You’re at the annual Melody Amber Chess Tournament.
Half the games are played at the Rapidplay rate.
Hands move over the board in a blur of activity.
Speed keeps you focused on attacking pawns, knights, bishops, rooks and the queen.
You wouldn’t be wrong to call it the Usain Bolt-style of chess as games finish in record time.
Just when you’re impressed to no end, things get even better.
Out come the blindfolds.
The second half of the tournament is played with a view of the board that’s as black as the inside of your eyelid.
You can only marvel at players who exhibit superhuman powers of memory, braininess and strategy.
It’s compulsive viewing with blindfolded players; a game that’s been forever the same comes off as something new, unexpected and compelling.
Further to that thought, here’s another unexpected experience.
In this case you’ll hear, ‘Silence, please! Will you kindly respect the players’ concentration and keep silent.’
No, we’re not talking tennis or are we looking on as a golf pro putts for a championship.
This sport requires a more intense and enduring silence.
It’s soccer for the blind, a five-a-side spirited tussle.
Despite impaired sight, the ball is controlled and passed with accuracy.
Near miracles are achieved by ‘listening for the ball’ as it rolls across the grass.
It’s how players locate it then go on to dribble it down the field to the goal.
Equally, they sense opposing players by listening for their footsteps and breathing.
In a pact of necessary silence with those on the field, spectators become an important part of the action.
The experience is a bit like joining a ceremony that turns the tables on disability, quoshing the notion of incapacity.
More than a few spectators leave a blind soccer match changed for the better.
What’s all this to do with marketing and advertising?
Creative executions with a new twist often work best to stop and engage your audience.
When all that’s familiar about a brand is done in a fresh, new way you can expect something special.
You’ve probably seen this yourself in the Old Spice campaign, ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’.
It’s also there in a Honda commercial called ‘Hands’.
The spot opens with six words that are something of a portent, ‘Let’s see what curiosity can do’.
Then it dives into the job of showcasing the range of Honda products … but in a way that makes you want to see the spot again and again.
How rare is that when it comes to commercials. Here’s the spot: http://bit.ly/1j8ViuO
Of course for you, there’s a message here.
Take what’s familiar about your own brand and do it in a fresh, new way.
That’s how to avoid content that’s inert, drab and in no hurry to engage your target audience.
So when you brief your agency, you could always bring out a chessboard and some blindfolds.
That way all those working on your brand will be certain of one thing.
You’re looking for something wholly different and surprising.
Share with us. How do you get your agency to come up with work that’s breakthrough, engaging and effective? Thanks for reading. Regards, Steve Ulin