The Medium is the Message

In the past few months, I have been having many ridiculously interesting conversations with creative and art directors, brand, marketing and retail professionals like yourself about advertising, marketing and ideas.
The medium is the message triangle

During one of these chats, the old paradoxical sentence ‘The Medium is the Message’ (by Marshall McLuhan) was brought up. In a nutshell,

What has been communicated (the message) has been less important than the channel (the medium) through which people communicate.’

Meaning that the form, medium, channel, physical surface or technology we select to communicate our promotional and advertising messages has a tremendous impact on shaping peoples experience and behaviour, often more so than the message itself. Mindfuck. Or is it?

Think how telegraphs, telephones and television (nevermind Teletubbies and teleportation) transformed how quickly news and messages got across different locations, even continents in the 20th Century. And how the Internet, social media and mobile phones have changed when, how and where we seek information, consume content and get exposed to marketing.

Mediums dictate how we function as humans. Not the messages so much.

That’s why I want to challenge us – creative marketers, communication specialists, strategists, and designers – to not just pay attention to the message, but to also explore mediums and channels other than digital (like this email) or innovative ways to use digital mediums that trigger all senses. Let’s check out a few examples.

4 fab examples of creative medium and channel usage:

I. Nike Mamba Forever
Using mostly oral communication and sounds in a normally extremely visual, video-format medium: YouTube (Wieden+Kennedy for Nike). Check out this one

II. Valio Sweet Suite
Building and decorating a real environment, a hotel suite, to create a social media phenomenon for an ice cream brand (SEK for Valio). View this one

III. 7-Eleven IoT Christmas Sweaters
Connecting physical sweaters to the Internet to analyse social media sentiment and to activate offers locally at 7-Eleven (Åkestam Holst, Framme ♥ and Arrow ESC for 7-Eleven). View project

IV. Magnum Ice Cream Pleasure Store
Okay, this last one sounds a bit dodgy but looks and must taste delicious. Unbelievable concept to allow customers to create their own ice creams, participate in competitions, learn more about Magnum’s ice cream making process and take photos in super-instagramable photo booths and selfie spots (Hot Pickle for Unilever). Check it out

Such cool cases, right? Combining technology and digital mediums with physical elements and spaces, creating ‘real worlds’ rather than only building them artificially in Photoshop or ‘only creating a film’ I think is the way forward. Could you build more experiences where your customers can feel, hear, smell, touch, and live your brand, and share them with others?

Rambled by

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