I’ve been clicking back to Adland’s peach-filled find (below) for weeks now. I think I find it so fascinating because its very creation seems so profoundly unlikely. It’s a crazy installation piece combined with the aesthetic of a holiday parade.
Which got me to thinking, what else could ad agencies learn from holiday parades…
- Anything CAN be created: What better callout to your favorite ‘it can’t be done’ naysayer than people create life-like house-sized butterflies out of little more than hundreds of thousands of roses and a glue stick, I think we can pull off a 6-color print.
- Standard materials need not apply: Astroturf, twinkly lights, torn up feather boas, spray paint and paper mache. You call it your attic, I say it’s a 500-square-foot celebration of the Chinese new year OR the boldest in-store Pressidents' Day weekend installation the Home Depot has ever seen.
- Don’t make people too comfortable: There is no better illustration of our willingness to suffer for what we love than the sidewalks lining the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. If your brand / event / story is compelling enough, people will invest themselves in the experience by huddling on cold sidewalks, staking out space, wiping drippy noses and lifting little ones onto view-blocking shoulder chairs.
- Nostalgia is fun: Not the Cracker Barrel are-they-racest-are-they-not(?) kind. The make it into our photo album kind. The it’s part of the holiday kind. The Marshall Fields windows, mall Santa Claus, ElfYourself kind.
- It takes more than one person to handle the big ass balloons: If it takes 10 perfectly-coordinated people to guide Snoopy through Manhattan, I think it’s fair to say that a little collaboration might be in order on the strategic rollout of your big client’s new widget.
- Interesting things do happen outside of prime time: Sometimes 6AM in the morning is the best time to get in queue to catch some flying tootsie rolls and gape at parade princesses. Oh, wait, Starbucks maybe already owns that time slot.
- Volunteers can create change: Don’t let the frustrated members of the Board of your favorite pro bono client get you down. Volunteers can produce unbelievable results. Say, getting 11 bands, 24 floats, 700 clowns, 11 giant balloons, and 1900 performers to walk 43 blocks together powered by little more than 400,000 cubic feet of helium.
- Trucks pull the most delightful things: Dear Detroit, how about the next Dodge Ram commercial shows off towing power by hauling a train of ALL the Parade of Roses floats. WITH fire engines on either end. Come on – that’s power.