Why is dyslexia perceived as a disadvantage?
How do we help people who are living with depression?
Can we save our planet through renewable energy?
Why does the media push only negative stories?
These were just some of the questions posed at TEDxBrighton last Friday. We were privileged to attend this event and hear thoughts from some inspiring speakers, all offering perspectives on how we can improve the world we live in.
Creativity was the theme threaded through the sessions. Whether the challenge is in education, disabilities, mental health, globalisation, or LGBT, creativity can offer a solution.
Christian de Boisredon, founder of Sparknews, talked about how the media shows only negative stories. We hear all about environmental disasters and crimes, but we rarely read a story about a scientific breakthrough or sports achievement. What would happen if the news sources promoted more positive stories? Would it change the mood of the public? Would it inspire more people to be good and pursue their dreams?
For Tom Ravenscroft, the founder of Enabling Enterprise, and Kate Griggs, founder of Xtraordinary People the issue is in education. They argued that the focus teachers put on analytical and problem-solving skills diminishes children’s imagination and creativity. Therefore, both founded organisations that cherish creativity in children.
It was a day full of inspiration from people who are making impactful change around the world. They challenged our knowledge of the borders dividing up our planet, but they also influenced us to find our utopia. And as Vanessa Barret said, “Life is a journey. Fill it with creativity and allow yourself to be happy.”
This year there was, for the first time, a 360/VR films award category at Cannes. It was conclusive proof – if any were needed – of the growing importance of virtual reality to our industry.
VR is incredibly exciting technology – it is immersive, exciting and memorable. Anyone who has experienced that first buzz of trying out the technology knows that. It takes you to an entirely new environment, where you can feel your stomach in your mouth on the Big Dipper, or experience the spine-tingling thrill of swimming with sharks.
But the thrill soon fades, and consumers need more to keep them excited. As with all technology it is not on its own enough – it needs the spark of creativity, if it is to provoke strong emotions, be memorable, and most importantly deliver the brand message.
There are already some great examples of brands doing this well. Samsung won seven prestigious awards with its “The Ostrich” commercial. If you haven’t seen it, it is about an ostrich that learns to fly after wearing a VR Headset with a flight simulator. It makes you believe in the impossible.
Eurostar will allow passengers to find a lost pirate treasure while travelling to Paris this summer. I’m definitely buying a ticket!
Even traditional media is taking advantage of the new technology to engage readers. The New York Times won Entertainment Grand Prix thanks to its VR project “The Displaced” which shows the refugee crisis through the eyes of children - a campaign with a great message that provoked a mix of emotions.
These campaigns show the potential of VR, and we look forward to seeing, and experiencing more. Above all though brands, and their agencies must remember that while VR creates the opportunity, it is creativity that adds the meaning.
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