Olaf Hartmann already delighted audiences with his hands in his early years while entertaining passers-by as a street juggler in Brussels. And his deft touch in keeping the balls aloft earned him not only applause, but money.
Later, when working in the advertising department of a pharmaceuticals company, Hartmann quickly realised that the fun factor had gone out of advertising for many people. In fact, advertising is often simply rejected out of hand – ad avoidance has been added to the cultural skillset. Of the countless messages with which people are bombarded, only the fewest actually “stick”.
At the same time, the world is becoming increasingly frenetic, virtual and complex – something in which advertising is also playing a part. Visual and acoustic overload has made people tired and sceptical of and generally uninterested in advertising. Fun is now a rare commodity in marketing departments.
What’s the remedy? Is there a way to put the fun back into advertising, to ensure it captivates and implicitly conveys brand values?
Coen van den Bos and Olaf Hartmann asked themselves the same questions. In seeking a solution, they discovered playful communications media and hit upon the original endlessly folding Magic Cube®. It was love at first touch and the haptic ingenuity of the endless folding action had them hooked. It was this that sparked van den Bos and Hartmann to find a way of reproducing this little piece of magic in two-dimensional and easily variable paper form.
Following intensive research into learning and perception processes, Hartmann realised that human perception is heavily reliant on multisensory processes, especially the sense of touch. The haptics of an object – the way it feels to the touch – makes abstract concepts easier to understand, engenders a feel for truth and value, creates lasting memories and triggers a willingness to buy.
Scientific research has shown that the process is influenced by tiny details. For instance, the micro-muscular movements that ensue when unfolding an endless card activate certain positive mental concepts that in turn colour human perception.
But getting a person to keep on going back to the card and repeating these movements depends on making the folding experience fun and enjoyable.
Pushing the Boundaries of Creative Engineering
Achieving all this with an endless card was something that Hartmann’s friend, Coen van den Bos, knew how to do. Although the creative engineer had spent more than 15 years in advertising, his career had begun at a Japanese car manufacturer. Drawing on the Kaizen principle of continuous improvement, he used the knowledge gained to perfect the endless logoloop® card.
In the face of countless experts who all confirmed the project was a technical impossibility, they put in two years of development work and conducted any number of unsuccessful trials before the two entrepreneurs were able to admire the perfect endless folding card: logoloop®.