, gestalt psychology, hermeneutics, phenomenology, et cetera, but advertising will get special attention in 2010. At least in the first half year.
The reason is that advertising seems to be in particular need of such an attention. I know of no other area that is so slow and so reluctant to accumulate research results, utilize trends, incorporate experience from successful advertising campaign, or simply to acquire the ability and willingness to move ahead. I many cases it is simply a question of doing a better job for the clients.
David Ogilvy once said that we know a lot about what work, and what do not work in advertising. Creative people must learn to use that knowledge. Add to that the more general resource areas laid bare on barebones communication – this blog. There is really a lot of available information to work with. Let’s see it used.
I may also add that most respectable, high-profile areas that I know of are addressed by competent critics. Take the speeches by Obama, take the COP15 in Copenhagen, take a new album by U2, take an opera in Milano, take the design of a new BMW, take the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Take the work of Sebastiao Salgado. Take almost any professional area that you can think of. All of these professions have, for good and for bad, group of critics around them. The critic’s roles are to view and review, to analyze, describe and interpret, to comment and commend, or, stated in other words, to go into dialog with “the object” in question. And the people behind it, and in front of it.
This very seldom happens in advertising – if at all. No group of proper critics seems to exist. I know of no such groups or even individuals tending to this task. If you know of such groups, then please tell me, and I will be happy to retract these words.
Advertising seems to be a fenced in area ….. protected on the on the one hand by those who make advertising (the agencies), and on the other hand by the advertisers. This protection is not made out of bad will since is should interest no one, but it is made worse by the lack of serious attention by possible stake holders, among them the critics.
No wonder that the popular saying is that half of (some) budgets are waisted. That will hardly do it in all cases.
Barebones communication will look into this no man’s land of advertising. Barebones will start taking advertising as a proper object for criticism. As if it was an opera in Milano, an album by rock group U2, a speech by Obama, a COP15 in Copenhagen, or a new model from BMW.
Barebones will do so by, among other things, using resources already available on the barebones blog. Hereby, I indicate that future reviews will not only be based on The CET TEST (Communication Efficiency Test). This test will be among the tools used, but reviews will not be limited to that tool only. Barebones will also challenge advertising strategies and tactics when this is found proper and necessary for criticism.
Please be aware that the word criticism, in this context, does not imply that verdicts are doomed to be negative. This is not so. In this context, criticism properly executed may well end in appraisal for good work done.
What criticism will mean, however, is casting a critical eye on advertising campaigns, on agencies and an advertisers. Stay tuned, because this may very well happen to an advertising campaign quite near you.
Welcome to barebones communication 2010.
Barebones is now on StumbleUpon.
Not by its own merits I am afraid, but because of Claus and Britta, the nude couple populating TDC’s recent brand advertising campaign. Someone stumbled upon TDC In The Nude, the barebones post written about 2 weeks ago. TDC is the used to be Danish PTT, and now the major telecommunication company in Denmark.
The post was added to the pornography topic on StumbleUpon.
What can I say? It’s a wide world out there, but pornography? I’d rather have it photography.
Probably not that good for business.
That seems to be it. The party is over, and people at Visit Denmark are sobering up. Fast. Hangovers linger, and there is still a smell of old booze in the creative kitchen at the agency. The advert has been taken off You Tube so clicking the links in the posts below will take you nowhere. The website is gone as well.
Of course you can still find the advert on the net. Here it is at Danish newspaper Politiken’s website. This incident will never go away. The campaign may be over, but the bad taste will remain.
Many years ago I invented a new word.
The word was creatics. It was a combination of two other words; the word creativity and the word tactics. If you google creatics, you will find reference to a series of articles, that I wrote in the mid eighties. Unfortunately now, the series was written for a Danish periodical, and thus written in Danish. If you read Danish the series is, in other words, already there for you to read.
You will find that the word later have been taken up by other people. Can’t blame them since it is a good word, but they use it in different contexts. Or in no context.
I will now reclaim the word creatics, and make use of it as a name for a new barebones theme. My intention is to rewrite the articles for barebones, but with the changes and adaption necessary to make a better fit for the barebones communication project. There will be some changes, but not that many. The concept will stay intact.
The main mission with the series of articles was to establish the fact that having an idea, is not something that fall from heaven, but a process that you can learn and learn to deliberately work with in generating new ideas.
Why is this relevant on a blog on efficient communication? For two reasons:
The first reason is, that in communication creativity plays an important part if you want to stand out from the flow of communication that is all ways surrounding you. Being it voices, noises, images, tactile communication and other forms.
The second reason is, that I find that creatics and phenomenology goes well together. You know, that I have started a barebones theme on phenomenology here on the blog. That theme has, so far, only one post in it, but there will be plenty more. The first post is: phenomenology: what is intentionality? I can see from the blog statistics, that this post is pretty well read, which is a motivation for speeding that blog theme up a bit.
One of the beauties of creatics is that if you search for something, and you search hard enough, that something will, after a while, come to you in various shapes and/or forms. For many months I had the idea of elaborating on the creatics for this blog. And this is what happened less then two weeks ago: I was ordering a couple of books by advertising wizard David Ogilvy on Amazon. When I order books there, I always have a look around for other complementary titles that could have an interest. And this title popped up: “A Technique for Producing Ideas”. Written by James Webb Young. As the price was fair, I ordered that book too.
And I have read it. That was the specific incident that pushed me to elaborate on creatics on this blog . James Webb Young phrase two important things about how to get ideas: “First, the formula is so simple to state that few who hear it really believe in it. Second, while simple to state, it actually requires the hardest kind of intellectual work to follow, so that not all who accept it use it”.
If you would like to go ahead on your own, please read this book. The subtitle could as well have been creatics. It is only 48 pages long, so you will read it in no time at all. If you are an advertising woman, or and advertising man, you will appreciate, that the foreword is written by another advertising guru: William Bernbach.
Do I have a photograph for this post? Just to make it a bit livelier? And maybe to make a silent comment to the words? I might have. I’ll insert a photograph later.
Later: I am sure that you have seen the photograph by now? Your task is to figure out why I have chosen this particular photo for this text. And what the photograph does to the text by just being there .
And by the way; The word creatics is hereby reclaimed.
I didn’t know I had this picture. Well, I knew that I might have a picture of a poster. I was testing some photographic gear, and this poster was positioned right outside the store. I wanted to check the sharpness on a fixed Canon 400 mm lens. At that time I had no idea that there was a little sticker attached to the poster. A sticker, that completely changes the message of the original poster. Brings in an unexpected layer of connotations.
It’s all about hermeneutics, and I will return to this post. Soon.
Now it is late. Too late. It ‘s already the day after.
It is long over due, I know.
On occasions I have used the term “hermeneutics“, but so far refrained from explaining what hermeneutics is, and how is it to be understood as a barebones notion. I will do that now.
Some of you may remember the very basic barebones communication diagram (below), that I posted last year. No need to change that, and I will show it here once more. See the word “hermeneutics” on the horizontal cloud in the illustration? Why it is placed there in the same section as phenomenology, and not as a separate vertical cloud similar to semiology, gestalt psychology, et cetera?
The answer to these questions are easy to give: In the barebones universe hermeneutic is not considered as a special region of the communication area, is it considered as a communication fundamental.
Using the esoteric words of philosophy, you could say that hermeneutics here have an existential or even ontological status. Don’t let yourself be scared away from this area by these words. Existential means simply: that which fundamentally comes with human existence, and ontology is simply the science of that area. If you are in for an academic career, you are welcome to obscure this to a lesser and even larger extend (irony). You’ll find indications of such obscurities when you look these words up on Wikipedia
The barebones’ stand on hermeneutics has been phrased very well by David E. Linge in his in Editor’s Introduction to Hans-Georg Gadamer‘s “Philosophical Hermeneutics”, University of California Press, 1976. Here is what he says, and you are welcome to read this as a statement that goes along perfectly with barebones communication.
“The task of philosophical hermeneutics, therefore, is ontological rather then methodological. It seeks to throw light on the fundamental conditions that underlie the phenomenon of understanding in all its modes, scientific and nonscientific alike, and that constitute understanding as an event over which the interpreting subject does not ultimately preside. For philosophical hermeneutics, “the question is not what we do or what we should do, but what happens beyond our willing and doing.” Hans-George Gadamer, Philosophical Hermeneutics, University of California Press, 1976, page ix.
To be continued …
Why is hermeneutics important?
Why is hermeneutics important? Why is it even very important? Here as some of the obvious reasons, spelled out:
1) If hermeneutics is fundamental, as we see it on barebones, it attach to every act of communication.
2) If hermeneutics attach to every act of communication, it a good idea to understand a bit of how it works.
3) If you have the idea, that you want to have a bit of control over what and how you are communicating (many people have that idea), you might want to use hermeneutics in an active way.
4) If you have the idea, that you want to understand some of the mechanisms at work at the receivers end of your message, verbal or visual or other, you may want to use hermeneutics in an active way, as well.
5) As advertising is not different from communication, but just a special branch of it, advertising people should take notice as well.
I good way of getting you there is to have a look at a new model of communication, and that will come up on this blog pretty soon. From this post on, there will be more posts on hermeneutics. I am sure that you want to know the basics of the hermeneutic circle, and the hermeneutic spiral.
So you need to stay tuned. Have a good day.