“… you have been touched.by the hand.accept your fate. now lead the way.ascend.to rise.above the whole.this is a calling.on you.I will beat you without anger and I will draw from your eyelid a tear. I bare.my arms.now drive your nails through my palms.when we meet.drive those.nails right through my feet.I have given you something real.you thought that you’d never feel.I have given you something so real.a wound.that will never heal.”
Rudolf Bonvie – Dialog 2, 1973
In the age of plentitude, an overflow of information, a constant presence of everything & everybody nearby and one’s own vast self-awareness that derives from that, it seems we are in need for those particular moments that can cut through and leave a mark once again. It is not the question whether we are in need to add more sensories in an already overcrowded sensory world. For we are in need of sensories of a different kind, of a better quality.
In the advertising world, we are in need of stimuli that touch people on a different level. It requires a certain intelligence and a certain artistic skill to deliver and affect the intrinsic core of our being. And that is exactly what we should aim for and seduce. A laugh, a tear, an uncomfortable reception, a question to ponder about. Something that demands a reaction. Something so powerful it cannot be ignored. Something that overcomes indifference. For we need to create a moment where time stood still for 60 seconds and had the power to change something in such a brief moment. Something that can be build on.
Provoking for the mere reason to provoke can be ineffective, but provocations that demand genuine reactions or even resistance, those are the ones that have something honest and interesting to tell. Even if there are no words or even if there is no higher purpose. It is our duty when interrupting somebody to deliver something that person can take with him afterwards.
And those triggers that tickle, provoke and influence are quite stable and permanent traits. They are embedded in our human and animal DNA and it will take a very long time for them to change, if they ever will. It therefore is our job to explore and reach out to them. To grab people and make them experience something that feels familiar yet surprising and sudden.
Do all communications work like this? Of course not, for I am a firm believer nobody really knows how it all precisely works, just like Paul Feldwick is his recent, but already classic ‘The Anatomy of Humbug’ (2015) lays out. But I do am a strong advocate in aiming for a certain intensity and seduction. It pushes us in rethinking our message, our delivery and our tone. It makes us rethink our brief and evaluate how exactly we are going to make people care and contemplate about what we have to say and what we have to bring them. And it definitely adds some creative and intelligent integrity to our profession, which is very much needed.