Something’s changed: a glance behind [•–] new advertisements.

Filippo Centenari, the yin-yang master of [•–] Centrostile, interviews Luca Botturi, the [•–] Centrostile’s yang-yin master, on topic advertisements and advertising – indeed he’s entitled to such line of enquiry, having joined the Centrostile party only after the latest ad campaign had already been conceived and published. 

Disclaimer: despite our best effort to avoid it, Daniele Tebaldi (as the occasional stand-in helper at Centrostile) has succeeded in creating occasional diversion to the free flow of the interview – answering questions that hadn’t been even asked, or even asked to him… which clearly was our intention, at inviting him to this conversation!

FC • At first glance, new style seems to put a frame of humor around each advertisement – was this the intention of the design brief that Centrostile subscribed, Luca?

LB • Indeed that’s there, though it’s most likely not the initial spark, but an outcome derived from changing the process by which these ads were created. 
Traditionally, Outline ads had always been built on products’ features, or specs, or R&D ingenuity – these new [•–] ads were instead built on imagery that strives to deliver a sense of sound, the feeling of it.

FC • They’re devised for being more evocative to the beholder than the old ones, you mean?

LB • Sure, we built the ad from a picture meant to trigger a specific sound memory – it’s hidden in plain sight, right within the very picture! 
From waves hitting the cliffs to the elation of a ride on the rollercoaster, from the power of words thrown by a bullhorn, to the (lack of) sound of a mime artist’s performance, the urban street ambience enveloping a shop window with all kinds of wigs on display… each ad has an inherent sonic backdrop, in a manner of speaking.

FC • I can feel the link you’re describing, i can see it reaching all viewers…

DT • It’s the magic at work when a message is entrusted to sound media: it works below and beyond the attention threshold of the receiver, regardless of the awareness or understanding – and it works not only for actual sound stimuli, but for those recorded in experienced history, too… which not only drives these ads, but pretty much describes the new [•–] logo in its essence!

LB • We’re no longer building the tale of a product in form of an ad, we’re rather hinting at a sensation, one that stems from both a visual and an aural evocation, which most readers have probably experienced first-hand on their own… each of these ads has some kind of sonic background.

FC • There seem to be a substantial amount of work behind the claims’ very wording, too, each of them extensively engineered, text-wise, seemingly… what’s the process linking visuals and copy, if it can be exposed?

LB • Sure it can! I basically laid visuals on the table, suggesting that Daniele verbalized whatever he felt at first sight – somehow I knew what to expect from this… well, to an extent, at least (turning towards Daniele with an quizzical look).

DT • I figure English language has become the de-facto global currency, in this Age of Information, as you can probably share much more of a concept, with it, using much less words that with any other modern version of any language – and still, with just so few words, you can add a substantial portion of wit to the serving, to reinforce the intended original meaning.

FC • Mind to expand on this, please? You just caught me off-guard here!

DT • I know it’s tricky, with “wit” often being used to simply portray a “sense of humor” of sorts – and it’s made even harder by how it doesn’t easily translate to Italian, really, or at least in a linear fashion… 
Copy is designed to deliver meaning, possibly not in the most obvious way, not with the most direct line, hardly ever using simply the shortest path – because our claim wouldn’t sound new otherwise, nor fresh, nor authentic, given how words in (some cheap form of) advertising are routinely used as trite clichés, at best… which is where wit comes to our rescue, really – if you can inject some of it in the copy, that is!

FC • These campaign ads surely don’t resemble the assertive, macho-infused tone-of-voice that’s so frequently heard in live sound contexts, that’s a fact… I shamelessly confess to have even wondered whether the author behind these ads’ texts had sourced some female sensitivity somehow!

DT • Well, every word here is weighted and turned on a lathe, and milled, and checked for rhythm balance, in a manner of speaking – just like any stitch at crochet, or knitting work, has an inherent rhythm of its own, woven with patience and attention… I regret not being good at any of these, actually!
Maybe the just-barely-correct written form (which is often just not correct at all, let’s face it) that I’m often using is a more mucho-macho tool, kind of Popeye-style, trying to provide some sort of extra-reverb to these otherwise very dry, very short sentences and pay-offs… 

FC • I guess there’s female sensitivity at work behind the choice of imagery, too, even if you’ve already explained how it all came to life – how comes, Luca?

LB • Take that “Kapeesh?” claim, for instance – I picked that nice, feminine hand, gesturing behind it. Daniele remarked that “kapeesh” clearly isn’t Queen’s English, it’s obviously not correct, linguistically, but there’s a ton of meaning that it just delivers – and it’s still just one word, with only the image of a hand that’s caught in-the-moment, swinging mid-air, with nothing else happening on the page…
It doesn’t get any shorter than this, ad-wise, and it seems utterly simple as a concept — while in facts it is not, reinforced as it is by the aural memory of that peculiar lilt, that accent, the one that the movie industry as a whole has decreed to belong to some movie characters portraying Americans of Italian ancestry… 
And I have deliberately chosen a female hand to picture this, because a male one would have triggered every reader to ask “Hey, that’s Tony, isn’t it?”, linking our ad to “The Sopranos” series!

Closing titles: conversation went on like this for an undetermined amount of time, living-room like, with enough cups of coffee and cappuccinos, gossiping about other ads of other brands, and how advertising is all about signal-to-noise ratio, like with pro audio equipment, and Outline’s best, at handling [•–] brand voice, and visual cues, and aural ones!

ISAAC subscription

Fill in the following fields. You will immediately receive an email with the link to download ISAAC.