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    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    Advertising has alot to do with Chaos Theory and I will show you how. However, lets start with a guy called Alan Turing who, by the way, was an absolute genius.

    Many may not have heard of him, but on the 10th of September 2009, Gordon Brown made a formal apology for the way Alan was treated after the second world war. He (Alan, not Gordon – heaven forbid) was falsely accused of gross misconduct and offered imprisonment OR female hormone treatment to ‘cure’ his homosexuality. Alan took the 2nd option and after a significant bout of depression, ate an apple he had laced with cyanide. He was 41 years old and the year was 1954.

    Alan Turing’s paper on chemical morphogenesis was the start of a realisation that life itself is constructed of random, uncontrolled events that produce ever-so-slightly different results each time. This, in addition to other work such as the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, progressed thinking toward ‘Chaos Theory‘ which, in the late 60s, augmented the laws of Newtonian Physics which was based on predictable, organised structures. In actual fact it was a guy called Lorenz who realised that predicting the weather was a fallacy…such is the unpredictable nature of nature.

    The predictable structures (exemplified in models of a ‘Clockwork Universe‘ for example), were fine and dandy until it was realised that even the most predictable and known elements could output totally random results. Blame was originally cast at anything other than the ‘machinery’ of life, but eventually theses like ‘The Butterfly Effect‘ prompted society to believe that indeed, chaos and unpredictability were stitched into the fabric of our very existence.

    This infinite randomness showed extreme, ordered beauty and the maverick mathematician, Benoît Mandelbrot mapped out a complex picture which is infinite. The exact maths can be found here but put simply, it is self-creating (as seen in morphogenesis) due to a never-ending ‘feedback loop’. What is created, feeds back into the creating. Forever. It doesn’t simplify at any given magnitude, which qualifies the boundary as a ‘fractal’.

    Some people call this ‘The Thumb Print of God’, but, perhaps more agnostically, I find it to be one of the most incredible pictures in the world – and here it is without any magnification, the Mandelbrot Set:



    The more you travel through it, the more the fractals develop. Below is a very deep zoom into the fractals (and you can even run your own open source code to simulate the same if you are so inclined):



    You may think – what the hell has this got to do with advertising….?? Well actually, quite a bit in my opinion.

    The way I see it is that traditional advertising methodology is somewhat akin to Newtonian Physics. Solid rules with finite structures and predictable outcomes. This is perfectly valid and proven over many years.

    However, the world we live in today challenges the interpretation of a brand and the usage of media channels, due to the extreme interactivity of citizens and the commoditisation of (previously) corporate-level technology.

    People are empowered to have an opinion and publish it widely. Brands can be built and destroyed by the public without any involvement of advertisers.

    What this means for advertisers is that involvement doesn’t stop when work goes out the door and the creation of a brand itself, actually includes the people that were once seen to be on the receiving end of communication.

    Totally random outcomes are unpredictable and instantaneous in today’s ultra-connected society and our beloved brand ‘onion’ and brand ‘key’ needs to be augmented to allow for this, in the same way as Newtonian Physics was augmented by Chaos Theory.

    Where before the brand models had integrity and values emitting from a core to a waiting audience, we now see random cells (citizens) having a morphing effect on brands at every stage of the process.

    As a disclaimer, at this fluid world we are starting to assist advertisers all over the world on what can be done to enjoy this opportunity, and this is just the beginning. The more you consider the biology of business, the Chaos Theory we see in real life is actually here and now in terms of communication – commercial or otherwise.

    The only thing you can predict accurately is the unpredictable results.

    Ad vitam aeternam.


    Jonathan MacDonald

    Found at: (http://www.jonathanmacdonald.com/)
    Sat, Apr 9, 2011  Permanent link
    Categories: chaos theory, advertising, media
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