Dancing (on the ashes) for Japan
Last week I had an interesting conversation with someone (who knows one or two things about Japanese culture) about the various initiatives taken by brands and agencies in support of the Japan crisis and the perhaps over commercialisation of some of these initiatives.
I can’t remember when was the last time I was so ambivalent about something.
‘Align around good’. Already sounds a cliche but still is one of the most important sentiments and behavioral shifts in marketing and corporate culture, and digital (platforms and cultures) have massively contributed to this shift. For few years we have proudly been preaching and teaching our clients to ‘do good’ and be creative in the ways you communicate it.
It works 99% of times and it’s almost always the right thing to do but in the case of the Japanese disaster some initiatives as well as the way people marketed these initiatives left me with some weird feeling. I thought about it for few days before writing this post and I realised that it’s mainly the Japanese stoic people, culture and response to the crisis that is in contrast to some of the shouty initiatives taken by brands and agencies.
Perhaps the genuine motivation to help was somewhat, occasionally, overshadowed by being too shouty and salesy about it as if it’s just another exercise in shifting people behaviours or as if there’s a new category in Cannes or Webby’s for ‘best crisis relief initiative’ (you could see the award entry video around some of these initiatives).
Perhaps there are some occasions that the old-school practice of just quietly donating your money without trying to mobilise anyone else, without making a graphic design or branding of it, without shouting all over twitter is the right thing to do.
Take a look at what some big Japanese companies are doing (you’ll have to dig around) and you’ll find out that the money they have contributed quietly (almost discreetly) is way more than some of the crowd-sourced branded stuff.
I don’t really have a conclusion to this – perhaps you do