Thursday, September 24, 2009
by Lava Nosenkis, Ad Girl of http://www.adgirlandtechnerd.com
High-tech and intimate.
That's how I would describe it. If you can't picture it, I'll help.
Cue a cozy single sofa chair, mic, LCD fireplace, and audience seating. Cue an enthusiastic audience. Cue a prominent speaker, or two. Cue a live Twitter feed on a projector screen.
That's what I saw when I entered The Arts & Letters Club on Elm Street on the night of September 23, 2009.
Founder of Ad Lounge, Trina Boos, hosted a night of - what she called - "Conversuasion", by asking a few industry leaders to discuss their take on selling ideas through the art of storytelling.
After all, who doesn't love a good story? I bet quite a few of us have at least one that we love to tell over and over. Well, "Conversuasion" was kind of how it feels when you have a story to tell, not about that time where you were 5, but about a brand initiative that stirred things up a bit, and hopefully one that was yours.
But before we get to that, let me explain what happened after Trina's introduction to the evening.
She shouted "Surprise!"...
A short pause, and an unexpected reveal followed. An unnoticed curtain lifted on the side of the room to expose a live band by the name of Truth Panel. They debuted the night's branded theme song "Conversuasion". I hadn't yet heard of these guys so I looked them up. As it turned out, Truth Panel is a house band from boomSONIC Branding, who do something very interesting - they help you answer the question "what does your brand sound like?". They specialize in creating sound and music design for broadcast and new media, and their owner Bill Nygren coined "Conversuasion" - the perfect word to title Ad Lounge's evening of storytelling in the persuasion arts.
It was a nice touch.
Next, Trina showed the top three "Conversuasion" contest video entries, which got a good little laugh in the room, and at last the night began.
Cue Colin Drummond, VP/Director of Cultural & Business Insights at uber hot shop Crispin Porter & Bogusky. He, very relevantly, opened with what is now Kanye's infamous VMA stunt and its many spin-offs, and talked about how culture shapes our understanding of the world. He shared his thoughts on starting a cultural "conversuasion" by challenging the rules - perhaps his best insight of the evening. He described brands as something that is as much a part of a cultural "conversuasion" as pop culture itself.
Cue Whopper Freakout campaign by Crispin Porter Bogusky.
Founding partner & CCO of Clean Sheet Communications followed next. Cue Neil McOstrich, who described ad agencies as "banks that move money around the world" and ad agency boardrooms as the "anti-Christ of storytelling". According to Mr. McOstrich, insight, optimisim and linkage are the three components of a successful "conversuasion".
Show insight by capturing an "asshole" win the lottery (rather than the usual happy family or office). Realize optimism by getting the product out there without actually showing the product every time. Don't quite understand linkage? See Labatt's "Out of the Blue" campaign.
And finally, have a life outside of our business so you can say "I saw, I felt, I did". Only then can you become a real "conversuasionalist". A showstopper line, by far.
And there you have it.
Cue question session, mingling and Trina's parents' stunning cupcakes, otherwise known as alittlesweet.ca.