“Cube Grenades,” Social Objects, and the Future of Marketing
Cartoonist and marketing theorist Hugh MacLeod has been developing his concept of “social objects,” now reified in the form of his “cube grenade” series of illustrations, which he believes are representative of the future of both brands and marketing as a whole. Though it may sound opaque at first, the concept of social objects can be summed up by MacLeod’s thesis that people socialize around objects in meaningful ways, and these peripheral interactions are far more important than the objects themselves.
Such conversations, MacLeod claims, can be induced by introducing objects into peoples environments in such a way that provokes them into forming a new network. MacLeod’s calls such objects “cube grenades,” in that they are thrown, so to speak, into one’s space—in his recent examples, the office space of friends or colleagues.
MacLeod’s recent “grenades,” a series of cartoons and prints—some distributed for free online and others produced by commission—are social objects he believes can better express the ideas behind a brand than traditional marketing tactics. Such an illustration, MacLeod explains
Is not a glorified advertising poster. I’m not primarily interested in why people should buy the client’s product per se. I’m far more interested in the human dynamic, the collective human drive that makes the client’s people want to get up in the morning and go to work. That is where THE REAL VALUE is created.