25th April 2015

Listening to critics speak about the recently released fashion documentary ‘Dior and I’, I was struck by a perceptive comment on why the cinema really is a special place.

I think we overlook that scale is, itself, a sense’, said the commentator. He went on to describe the visceral reaction he had to witnessing Raf Simons’ first Dior collection unfold in all of its glorious colours and minute finery on the giant cinema screen.

The emotional message of the collection was magnified by the forensic detail to be found on the big screen. TV would have been powerless to deliver such knock-out impact.

This is the second time that I have thought about scale today. The first happened early this afternoon as I walked in town. For those of us engaged in the Marriage Equality conversation, social media discussion of Dublin’s newest steet art mural, of two young men embracing, has been all the rage this week.

Over 50,000 Dubliners have signed a petition to have it retained (apparently it contravenes some bylaw and the ‘No’ side is agitating to have it removed). Following the controversy from my iPhone, I was all for it, but not deeply engaged. Until I saw the mural today, with my own eyes.

Scale. The thing is massive. Standing below it, as I did, one has the impression of being enveloped in its commanding power, all under the dazzle of the afternoon sun. Because of its size, it does not just say something, it stands for something.

Parisians, during the late 1890s, were appalled by the designs of the Eiffel Tower – ugly, metal, unsophisticated crane-like edifice that it promised to be. Until its plans were made flesh, and its scale was given rein to transfix.

The greatest Europeans cities have known for some time that scale has the power to seduce, and can become its own sense.

We, in marketing, can come under pressure to activate many small-ish things in order to stretch a budget or to make the most of limited resources: smaller events, smaller promotions, smaller campaigns, smaller launches.

Sometimes, it may be worth giving in to a contrary impulse, and yield to the transcending power of big.
Brian McIntyre. Orchard. 2015.

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