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A breath of fresh airless air


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    A breath of fresh airless air

    Grey Group Malaysia's executive creative director Graham Drew (pictured left) reflects on the launch of Elon Musk's Tesla into space.

    May 3, 2018

    My old English teacher used to complain about the misuse of words. There were many abuses, but in his view, by far the biggest violation was 'Awesome'. In its true definition it is something that inspires awe - that rare kind of slack-jawed speechlessness that only happens when babies pop out or Northern Lights streak the sky. That was over 20 years ago, its only got worse. Now a latte is awesome.  

    But just a few days back I, just like everyone else, saw Elon Musk launch a rocket in the sky - then land it again it a way that in itself seems to defy gravity. But then...then I saw the Tesla cam, I saw StarMan. I'd missed all the pre-publicity, so knew nothing about it till I saw it. It was awesome.

    I first encountered Elon Musk in 2012 at SXSW. It was my first time there and was totally bewildered by the whole thing - so just went to the keynotes in the first couple of days. I had no idea who he was nor had I heard this scrabble-like name before. He was just there on stage, chatting to  some other Silicon-Valley type. But pretty soon I was struck by the sheer pragmatism of the guy. He talked about how he started, grew, then sold PayPal and made millions and got bored. How he then just looked around for something to do, something to fix.

    What were the big problems in the world? The plague of online payment was sorted, so what next? In short, he talked about how NASA inspired him as a youth - but the US had been bankrupted by foreign policy. How fossil fuels were unsustainable and choking us all. Space, Power and Pollution.Or, as we know now, Space X, Solar City, Tesla.


    How one man has become a real Tony Stark is well documented, maybe too much already. Back to StarMan. Amongst the forest of awesomes that he's achieved I think I love this one the most. Because it feels utterly self indulgent. And maybe because it's the best car ad ever made. But really, I just love the sheer bravado of sticking his car on top of his rocket - it speaks directly to the child in all of us.

    To us Ad people this inevitably calls paralells to Red Bull and their great space adventure - which revolutionalised branded content forever and would have swept the board at Cannes (if they had entered...) But the Red Bull stunt was brand first, it was a genuis feat of brand marketing. So is StarMan, but this has so much more of a sense of mischief and ego-centric f**k it about it.  

    At a time when we are all sharpening our pencils for the Croisette, finding new ways to solve the worlds problems or maybe just our clients issues. Along comes something out of left field that is such an epic mic drop it's just...

    I could be wrong - I haven't read any of the blogs, it could be all index linked to the pre-order of the next Tesla. But I don't care. Today someone that always shows us all what's possible,  did something truly awesome.

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