5 creative ideas

Editor Malcolm Triggs reflects on five creative ideas that tickled his fancy this month

‘A Farewell to Hemnes’

A furniture debacle here at White Light HQ last week reminded me of one of the best pieces of prose I’ve come across in recent times. ‘A Farewell to Hemnes: Ernest Hemingway Builds an IKEA Daybed Frame with Three Drawers’ is a short story written by Jeff Steinbrink and published in 2014 in McSweeny’s Internet Tendency, a daily humour website run by the San Francisco-based publishing house McSweeny’s. Written in the definitively macho style of its titular ‘hero’, it details Hemingway’s relatable tribulations as he purchases and attempts (unsuccessfully) to assemble a piece of flat-pack furniture.

If you share my sense of humour, you’ll get a laugh reading ‘A Farewell to Hemnes’. You’ll also quickly come to appreciate the author’s ability to effortlessly blend the serious and the comic. In fact, we’ll shortly be publishing a piece along similar lines, demonstrating how marketing can benefit from combining the abstract and the conventional. In the meantime, I urge you to read ‘A Farewell to Hemnes’ and have a leaf through some of the other content on McSweeny’s Internet Tendency. It’s timely, masterfully written and occasionally very poignant.

The Powers Quarter

I visited Dublin at the start of the month with my World Whisky Day hat on to join several of Ireland’s most influential whisk(e)y bloggers on a tour of the ‘Powers Quarter’, the ancestral home of Powers Irish Whiskey. It’s easy to disregard experiential activity like this as heavy-handed PR fabrication, but the Powers Quarter stands apart in that none of the venues on the tour asked (or paid) to be included; they were invited to be included because they’ve already got connections with the brand, in some cases dating back over 100 years.

The Powers Quarter is supported by some well-thought-out marketing materials, such as a printed ‘tour guide’ and a thoughtfully created website very much reflective of the tour’s authenticity. And the best part? It’s open to the public, not just social media influencers, journalists and the on trade. Head over to the Powers website for more information and a virtual tour.

Lego Life

A colleague of mine recently attended the Marketing Society’s Digital Day 2019 and came back with plenty of food for thought, not least word of LEGO’s latest marketing efforts. Growing up, I remember my brother becoming a member of the LEGO Club, receiving a badge and thereafter a monthly magazine which I got to read once he’d finished with it. Much to my nostalgic delight, LEGO is still publishing a regular magazine for members of its still-extant club.

Moving with the times, though, LEGO has also developed a digital hub where fans can get upload their own builds and be inspired, informed and challenged. Crucially, the company has made LEGO Life – effectively a social media platform for children under 13 – safe to use. It’s admirable stuff from a brand whose marketing strategy has continuously kept the humble LEGO brick the number one children’s toy for years, despite challenging market conditions and marketing campaigns that the company has admitted weren’t completely successful. Here’s to Danish humbleness.

Eventbrite’s ‘Britepapers’

We recently relaunched the Edinburgh International Conference Centre’s (EICC) magazine, Conference Call. Rebranded as EICC Ideas Hub, this content stream is now integrated with  the EICC’s main corporate website. This helps to maximise its visibility and ease-of-use for the sales team when approaching potential clients. As part of the relaunch, we also changed the editorial direction to make it as relevant as possible to conference professionals.

During the planning stages, we reviewed competitor content and came across Eventbrite’s series of whitepapers, or ‘Britepapers’. Covering all manner of topics, from event SEO and sponsorship to catering and fandom convention trends, Eventbrite’s ‘Britepapers’ are textbook examples of the medium; simply designed PDFs that, once downloaded, provide readers with up-to-date and relevant content, and return with very tangible business leads for Eventbrite to follow up on. Not only have they inspired potential content opportunities for the EICC, but also our very own series of white papers (White Light Papers?) launching later this year.

HYPED’s Edinburgh to London Hyperloop Proposal

Lastly, another idea brought to my attention by the EICC  – and one that’s more innovation than creativity. At the start of June the EICC will be launching its new ‘EICC Live’ lecture series with a presentation by HYPED, the University of Edinburgh’s Hyperloop society. If you haven’t heard of it, Hyperloop is technology entrepreneur, investor and inventor Elon Musk’s concept for the future of mass transportation, involving electronically propelled pods travelling autonomously through near-vacuum tubes at speeds comparable to aircraft. It might sound far-fetched, but Hyperloop networks around the world are already well underway. The first are scheduled to open up within the decade.

Last year, HYPED won the Virgin Hyperloop Global One Challenge, which called for comprehensive proposals to build Hyperloop networks connecting cities and regions around the world. They were the only student team amongst 2,600 entrants, and their proposed Edinburgh to London route saw them selected as one of ten winners. They’re now working on research projects and getting further support for their proposal. Visit the HYPED website for more information.