Sunday, 24 April 2022

Bloomin’ Lemons


In my last post, I referred to a talk by Orlando Wood, which sent me down an Orlando-shaped rabbit hole in search of more of his wise and wonderful thinking. He has published two books, Lemon and Look Out, which sound well worth reading. And as a preview, there’s a 20 minute film, produced in June 2020, those heady days when we thought the pestilence was as good as all over ...

I don’t think a marketing-related film has ever made me feel homesick before, but I’m afraid this one did, with halcyon scenes of the Thames in all its midsummer glory. Where the Lemons Bloom starts with an anecdote about Goethe, and how working as an administrator for the Court of Weimar stifled his creativity, so much so that he took off and fled to Italy in the middle of the night.

This reflects Orlando’s premise: that advertising has become less effective over the last fifteen years or so, due to a shift to the left-brain mode. Flatter, more abstraction, less holistic, less employment of metaphor and humour. No doubt a consequence of the obsession with being “data-driven”.

And it’s not just marketing communications. Culturally, the effect is only too apparent - intense focus on particular words, often taken out of context. Obsessions with categorisation and labelling people. A widespread sense of humour failure and lack of appreciation of nuance. 

Is human intelligence becoming more artificial, I wonder?

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