Posts Tagged 'culture'

good vs evil

Most people believe that good will triumph over evil.

This optimism is a core tenet of humanity.

Indeed, it’s so ingrained that we often assume that ‘good’ and ‘evil’ will be easy to tell apart – like night and day.

Sometimes this is the case; some crimes can never be justified, while some acts are universally welcomed.

However, much of our world view dictates ‘good’ from ‘evil’ on a purely subjective basis.

For example, religion will likely always remain a matter of individual opinion.

The same is true of culture.

There’s little doubt that globalisation has led to a degree of homogenisation of attitudes and behaviour, and we’ve lost much cultural variety along the way.

But this is nothing new; the Greeks and the Romans are perfect evidence that even the strongest and most influential ‘civilisations’ rise and fall.

This is because culture and ideas are subject to the same principles of evolution as biological species: only the fittest survive.

And as with biology, the key to continued survival is genetic diversity.

This means we must draw from as many influences as possible, but at the same time, ensure that we do not distill everything into a single, homogeneous result.

I was reminded of this while watching a fantastic TED talk from Dan Dennett (below).

He approaches the topic of cultural propagation from a philosophical angle, but there’s a clear relevance to advertising and planning in there too.

For me, the abiding lesson is that our individual cutural and moral perspectives are never ‘good’ or ‘evil’.

They’re simply subjective perspectives.

blessed be the brand

ATM duilian

PSFK featured this ethnographic gem a couple of weeks back, as captured by Jan Chipchase of Nokia.

The red images either side of this new ATM in Tibet bless all transactions that pass through the machine.

Out of context, this might seem quite insignificant, but by harnessing local culture and traditions, the gesture subtly reassures people that the ATM is safe and reliable.

A simple but effective way to engender trust and reinforce the brand’s image.

This blend of old and new remains a key part of Asian culture, but it’s something that brands around the world could harness.

For example, I could see HSBC using exactly the same approach for its ATMs in the West. Accompanied by a small, factual explanation, the activity would be a great extension of the brand’s ‘local / global’ positioning.

Image borrowed from the original PSFK post.


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