Don’t Tell Me The Moon Is Shining

With trust being at an all-time low and lines blurring between reality and fantasy, the winners will be those who successfully display the inside out.

Ever since Millennials started being seen as an influential crowd with real purchasing power, brands jumped in the authenticity bandwagon. Using the associated language and terminology, mass-market brands distorted the core values they meant to impersonate until -ironically-, they stopped feeling authentic.

Six years later, multinationals such as MacDonald’s and Häagen-Dazs are trying hard to make you believe in their grilled chicken or ice cream collections are “artisan made”, because their advertising agency must have told them that’s what it takes to please the hipster cohort.

What they failed to recognize however, is the importance of “rurban” values such as small-scale and hyperlocal, instead focusing on mass manufacturing with a “craft” façade.

While it might look like a decent compromise for a brand not wanting to change its process too much to gain new market shares, increasingly educated and sophisticated consumers now have the tools to question brands credentials.

Yesterday was all about celebrating “diversity” and showing “real women”. Today, consumers see right through the marketing tricks and know that most shiny new corporate sustainability initiatives are really just greenwashing.

Stop hiding

Brands, however, are not the only culprits. With VR meant to go mainstream before long, new questions arise regarding our online behaviour, especially while hiding behind an avatar.

While sexual harassment has long been a problem in online and gaming communities, VR has the potential of making the abuse feel much more physical, as Jordan Belamire sadly experienced.

Closer to us, the controversy surrounding Safia Nolin’s acceptance speech at the ADISQ Gala clearly showed that cyber bullying and sexism are alive and well here too, facilitated once again by the distance and relative anonymity of social media, discussion forums and online personas.

In an open-letter published -in French- by Urbania, the young signer-songwriter poignantly asks: “Why do you hate me so much?”, before answering her own question: “Because I’m a woman. Because I was myself. The person I became after all the crap, after years of violent bullying that forced me to go to the police and change schools seven times.”

Now this is a woman who’s not afraid to show who she really is. This is a woman with strong values, who has been through hell and came back to tell her story. This is the kind of story we need.

Cut the 💩

Last month, the community discussed #CMTransparency. From food labels to slow fashion, drone legislation and blockchains, the urge for transparency deeply impacts the way we shop, vote and consume.

As we have recently witnessed south of the border, people have had enough of carefully tailored responses. The fact that an astonishing majority elected Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States demonstrates how much the American people has grown tired of political correctness, even if the alternative is not necessarily pretty. The need for change has become too important to be denied.

Crafted. Bespoke. Artisan. Immersive. Disruptive. Innovative. Authentic. Time to kill the buzzwords. No more borrowed aesthetics and ethos, no more hiding behind designer dresses. The time has come to move to a new narrative; one that truly align communications and actions.

Stay true

Looking at Safia Nolin and -at the other end of the spectrum- Donald Trump’s stories makes me think success must have something to do with finding our unique voice instead of conforming to what others might want to hear.

Instead of hiding behind a carefully constructed and zealously guarded self-image, denying everything that might challenge our perception of ourselves, perhaps we would all be better off acknowledging nobody is perfect, and celebrating how our unique set of experiences shaped our perspective.  

For instance, telling the world how we value integrity or inclusiveness does not mean a thing if our actions do not speak louder than our words. Where big data can tell us occurrences, performance and test results, experiences and storytelling have the power to show an entirely new perspective of the same situation.

Whether for a job interview, a first date or an ad for a new product, using imagination to show -not tell- what we are made of is far more compelling. And if you still believe creativity and imagination are not for everyone, think again. Children are naturally creative, it is taught out of them at school! What we need is simply to slow down and take the time to notice.

Like photographers, we need to break free of our molds and explore different perspectives of the same scene until we find the one angle showing precisely what we have to say.  

This month, CreativeMornings explores fantasy*. So, go ahead, dream, explore, discover your voice, but most of all, be true and be you.

Text: Audrey Raby

Illustration: Hayden Davis

*We will also delve into what it means to live #InACreativeWorld and how we can use creativity for the good of all. The most intriguing responses will then become illustrations that get featured here