Friday, January 11, 2013

Why Communications Coding Matters


As a child I was fascinated by the PBS television show Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.   
Over the course of an hour he would paint elaborate landscapes, each an ode to a scenic far away place that most likely existed only in his mind.  Cadmium yellows mixed with Prussian blues, elegant mountain  skylines were created with feather brushes  loaded with ever loving evergreens capped with snow colored whites.

Now I'm not a painter.  Never have been.  The best I've painted is my bathroom, and frankly that was always a drippy mess.  

Yet somehow, whenever I watched Bob Ross, his soothing voice and seamless painting styles made everything seem possible.  Here he was...just one crazy looking man with an easel set against a backdrop.  And there I was, a kid hopped up on sesame street and reading rainbow.  When he said, "maybe there's a tree here, why not", I thought to myself "yeah, why not".

The funny part is, I wouldn't dare put a landscape painting up on my walls.  Yet, when he worked, I felt like it was time to create a landscape. And maybe even hang it somewhere other than my bathroom...

Fast forward to today: In Greece, TV is rarely dubbed.  Unlike the German, French and Italian counterparts, Greek TV is subtitled.   So, when I came across what looked like Ross's show...sixties hairstyles and all the English I could devour, I became a kid once more.  Transfixed on the happy little clouds that came to life before me, the vanishing perspective of a twisting and turning river, and the familiar questions that elevated my childhood mind, i was once again transported. 

I soon realized this man wasn't Bob Ross, yet he said the same friendly happy phrases that I knew so well.  "Maybe there's a happy little tree here.  Just pull the brush straight down, blend and... there we have it.  Practice practice practice."

So who was this mystery man that had all but consumed Ross, his easel, and his painting style?  It was his son, Steve, continuing the tradition that his father had laid down before him.

Believe it or not, some things matter, and we never know why until something changes.  

As soothing as Ross's painting show was, it never occurred to me that he had a son.  For every painter Ross inspired, for ever child that was transfixed and lulled, there was one person who was willing to pick up his brushes and continue his legacy.  In fact, he was the only one who could.   Anyone else would have lacked the body language, the phrasing and the coding that made Bob Ross....Bob Ross.   Steve became Bob.  Bob shaped Steve.

Coding.   Its cultural.  Its familial.  Its personal.   Its ours to own and use responsibly. Its not just DNA, it is everyday and it is a part of how we communicate to the world.

QUESTION: How do you leverage human body coding in your marketing. Is coding valid in video alone or do you use it in other visual mediums also?

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