Nathan For You
This may sound like hyperbole, but Nathan Fielder, star of the docu-reality TV show Nathan For You, is without doubt the greatest PR person of the 21st century, and one of my biggest creative inspirations.
The premise of the show is that Fielder is parachuted in to help failing small businesses – a bit like Mary Portas. Unlike Portas, Fielder’s solutions to business problems are always really stupid; hugely creative, but stupid. The result is some of the funniest and most compelling TV around, and a must-watch for any aspiring PR creative.
Every idea he presents to the business owners is based on a simple behavioural insight which he then translates into a totally out-there solution. An example being when Nathan noticed than an independent coffee shop in LA was losing all its business to surrounding branches of Starbucks. The solution? Making the coffee shop look more like a Starbucks. Fielder rebranded the shop as ‘Dumb Starbucks’ with a near identical logo to the original, using parody law to get around being sued. The man is a PR genius.
Great artists are able constantly reinvent themselves and Daniel Dumile has certainly done that. He started out in the '90s rap group KMD but, following a series of tragedies, was left out on the streets with no record deal and no hope. He emerged from the shadows as MF DOOM, wearing a distinctive metal mask, with an attitude and music inspired by the comic-book supervillains he read about as a kid.
His lyrics draw inspiration from an incredible palette of obscure references from the world of pop culture, personal experiences and more – in fact, he must be the only rapper ever to reference the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in a verse that rhymed!
Being a master of puns can come in handy working as a creative, and if you want to get better at wordplay then you need to look for inspiration from the best. That is exactly why I find myself listening to MF DOOM’s lyrics time and time again.
As the esteemed art critic Drake once said: “I fuck with Turrell" – and what better endorsement can you get than that? James Turrell’s incredible neon light installations were a huge inspiration for the backdrop to Drake’s iconic and much-memed video for Hotline Bling.
I’m hugely inspired by immersive light artists like Turrell, whose work is a sensory experience you can immerse yourself in. They provide a platform for personal and memorable moments of reflection that stay with you for longer than a photo or painting might. I think that’s why some of my favourite PR works allow for audience immersion and interaction.
In the absence of live sport during the lockdown I’ve been watching a lot more documentaries. My favourite current watch is the NFL Films production America’s Game, which is a year-by-year look at the winners of the Super Bowl. It features incredible in-game footage shot on film, narration from Hollywood A-listers and a hugely emotive soundtrack. If you can get me welling up over sporting moments that happened decades before I was born in places I’ve never been, then you’re clearly doing something right.
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