Brilliant Reads: Guest Edit

Welcome to Brilliant Reads – a monthly digest of some interesting things that have been intriguing, entertaining or provoking our team. 

This month, it comes from me – Steph, a Senior Content Consultant here at Brilliant Noise.  

Here are five things from the creative worlds of fashion, content, advertising and writing that I have enjoyed recently. 

Why the writer who wrote the Innocent tone of voice is full of regrets

As a content professional, I’m obsessed with reading brand tone of voice guides. And I love it when brands publish them on their websites (like Mailchimp and Monzo). It gives me the opportunity to see how well developed their content is, delve deeper into their brand DNA, and understand what kind of persona they want to portray and why. A glimpse behind the velvet curtain if you will. 

And I’m not alone. The Brilliant Noise tone of voice is the #1 visited page on our website. 

When I saw this article shared by Brilliant Noise alumni and content strategist Lauren Pope (you should sign up to her Ten Things newsletter, it’s very good), I thought how interesting it was to see why the writer of the Innocent tone of voice regretted creating the guidelines. 

Paul Burke watched as the tone of voice he’d developed for the new start-up brand morphed into something he hadn’t intended, something ‘twee, cloying and creepy’. Then, it was adopted and misused by other brands with slogans for muesli such as “I like it in the cupboard”.

I thought this was a great reminder of how important a tone of voice is for any brand. Good or bad, it’s one of the most powerful assets. 

Why I regret inventing the Innocent smoothie brand, Spectator

Gucci Mane in a Gucci Ad

I love this ad for lots of reasons: I love the art direction, I love the clothes (obvs), I love the 70s-on-acid aesthetic, I love that it was directed by Harmony Corine, I love the mix of old and young models, I LOVE Iggy Pop and I love the music by the father of disco – Giorgio Moroder. 

But most of all I love the self-awareness and PR sense Gucci had to see the opportunity of resonating with a new audience by partnering with Gucci Mane, rather than try to sue him for using their name. 

Gucci Cruise 2020, YouTube

The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr

I’ve been quoting this book left, right and centre lately, and quite honestly, I think it might be becoming insufferable. 

Antony, our CEO, lent me his copy and I’m taking ages to give it back because: I’ll read a passage, and it’ll take me into such deep thought that I’ll end up staring into space for half an hour while I process its greatness and unpack the personal character retrospective it causes.

On the surface, this book is about the importance of storytelling to human learning, culture and society. It’s also about cognitive psychology and how this affects our ability to engage (or not) with a story. It describes how we are psychologically wired to respond to things like unexpected change, and why this means some kinds of narrative structures are more interesting to the human brain than others. Will, the author, gives loads of examples from popular fiction, film and TV to illustrate his points so you can see how these brain-stimulating mechanisms create the most engaging and intriguing worlds, characters and situations.

The most amazing part of this book, is the science behind how and why stories are so integral to our lives. For example, our senses are actually very limited – we only have three cones of vision. Most birds have six. And bees can see the electromagnetic structure of the sky. So the world that we experience, is in fact, a hallucination. 

Will explains we only truly see one tiny spot we focus our vision on in all it’s clarity and detail. Therefore, everything else we’re not focussing on, isn’t really there. It’s what the brain expects to be there based on the information it has. It’s all set dressing. Our brains are constantly making up stories in order for us to experience the world. They’re constantly creating a set for us to play out our lives. 

Listen to The Science of Storytelling on Audible

A Bandersnatch-esque chase around Instagram

Samsung recently launched their new Galaxy with a wonderfully creative multiple choice game on Instagram. You follow a story of being given a top secret briefcase, which is then stolen from you, and you go on a mission to retrieve it. There’s even something to win at the end if you don’t fail your mission. Such a fun, creative way to show off the features of their new product 👏

Go to the Samsung UK Instagram account and click on the ‘Play now’ Story highlight to start playing. 

Samsung UK’s Instagram

Light-responsive billboard for BBC drama, Dracula

A time-lapse billboard that comes to life at night. From an artist called Reuben Dangoor who’s done work for adidas, Stormzy, Nando’s and the England football team. How they engineered this I do not know. 

Advertising doesn’t have to be one-dimensional (pun very much intended). 

Reuben Dangoor’s Instagram post, Instagram. 

At Brilliant Noise, we love creative problem solving. Like really love it. If your brand could benefit from some creativity to solve a business need, get in touch with us.