The Little Amazing Show
It’s the big events that usually get all the attention. That long planned trip to Disneyland, maybe a Neil Diamond concert (talk about velvet tones in tight pants.....) or even a naked yoga session with Kim Kardashian. We all tend to gauge or plot our life by these “happenings,” making great plans and devoting many hours of thought and energy into helping them actually come off. And even if the lineups you find at Disneyland remind you more of the DMV than the happiest place on earth, and even if Neil Diamond somehow forgot to sing “Sweet Caroline,” and even if it wasn’t Kim Kardashian that got naked but her freaky little instructor instead, you sigh happily and tick that event off the list as being “completed,” secure in the knowledge that your life is going along pretty good.
But what if we’re missing the whole point? The saying is “the best things in life are free,” which for my money always seemed a little more like the words of some lonely loser trying to cheer himself up as he munches on the half-eaten Big Mac he found in a dumpster. Was it really some day-dreaming rich guy with a Bentley and bank account that said it? But what if it is true? What if it really is not about the big things at all? What if the truly amazing things life has to share with us are in fact way easier to appreciate (and even afford) than we ever truly thought?
Well that’s the notion Nokia is trying to sell us on. In a global ad campaign that has been working its way around the earth for almost a year now (and about to hit North America next) Nokia decided to fixate on the little things, the little amazing things to be exact, in various cities and countries. The result is compelling and kinda lovely, to say the least.
Episode 1 starts off in Berlin, and really, what says “amazing” better than an entire country chock full of peppy, jolly Germans? In the ad we are treated to images of random, and simple, beauty while ideas of how to make “today” amazing pop up on screen. “Put a song in someone’s head, take a photo of your feet, every hour” wherever you happen to find yourself are just a couple. Another is to give a little more than you get – basically, hand something off to someone with no expectation of reward or return. The ad suggests teaching a skill your mother taught you to someone else – like poaching an egg. Another idea is to look up more than you look down. To decide that for today, everything is half full versus half empty. Just decide it – and do it. To have a swing – on a swing. And all the while these little nuggets are paraded by, the thread of the commercial is revisited (a piano set up in a random public place adorned by a little sign that says “play me”) Many do – both poorly and well – throughout the entire ad. The spot is designed to market Nokia handsets but it’s really far more than just that. Dare I say......uplifting? That would be crazy, right?
Subsequent spots hopscotch around the globe, hitting places like London, Madrid, Paris, India and even drop in on a time – Night. The aesthetic is the same in each – just wondrous, simple, child-like appreciation for the most basic of events and happenings that most of us miss in the hectic life of our waking days.
Watching the ads you can’t help but wonder when the beauty of dropping a raw egg into boiling water stopped looking so amazing. Remember when you had never seen such a thing before? Remember when the very fact that you had feet was a major discovery? Probably not – but if you do, you get to once again enjoy, and embrace, the everyday we usually endure for the little amazing show that it actually is.
I have found that one of the biggest upsides to having children is that odd time you finally calm down enough to experience the world through their eyes. We usually blow it, checking our watch and then freaking out over some appointment or job that needs doing – as we drag their little butts off to the next “big event” we can’t live without. How long before we finally train them up so they can start missing the rest of life the way we do? Not long, but thanks to advertisements like this, maybe we can start clawing some of our lost innocence back again. Paper airplanes are amazing! They just are – make one, throw it and you’ll see. Stare at a bug on a plant. Amazing! Talk on a cell phone while you walk down the street. That is amazing. It really is. Life is literally an endless series of little amazing shows – full of fascinating oddities and weird eccentricities and unfathomable beauties, placed everywhere around us for what appears to be no reason whatsoever. I don’t care if it’s some corporate juggernaut trying to sell me on a phone or not. Their message is pure. Focus less on the big events and start enjoying the amazingness arrayed around us instead. Call me crazy, but maybe there actually is someone up there who likes us.