everything is relative to culture and context

dollars

Maybe you’re familiar with linguistic relativity, or maybe not. Anyways, it’s about how language actually affects and even limits our way of thinking, our cognition. Plato said the opposite, that no matter what language you spoke, thoughts were not affected. The Whorf-Sapir hypothesis talks more about this if anyone’s interesting (even though wikipedia says it’s Sapir-Whorf, not Whorf-Sapir).

Yesterday I read an article about Zimbabwe and how Tsvangirai and Mugabe are hooking up again to try and find a way out of the mess. Good luck. Apparently Zimbabwe has a 2.2 million percent inflation!! Goddamn!

How does that relate to linguistic relativism? Not at all, but to the concept of context/culture affecting our thoughts and perception of everything. If you’re from a country with 2.2 million percent inflation – how does that affect your view on percentage? Or value of money? When someone tells me something went up or down 100%, generally that’s a lot. Would a Zimbabwian get the same first reaction? I doubt it. 2.2 million percent – come on! The central bank just printed a new hundred billion bill. It would say 100 000 000 000 on that, rather large, piece of paper. The paper industry is doing well I presume…

intercultural communications and planning

After flipping through an old book on intercultural communication from the times back in school, it struck me that all communications models therein is more relevant and applicable than any other models (of course the element “clutter” does include “cultural differences” in those models too). Not that any old model is applicable at all.

And the way the world looks today, planners on national level have to take intercultural communications issues more seriously in their work. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I believe it’s a fair assessment. The only thing all cultures share, is the fact that they’re ethnocentric. I’ve heard. And studying intercultural communications, or anthropology, pretty much proves this right (often in an painfully obvious manner).

It’s worth a think.

On that note. Westerners, including me who’s a blond, blue-eyed Swede, are per definition a low context culture. We communicate in a clear, “no bullshit” way. High context cultures leave much more unsaid (verbally) and trust the context and the knowledge about the one you’re communicating with to fill in the gaps. Funnily enough – that’s the type of advertising we like so much in low context cultures. Like: “don’t treat them (advertising victims) like idiots – let them co-create the meaning”.

Funny that. I’m pretty sure it’s to do with being more interesting that way. Less obvious. And again it hits you; why the hell is so much advertising over obvious, to the point of you feeling like you’re treated like an idiot?

That’s a whole other matter.

how we think

a fake trap of plastic bubble wrap

I planted this trap at work today, to see how people reacted (kind of a case of bad research – I didn’t really know what I was looking for), just for fun. And it was. The majority of my colleagues avoided walking on it some just walked right over it saying something like “oh, I’m trapped”. Some people said it was a rational decision to not walk on it. “I thought; OK this is probably something I shouldn’t step on because it goes pop and it’s ruined”. Others didn’t really have a good answer as to why they avoided it. Just “Oh, I don’t know”. Fair enough.

pre-testing advertising

I’m not a big fan of pre testing advertising. However, biking to work the other day it struck me that there are some cases where you can really benefit from it. Riding like a mad man, all of a sudden there are 3 guys in yello shirts in the middle of the lane trying to hit me with something. I feared for my life. They’re students who have had too much to drink, now they’re picking a fight!!?? Not at all. It’s some company (didn’t have time to see which) handing out “free juice in the morning” to people passing by. Pre-testing would have shown that not a single bicyclist stand a chanse to 1 – get the message and 2 – grab the bag with the juice inside. As a matter of fact, pre testing isn’t necessary here either, I take it back. Anyone understands that handing out juice to people riding to work isn’t going to work. Maybe not the typical pre-testing but still.

honest crazy people

There’s really someting in this. The truth part. Funny thing is that yesterday I watched Crazy People, about the copy writer who starts telling the truth (Volvo – They’re boxy but good, their not sexy but who wants to be sexy nowadays, with all diseases going around…). It’s gone from glorified truth in 30 sec with a proposition, to on demand stuff and social networks. I don’t care about the media used to get the message through, but I bet you advertising 3.0 is good looking, fun but at the same time strictly informative. Because the way things are going (on demand, what you want when you want it life style) you’ll have brand entertainment and then brand information. That’s how I want it at least. Don’t know how, but it feels right.

leveraging the norms and curiosity of the poker world

Everest Poker – the bathroom from funny you should ask on Vimeo.

Everest Poker – The Club from funny you should ask on Vimeo.

Everest Poker was a bit late into the Swedish market, considering the boom in 2005 and 2006. But then again the category as such seem to never get tired of playing and definitely not growing tired of sign-up bonuses. Talking to, and practically living with, poker fanatics from all buy-in levels of the game tells you many things and one of them is the fact that it’s a high interest category but with very low interest in the product brands in every aspect other than the functional benefits which is about functionality on the site (smart settings, auto fold, proximity of buttons and the order thereof etc), number of active players (need to be lots of tables across all buy-in levels), whether or not you can be lucky enough to play with real pros and of course the sign-up bonus (which you don’t want to make your only reason for acquisition as repeat playing gets tricky), most of which are experienced by trial.

Obviously brand communications play a role, first of all by getting people there (and then conversion is up to the site) and also by reminding players that it’s time to try something new (considering the fact that they are often registered on 5-8 sites and often active on 3+ at the time). How you do this, however, doesn’t necessarily have to be so functionally focused and not even bonus focused given the category norm which says; poker players try everything.

We devised a creative strategy playing on high quality feature film style, while communicating the most core brand value of Everest Poker; not making it about bling bling, not about taking the last dime off your opponents – but for the love of the game. A place less macho, and a tad bit more friendly without coming across as completely alien for that matter. That, we figured, is to be shown before experienced, but probably not told. For the player tuned to details, you’d see that the 4 films in total were actually connected in 2 stories. After all, it was all built on evoking curiosity as opposed to being stupidly redundant.