Hugh MacLeod expands on the idea of the social object.

Hugh MacLeod's recent post on Gaping Void introduced us to the notion of the object-idea. MacLeod proposes that the future of advertising is for brand communications to be replaced (in its current form) by an object-idea. An object idea can be described as a social object that articulates a purpose-idea – which of course requires a break-down of what each concept is;

A social object – the reason, or impetus, for two people to talk specifically to each other – and not to someone else A purpose-idea – the ‘what for' of any business or community

If an ad is to work – make people talk about it, love it and want to take a stake in sharing it – it must become a social object. Many a viral campaign acts as a social object because it becomes part of the cultural conversation – people talk about it, and ultimately act as the medium for the message. But for an ad to take on meaning for the consumers that it speaks to – and to get them to take action as a result of it – it must be driven by a purpose-idea. A purpose idea is the emotional, intrinsic reason that will motivate an individual to want to buy the product – and the reasons why the product was created to begin with. A sense of safety and security from purchasing a certain brand of car, a boost in self-confidence from wearing a sexy heel (and the looks it may generate), or a sense that whole grain will nourish you and contribute to a healthier, lighter and longer life.

PSFK provides access to this article and every report, case-study, interview, and analysis that we publish for our members. PSFK Professional Membership also unlocks accessto unlimited customized research assistance and our database of over 100,000 insights on innovation trendspanning across eight industry sectors—from culture and brand to retail and customer experience.
Already a members? Log in