Tuesday, August 19, 2008

are you missing anything like a metaphor?

A friend and I were at lunch the other day and it occurred to me that metaphor is most important when doing creative work. A strong metaphor can save you a great deal of circumlocution in your busy day. I'm guessing you're one of the masses who feels you're getting older just as the time between sunrise and sunset seems to be getting shorter. Which amounts to -- tired by 9PM. So if you're in the biz of being creative all the live long day and you have what we call "deadlines" then you might find this helpful at some point. Or not.

During lunch, Dave Allen at Large came to mind. Do you remember that show? Do you remember him? That's right, I am bringing up the 70s again. (See previous post.) But the 70s were chock full of wonderment so why Dave Allen? His finger came to mind. He was missing half a finger. Maybe your creative is missing metaphor. See? It's a lateral thought but a thought that lead to this thought...He was a story teller. His stories were rich with metaphor. And they were insightful so that made them funny and memorable and relevant.

If we agree that A = B and B = C then A = C and that metaphor = insightful, insightful is what makes your brand and your consumer jibe. Tango. Knock boots. Static cling. Whatever you want to call it. It's what you need to ensure a connection between your brand and the consumer. Buyer. User. Disco dancer, for all I care. Where is this going? Get an insight and you have a key. Use a metaphor to bring that key to life and you have CREATIVE. That's right, my children, without the metaphor you have ... well...just an insight. Which is also a driver for a strategy. Is strategy your creative product? No. Is insight your creative product? No. So now you get where I'm going.

What's the big deal about metaphor? Metaphors are part of a collective unconscious. Ask Carl Jung - although he might have articulated that differently. And probably in German. If you don't speak German, ask Northrop Frye. They're both long gone but they'd likely agree that a metaphor is something that can act like a endoscopic exam for all of humankind. It's the same for anyone - you swallow a scope and it and it reaches down down down into the core of your being! So you instinctively know, understand, comprehend, relate to something. You acknowledge your humanity if you've ever had a scope done. Am I right people? Metaphor is human and real.

(Aside: I'm aware that saying a metaphor is like a endoscopic is a simile. Not a metaphor.)

So what is a metaphor and not a simile? I can tell you PUNS ARE NOT METAPHORS. DON'T USE PUNS IN YOUR CREATIVE. Back to Dave Allen. He was very smart. He GOT metaphor the way you need to GET metaphor. Here's an excellent example of metaphor that I never forgot even though I saw this ONCE over 20 years ago. That's staying power.

Watch this: Funeral

That was funny, right? And insightful. Pretend his set up for the video is your brief. (Only in a perfect world would the client be something like So and So Sons Funeral Homes. That would never happen so forget who the client is and try to think outside the box. Did you catch that joke? Coffin? Box? That was a pun. How hard did you laugh? did that change your life? Don't use puns.) Aside...under no circumstances should you EVER use the term outside the box unless you're poking fun at boxes. No boxes.

Now I'm not going to explain the use of metaphor in that video because you don't need me to.
Besides, there's so many levels to that skit I don't want this post to scroll from here to eternity. But after 20 years that metaphor stands solid. The insight you get from it is solid. That is a rock solid ad for the Dave Allen brand. People didn't foget about Dave Allen's funeral skit and while everything on Earth seems to be on youtube.com...everything on Earth is not. That 20 year old metaphor was posted more than once for a reason. Some stuff on youtube is there for a reason, even though that is hard to believe.

Dave Allen at Large - not an ad dude but on a subconscious-collective unconscious-smoking-drinking -archetype level - he was a stand up bloke nonetheless. More importantly, he reminded me that metaphor=insight=commitment=brands we understand=brands we love=brands we eat drink man woman=timeless=relevant after 20 years. RIP Dave Allen.

1 comment:

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