Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Human Element

In the digital age, the fact that we are human has become a successful brand identity.

The Dow Chemical Company launched "The Human Element" campaign in 2006. Offered up by FCB (now DraftFCB), the campaign "showcases individual human profiles and circumstances to communicate the power of harnessing 'The Human Element' to foster solutions to human problems around the world." []

It's a nice corporate identity piece. Everyone likes the idea of supporting a company 'that really cares'. From a creative perspective, it's a wonderfully dramatic image that quickly links the idea of humanity (the human element) and science (all of Dow's chemicals they want to sell you).

But, take a step back. In a world where a growing number of people won't do something because they can't do it online and would have to talk to someone (yes, this happens all the time in the younger generation), the company just sold you, rather overtly, on the idea of human interaction. 'Hey, we're nice people, buy our stuff'. While they might not practice it any longer, people buy into the idea of old fashioned values and business practices.

And it's not just Dow that capitalizing on a human brand identity. While not all are as overt as Dow, the human element is a reoccurring theme. Take for example the instant classic UPS Whiteboard. The Martin Agency takes lead agency credit for the campaign, the same agency responsible for the 'what can brown do for you?' slogan. The spots sell UPS in a very human way. It's door to door salesman, face to face. They are talking to their audience as people, not just as profit, and it shows.

The next example is an effort from McKinney/Durham for Qwest. The ad was is listed as a "best spot" for November 2006 by AdWeek.

And the list goes on. Apple with 'Mac vs. PC'. Hewlett-Packard with 'The Computer is Personal Again'. Cisco with 'The Human Network". And I am sure there are more.

I don't know if its a pining for the old days, or people searching for a sunny option in an increasingly cloudy world, but whatever it is, being human is hip.

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