Can crime be inspirational in marketing?

We work with service brands to help them build better propositions for their customers. Part of the what we do involves ideation type activities to find more engaging ways for brands to resonate with customers.

Using creative activities, the sessions are structured so that clients arrive at new and unordinary outcomes. One of my favourite parts of the job is to hear the exciting ideas generated during these sessions. To  achieve this we spend time at Lexden honing the creative activities we use in the workshops to achieve results.

So when I come across examples of propositions in market which are different to the norm I will take a step back and consider how their process might have worked to allow them to get to somewhere new.

One area I always feel must be challenging to arrive at ‘out of the box’ solutions is crime prevention, given the seriousness and the public scrutiny of the subject matter. But as these examples show, it is possible to arrive at some very unexpected solutions.

Fashion defence

Japanese designer,  Aya Tsukioka created a dress which doubles as a Coca Cola vending machine should the owner feel threatened and want to blend into the background.

Bonkers, perhaps. But I believe it’s an idea which has only been conceived because of the type of contributors involved. When running ideation sessions it’s important to make sure the invitation list is wide reaching and includes those you wouldn’t normally turn to for solutions but have insight into the subject in hand.  

In financial services I find people from risk are very good at idea generation if given encouragement. Give these renegade types (the non-marketers) the tools and permission to run off in unordinary directions and they will often surprise you with the territories and solutions they get to.

Miss Tsukioka said: ‘It is just easier for Japanese women to hide. Making a scene would be too embarrassing.’ She added: ‘These ideas might strike foreigners as far fetched, but in Japan, they can become reality.’

From DC to Brazil

Andre Luiz Pinheiro, a retired police officer, has been drafted in by the police to the Brazilian city of Taubate. In a city where the murder rate is 12 times that of London they have turned to fiction to change the crime facts.

Andre is Batman. Batman is Andre. And he is inspiring children to consider an alternative life than crime, “I am fighting crime in a preventative way by helping these children to avoid becoming criminals.”

It’s a long term strategy which has the full support of the police. They were looking for symbols of good that they could leverage and help inspire children.

Batman fits ‘the bill’.

Imagine how that would have sounded when it first came up in the ideation session! To let these ideas live a little, it’s important to forget the world in which you inhabit sometimes and think about your audiences world in order to see what the outcome might look like – as they would have done here. Is it working? Time will tell.

Crime can backfire as a creative territory

But as this Sony example shows, using crime as an entry point for something as escapist as entertainment is more challenging to pull off.

When Sony launched The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on DVD they decided to style the DVD to look like a pirate copy.

I have seen the Swedish original and assume the piracy theme is meant to link more to the crime genre rather than the film itself. But either way it was intended to make the film stand out.

And it did, but not in the way intended. Those renting the DVD thought the shoddy looking production was really a pirate copy and not a gimmick. So rather than enjoy the film, thousands returned it to their DVD rental store for a genuine replacement. Only to find out it was genuine. Do you think that enhanced their enjoyment of the film? I assume not.

It also highlights how some territories don’t work so well when creating ideas for products or campaigns. Whilst an interesting idea, if the agency had run a ‘de-risk’ activity after the idea was conceived they would have spotted this potential flaw, looked into it further and canned the idea. The de-risk activity is an important post-idea generation exercise often overlooked. 

So there is much to learn from crime when it comes to idea generation. I hope these examples inspire you to push your ideation sessions a little further.

My point is this; as long as you start with a customer’s motivations and end with customer betterment, by leveraging a brand’s advantage and validating the viability of any solution, then what you do inbetween needs to break the rules in order to be authentic and stand-out.

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which achieves cut-through propositions for our clients. To do this we look beyond the familar towards the unordinary. To find out more about what we do and if that might be of interest to you please visit our website lexdengroup.com

Or contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or ajairanawat@lexdengroup.com, or call us on T: +44 (0)20 7490 9123. 

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4 thoughts on “Can crime be inspirational in marketing?

  1. CrimeDime

    I did not know that about the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo DVD! Very interesting. However, I do think that it’s important to separate something as serious as crime prevention (vending machine dress) from marketing a film… the first deserves serious attention to what the research tells us and affects lives in a way that DVD piracy never will.

    Reply
  2. Onesie

    obviously like your website but you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I to find it very bothersome to inform the truth then again I will surely come again again.

    Reply
    1. lexdengroup Post author

      Onesie, thanks for your comment. It must be frustrating to find good content blighted by errors. At Lexden we like to think we are unordinary. But that doesn’t extend to deliberately making mistakes across our blogs or on our website. We have had all our blogs and our website proof read (UK rather than US). But we still find the occasional glitch which we correct when found. We will endeavour to improve all the time so that your enjoyment of our blogs is not diminished.

      Take a look at the latest blog https://lexdengroup.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/a-marketers-diary-march-2012/ and hopefully you will find we are striving to make it 100% perfect.

      Thanks again for noticing us.

      Reply

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