Wednesday, July 06, 2011

brand activation lessons from the first 30 seconds of Anarchy in the UK


Testament to the notion that it is possible to deliver a complete brand story in 30 seconds (or less)...

00.00 - 00.05
RIGHT NOW…

Within the first few seconds of Anarchy in the UK we are irrefutably embedded in the present.
There are only 3 time frames. The past, the present and the future.

This opening statement clearly positions the work in the here and now.
This is not retro or futuristic, this is now-ism.

The most important thing is working out what’s important.
The important work is the work being done right now.

Already I'm starting to get what this is about.
As Pete Townsend famously said 'This is actually happening'.

OK, let's go...

00.06 - 00.21
I am an Antichrist…
I am an Anarchist…


Start delivering the key idea right from the off.

To this day this is still arguably the most powerful couplet EVER delivered in a pop song. A nation of 12 year old kids, with the bed covers pulled over their heads listening to John Peel, confronted with this opening statement, were captivated from the beginning.

A bold statement of purpose - an IDEA.
This wasn't about product features or benefits.
This wasn't 'I am a different kind of pop singer from the ones you may be used to'

It was about the STORY.

An ORIGINAL story.

The words Anarchist and Antichrist had never appeared in a pop song before...EVER.
Never mind within the the first 20 seconds.

And already the brand story is filtering out the believers versus the non-believers.
By this stage you are either IN or OUT.

00.21 - 00.30
Don't know what I want but I know how to get it
I wanna destroy passerby


Now comes the activation part.
We know now what we are supposed to DO.

The enemy has been identified.
The passer by. The passive consumer, the lumpen proles.

Within 30 seconds we know WHERE we are in space and time, WHY we are here and WHAT we are supposed to do.
The interactive element.

Anarchy in the UK is a situation, an IDEA we are invited to participate in.
There's bias for action.

It's uncertain - we don't know what we want - but that's what makes it interesting.
The sense of possibility.
This is AGILE - working without a map.
Testing a hypothesis, responding to change as it happens.

And the next day, at school, a quick look around the playground and YOU KNOW JUST BY LOOKING who else had the same moment, under their own duvet, with their own radio, the previous night.

30 seconds of noise on a tinny transistor radio that changed everything.

That's the power of an IDEA.

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