Brands That Occupy Physical Space Gain Mindshare

Planners are known to inhabit all sorts of out-of-the-way corners of the bloatosphere. They make up their own worlds in fact, wherein big thoughts are free to roam.
By clicking around a bit in this realm, I managed to stumble upon Sarah of Digital Rain. She’s writing about The Method of Loci and how it might relate to brands.

Indeed, this technique did not simply disappear with the collapse of the Roman Empire. It is still very much in use today. Brands quite often use spatial mnemonic linking devices; a few years ago for example Stella Artois created a series of posters designed to strengthen the brand’s association with film. The posters functioned like 2D memory palaces; objects that symbolised famous films were placed in various loci around an everyday, public scene such as a street or a beach. In effect the brand was creating miniature Stella Artois memory palaces for us to wander around and recall well-known stories. This technique has, not surprisingly found its way into the digital arena; M&M’s with their Dark M&Ms viral puzzle, Virgin Digital with their 20 greatest bands puzzle and Absolut Vodka with their 82 bottle search. By creating virtual memory places, all three brands were able to associate and link themselves with a wealth of stories and tales.
In today’s cluttered world, branded memory palaces (or places; they can, according to psychologist’s be any place, even a town) can offer consumers a way to organise, store, memorise and navigate the myriad of stories and associations that are thrown at them by brands.

I’ve been fortunate to work in event marketing over the past few years. When you get to see this world from the inside out, you start to understand the importance of place to a brand. Consumers that volunteer to enter a branded space absolutely must be entertained, surprised and delighted as they journey through this real life engagement. Because memories are made there.
When you have a brand that’s established in physical space, via outstanding retail experiences or event marketing experiences, you’re that much further ahead when it comes to creating a virtual experience online that mirrors in style and substance the brand’s corporeal qualities.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.