Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Titanic Error?

OK. It's been too long since a post. Good reason, I swear. I have been busy doing the work that I love. More on that next blog post.

For now:

While I was at work researching great examples of love, I, of course, came across that great love story of the 90's--Titanic.

This seemed like a ready example that many people could identify with. This movie moved millions of people across the world to go the theaters again and again, form fan clubs, and shed tears. Great. Easy story for me to share...until I realized I have NEVER seen this movie. I don't even know the plot points (other than that the ship goes down and Leonardo DiCaprio probably dies).

So, I turned to my bestie, Tai, hoping she could give me the low-down on this great love story:

The fact is, I never wanted to see it as a teenager, as a sort of act of rebellion against all things blatantly pop culture. I now listen to Britney Spears with barely a hint of shame.

So the question is, now that I am over my adolescent distaste for trite should I bother with this movie and Netflix it?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Glenn Beck: My Latest Frenemy

I think Glenn Beck hates me because we used to be besties when I was Mormon.

It's sad. He can't let it go.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Profundity for the People

A couple of blogposts ago I talked about bringing profound thinking to marketing efforts.

Well, I just came across this interesting MediaPost article on people of "my generation":
Conclusion? Yes. Organized religion is taking a diminished role in the lives of Americans, but obviously that desire for quiet, reflective thinking (as takes place in prayer) remains.

I would say most of us know people many people who eschew the label of "religious," but like to still think of themselves as "spiritual."

The whole article is an an interesting read on the attitudes and demographics of "Millenials" (I still don't know how I feel about that moniker), even if you're not into marketing or sociology.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Natural History of the Rich

Yes. I followed my unsentimental foray into the institution of marriage with a safari into the mansions and golf courses of the rich.

Written by a journalist, it looks at the behavior of the rich through the prism of evolutionary psychology. Now, I have my own problems with evolutionary psychology, mainly that I think it so oversimplifies behavior that it can convolute ANY human action into a reach for propagating genes. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this book.

The writer is entertaining and draws many varied, National Geographic-esque examples from animal behavior. He also clearly did his homework on caviar dreams, from detailed histories to interesting interviews with the obscenely wealthy. It has definitely left me with lots of little anecdotes for cocktail parties.

None of the conclusions Conniff made were earth-shattering. For me what it established more was the mysterious biological root to so much of our behavior. It is interesting to note that the DNA for almost every living creature on the face of the planet is pretty much the same. The smallest of variations account for all of our biological diversity, and the same sequences keep popping up in the unlikeliest of places, creating similar behavior in wasps, buffaloes, and humans.

It has definitely made me look more closely at the reasoning behind some of our most culturally expected behavior, so for that I would recommend the book. Just be patient with the beginning...and maybe the end. The middle is golden, though. ;)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Melancholia in Post-Modern Marketing

I recently read this New York Times article (fave pub) looking at depression through the lens of evolutionary psychology, speculating that depression is the result of "ruminating" aka pondering/introspecting/analyzing...basically thinking

I think, therefore I am...sad.

Thinking people are more likely to be depressed. Great. Tell me something I don't see in my own life.

The article goes on and on in an exhausting academic debate about the evolutionary benefits of having so many depressed people in our species.

What stuck out to me was this argument that there is an evolutionary/biological foundation for rumination/introspection/deep thinking. This is something people want and need in their lives.

There are some smarties/creative types out there that think they have the corner market on higher thinking, but if late night Boy Scout camping conversations taught me anything it's that people from every walk of life in our society share times of deep reflection and share the same concerns and conclusions.

Because I am in this cursed field of advertising, I am going to draw back conclusions to branding and marketing which is--why aren't we we creating things that speak to this obviously deep desire of people?

We make ads that speak to the desire to make love, to be loved, to be victorious, we encourage companies to be social to address people's need for community, and yet where is the brand/campaign/website that encourages users to engage in deliberative reflection?

There is a reason that Eat, Pray, Love was on the bestseller's list for over two years, and why the Oprah Book Club was such a big hit, in general. People want to think about these things. They feel better for having had these thoughts, for having a scaffold on which to hang these yearn-filled threads, for knowing there are others with the same wonderings and private struggles of internal reconciliation without feeling like a complete lunatic.

This all reminds me of the once beautiful meaning of the word 'melancholia,' which did not mean sadness, but meant deep, quiet, extended thinking about a question or problem.

Durer captured it best in his work entitled, Melancholia:

In the meantime, I am going to be on the look out, for campaigns/brands that offer this, and for opportunities in which such could exist.