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Posts Tagged ‘David Tennant’

David Tennant’s “Hamlet” opened last night to what appears to be pretty universally good notices. They’re not in the league that was accorded (to my mind, rightly) Simon Russell Beale (which won the plaudit from Benedict Nightingale in “The Times” of being “The best Hamlet in living memory”), nor to Ben Whishaw (who was good – but really, as Me As A Protestant can attest, the idea of casting Hamlet as young and meaning every word he says isn’t THAT startling, is it?), but very good – and making the fair point that before he won such fame as he now enjoys as The Man in the Tardis, who was previously at the RSC in the lead role in That Fairly Pedestrian “Romeo and Juliet” – so it’s more a return to the medium from whence he came than “Telly Star Tries The Bard”.

But I was reminded of Hamlet’s tart reply to Polonius’ enquiry over what he’s reading, not just by this timely accident of fate, but by a conversation I had recently with Northern Planner With Hosiery Compulsion.

She’s just done a great bit of work for a client, and we (as we Planners do) were talking about it: testing it out, seeing if it was robust, the whole Plannerly wank. And it tested, and it was, and we did. She’d hit on a very evocative, very apt property for the brand to own, and she’d even had the (hitherto unimaginable) comprehension AND THEN APPROVAL of Famously Overpaid Creative Director.

It was when Parody of 80s Account Handling Account Handler started to weigh in that she started to get the fear – not the feeling that she’d been found out, but the feeling that she was about to be bound up in a semantic exercise which gives the impression of engaging with the issue, but is in fact (in my experience) the stupid person’s preferred means of appearing clever while failing to engage in the issue.

It is one of my most abiding frustrations that this cult of “What do we mean by yellow?” is given any credence at all in advertising and marketing circles at all. Rather than saying: “Yellow, you fat twat – you know, the colour that isn’t blue, red or green”, there are too many people who’ll nod along and agree that perhaps, yes, we ought to spend a bit more time (and certainly “do some charts on”) explaining what yellow is.

Surely, the power of what we do (work to exploit the power of brands – and that’s it) is based on being expansive, suggestive, evocative and analogous? 

What would have happened if the “I think we need some charts on…” crew had got hold of “Think Different”, “Just Do It”, “Every Little Helps”, “Where Do You Want To Go Today?”, “Dirt is Good”, “The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Orange” or any other great idea?

I’ll tell you what: “Think Different to IBM Do About What PCs Are For”, “Just Start Doing Some Exercise”, “Every Little Thing, Such As Certain Facilities, Store Layout, Customer Satisfaction, Pricing Policy and Range Helps You Enjoy Buying Your Groceries More At Tesco”, “What URL Address Do You Want To Be Connected To Today – We Can Do That”, “It’s Vital That Children Can Play Creatively – Which May Mean They Get Dirty – As That’s How They Develop, So Dirt’s A Sign of Childhood Development, and Anyway – We Can Clean Dirt” – and finally “The Future Is Bright, The Future Is Bright Like The Orange That We Use In Our Logo, and Have As Our Name – Sort of Cheerful, Without The Buddhist Robes Angle…”

Of course, I am exaggerating to make a point – and clumsily at that. But why are we so afraid of suggestiveness, when it is the very essence of what we do? We hope to unlock with allusion, metaphor and suggestion a world where a brand can be far more than the products that it makes: and it’s the bedrock of a Planner’s skills to find something that is right, evocative and ownable. It is NOT our job to substitute for either a dictionary or a thesaurus.

So here’s a plea to any fellow Planners out there: next time you’re asked “What KIND of excitement do you mean?” by someone who sits back with the smug expression of one who is thinking “My work here is done” – PLEASE fix them with a Basilisk stare and reply “Exciting Excitement” and leave it there.

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