True Faith

Thursday, 2 October 2008 - Manchester, United Kingdom

Leap of Faith Bungy

Presentation Summary

Some of the most innovative ideas are generated during tough times. Kevin Roberts Presentation at the Insider’s Creative Forum in Manchester, focuses on five ideas to help transform MediaCity UK into a Lovemark and a creative hub. Kevin reiterates the importance of the creative community as a powerful tool against the current economic slowdown.

I’ve been asked to talk about what it takes to be a creative hub… As CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, I face this question daily.

A high-tech, hard-wired service center won’t do it. The future is soft. It’s not about facilities, however impressive. It’s about the personality of your product, and also your people. It’s actually a story, a narrative.
Danish futurist Rolf Jensen: “The highest-paid person in the first half of this century will be the story-teller.”

Imagine if your product is so distinctive, so compelling to watch that it’s instantly recognizable as yours, where people say: “What do they put in the water in Manchester?” “Get me some of that.”

Your product will rise if it boils with: “truth, drama, courage, passion and daring.”

Manchester gave birth to the modern world. Now, you have to bring it back home. Quite the challenge.

Creativity, like culture, is difficult to pin down.

It’s not about the speed of your fiber optics. Today we’re saturated by information. Everything is media.

From Information Economy, Knowledge Economy, Experience Economy, Attention Economy to the ATTRACTION ECONOMY.

Interruption Attraction
Directors Connectors
One-to-many Many-to-one
Reactive  Interactive
Return on Investment Return on Involvement
Marketing at Connecting with
Consumers Audience

You can’t attract growth through process, concrete, cranes and brains. You have to inspire it. With JCPenney we set out to “inspire everyday lives”. We stopped marketing, and started connecting.

“Every Day Matters” was named Marketing Campaign of the Year at the World Retail Awards in Barcelona

MediaCityUK is designed for the attraction industries. Is it a sweet spot, though? Will it draw businesses and people in, enthrall them and connect them?

This is the premium territory everywhere seeks, where people simply say: “I love you.” We call it Lovemarks. Not “Likemarks”, not “Trustmarks”, but Lovemarks, the future beyond brands.

  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are built on Love and Respect.
  • Brands create loyalty for a reason. Lovemarks create Loyalty Beyond Reason.
  • Brands are owned by managers, marketers and shareholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.
  • Great brands are Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are Irresistible.



  • Low Respect. Low Love. Commodities. US Airlines. Strip malls in the US, the London 2012 Olympic Logo. Torremolinos.
  • High Love. Low Respect. Fads and infatuations. Paris Hilton to Oasis to Ibiza. When your product is instant, as yours is, use this zone to get warp speed. Mobile texting did. Most mobile applications don’t, and burn out.
  • High Respect. Low love. “e-r” words: faster, bigger… cheaper. Germany.
  • High Love. High Respect. Lovemarks, Buenos Aires. Morrissey. The Love parade in Berlin. Irresistible, loved, enduring – and real.

Here are five ideas to help transform MediaCityUK into a Lovemark


The Attraction economy is powered by emotion.

Creatives look for freedom and community, deep emotional territories. The community stirred into Berlin. The artistic space of Brooklyn (vs. Manhattan). SXSW, in Austin. La Rive Gauche!!

Pop stars to football, Manchester is all heart. Now stir emotional responses to MediaCityUK. Create 200 acres of heat and passion.

Emotional hot zones: Rio, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Boulder Colorado, Dubai;

Rational cold zones: Frankfurt, Singapore, Brussels, Leeds!

Neurologist Donald Calne: “reason leads to conclusions. Emotion leads to action.”


We live in the Age of the Idea. Mass marketing is dead, the consumer is boss, and she lives for ideas.

Creativity is “just connecting things” as Steve Jobs says – with emotion poured in. The Northwest leads the UK in this endeavour. And it’s about interconnecting talent, a Porterian cluster with lustre.

Position yourselves at the extreme end of the creative range, take risks. Oliviero Toscani, the Benetton crazy nails it: “Creativity has to be subversive. It requires a state of non-control – of limitless courage.”

Fabrica, Benetton’s applied creative lab, blurs the boundaries of culture, language and media to churn raw creative attitude. It’s the magic sauce of Miami Ad School and Parsons Design School.

Train the “new” creatives here in every field, and build the UK’s first “creative” campus. Make it about ideas fusion, not media provision.


Mystery mixes dreams, stories and icons to create the attraction of the unknown. Seattle managed to brew Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon and Kurt Cobain.

“MediaCityUK” is bland, more wonk than wonky, Microsoft not Google, short on personality. For starters, I’d consider ‘LowryMediaCityUK’…. Or -RobinhoMediaCity…

Fuse past, present and future. An Imperial War Museum, The Lowry and BBC 2.0 is a good start.
Remember, it’s the story that attracts and connects. Stories share the dream, and weave the myth.
Load LowryMediaCityUK with meaning, fast.

Sensuality Sight, sound, smell, touch and taste are portals to the emotions.

Sensuality is the seducer of creatives. Fresh air and natural light are prized in Japan and South Korea.

It’s about sunshine, loft living, pop culture, flowing water, youth, cuisine, cobblestones, art, design, cheap rent, fresh coffee, clean living and access to nature. Think emerging places like Lisbon. Movie and coffee, and culture infusers like Wellington. Super serene experiences like South Beach’s Setai hotel.

Intimacy is Empathy, commitment, passion. Intimacy creates an emotionally-powerful space for tribes of people to fill. It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture.

A luxury boutique hotel in Singapore (the Naumi) has designed a woman-only floor. That’s an idea with mystery, sensuality and intimacy. No blokes.


With myriad media choices, and a screen in every pocket, brands have become entertainment.

Welcome to the Screen Age. From wrist screens to giant outdoor displays, it’s the global commons.

Attracting is not about broadcasting or technology or media. It’s about bringing the screen alive.

We call it SISOMO, sight, sound and motion that compels, heat that people want to share with their best mates.

People use:

  • YouTube to share Sisomo.
  • Facebook, MySpace and Bebo to share their lives.
  • Wikipedia to share their knowledge.
  • eBay to share their belongings!
  • LinkedIn and XING to share their business networks.

Connect every screen inside, across and outside, and the world will come to you.


To grow a creative space, it’s And / And. Not Either / Or.

The creative hubs of the world are magicians of And / And.

They work with complex opposites at the same time so they enhance each other, without compromise. Think convergence AND divergence, rundown AND built up, artist AND scientist, possible AND impossible.

To master paradox, study Toyota . Toyota:

  • Grows steadily AND remains paranoid
  • Moves slowly AND takes great leaps
  • Is frugal AND splurges on key areas
  • Is simple AND complex
  • Is experimental AND rigorous
  • AND……is Green AND Blue

LowryMediaCityUK is designing Green into the project, fantastic, but Blue is the new Black. The future is about moving from limits to possibilities, from problems to passions, from fear to radical optimism.

Sustaining is about inspiring. It’s about people.

New Zealand on the Edge


A keynote address to the NZ Tourism Industry Association Conference. New Zealand’s tourism marketing needs to excite the global imagination with new ideas, metaphors and concepts of the nation and its people. The idea is boldly simple: New Zealand is an adventurous, innovative, creative nation because it exists on the extreme edge of Western Civilization.

Digital or Dinosaur


An address to the Jupiter Online Advertising Forum in New York. Great advertising should build outstanding connections between consumers and brands. This gloves-off presentation to a savvy Silicon Valley / Alley audience confronts both the “cooler than cool” attitude of the start-ups and the “you ain’t a billion-dollar business yet” attitude of the establishment.

Antarctica – Anything is Possible


A Market Driven Perspective of Two Antarctic Futures. Antarctica, the most isolated and unspoilt place on earth, faces the prospect of a commercial future. This presentation to an audience of Antarctic opinion formers and policy makers presents a bold challenge to harness the considerable communication power of commerce to build Brand Antarctica in a way that fosters responsible attitudes among the world’s population.

Breaking Out of the Ordinary


An address to the Advertising Research Foundation Conference in New York. In the attention economy, the challenge for advertisers and agencies is to develop ways of communication which cut through the background noise of a crowded media environment.

Hasta la Vista, Brand!


An address to the Advertising Agencies Association in Auckland. A brand is the only real asset a company has. In today’s business environment, building a strong brand is the single most compelling imperative facing all companies. A brand is the critical interface between companies and consumers. In most cases, a brand is the only thing which differentiates your company’s products from those of your competitors.