One of last year’s standout campaigns was masterminded by Levi’s. Titled “Go Forth,” it focused on real people doing real things in order to be agents of change.
The iconic brand took its inspiration from Braddock, a borough in Pittsburgh, and used residents to feature in the adverts. Braddock embodied the decline of a once-flourishing industrial town into a stagnant and decaying place whose inhabitants have lost their emotional connection to the world. For the consumer, Braddock is representative of a general sufferance and loss of emotion, driven by a world that is better connected yet increasingly desensitized.
However, the town is committed to change. Its mayor, with the help of Levi’s-enlisted local artists, musicians and business owners, aims to rebuild and revitalise the town, and Levi’s has committed to funding the refurbishment of the community centre.
Levi’s campaign works because it resonates with people; it works because its relevance is not just to Braddock but to society in general.
From denim to dogs
Another campaign that captures the power of intimacy in order to achieve relevance: Guide Dogs Australia (GDA) is desperately trying to improve its bottom line in a context of austerity and belt-tightening. But it has something the private sector can almost never construct: True emotion lies at the heart of what it does.
Emotion is something that survives recession and recovery, so GDA built a campaign based on heightened senses: a bottled fragrance. It may sound like an odd choice for a marketing campaign, given that marketing is generally all about seeing and hearing, but this idea added to the campaign’s originality and expansive power.
GDA managed to create real intimacy by utilising this underused marketing sense, at the same time bringing the vital organisational message to the fore. The intimacy of this idea makes it humanly relevant.
The two campaigns are clearly different, but what binds them is the way they lead the consumer – using different techniques and with different intentions – to recognising hope and touchable improvement.
These are humanly relevant ideas. It is not news that we live in an information-overload world. Intimacy creates relevance. It is what breaks up the days and the weeks – and that intimacy is not confined to the bedroom, or the weekend, or a magazine or TV commercial. It can exist in our relationships with brands – loved or loathed.
by Christoph Becker
Chief Executive + Chief Creative Officer
Cross posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network