In Brief

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.

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