Before a concept presentation, the highly sought after AD searched for images of people expressing enjoyment as they ate. She only found pictures of women. The search was expanded to include enjoyment in general, but to no avail. Women, women, women – closing their eyes and enjoying. Finding decent pictures of men doing the same thing proved extremely challenging, regardless of image bank. The AD asked me if men don’t enjoy. The acknowledged (and female) anthropologist, whom I also have the pleasure of spending time with, was not the least bit surprised. Because this is the pattern. Women are supposed to enjoy, men are active – maybe a bit “mischievous”.

We are still in the midst of the #metoo quake. A liberating outburst of all these women who have had enough of all those men who just don’t understand how the hell to behave. The awfulness now being exposed is worse than I could have ever imagined. No zone seems to have been a free zone for women. On the contrary, the safer an organisation or industry has appeared from the outside, the more awful it seems to have been for women.

So, am I seriously saying that the lack of pictures of active women (not including gym pictures) and men expressing enjoyment is the cause of abuse and harassment? No, of course not. But there is a pattern here. Isn’t there? We repeat strange roles in the vast majority of image solutions, on the cover of most newspapers, and probably in 99% of all online and televised entertainment. The active man dazzling the eager-to-enjoy woman. And at its most distasteful edge are the male geniuses, the authorities, and those in power, who simply felt entitled.

It is said (and I have learned) that cultures has strategiy for breakfast. So let’s start changing the culture we live in right now, those of us who work with it. So far, all strategies promoting respect for half of humanity have proved more or less unsuccessful. It’s about time we walk the talk.

This is a translation from the article in Resumé 22 November 2017. You can find it here.

feta äter pizza i orsa

It’s 2017 and it will hardly have escaped anyone’s attention that you are what you eat. Social media and the supermarkets are filled with advice, smart recipes and clever heckling how your great new body shape is lurking around the corner.

Despite this, we become (on average) heavier and heavier. Getting sicker and sicker. Are people completely clueless? No, hardly. We are equally smart now as 70 000 years ago, in fact we are the same design throughout. However the design is not the individual that we imagine today that we are. The phrase “I think, therefore I am” by RĂ©ne Descartes is said to be the start of the individualism which today is quite prevalent in the Western world. It was introduced in the 17th century and is quite misleading. We are nothing outside the community we are part of.

If we saw ourselves as a cog among all the other teeth on the gear named “family and friends” we would understand human behavior so much easier. When we eat, we are a part of our community – if we eat the same things, that is.

It is often said that overweight is more common among those with less education. And then various public authorities comes to the conclusion that those who have less education simply do not understand that they will become obese by their daily diet of 300 grams chips and 3 liters of Coke. I promise, everyone gets that. But it has become a part of their identity. In other words, It is almost impossible to sit down in a sofa amongst a group of couch potatoes with a plain cup of tea.

As individuals, we are quite useless. In the group, the primate Sapiens is unbeatable. So remember to select your target carefully before you design the message.

Some just don’t buy organic food. They usually claim the reason to be the price. I respect that, most of us has a budget to stick to. But my personal experience from years of retail marketing tells me something else. Special price or discounts do not affect sales of ethically produced food at all. On the contrary, the sales often decrease during a sales activating campaign. I thought I had found something revolutionary but then I realized that was not the case. At all. This has been well-known to the Catholic Church since they started off.

Martin Luther, contrary to popular Swedish thinking, was a pretty bold gentleman who was fond of the good in life – wine, his woman and music. His main issue was more focused on the fact that the rich could buy themselves free from sin. What he pointed out was the Catholic Church’s trade in letter of indulgence. However, that behavior did not disappear with the birth of the Lutheran Church, it just moved to another market. Our willingness to buy us a clear conscience is what drives the growth in grocery stores.

In most human cultures the apocalypse is imminent (except in the middle of a flaming war). Our fear of dying govern our lives in everything we do (especially when we challenge that fear). In the 14th century almost everyone believed that the Black Death was the Lord’s punishment for the way we lived at the time, today the climate change is Mother Earth’s punishment for our current way of life. And just as then, we buy us free from sin. Those letters of indulgence has been replaced with carbon offsetting, organic food, and various forms of ethic labelling (even though none of these action actually help Mother Earth with the rising temperature).

The point is to afford to take action. Being the one saying to oneself and others – “I buy organic as much as I can get my hands on it.” Or “I always choose local produce” or “I always tick that box for carbon offsetting when buying air line tickets.” Without our pack to reflect us, stand out from or be similar to … we do not exist. And not to exist, is the worst thing that can happen to us. This also explains why some people consistently reject organically grown vegetables, wine or meat even though they can afford it. Everyone wants to be special but still be part of the crowd.

Thus, it is currently quite pointless to put a special price or discount on organic, locally grown, fair trade and other excellent initiatives. The bargain takes away the whole point – to buy me free from sin. The letters of indulgence, crusades and church-building did not come cheap for the donors and that is what made them feel good. It is the same thing with organic, local, fair trade, et cetera. If it doesn’t dig a little whole in your wallet, it doesn’t build you up inside.

A good conscience never come cheap. The pope has known this forever.

There’s a lot of talk about native advertising and content marketing. It has been so for a long while. Benefits are presented on regular basis. I am sure it is efficient, I can read the numbers. But it requires that your target audience are able to stand those self-prententious stories and that they are stupid enough to believe everything you tell them on a bought space.

But if you even suspect that your audience have humor and whits, you might reconsider the native/storytelling -strategy. People that can think for themselves usually want to keep it that way – and humor will be the safe passage to their heart (and wallet).

Therefore, make sure to KNOW your audience. Not as birthdates, genders and ZIP-codes. Know them as human beings. Use your empathy and put yourself in their position. Find the right knowledge before you start. And go from there.

In a study done by 24-Gruppen in Sweden it has been said that 85% of the men in the age between 16 and 24 had adblockers installed on their browser. At the same time Instagram introduces ads and at least in Sweden the responsible of that initiative claims that “people are not tired of advertising per se, they are just tired of irrelevant advertising.” By that we are suppose to understand that all we have to do is relevant ads.

But the whole idea of advertising is to be one step ahead of the customer. To show something that he or she haven’t thought of. Wether that is the idea itself or what it sells, doesn’t matter. Good advertising makes itself relevant. We didn’t know that Red Bull could give us wings before they surprised us with that fact. And how relevant was Old Spice before the man who smells like a man should smell like told us that everything is possible? And what American man in the early 60’s knew that to think small was the new black, until an ugly German car told them so?

Relevant advertising is just information. The need is already awake inside the customer and now it is down to best value for money. Basic marketing my friends.

So skip the engineering with trying to figure out when to reach who with what. They are all tired to pieces to skip you in the flow and to hunt that X in the corner that gives them back their screen. Surprise them! Engage them! Be there first. Be the one.

Make yourself relevant.

“Let me tell you about the Volkswagen campaign. When we were awarded with the account the first thing we did was to spend much time in the factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. We spent days talking to engineers, production men. executives, workers on the assembly line. We matched side by side with the molten metal that hardened into the engine, and kept going until every part was finally in its place. We watched fınally as a man climbed behind the steering wheel, pumped the first life into the newborn “Bug” and drove it. We were immersed in the making of a Volkswagen and we knew what our theme had to be. We knew what distinguished this car. We knew what we had to tell the American public. We had to say; “This is an honest car.” This was our selling proposition. We had seen the quality of materials that were used. We had seen the almost incredible precautions taken to avoid mistakes. We had seen the costly system of inspection that turned back cars that would never had been turned down by the consumer. We had seen the impressive effıency that resulted in such a an unbelievable low price for such a quality product, We had seen the pride of the craftsmanship in the worker that made him exceed even the high standards set for him. Yes, this was an honest car. We had found our selling proposition.” //Bill Bernbach, DDB

A brand is a promise that takes decades to build. And will be demolished in seconds.