The Age of Hard and Soft: Touching Stories on Matter and Memory


Image Source Creative Director Ashley Jouhar examines  an intensely engaging ad for a Buccaneer 3D printer that explores technology, matter and memory through the notion of the Mind’s Eye

This ad by the LOLA agency in Madrid, Spain is a highly effective and affecting ad for a cutting edge product, reframing hard technology and soft emotion within a 3D printer, finding something deeply compassionate and positive within a piece of marketing.

The idea of casting blind people to talk about their memories before their loss of vision is an extremely powerful one, driving the central idea of what it might be like to have ‘Touchable Memories’. One woman talks about “Memories being like dreams; like a gust of wind.” As a sighted person, I couldn’t help but reflect on how it must be to see, without seeing. The storytelling power of the creative direction and the testimony of the people made these people’s experiences extraordinarily tangible.

This is one of those ads that lingers in your mind long after you have seen it. The ad could have shown loving close ups of the 3D printer cutting, tracing and working its incredible magic on producing a piece of furniture or something. Why? Because that’s what it can do. Such an ad shrilly says, ‘Look at me. Look how clever I am. Look at what I can do.’ What’s in it for the consumer though? The Madrid based ad agency LOLA managed to keep the consumer top of mind here by coming up with a brilliant way to demonstrate the product’s benefits and get under the skin of any and every viewer. The really clever thing is that the technical brilliance of this printer is a given because its benefits have been pointed up so strongly. “If I could touch the picture I could make the memory tangible again” as one of the women says. The virtual becomes material.

A great end line too, putting technology in perspective as a means to an end, not the end in itself. ‘Technology is just a tool. People give it a purpose.’ The virtual, the memory, becomes material and tangible in this 3D printed object , which of course is different from the vision in their mind’s eye, adding a different experience.


About Author

Ashley Jouhar is the Creative Director of Image Source. He has worked as a senior creative in the photography industry for over 12 years, previously as Deputy Director of Photography at Getty Images. He is also a photographer in his own right, shooting lifestyle, documentary and portraiture for a wide range of clients. Before turning to photography full time, Ashley worked as a senior Art Director and Group Head at McCann Erickson, London, creating award winning advertising for Bacardi, Shredded Wheat, Black & Decker, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Birds Eye, amongst others.

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