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  • Dune, a masterpiece in sonic experiences

    Why I consider Dune to be a masterpiece It's the year 1995, I'm a strapping 12 year old who was a massive introvert. So much so that friends were hard to come by, not because I didn't want any, but because my family travelled about a lot. So friends to me were a luxury, books were my solace. My mother being an English teacher would bring a bunch of books home, so that I would brush up and be eloquent in communicating through the medium of the English language. On February 1995, my mom brings this hardcover book, which showed this weird creature that you see in the image above, the sandworm. A couple of chapters in, I was hooked, and then went on the spiral into Marvel Comics, Star Wars, Star Trek and Sci-Fi universes that I so passionately adored and admired. But Dune was the first one, and as they say, you always remember your first. When it was announced that renowed director Denis Villeneuve was hitched to bring the Dune Universe to life, I was over the moon. Like Denis this was a book that I got hooked on to, during my teenage years and for decades I have consumed every single piece of the extensive books that are associated with the Dune Universe. I watched the first film by Daniel Lynch (1984) in 1999, and the three part mini-series in 2000. For a Sci-Fi fan who has loved comics all of his life, I always wondered, why no one bothered to readapt the Dune books for the large screen. Enter Hans Zimmer One of the most respected and prolific music composer of our time, Hans Zimmer was also a fan of Dune. Shocking I know, I honestly never expected it. “We both read it as teenagers, but we didn’t make the movie with hindsight of age and wisdom,” Zimmer said in a recent interview with IndieWire. “As soon as we started, we were transported back in time … and I did music with the recklessness and craziness that only a teenager has. Just whatever came to me. And one of the other things was that it’s hard to explain musical concepts, but we’d finish each other’s sentences, because we have both been making this movie in our heads for 40 years.” The sonic landscape of Dune is a masterpiece, from the house Atriedes that has a familiar yet comforting signature of the bagpipes from the Scottish Highlands, to the House Harkonnen which is ominous and threatening, to the Sardukar who mimicked the throat singing signatures of the tribes of Mongolia and finally the 'Song of the Sisters', that signified the entrance of the witches of the Bene Gesserit. Each had a familiar tone, that was attibuted so cleverly and so powerfully to familiar/unfamiliar overtones of our current human history. Sounds that bridged the familiar while yet being ethereal In fact most of the sounds were created by through some of the first experiments by working with musician and sculptor and welder Chas Smith, whose studio is a resonating chamber, so a lot of the sounds originated from there. The sounds were all encompassing, it enveloped you so subtely, that it took me a second time watching the film to truly appreciate it. But the beauty of that experience is that its core DNA was the sonic signatures that you automatically associated with the houses, with the political dalliances and its associated counterparts. "The sound of 'Dune' wraps itself around you in a way that I haven’t ever experienced before, and now you finally get to hear it," Zimmer said. Along with synthesizers, the Dune score consists of disparate elements like scraping metal, Indian bamboo flutes, Irish whistles, Scottish Bagpipes, Mongolian throat singing, a juddering drum phrase, seismic rumbles of distorted guitar, and a war horn that is actually a cello, and finally singing that defies Western musical notation. It is both unorthodox and provocative, as you would expect from an imaginary world that defies the natural conventions of what we associate as normal. In fact, Zimmer turned down an offer to work on Nolan’s last film Tenet to focus his energies on Dune. In a way, Zimmer said, he has been working on this soundtrack ever since he first read the novel as a teen. “I’ve been thinking about ‘Dune’ for nearly 50 years," he said. "So I took it very seriously.” The score is so ambitious and so comprehensive that it is truly one of the most powerful and profound pieces of Hans Zimmer's entire career. People watch a plethora of content today, from movies to television shows and not only that, we tend to binge watch things. Sonic and music has always been known, as a powerful driver of content, an expressive enabler that makes this artificial, imaginary world come to life. Now you as a brand, or as it's brand manager look only at the visuals, the branding language, the designs, the advertising campaigns, but truly, have you considered how powerful and impactful would layering a sonic signature be to your brand? An all encompassing signature from visuals, branding, motion identity and most importantly sonic identity can propel you brand forward, and truly make it a living brand. Because afterall if you are touched and affected by every sense, that you experience the world through, wouldn't that impact your lives so much more, make that brand, all the more meaningful to you? We in advertising, talk about changing the game through experiences, memorable stories and so much more. And this is not only for brands, this is for TV shows, events, and definitely movies. Affect the totality of the senses of your consumers, you are now offering them an experience, a memory and a connection that they never thought they needed in their lives. If you need help in crafting that signature story and that sonic identity that really drives your customers up the wall, contact us and we'd be only too glad to assist you.

  • The Ultimate Guide to storytelling in advertising

    What do stories have to do with advertising? Capturing your audience's attention is no easy feat. Netflix knows this, which is why their TV shows are cleverly crafted to encourage binge watching. You know this, dare I say everyone of us has that one show, which was or is our guilty pleasure, that we end up watching it episode after episode, until the season itself is over, leaving us craving for the next season. So what is it, that keeps us hooked, keeps us wanting more. It's storytelling. We like to think of ourselves as logical beings, and we are to some extent, but we are also emotive beings, and it is that emotion that drives us to live our lives to the fullest of our abilities. Its the emotion that connects us so viscerally to each other. Stories are able to communicate complex messages in very specific and emotional ways. It makes things memorable, its the primary driver of how we communicate with one another, so in that measure, brands that are trying to connect with their customers on a deeply fundamental level, should use stories powerfully and profoundly. So what seperates a powerful story from a mediocre one? We've worked with numerous brands to help them craft their stories to communicate their message to their consumers, and this is a conundrum that we have seen repeat itself over and over again. To start with you need to truly understand your customer. Step 1: Develop your Customer Personas Customer Personas are not rocket science. It may sound complicated, but it isn't. If you have the tinest inclination of who your ideal customer ought to be, a persona makes them relatable and accessible to you. So let's say you are a real estate company, who develops ultra premium luxury apartments. You already know that the income segments of your ideal customer is $x and above. Develop the character further, be creative. Assign them an identity, imagine what their day to day life is like. Flesh it out further. Do they have a family? What are their interests? What is their primary motivations to buy an ultra premium luxury apartment? By developing your character and going deeper you start to see patterns form, you start to realise that there are key motivations that drive their decision making. But don't stop there, add more personas that fit the profile of your target customers, make them different from each other. And eventually you will start to see patterns coalesce and form. Customer Personas provide a tremendous value and insight that is more qualitative than quantitative, it helps you understand your customer's needs and motivations and how you can help them. Step 2: Start with the skeleton of the story You don't need to go into massive detail to craft a story that is memorable, but you need to have an idea of the flow of the story. This is where you craft the what and the who. What is the story or the primary message that you are communicating, and who are you communicating it to? A story to succeed, has to have three primary parts: It needs to be relatable It needs to be emotional Finally it needs to have a cohesive flow The character or the hero, has to be relatable to the audience. Which means he/she has to be grounded in reality. In terms of the story, its relatability allows people to emphathize with the plot, characters and themes in a way that its core message appeals to your target consumer. Emotions are another key driver. Humor always breaks the ice, and it doesn't hurt to inject a bit of humor into your story. It's about creating a story that evokes powerful emotions. It can be a 'feel good' story that slots your brand into that experience, or it can be a story that enables us to relate better to the characters in the advertisement, it could be a story about connection, it could be about a good many things, but as long as it forms meaning for the viewer, it has achieved its purpose. Finally the flow. Stories always start with a conflict, a problem that the hero or heroine is facing, a process or a journey to resolve that problem, and then the final resolution. That cohesive flow allows the user to easily digest the message that is being communicated, simply and powerfully. Step 3: Choose a protagonist carefully Remember when we did the exercise of the customer personas, and the detail that you had to go into properly fleshing out the character? In the same way, you need to do that with your primary protagonist. The hero or heroine is the face that you associate with the story, and for that reason you need to choose a character that the audience relates to immediately. The character has to be appealing, people should vouch for him/her and feel strongly for what they are going through. The character has to be well defined and intriguing enough to leave an impression in the audiences' minds. Step 4: Place the most interesting elements at the beginning of your story As with a good article, or a book, you have a hook that draws the reader in. So is the same with a story. You need to have a compelling enough introduction that keeps people watching till the end of the advert. Especially in the age of Youtube ads where the skip button is the most clicked button on the internet today, its ever so important to have the introduction so compelling that the viewer chooses not to click the skip button and watch the next 30 secs of the ad, and then the next 30 seconds and so on and so forth. The first 5 seconds of any advertisement is highly critical, and plays a massive role in drawing the viewer in. Step 5: Create some sort of "conflict" Why I hear you asking. Conflict is the easiest way to keep an audience hooked. Everyone wants to know the conclusion, the want the resolution, so they will watch until they feel that the conflict is resolved. But how much conflict do you create, and is there something like too much conflict? The conflict doesn't need to be drawn out, but it is important for the protagonist to fail at whatever they are trying to achieve. If they get what they are looking for immediately, there is no story for the viewer to follow. When you add to this differing perspectives, opinions and obstacles, you create a "follow through" path that the viewers are eager to see resolved, because they are already invested in the protagonist's story. Step 6: Find the sweet spot between telling the story and listening Now imagine you are in a room full of people, and you are narrating your story. But here's the catch, none of them are listening to you. Will you be able to tell your story after all? Nope. There is a symbiotic relationship between telling your story, and keeping your viewership hooked. Most of the times the nuances can be found in the silence. Use your visual landscape to your advantage, and tell the story viscerally through the accompaning visuals and associated emotions. Identify those obstacles we talked earlier about, and understand why those obstacles are meaningful to your viewer, why does it keep them hooked? You need to understand your viewer's attention span, their likes and dislikes, what is their primary motivation and why the protagonist's story is meaningful for them. Remember the personas, this is where it all comes together. Step 7: Keep it Real There's an argument that people watch TV to escape from their reality, and there's some truth in that. However, TV shows have to be based in reality for people to feel connected. Even Sci-Fi shows and movies are deeply human, in being emotional. Remember we said that humans are emotional beings? People are driven by emotion, and a story grounded in that emotional reality, is profound and meaningful to your viewers. We all have a "sixth" sense, when we have a gut feeling that someone is not being authentic. This is even more prevalent in the stories brands put out. Twitter is rife with people making fun of brands who fake authenticity, and it backfires on them massively. Do not steal other people's ideas, or stories, they are deeply personal, neither should you come across as a brand that is trying to impress them. Many others have done the same before you, and they have failed miserably. Staying true to your brand, its personality and what it stands for is fundamental to the art of story telling. If your brand embodies thinking out of the box, don't be afraid to be funny or humourous. If your a hospital or a healthcare organization, people need to know that their lives and their health are safe in your hands. People are drawn to products from brands that speak to them, that they feel connected to, so don't feel afraid to show them who you really are, as a brand. Leaving a lasting, memorable impression Brand storytelling is an art. And its an art form that many tout to be experts in. To be a good storyteller, you need to understand life and its nuances. To be a good storyteller, you need to have a story to tell. Luckily for all of us, life is filled with those stories that connect us, and unite us in ways that we just couldn't fathom. If you need inspiration, turn to your team, involve them in the process. This is a great exercise for team building, and ramping up inspirational stories amongst one another. Finally if you're stuck, we've created stories that are impactful for a number of brands across the globe, and we'd be more than happy to assist you, contact us if you need help.

  • The Story and its telling

    Data driven storytelling: The transmutation of quantitative data into qualitative experiences What is a story? To understand the story, we must first understand life. To tell a story, we must understand life and then have something to say about it. Life is not a journey, it is a struggle. As said by Robert McKee. A story is how we make sense of life. We live our life in the middle of scenes and acts all intersecting each other, characters interacting and defining our circumstance. Circumstance intersecting itself and defining character. As william shakespeare put it, The world's a stage and we are all playing our part. “You may have heard the world is made up of atoms and molecules, but it's really made up of stories. When you sit with an individual that's been here, you can give quantitative data a qualitative overlay.”- William Turner Everything now is data driven. In our present world, this statement runs high on the scale of profound knowledge. Everything now is data driven. Apps, websites, supermarkets, schools, hospitals, games, social networks, everything is collecting some sort of data as it is the most important resource in the postmodern era. Consumer behavior, market data and all that jargon really fills up a lot of magazines. Yet, the story and its telling is more important than ever. Every business now has a key person employed in their workforce. The Analyst. The role of the analyst is to understand and advise the direction of decisions for maximum impact and in turn profit. Let’s take an example of a character called Noob Noob. Now Noob Noob has just had a break up and to fill the iron fisted void, has turned to a song called Oceans he had first heard by John Butler, half a decade back. After all that was his go to song to feel better ever since. Of late he had been going to that same song quite a lot. He clicks on the youtube app to go to that song and as he clicks on the link, he is greeted by a 10 second video of a beautifully crafted spanish guitar being played by a person without a care in the world. Noob Noob is mesmerised at the free flowing carefree nature of the man in contrast to his own resilient conflict. Struck with a stroke of creative aspiration, he has a mental checklist of things that, on being met, act as triggers for small bursts of dopamine that, in an otherwise miserable scene, bring him joy. He continues on to the video and after 7 minutes or so, is empowered to tell his own story. So he goes on to amazon and buys himself a guitar that is supposedly going to be delivered to him in a day. He thinks he is getting it for a steal because of the high discount percentage that is shown on amazon after markup. Afterall it is the most productive use of time: learning a musical instrument. One day he will write a breakup song just like Taylor Swift. Seems like today, he won. Great going Noob Noob. Let’s think about this process a little more. Noob Noob is a human character whose decisions, no matter how logical, are still affected by emotion. For Noob Noob, his story is powerful, relevant and the story that is closest to him. His emotional conflict leads him to find a resolution that leads him to purchase an instrument that will help him express himself to relieve himself of an internal struggle. At the moment, for Noob Noob, life is not a journey, it's a struggle. He is trying to understand the ‘who, what, why, where and how’ of his own conflict.Now Noob Noob may not have thought of purchasing the guitar in the beginning of the day because the guitar as a product had no relevance to him in his story or his struggle but given his current emotional struggle, a slight nudge from a aspiration and a possible avenue of release, purchasing this product is a no brainer. The product that started out irrelevant in his lifestyle is now more than a guitar. It is his friend that helps him express and continue his story, through his difficult time. A quantitative analysis would generate the data that this person is visiting the same link multiple times, after the link, he visits some other pages, motivated by the content that is designed to rouse interest and aspiration and although he closes the purchase link more times than ever, because his logical centers tell him otherwise, he still has his heart clawing away behind his thoughts. On a qualitative approach, the analyst decodes this quantitative data to try and recreate the archetypical story of similar individuals and applies the takeaway to guide business decisions of the guitar company that ended up selling their guitar to Noob Noob in the first place. Noob Noob's emotional state had made him act in a certain way that generated quantitative data. Consider it like this, the emotional data was encoded into a series of timestamped digital flags. The analyst sees a pattern in this and studies other relevant sources to decode this data to understand the motivational datapoints, understanding these motivational data points across multiple sources gives him a hypothesis. He is effectively creating a projected storyline for a group of consumers going through similar experiences. He takes this story and advises the branding team to create content that resonates with this archetypical group. The content is designed to hit the right spots for the viewer as it offers the resolution that they are seeking on a deeper story level. The guitar company has effectively used the analyst to transform their product through the power of storytelling into something more than just a lifeless instrument. They have made it a character in someone’s story. The brand goes on to becoming a cult for everyone through shared experiences because who hasn't gone through a heartbreak, right? Your brand is a part of a greater human experience. In present times, with the burst of content creation and brands struggling to stay relevant every day. Story is more important and difficult than ever. I remember a few years back I was having a debate with a friend over a simple question. Does product/ content move the market or does the market flow according to the content/ product. Honestly, the way I see it, there are two things that matter. The story, and the telling. The product and the consumer are the characters in that universe. If you want to go deeper into the world of data driven storytelling that incorporates more than just simple audio visual content, then choose the red pill and get in touch with us.

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    we are The key building blocks of any memorable marketing are four major factors: ​ Understanding who your target audience is, what are their motivations. Research your competitors and identifying your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) A refined story and personalised messaging that is emotive and memorable. Deciding and executing through channels that would best suit your marketing goals. Let's start with your strategy Without a focused strategy, understanding where you are, who your customers are, and where you want to be, creative and marketing would be akin to trying to hit a target in the dark. ​ We collaborate with your team to understand your goals, devise a comprehensive strategy and then articulate it through branding and story-telling, before delivering it to your customers through effective campaign management. We have a strong experience of working in multiple geographies, and working in different time-zones. With offices in India, Singapore, and past work in the Middle East, Africa and Canada, we have a strong cultural connection to the Asian psyche, and understand how to effective market to that particular demographic. We are Unmarketing, and we craft signature stories that connect your brand to their customer. DUBAI SHOPPING FESTIVAL 2017 DUBAI SHOPPING FESTIVAL 2017 We've worked with Singapore 10 Anson Rd, Singapore City, 079914, Singapore C - 20, G Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051, India Mumbai One Central 8th Floor Dubai, United Arab Emirates Dubai START YOUR PROJECT Singapore

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