Originally posted some time in 2009. Re o t d oo re ak a oin . – dp
You see it all over the place, every day. Puzzles. Games. Invitations to engage/enrage/enrapture. Pattern recognition: it’s fundamental to our very survival and has been hard wired into our brains since Ogg figured out those things in the dirt pointing in one direction meant there was food on the hoof somewhere over that a way.
As a writer, it pains me some that wordplay doesn’t factor much here (although this is really nice), but the reality is that in a truly global village games everyone can play, regardless of Mother Tongue, will displace language-dependent styles to the margins.
But that doesn’t answer my big question: Why isn’t there more room in American marketing for a little audience engagement?
Pick up a copy of Lürzer’s Archive and you’ll see page after page of universal visual puzzles that invite, nay defie, the reader to figure it out. They’re generally fun, occasionally challenging, and the best of them creatively align message with brand to make a memorable image that demands a piece of your brain’s precious real estate.
Now take a look at who’s creating this stuff. Sure, it’s a Euro-publication, but still. It seems like the entire world’s playing a different game that we Gringos just don’t get—exactly like soccer.
So why doesn’t American advertising do more of that and use puzzle techniques in marketing? I think a big reason is that we all speak the same language. And that our culture as a whole fetishizes the overtly direct and plain spoken over the subtle, the poetic, and the not immediately obvious. It’s bullet points over brain power. The PowerPointilization of American Communication. …sigh…
Yes, time is at a premium, but consider much of that time is spent looking for games to break the monotony of everyday life. Couldn’t, shouldn’t marketing take note of this and run with it? It’s certainly worth about.