Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.
– Susan B Anthony, US civil rights and women’s suffrage leader (1820-1906)
Hmmm. Another annual routine has just been completed, and perhaps for the first time in this case, it has provided a very clear curl in the pathway.
Do you know what I mean? – You get to such a point on the road, put down your bag, gather yourself, sip your water and look both back at the path you have walked so far, and forwards to what may lie in front. You might smile or frown at your younger selves as their tints flicker on the old horizon. You might conjure phantoms and ghouls on the skyline ahead. I hope not.
And of course, you shouldn’t gaze for too long. Because it’s the moment you’re in, the enjoyable steps, the birdsong, smell of cut grass, music from a window, the passing chatter or debates of the people you pass by, those who hold your hand as you walk- it is those which make your life (your now) the thing that it is.
Irritatingly, this could sound like an Orange mobile ‘phone advert. Their “thing” right now is “I am my friends, I am my favourite song, I am all the boys I’ve kissed and will kiss…”. How self-awareness or self-actualisation relates to Orange’s brand values, I tremble to wonder. Let’s take a peek into the control room in the marketing department, c. 9 months ago…..
INDOORS, BOARDROOM. FLIP CHARTS, POST-IT NOTES ON WALLS + RANDOM WORDS ("LIPSTICK", "SEX", "57 VARIETIES", "U-BEND", "KUMQUAT")
You know, the people want - they want passion, man. They want to feel understood, loved, you know...cared for.
SEXY WOMAN IN WHITE COAT:
In these testing times, they all need to feel....connected.
MARKETING MANAGER (inspired):
They want to feel....normal.
They need to feel - ordinary!
You got it!...Average!
But - still liked! You know, friends...'n' stuff. But still ultimately a part of, of ......society!
Wow. That's great. But we'll have to be careful. It doesn't mean they're stupid. You can have friends and still be - you know, smart. How about something like, well, err, you know, clever, like, 'I think, therefore I am....connected!' MARKETING MANAGER: Yeah, no, not stupid, yeah, smart, yeah...Hmm...I am....I am..... It has a definite something...
I have, thanks to the magical miasma AKA the tinterweb, discovered some facts.
1. This campaign is called “I am Everyman”. How ironic. Mediaevalists, you may laugh now; others, indulge me, please – Everyman is a mediaeval morality play. In it, God is pissed off that people don’t love him enough, gets Death to summon Everyman for judgement, but Death can’t be arsed and cheekily warns Everyman what’s going on. Our hero then asks his mates to join him, who let him down, as do his family, his property and even his (weak, paltry, under-nourished) good deeds. Eventually, Everyman gets punished, lives a better life, makes Good Deeds stronger and after Death takes him (as one day he must), it is only the fair lady known as Good Deeds who helps him get to heaven (salvation of his soul). Given this advert is all about your mates and loved ones, I had to giggle and (again) digress. Ah, who says the Imp never larns you anything, eh? Bonus time: it’s only 900 lines and you can read it here.
2. Back to modernity: the ad campaign was developed by an agency called Fallon (the dodgy tart in Dynasty?). Jeez – their global website comes up as “we are Fallon” on Google. That takes client arse-licking to an extreme, don’t you think? Do they think their other clients will be chuffed that, like some spotty playground geek, their agency is using its favourite client’s strap line for its own branding? Or that Orange is vapid enough to be flattered?
3. Interestingly, ad industry mag Campaign voted the first campaign ad as ‘Turkey of the Week’ when it was launched. See what the public think of it here. (Pointless, lengthy, irrelevant to mobile ‘phones, possibly for teaching, life insurance, in short). For the latest pricey and not very good ad, see here. Thing is, it is about (if you dig deep) being connected, a part of your own society, and we should be inferring that Orange helps enable that. Instead, it’s just annoying.
Sorry – digressive rant over….
Lastly, because it made me smile and kinda fits with the individuality thing….