The next Big Idea — the insaner, the better
What’s a meta for?
Metaphor has scandalized philosophers, including both scholastics and semiotics, because it seems to be wrong: It asserts an identity between two different things. And it is wrongest when it is most beautiful.
– Walker Percy, The Message in the Bottle
Like the artist with collage, the author who arranges a metaphor has to ask — will it blend? That is, will the two disparate concepts come together and create a metaphor of new meaning?
Shakespeare says the world’s a stage. Life, to Forrest Gump, is a box of chocolates. A dream deferred, says Langston Hughes, is a raisin in the sun.
Creating and marketing nonsensical products
Big Think Strategy — a book from marketing maven Berndt Schmitt — continues this line of reasoning. What are the seemingly unrelated ideas we can pull together to inject new life and meaning to a brand?
Schmitt likes to rip up magazines to mix the metaphors.
The Big Idea is a card game you can play for the same effect:
Game theory + chaos theory = idea generation
Sumana H. — intrepid marketer when she wants to be, and a previous interviewee — brought my attention to this game, by way of her pitched ads for these nonsensical products:
- Edible High-Priority Chowder, to cure anxiety of choice at the salad bar
- Herbal Natural Chainsaw, strong enough for a logger but made for a hippie
- Networked Beer, to ensure you never feel like you’re drinking alone [Ed. note: Isn’t that what meetups are for?]
Cheapass Games, the cheeky manufacturers of this boardgame, challenge your marketing wits: “Do you think you’re the marketing whiz who can talk the public into a Perforated Kilt? Then you’re ready to play The Big Idea!”
[Note: Cheapass Games is an indie-nomics enterprise on its own, noting that most games are overpriced and generic. Dice, pencils, plastic parts — “these generic bits and pieces can account for as much as 75% of a game’s production cost, and that cost gets handed to you.”]
Not just a game: wacky product/service combos in real life
These (seemingly) nonsensical products — and services — are the wave of the entrepreneurial future folks! Just scroll through the list at Springwise.com, a running tally of new business ideas just ridiculous enough to work.
Like this, my current favorite — a mashup of current obsessions: