When sparks fly

Content to spark conversation.

Heyo! Thrilled you’re joining me for this week’s newsletter which covers: a poignant South Asian jewellery ad which demolished traditional stereotypes, Facebook’s new video speed dating app Sparked, how the world’s first resume still stands the test of time after 500+ years, and why consumers can’t resist the default option.


Sacré bleu! Looks like Wix took down the landing page to their dud of a campaign last Monday. I’m choosing to believe it was from the onslaught of Tornado traffic — guess we blew them away 🌪️😜

Now let’s have some fun around here!

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Marketing Minute

Given that 4/20 just blazed by, I expected to fill this space with a cannabis campaign. Much to my surprise, there was nothing worth a second glance. My expectations musta been too high.

Instead, “Pure as Love” by Bhima Jewellery jumped out at me:

All you need is love

Given the lack of LGBT+ representation in India, this ad is bold and brave (especially) for a brand with a century old legacy. This heartfelt commercial captures the story arc of a glowering young man blossoming into a radiant, confident woman with the unconditional love of her supportive parents.

You can’t be it if you can’t see it

Trans artist and activist Meera Singhania is the star of the commercial, and she sought to create a “utopian situation in an authentic manner” because her experience was more painful than depicted. Instead, she produced “unfettered positivity because trauma is already deeply ingrained with the trans experience.” What a meaningful gift Meera gave the trans community.

Did you notice we didn’t see who she’s marrying?

That was a purposeful choice to ensure viewers don’t assume it’s a man. Sensitivity to these details and nuances is why representation behind and in front of the camera matters.

Free to be you and me

Beautiful in its simplicity, this campaign smashed stereotypes by offering a refreshing and modern take on the tired wedding + jewellery narrative. Jewellery is thoughtfully and organically incorporated into the storyline at stages throughout Meera’s life and journey accepting her femininity — not just at her wedding.

What’s interesting (especially juxtaposed against the recent Budweiser ad) is this campaign isn’t influenced by outside timing. International Women’s Day passed and this ad likely wasn’t created with the intention of promoting wedding season sales. This makes the impact even stronger.

Before this I’d never heard of Bhima Jewellery, but now I like them even more. That’s the power of exceptional marketing.

Tornado Watch 🌪️

Prepare yourselves for this gem.

Quite the shocker

Facebook is beta testing a free video speed dating app called Sparked, and the tagline is “video dating with friendly people.”

Sparked appears to have taken a page from Ellen’s brand book by imploring signups to “be kind,” “keep this a safe space” and “show up.”

No, this isn’t an SNL skit. It’s an “early experiment by New Product Experimentation” which impressively manages to sound both bleakly dystopian and vaguely threatening. But oh, don’t worry. Facebook claims user profiles will be “human reviewed” before they’re allowed into the wild. How comforting?

If you don’t succeed

Interestingly, this isn’t their first foray into online dating. Facebook Dating launched a few years ago, but at this point it’s unclear if they intend to fold Sparked into FD or compete with it.

While Sparked still follows the view-like-match structure of most dating apps on the market, there are:

- no public profiles

- no swiping

- no DMs before you have an appointment set up

If you match with someone, initial calls last 4 minutes, then if both parties approve, they can schedule a follow up 10 min chat. If this video session goes well, then daters can exchange real world contact info.

Not the first mover, certainly no advantage

I’m curious where Facebook thinks their differentiator exists in this oversaturated space. The pandemic already pushed the big apps like Tinder and Bumble to incorporate video, so they’re hardly mavericks in that respect.

The one thing users won’t share

Facebook is even starting from a double disadvantage since they can’t openly tap into their reams of data because users expect a semblance of privacy with their online dating exploits, and their brand isn’t synonymous with dating.

Facebook’s plan could be to heavily lean on Sparked to drive users to their in-person speed dating events once vaccine rollout hits critical mass. Or is this just another data grab?

Time will tell. In the meantime, if any Tornado readers test it out, let us know your thoughts.

Currently Living Rent Free in My Mind

In 1482, 30-year old Leonardo da Vinci wrote the first personal marketing document in recorded history: a resume.

Now that we know who’s to blame, here’s why — 500+ years later — we’re still using this format.

What have you done for me lately

Da Vinci understood that consumers don’t care about you, only what you can do for them. As such, his resume was personal, persuasive and consumer-centric.

As a man of many talents, but primarily known for being a weapon’s guy, da Vinci was seeking employment from the Duke of Milan to design bridges, build boats, sculpt and more.

The Da Vinci code

If you can read Latin, you’ll notice that da Vinci’s resume lists 11 ways Milan could benefit from his expertise. The first nine of those points detail how he could help the city during wartime, with “covered chariots, safe and unattackable, there is no body of men so great but they would break them” and much more.

The remaining two points are how he could be of service through sculpting, painting and architecture when there was peace. Da Vinci was able to convincingly persuade the Duke of the ways he could help the city win wars and contribute to the arts & culture. A true Renaissance man!

Caio Time

Da Vinci ultimately secured the Duke’s patronage for 17 years, during which time he painted the Last Supper. Talk about ROI.

Kirsten Explains Things

Why the default is catnip for consumers

The default is what you get if you don’t actively make a choice. Think: automatic enrollment in a retirement account by an employer.

But in order to understand the allure of the default, we must address risk.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose

Consumers are loss averse and will cling to what they believe is ‘theirs.’ The psychological pain from losing is twice the pleasure of a gain. Because consumers would rather avoid losing things than take a risk for a possible win, they are unlikely to defect from a default option.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose

Consumers are loss averse and will cling to what they believe is ‘theirs.’ The psychological pain from losing is twice the pleasure of a gain. Because consumers would rather avoid losing things than take a risk for a possible win, they are unlikely to defect from a default option.

The default amounts to: “It could be worse than what I already have”

Possession is 9/10th of the law

For marketers, the power of the default option is that it encourages feelings of ownership in consumers. This motivates them to value that option more, thus making them less likely to ever part with it.Spotify Song of the Week

The vibe this week is “Art Clone” by Jtwig

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