We’ve all been in those marketing meetings when everyone gets a bit over excited talking about ‘award winning campaigns’. We’re high on inspiration, a bit rowdy perhaps, and start believing that perhaps world domination is merely one single well-timed mouse click away. Of course (most) awards worth having are hard fought little things, and your best shot is at something in your niche. I mean, you’re not exactly going to win a Nobel Prize for the best kick ass facebook application, right? For argument’s sake, let’s imagine for a second that you could win a BAFTA for your social media wizardry… how might you go about that?
Well, first of all you’ll be needing a great CONCEPT.
The best campaigns are based around ideas that are actually quite simple – an open concept that forms the brief for the final product. When you get your brief, you might like to deconstruct it and find a single nugget that stands out – something as simple as, say, the human need to feel loved. So take that concept, and create a new brief based around that. Let’s say you come up with: “Build a tool that illustrates, using social media, the human need to feel loved – and its tendency towards narcissism”.
Now that’s a brief.
Next you’ll need a CONNECTION or an association.
This is something that connects your concept (that floaty thing) to something existing, live, and kicking. For example, you might want to associate the concept with a group of people, your target audience perhaps… Not something too broad like ‘The yoof of today’. Perhaps instead choose something specific that we can all relate to, such as: “A young, media savvy unsigned band, fighting it out on Myspace, Facebook, Youtube and the like, in search of that elusive record deal”. Sound familiar?
Ok, we have a narcissistic unsigned band, fighting for a record deal, desperately wishing everyone loved them.
Now we need something totally unique, a RANDOMISER.
It’s the equivalent of feeding your fantastic idea through the Enigma machine to produce something totally unexpected. We need to take this existing (now grounded) concept, and warp it through the mind of a mad genius or two, shock it with electricity, make it travel back in time for a while, hook it up to the social web, give it the means to make music, and then squeeze it into an antique cupboard placed in the corner of a modern art gallery.
Now THAT sounds award winning, right?
Introducing Cybraphon – the BAFTA award winning Autonomous Emotional Robot Band
This 1 minute video explains it perfectly:
“Cybraphon automates the now-familiar process of musical performance, followed by obsessive tracking of online opinion, and subsequent mood swings. It is the 21st century equivalent of the player piano, but instead of your coins, it begs for your attention in the online world. Its music is purely acoustic, played robotically on antique and junk-shop instruments in a gallery in Edinburgh; but what it plays is driven by its mood, and this is shaped by its 24-hour monitoring of the whole of the web for comments, reviews, or simply traffic to this web page.”
I highly recommend that everyone watches one or two of the videos on Cybraphon’s video page to see the incredibly long and hard fought year of genius that led to the launch of Cybraphon.
Oh, and here’s a video and some photos that I took at the launch of Si’s last genius project ‘Etiquette’ (a table that could see and play very good music), which was on display at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop a couple of Edinburgh Festival’s ago. That’s me in orange on the right.