Tag Archives: Solutions

Would You Hire Han Solo?


As we head into a new year amidst Star Wars insanity (among other, less fun, insanity) it’s a time to ponder future plans both personally and professionally. One of those might be the future makeup of your team at work – which drives the question of whether you’d hire Han Solo for your team. He has no Ivy League pedigree, he often shoots from the hip, he procrastinates and then often gets the job done better than others (always with a sheepish grin), he allows his street smarts to drive decisions rather than a background in business theory, and is often “creative” in his solutions.  Does every team need someone like this?

If you look at ESPN’s evaluation of the Star Wars characters and what roles they would play in the the starting lineups in the major sports, Han is one of three constants across all teams the others are Chewbacca and Luke. But, Han’s position is consistently more of a leadership role on the field. So, leave out your favoritism that may have formed over the years… Would you hire Han Solo? I would.


Question Using Technology Just Because It’s There

Sometimes even those trying to do a good deed are questionable in how they do it – especially when the use or presentation of technology come into play.  In the case of the charity, Obra do Berço in Rio, they devised what seems to be an alternate way to give money than through panhandlers in cars. You can see in the YouTube video how they showcase the technology and more questions arise than answers.

Courtesy of Obra do Berço

Courtesy of Obra do Berço

The technology they present as a form to raise funds for homeless kids is an SMS program – THE SOS SMS – that enables drivers to shut their windows on kids at street corners who are looking for change and make the donation quickly through their phones.  Seems simple enough – but there are so many issues in this setup – beyond the fact that it seems everyone has been hired for this video through Brazil’s version of Central Casting.

1) Its a shame that there are so many homeless children in the 6th Largest economy in the world. Is it more shameful that they are supporting the adults to ignore them in human terms? It seems bizarre that closing windows and turning away to donate to an organization would be thought of as being humane.

2) With their concept of hiding an SMS transmitter at an intersection, that does not lead to automatically being able to generate the mobile number to allow for an SMS communication.  The privacy issues on that alone would be enough to cause major concern.  Perhaps their better solution is through Bluetooth communications.  But, this would also rely on users turning that feature on and would not be automatic.

3) The utilization of high technology to solve a problem that is anything but high technology would cause concern for most people.  What is at its core a humanitarian action becomes a seemingly corporate one. It could be somewhat effective, but might it turn off more people than it turns on?

We could go on, but it seems pretty set and dried.  Sadly, I cannot read Portuguese, so I couldn’t find any supporting literature on their site as to how many locations have this technology or even if it is real.

Ultimately, the hope is that they were just trying to make a social statement with this campaign and not actually roll-out a non-solution like this. They did have some very engaging copy at the end of the video:

Obra_IgnoreSadly, it has become too easy to be enamored with our technology and ignore more important things around us. Even if we don’t get stuck in this perplexing situation at a Rio street corner, hopefully we can take something away from this and realize that high technology is not always the solution just because its available.

With Out-Of-Home going Hi-Tech, Grab Opportunities For Life in Lo-Fi

Out-Of-Home media has seen growth both in total spend and the creative opportunities that digital displays and technology are bringing to the equation in the 21st century.  Media and communication analysts, SNL Kagan, point to the upward trend in outdoor ad spending in their newest study, “Economics of Outdoor & Out Of Home Advertising,” with the projection that it will generate $10B annually by 2020.  The ability for marketers to leverage the large format digital billboards and the smaller displays that allow for interaction and actual transactions will be key elements of the growth. But, with that being said, is there any opportunity for small companies to enter the OOH environment to advertise their goods?  Perhaps a great solution for some marketers is to actually go in the opposite direction and make their mark in OOH by going Lo-Fi.

In the case of Baruel foot deodorant in Brazil, they went small-scale, Lo-Fi with a hook.  Agency, Z+ Comunicação, used actual shoelaces as part of their ads placed around cities to bring the bad smells of stinky feet to a more personal level.  Thankfully, they did not use real cheese or fish – or pipe in bad smells – but the texture or depth the laces brought to the execution helped it to stand out.

I think a possible next step or extension of this could be as simple as printing the product information on a board and then affixing an actual shoe to it with real-looking fake fish or chunks of cheese overflowing from the shoe.  They would need to be placed properly and safely, but that disruptive element would make an equal or greater impression. And by disruptive, it could be as simple as just a blip in the corner of someone’s eye that makes them look twice because they are not used to it and it takes them out of their every-day rhythm.

With the costs of printing dropping and properties being open to experimenting with different forms of media, the opportunities to take advantage are there .  You just have to be inventive and creative with them.

With the Baruel example above, they were able to extend the narrative of their product in the “simple” execution that stood out because of its ingenuity and not because of its shock value.  We may not know what kind of ROI they got in return, but the ads themselves have generated a buzz around the world and their cost of implementation was surely on the lower end without the need to book the larger billboard, bus-side and other higher cost placements.

Even wild posting could stand to have some more creativity to make them pop out.  With augmentation and other lo-fi creative solutions,  marketers probably wouldn’t be able to go as wide-spread as they currently can with the wheat paste postings, but with proper placement and creative, the higher quality on the lower quantity can make a difference.

No matter what the economics are, the needs for inventiveness are at a premium – not necessarily huge amounts of money. While many – including myself – love the bright shiny objects, strong imaginative and basic executions can really hit the spot – especially if they are disruptive in the right way. And, no matter how much the world gets deeper into technology, there’s always a place for Lo-Fi.  Don’t be afraid to reach for the Lo-Fi opportunity and grab it.