When I see that name Ryan Reynolds on a poster I cringe. Reynolds has appeared in a number of unintentionally comic roles from the Green Lantern to Blade Trinity; or the Marks & Spencers marketing campaign. So I had my expectations set pretty low for Safe House.
Safe House is a beautifully shot film based in modern-day South Africa; a paranoia-driven thriller a la 3 Days of The Condor, but for the war on terror rather than the cold war. Reynolds does a pretty good job of playing a convincing scared novice CIA officer. What brings it is the ensemble cast around him like Brendan Gleeson who recently stared in The Guard.
The story ends in a bloody Reservoir Dogs-esque climax, whilst there are no surprises the film takes the audience along for an enjoyable ride.
The trailer is on Tudou so may need some patience whilst it loads.
I’ve known Graham for a number of years. We first met when he ran MobileYouth selling marketing research to mobile operators, focused on the youth market. All is social is a mix: Graham’s own journey as an observer of Japanese society during his time as a JET scheme member and onwards with his experience in market research to date and a treatise on the interactions of consumers and brands. He considers that this all has an essential social component which makes a lot of sense.
Graham puts out marketing, the idea of branding on its head. Instead brand comes from consumer’s use for the brand, or what we describe as ‘intent and context’ at Ruder Finn. He thinks that innovation is in the use rather than the design. I’d be less inclined to completely believe this, when I think about how iconic design and engineering can make a difference:
Dieter Rams work at Braun, which was part of the German economic miracle and has echoed down into many Apple products
Christian Lindholm’s work at Nokia on smartphone user experience: S60
The industrial of design of Sony from the 1960s through the 1990s
Henry Ford and the Model T
The user experience of Twitter and Google
But anthropological co-creation can make a real difference. Whilst Graham’s writing focuses on young people, I think that it the principles fit consumers in general. Check it out Kindle.
Amongst groups of conservative political bent there is a concerted effort to canonise Ronald Reagan in a similar way to presidents like Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy. This process has extended beyond the United States, for instance there is now a Ronald Reagan statue in a corner of Grosvenor Square near the site of the (soon to be replaced) American embassy.
During his presidency Reagan was a divisive character to American and international audiences.
From supply-side economics that were attached to the decline of industrial jobs (on balance probably a judgement, this is partly unfair due to sustained stagflation through the 1970s) – though it was responsible for penalising people who paid payroll tax or made new investments, instead rewarding high income earners and reducing tax on existing investments. His administration oversaw the Libya bombing, the Iran-Contra scandal and the invasion of Grenada – all of which were controversial.
There was an escalation of the weapons race in the Cold War with the Star Wars programme and roll out of cruise missiles in Europe. All of this came from debt funded government spending with a rise in US government debt from 26% of GDP in 1981 to about 40% in 1998.
Frank Kozik uses the visual language of Reagan’s conservative canonisation to express a partisan view of Reagan’s legacy.
I caught up with Steve Earl last week and tried to wrap our heads about marketing agency economics over coffee and a vegetable grill. Our venue was The Star Café, a little bit of old Soho from before the hedge funds, Albanian organised crime families and Starbucks moved in. The entire area around Great Chapel Street has been demolished so I was a bit thrown trying to find the venue. There is used to be a drop-in centre for drug addicts and a mobile repair shop that was part of Carphone Warehouse there is now site preparation work and building cranes.
Back to The Star Café: the wood paneled interior is covered in a dark brown patina. A similar colour to what a traditional pub used to have, if the interior hadn’t been ‘refurbished’ by the brewery – back when smoking inside would have been still legal.
Most of this wood is covered with vintage enamel signs from the late 19th and early 20th century advertising everything from travel to condiments and pet food. On to the food, The Star Café does a good cooked breakfast and a great coffee.
It is ideal for business as its quiet enough to have a civilised discussion. What the The Star Café also has is character in spades with its customer base of Soho veterans and staff that are part of the fabric of Soho itself.
The Star Café
22 Great Chapel Street London, LONDON W1F 8FR
+44(0)20 7437 8778
This is a guest post by Amy Giffin, from my client Alchemy. Amy spent an afternoon with us so it made sense to have her write this weeks post .
It goes into why we spent Friday afternoon drinking coffee, photographing grown men dressed as woodland animals and photographing banks.
1. Firstly it made me open my mind, take note of the small things around me and things that advertisers might have missed. I noticed the stunning red ball gown in the window of Coutts, I read the paragraph next to it, I thought ‘that was interesting’, but then I walked away. The window pulled me in as I love fashion and glamour, but it didn’t engage me any further, Coutts didn’t use my initial interest and ask me to look at their web page or engage with them on Facebook, a social networking site that attracts people like me who are interested in fashion. After the initial engagement, there wasn’t a clear call to action to capitalise on the interest
2.I decided that I wanted to talk to my colleagues more, find out what makes them tick, what their hobbies are and their ‘extra-curricular’ activities. Why do they do what they do? What makes them sit in the corner of the room and scowl whenever ‘Artful Dodger’ is played on Spotify? Gain a better understanding of the personalities that make up the community in which I work will enable me to tap into the creative heart of Alchemy and I will in turn be better able to communicate our brand through the individuals that make up Alchemy
3.I realised that I am not limited to talking about ‘Facebook’ or even ‘social’, just because that’s what it said on our marketing literature. I can look at the world around our building, even at our building and take inspiration from that. Why is our building called ‘Tea’? You would think it was because it used to be an old tea factory, in fact, this is exactly what we told our US colleagues when they came to visit a few months ago. I fact, we had no idea about the buildings history, but it sounded great and the Americans liked it because tea is synonymous with all things British. Everything can be used to tell a story and communicate a brand persona rather than just what we do / sell
4.This leads me to the concept of ‘authority’ … if someone tells you something in a posh voice an looks you straight in the eye, you are more likely to believe them over someone who tells you that grass is blue whilst biting their finger nails and looking shifty
5. Finally, Ged showed me one of, if not the most effective commercials I’ve ever seen. It was so effective because the customers did it all for them. There was no smoke and mirrors, it was a montage of genuine reactions from the general public. Why did they react this way? Because one of their beloved burgers, a burger that symbolised a family outing, or a first date, a burger that evoked a special memory or emotion, had been taken off the menu. This proved to me that if you take something away, or ask a question that leaves the reader something to think about, it is as effective as giving something. This was a social object