I set up Drunk Animal with one aim… to develop interesting, exciting and engaging projects. In the beginning, I wasn’t particularly worried about what market these projects would fit into, or how they would come about. I just wanted to create things that got people talking, that put a smile on someone’s face or that sparked a discussion. From the off I had no real desire to design things just to make people happy, I wanted to design things that would encourage people to feel anything. Happy, sad, angry, afraid… they’re all equally interesting and equally important.
Evoking a response in someone, like crying or laughing or feeling angry, can be a powerful tool when it comes to advertising a product or a business. Having had a background in illustration and graphic design my focus was, in the early days, always on the visual. I would pour over design books and references to study what worked and what didn’t and I would digest the work of as many varied approaches as possible, in the hope of bettering my knowledge and understanding. These days, the visual impact of a design is of course still crucial, however, something else tends to take precedence when I’m creating a design or concept.
After more than fifteen years working in marketing and having been involved with thousands of projects, I’ve come to one conclusion. Marketing, in whatever form it takes, is about people. It’s that simple. Social media, graphic design, digital design, video production, guerilla advertising… it’s all about people. How people perceive things, how people react and how people think is fundamentally what marketing is all about. Our job as designers and marketers is to connect with people. That connection may not always be pleasant. It may be uncomfortable or disturbing or thought-provoking. You only have to look at the highly emotive effect of advertisements for charities to see how guilt and empathy can be an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to connecting with people.
Great designers and great marketers have the capability to metaphorically grab hold of someone and shake them. They can force their way into a person’s mind and scream at the top of their lungs to make them think and feel whatever they please. They can make a person feel as if they need to better themselves, or need to have the latest lifestyle accessory or need to wear the most fashionable clothes. They can equally make a person feel wonderful and special and joyous and inspire change and positivity.
Advertising is a powerful device for change, as much as it is a tool for selling. Often the key is to break an idea down into its most simple form, present it in a visually appealing way and make the idea accessible. People are both vastly complex and incredibly simple creatures, and so indeed is advertising. Our aim as advertisers is to create beautiful, simple ideas and express them in ways that evoke an emotional response and in turn, have a lasting effect on an audience. These days I spend as much time studying psychology and people as I do design, and that understanding of how people feel is the holy grail of advertising.