The Other Side Up

Quick Read: Invert the traditional workflows, dispel orthodox notions and see lateral thinking come to life for newer ways of going about things.  

Every once in a while there come initiatives and executions that turn the tables on traditional concepts that we have always taken for granted. Such instances compel us to re-evaluate our existing notions of what we consider to be the norm and thereby make great fodder for some lateral thinking.

Three such recent examples.

1. Photography

Trevor Christensen is a photographer who shot to international acclaim with his recent series called Nude Portraits.

What is interesting about this project? In this series the photographer is naked, the subjects are not.

According to himThe photographer/subject paradigm is one of inequality. Nude Portraits is about leveling the playing field in an unorthodox way. Instead of focusing on bringing the subject to a place of ease–where I am, this project brings me to a place of vulnerability.

Nude Portraits

(Source: Nude Portraits by Trevor Christensen)

The results are an interesting commentary on the photographer/subject paradigm and hold a thought provoking mirror to the subject and photographer’s feelings around vulnerability, shame, guilt and self composure.

Talking of portraits, meanwhile elsewhere…

Samsung had an interesting set of executions that reframed selfies as Self Portraits.

2. Painting 

Rainworks is a project  by Peregrine Church.

What is interesting about the project? It is art that appears when it rains! Check this video out:

This cool project challenges our notions around negative space and opens up newer possibilities of creative expression.

Talking of negative space, meanwhile elsewhere…

Volvo introduces Life Paint to promote safety for those both inside and outside its cars.

According to this must read post, Life Paint is a unique reflective safety spray aimed at increasing the visibility and safety of cyclists, and other vulnerable road users.

What makes it special? It is invisible by daylight, but glows brightly in the glare of car headlights, making the invisible, visible at night.

Life Paint

(Source: Life Paint by Grey London for Volvo)

The Life Paint concept was developed by creative agency Grey London, in collaboration with Swedish startup Albedo100 and is one of a series of projects to highlight the key product innovations of the all-new Volvo XC90.

3. Reviews

Online reviews have become both a boon and a bane for many a marketer. As this HBR post says,

The idea that a new (reviews) website or app can undercut years of careful messaging may be deeply frustrating to marketers—but it is a reality they must face.

But what if we turn the tables around on the traditional concept of reviews. Australia based Art Series Hotel Group has recently initaited what it calls Reverse Reviews‘. 

What is interesting about the concept? While you review their hotels, you would also be reviewed by the hotel. Get five stars and get a free night to stay again (applicable between April 17 until May 31 2015).

Reverse Reviews AU

(Source: Art Series Hotels )

Talking of reviews, meanwhile elsewhere…

Today’s new world of ‘on-demand everything’ is being touted as The Shut In Economy.

Read this brilliant piece on why this is so and you would probably agree that institutionalising a ‘Reverse Review’ system could just be what the doctor would have ordered to make our world a better place.

Result: People behind the doors (who use the apps, platforms and services to place their orders online) and the people outside the doors (those that deliver) could live in a world that is more inclusive and respectful of each other.

Isn’t it?

(Featured Image: ‘This Side Up’ table design by DEDE DextrousDesign)

Selfies And The Art Of Sky Diving

Quick Read: Selfies as a mode of expression via pictures, videos or 3D shapes is gaining main stream traction. GoPro is a fascinating company that took an unmet ‘selfie need’ and expanded it to encompass newer grounds with great success, while gaining a cult like status.   

It is believed that Robert Cornelius took the first ever selfie in the year 1839. 

Ever since then, over the span of  175 years, the humble selfie has evidently made spectacular inroads into our popular culture. Today we see world leaders, hollywood celebrities, protesters in police vans and even the Pope having all smiles for the selfie. No wonder then, today we have:

In fact – given our recent advancements in 3D printing – it is inevitable that we even have the 3D printed selfie today!

twinkind_window_5126(3D Selfies. Source, TWINKIND)

According to this paper, while selfies have been called different names like  a symptom of social media-driven narcissisma way to control others’ images of usa new way not only of representing ourselves to others, but of communicating with one another through images, or even as the masturbation of self-image, the one that stands out the most for me is the concept of selfie as a device to control others’ images of us. 

This primal urge to control others’ image of us seemed to have proven to be a gold mine for a company that is now on its way to a hotly anticipated IPO. Think Video Selfies. And think about all the exciting activities like surfing, skiing, snowboarding, auto racing, river rafting, sky diving etc. And you get the picture.

Hang on. Did we just say ‘Video Selfie’?

GoPro

2002. On a surfing trip to Australia, Nick Woodman wanted to take a selfie. Albeit with a twist. He wanted to capture quality action photos of his surfing. Having met with limited success, his desire for a camera that could capture him surfing in ‘professional angles’ started to take shape. And thus the name ‘GoPro’ was born for his company that would subsequently go on to sell small, waterproof, wearable cameras that you can use while doing exciting stuff.

GoPro-surfing-longboard-600x400(How to take kickass selfies with GoPro. Source)

Today GoPro makes what it calls ‘smaller, lighter, mightier still’ HD video cameras with a 170-degree angle view under their line up of HERO series to capture and produce high quality content along with an entire ecosystem of mounts, accessories, software and applications.

But what makes GoPro an extremely fascinating brand is the street cred that it earned for itself as an unconventional media company. Sample these..

The GoPro Ad: Instead of advertising, the company aggressively hands out GoPro cameras to extreme athletes asking them to simply shoot and bring back their footage. A small in house team then edits the footage, slaps a hip sound track, throws in the GoPro logo and boom – A stunning free GoPro Ad! (Interestingly – given the versatility of the GoPro camera – a lot of footage that they get from users is so astounding that people are known to insist it had to be fake.)

GoPro on YouTube: GoPro’s YouTube channel ranks among the top 100 with nearly 2 million subscribers and 455 million views of its 1600+ videos posted till date. In fact as per this article, the number of videos with “GoPro” in the title has grown so much—60 percent from 2012 to 2013—that watching 2013’s crop alone would take you 2.8 years. Reportedly GoPro is expected to make about $1.7 million per year from its YouTube channel alone.

The GoPro Channel: In CES 2014, GoPro announced plans to unleash its unique brand of action sport videos on Xbox Live for both the Xbox One and 360. In fact, Virgin America inflight entertainment system already lists this channel that features curated GoPro content where users will also be able to purchase GoPro products directly online.

Expanding cultural footprint of GoPro’s media content: GoPro has strategically carved an outsized cultural footprint for itself by being part of several high points in recent history. Take the recent opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics, where many athletes were seen filming themselves with GoPros or Felix Baumgartner‘s record-breaking jump from 128,100 feet for the Red Bull Stratos mission. Chances are that you must have seen the footage filmed by one or more of the seven HD GoPro cameras used in the mission.

(GoPro Super Bowl Ad 2014 featuring the Red Bull Stratos mission)

GoPro, Apple and Red Bull: While some observers see GoPro as a company that clearly wants to create a kind of ecosystem, similar to that of Apple, with a devoted fan base addicted to its hardware and software and a thriving core of creators and consumers, there are also those that think, GoPro could make for a new sort of hybrid company, the way Red Bull is both a drink maker and powerful media brand.

Jason Stein, founder of Laundry Service, a digital media agency in New York even says:

“Red Bull has become this media entity, created around the lifestyle of people who drink Red Bull, GoPro is doing the same, but the reason I think they have more potential is that their product is an actual media device.”

Hence analysts expect that GoPro could create revolutionary possibilities in content creation and consumption in the days to come. This article even speaks about a future possibility where the company could sign agreements with sports leagues to place GoPros within the games. So when you tune into your NBA or NFL or IPL, imagine getting a live feed from whichever player you want!

Beyond Hardware

Evidently the GoPro story is no longer about a hardware maker that had captured two-thirds of U.S. sales and 45 percent of the global pie of the pocket digital camcorder segment (source).

It’s about software and experiences. It’s about enabling awesome creative expression and adrenaline packed content production – the non traditional way. It’s about brilliant marketing that is inspired by this unique culture. All borne out of one key human need – to be able to influence other’s image of us by showcasing those fleeting experiences and moments that (we think) could define us.

Like perhaps a selfie.