Laura’s Word 30 August 2012
So aside from sourcing amazing new work and talent for the newsletter, I’ve been rather pre-occupied this week. My wee brother is getting married on Saturday and I’m, unsurprisingly, pretty excited. But it’s not just the prospect of seeing the boy I once made take the blame for a broken window walking up the aisle that’s distracting me – or my, as yet unwritten Best Man Speech (it’s the 21st century y’all). It’s the thought that I’m going to be attending my first, and most likely only, wedding conducted by a proper WWE wrestler. The ordained Reverend Ted DiBiase will probably be more familiar to anyone who grew up in the 80s as The Million Dollar Man – and I know there are wrestling geeks out there in adland, because I’ve met you.
I find the whole wrestling – or wrasslin’ as I’ve been unconvincingly told to call it (it just doesn’t work in a Scottish accent) – perversely fascinating. And it’s not just the spandex. Ummm. OK, it’s mainly the spandex. But the other thing that intrigues me is the way these guys and girls craft their alter egos – it’s like a sweaty, neon and highly camp form of personal branding. Having said that, when you shift the location from the Red States of America to a Scout hut in the drizzly east of Scotland, the beefed up muscles become beer guts. But a conversation down the pub with the boys in the SWE (that would be Scottish Wrestling Entertainment) could tell you more about thwarted creativity than any Madison Avenue copywriter with an unpublished film script.
My encounters with my brother’s wrestling crew (what is the correct collective noun?) have left me thinking that maybe advertising has a lot to learn from them. They may be reduced to Facebook and theatrically delivered YouTube videos to publicise their events, but I’ve never witnessed such enthusiastic consumer buy-in before as I’ve seen amongst my brother’s fan base. People will quite literally abandon their shopping trolley to greet the crew in the Blairgowrie Tesco. OK so it’s not the coolest thing in the world, or even the top thousandth coolest thing in the world, but sometimes it’s just kind of refreshing to find creativity and passion in unexpected places.
I guess the creation of these flamboyant characters is, ultimately, an exercise in personal branding. With Autumn just around the corner and my own wardrobe in need of a re-vamp, it strikes me that it’s something we all engage with on some level, particularly in an industry as image-obsessed as our own. Sadly I’m not sure my pennies will stretch to the spot-tacular (sorry) collection from Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton. Showcased in a pair of dotty films from The White Lodge
–Yayoi Kusama, the spot-obsessed Japanese artist is a prime example of a woman who has found her look and stuck with it.
Elsewhere this week there’s been the amusing Old Spice interactive Muscle Music project from W+K
Portland, starring Expendables star Terry Crews, a man under no illusions of where his particular personal brand lies. But rounding off another week of exciting creative,the Paralympics viral from Samsung
proves that, when it comes to the crunch, it’s not image that matters but hard graft, skill and results.
And if it’s results that matter – and not my carefully chosen Best Man’s Dress – I’d better get cracking on that speech…