Images as Anthems

What makes an image an Anthem? You know, a photograph (or illustration) that makes you stand at attention. The best examples for me have always been Movie (and now TV series) posters. The symbolism of Don Draper’s solitary figure standing in the high rise office tower hinting at his powerful “in charge” attitude but also his emptiness and his man on the (l)edge. In the Game of Thrones I feel the weight placed on the shoulders of Ned, the Hand of the King. In Oceans 11 I see the star power of a new Rat Pack (notice how they have to state “starring in alphabetical order”) and I know that it will be a fun action packed romp through Vegas. These images give you a taste of what each stands for…and if the taste appeals to you, you should buy it.

Your advertising images need to do the same. Dig deep into the meaning of your offerings (to your chosen customers) and filter your message, then create your own movie poster for the world. If you do this you will have your own Anthem that will make people stand at attention.


“Many of you feel bad for this lamp.”

Fourteen years ago my first American ICSC conference was in Las Vegas and the opening day keynote speaker was from Crispin Porter Bogusky (CP+B) an advertising agency from Miami. I had followed CP+B’s work for several years and here I was with a front row seat.

The speaker was Chuck Porter and he showed the Ikea Lamp ad posted above. After showing it, and other commercials they had produced for their clients, he said the most resonant thing for me: 

“I want a frequency of one.”

It struck me at that time, and still does, that we have this incredible opportunity to represent our clients to their world cinematically one time and one time only - without needing to follow the multiple impressions per week formula. However with that opportunity comes the responsibility to create messages so strong that they break through all of the mental clutter of your audiences’ daily lives.  This can only be accomplished with insider research, probing, filtering and distilling to capture that one insight that receives the magnifying glass treatment that takes your customer’s pain point and presents them with your solution on whatever media your customers use. 

And of course CP+B continues their amazing work with campaigns like Captain Obvious.


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