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Facebook Thinks I’m 12 and I’m OK With That.

Back in late August or early September, Facebook for whatever reason decided that I was 12 years old and no longer eligible for a Facebook account. To resolve this issue Facebook asked me to take a photo of my driver’s license, or passport with my birthday visible and email it to Facebook support. This was never going to happen. Based on previous data breaches that Facebook has experienced in the past, I said “nope” and decided to wait until my birthday in January thinking that Facebook would simply reset the clock and realize I was now 13.

The thinking was my birthday would roll around, Facebook would think I’m a year older and wham bam I’d be back in business. Turns out this was not the case. Instead, Facebook said I had waited too long to reactivate my account or send in proof of my age and my account had been permanently disabled. OK, so I no longer have an account. What are the options? I can contact support and supply a photo of my ID and ask to be reinstated. I can open a new account and rising from the ashes like a phoenix make friend requests and start the Facebook journey again, or I could simply walk away and be done with it. I chose to walk away.

I have now been off of Facebook for more than 6 months, and I couldn’t be happier. While I still have an Instagram account, my posts get deleted after 7 days, so nothing lives longer than a week. Something I’m perfectly fine with. I was never a Twitter user to speak of. Same with LinkedIn. This blog automatically posts to both, but I’m lucky if I get more than a dozen engagements on Twitter, probably because I don’t retweet, comment, lie, share, or anything else on the platform. LinkedIn fairs a bit better with each blog post averaging about 100 views. Once again it could be better, but I don’t spend enough time engaging with others on the platform to extend my audience and reach and I’m OK with that.

At this point, I have absolutely no desire to become a Facebook member again. I have no plans to increase my social media presence on other platforms and have decided to go back to an old-school way of communicating with people. I’ve decided to start writing letters. Actual physical correspondences that I send out in the mail with an envelope and a stamp, that take days to arrive and may never get a response.

I used to be good about writing them. Finding clever and unique ways to craft and send a letter to someone. Once I wrote a letter on the individual cigarettes in a Marlboro pack. Each one was numbered, and each cigarette contained one sentence. There was a note that slipped into the cellophane wrapper telling the recipient to smoke the cigarettes when they were finished reading to destroy the evidence. I hope they did.

There is something about having to slow down and take the time to think about the words you use. The sentence structure. How to embellish with illustrations, photographs, or design work that once again I’m finding quite appealing. Maybe it’s an outcome of a year-long pandemic and the isolation that so many of us have experienced. Either way, I’ve been slowly receding from social media for some time starting a few years back. Here’s to something slower and hopefully more engaging for whoever receives a letter from me.

If I have your address, consider yourself warned.

“How Life Unfolds” Paper and Packaging Leverages The Power of Storytelling.

Last night while suffering from a bout of insomnia I was watching TV trying to will myself to get sleepy so I could just go to bed and dream the night away. It wasn’t working and I’m glad it I stayed up. The fact that I was watching late night TV allowed me to see a commercial for Paper and Packaging that originally dropped back in April, which led me to the online campaign that it is tied to as well. And this got me to thinking about how really nice this campaign is.

In a day and age where no one really writes physical letters anymore, how does a company communicate the use of paper, of how personal handwritten communication is, and how touching a physical letter can be instead of an email or text? They do it through compelling storytelling. When I first saw the commercial below, the sound was off on my TV. I was actually working on my iPad and happened to look up and see it. I didn’t turn the sound on, instead I watched the entire spot in silence and was still drawn in by a storyline that simply works. The visuals are as equally compelling as the voice over. After watching the spot I backed up, turned on the sound and watched again, this time listening to the message, and thinking about how this spot hits a home run.

The commercial is relevant because it does a number of things. It unites multiple generations with the experience of writing an actual letter. It ties three generations together, one that grew up in a time where email and texts didn’t exist, one where these technologies emerged, and one where the primary form of communication is digital. In doing so, it humanizes what could be a forgettable experience, (a text, or an email) and replaces it with something that we all know is memorable, a hand written letter. Everyone everywhere knows the power of a correspondence written by hand. A letter takes time, require focus, and tends to feel more genuine. It isn’t something that is typed out on a phone, reduced to 140 characters, or lost in a digital inbox or folder that exists on the cloud out of sight out of mind.  The commercial also shows the products in use. Not just the piece of paper, remember this is for “Paper and Packaging”, a company that also produces cardboard boxes. The commercial shows the letters, written on paper, shipped in a box, and returned the same way, all while telling a great story about how the product is used as a form of communication and delivery.

After watching the spot a couple of more times, I no longer cared about willing myself to sleep. I was curious about the rest of the campaign, so I did a quick Google search and found that Paper and packaging had recently created a new series of YouTube videos entitled “Letters for Peace” on their channel “How Life Unfolds”, great tagline by the way. I have one of the 3-minute videos below, but I highly recommend clicking through and watching the remaining six. Every one of them is  done at the same high level of production and tells a wonderful story all coming back to the same basic component of the commercial “Letters to Dad” that I happened to look up and catch last night.

All of this is tied together through digital media of course. Let’s face it, they might be a paper company, but even they know you can’t escape from the digital realm, especially when it comes to advertising and marketing your products. There is an Instagram account that has a little over 400 posts and a few thousand followers. Followers are encouraged to celebrate how paper and packaging helps them accomplish their goals at home, at school, and in the workplace by posting images using the hashtag #howlifeunfolds. The website is an online archive of the letters of peace, and a place where comments are fed to the site and people are encouraged to like and share. In addition the site offers additional insight into the authors, invites people to submit their own letters, promotes the product line, and has feature articles on why you should write things by hand.

Great stuff from Cramer-Krasselt, Paper and Packaging’s agency of record.

IKEA -Relax its a meal not a competition.

I love this new spot from Ikea poking fun at all the Instagrammers obsessed with taking pictures of their food. The tag line at the end sums it up so well it’s not a competition, it’s a meal. When tied to the line Relax, they completely sell the concept behind IKEA kitchen design, and the companies approach to cooking and sharing a meal, sharing is about relaxed human interaction, not seeing how many people react to that photo of your meal out. Put down your phone and have a conversation people.

MNSTR, Lacoste, The Australian Open, and the Small Screen.

If you work with video, animation, or motion graphics for advertising, or promotional materials you should probably start thinking heavily about mobile outlets and how you will deliver content. Case in point, the video below from MNSTR for Lacoste and the Australian Open. This video showcases the work MNSTR created specifically for the small screen, and even more specifically for the short time frame, touch points like Instagram and Snapchat require. Simple, short, colorful animations paired with high quality sound design help to make these work. MNSTR did their homework and got their heads wrapped around the space these would presented in and pulled it off. This series of short animations were dribbled out over the two week event helping to extend the total reach of Lacoste’s efforts.