Daring to Differ

As great believers in the power of experiential, we’ve long championed the cause of real-time brand interaction.  We all know that people engaging directly with brands is a sure way to big impact.  But what if we step sideways for a moment and watch someone else not just engaging but becoming the brand?

St John Ambulance are built on making a difference, and anyone who can administer first aid, is that difference.  The other day I came across this film, created for St John Ambulance by BBH.   It’s from back in November and there was some buzz around it at the time, so chances are you might have seen it.  But in the event that you haven’t… watch it here:

The first time I saw it, I had a little cry.  Not full-blown sobbing, but definite glassy eyed, dry of throat territory.  Admittedly I’m an easy easy crowd, but since then I’ve been thinking on its power.

For me – it’s because what happens is so darn unexpected.  When the woman stands up and heads towards the screen, I genuinely had no idea what would happen next.  I practically joined in with the spontaneous applause that erupts, when she reappears.  Because I knew I’d witnessed something really quite original.  And originality will always elicit an emotional response.

Answer this – how often do we have a brand experience where we not only wonder what will happen next, but have no idea where the medium will take us?  We’re used to unexpected things happening in the cinema – but they’re usually limited to the screen.  Any interaction with fellow cinema go-ers is usually of the sharing laughter, or swapping scowls at too loud m&m munching or pop slurping variety.  To watch the action unfold here, not even amongst the handful of people that were there for the event, but much later through YouTube, is to be launched into new territory.

What does this leave me thinking?  Not just that the agency that created it are jolly clever, but that no medium can ever be considered ‘done,’ something that’s worth remembering as we ever look to better engage people at a local level.  Having the wit and wisdom to inject new energy into received formats is an exciting challenge for those who choose to accept it.  And it doesn’t necessarily take big budget either.  It takes bravery.  Not quite the kind of bravery that saves lives, but the kind that makes life more interesting for all of us.

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