So I went to see Prometheus last night (the prequel thingy for Alien if you didn't know). I enjoyed it a lot and it made me think.
I can't seperate the stand alone film from the original Alien, which I was just old enough to watch while it was still relatively new and hadn't dated (it still stands up).
I loved that film, and accept that much of why I enjoyed Prometheus is the adding to that original story. The thrill of the Space Jockey imagery, the prototype face-huggers, the exomorph on the mural and THAt ending with THAt creature. That film and those iconic moments mattered to me, and enriching that is pretty special.
Just like I how grew up with Star Wars and suspect my generation loved that more than any pre-teen generation has loved any form of enertainment before or since.
The prequels that eventually followed were disappointing of course, doomed to never live up to expectations, but to be honest, I still went a little misty eyed when Yoda pulled out his lightsabre, when he rumbled with the Emperor and, most of all, the silence when Vader's mask went on for the first time and then he started THAT breathing thing. I just cared too much about this world to not feel something.
So it's funny when agencies and brand managers alike talk about making brands 'stop interrupting what people are interested in and BECOME what people are interested in'.
How many ads can you remember that really did this? Left you gasping to have the story enriched by more content? And don't get me started on banner ads and 'social stuff'.
Think about the THOUSANDS of communications campaigns hurled at us every year. You can count on one hand those with any sort of genuine cultural resonance, and even then - The Old Spice Guy, The Meerkat, Papa and Nicole, the Nescafe Gold Blend couple - how much do you really think people care when these things are killed off? Maybe a little sad, but begging for more?
Doubtful. Brands are useful, we might have affection for some, even love one or two, but if anyone is crying out for more Old Spice stuff, rather the Dark Knight or even Transformers 4 (yes, it's planned), they're a little wierd.
If you start every brief with the objective, 'Be culturally significant' or, heaven forfend, create a Lovemark, your rate of success is going to be pretty dire. Even the experts at making culturally significant stuff make plenty of duds. The amazing success of Harry Potter is outnumbered by failures like Eragon and The Golden Compass. Geeorge Lucas may have done Star Wars and Raiders, but he also did Howard the Duck and Willow.
Failure is built into the business models of film studios and record companies.
It isn't part of the business plans of clients.
Being realistic, its should never be about love, it should be about getting noticed at all.