Another man of vision from outside the commercials margins we were compelled to include in this issue is Paul Budnitz, who also asked a new question: why shouldn't everything be cool and fun, all the time? His answer is his great toy store, Kidrobot (something to keep in mind as the holidays approach, folks. There are few better places, or sites, available to fill that gift list with little treasures so delightful in so many different ways that they mask the emptiness of the mechanical yearly gesture. And no worrying about size, allergies or office-enforced price caps.) It was interesting to hear from Budnitz on what goes into creating such a covetable line up of loveable art pieces, as well as his views on a new project which has brought him into our orbit-a new vinyl doll interpretation of Burger King and CP+B's Subservient Chicken.
His approach to the project reveals as much about what works in marketing creativity today as it does about Kidrobot's retailing philosophy. "I don't have anything against commercialism, or labels or doing something for money," says Budnitz. "But what we've created is sort of a style brand - we have a design and asthetic that's ours. So whatever we do has to have a feeling to it, it has to fit. So that in itself doesn't mean we can't work with any kind of client, it just depends on - are we going to like it?" As a guiding principle, Are We Going to Like It is as simple and productive as they come.
It works well when applied as a standard for brand messages. This issue's look at the newest audience participation campaign from Wieden + Kennedy for Sharp's high-end TVs, underlines the point. The strange and complex campaign, and others like the, um, buzzed about I Love Bees game are examples of truly interactive brand efforts that makes participants out of viewers, and rewards them for their time. Whether the people who flock to web sites to play along with an involving, relatively long term narrative are aware, unaware, or aware on some supressed level that there is a marketer involved becomes irrelevant in terms of their level of engagement. A great entertainment experience can be shaped around a brand, and a consumer's main concern is the integrity of the experience, rather than whether a restaurant, an agency or an "independent" entertainment entity is bringing it to them.