Stephen Nachmanovitch, famed author, lecturer, and improvisational violinist, discusses the French word bricolage in his book, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art. He equates it to what engineers call “elegance,” a system in which something with a very complicated nature is diluted into a simpler representation. In advertising, it’s that single and simple line of thought that has a great many implications and outcomes.
Nachmanovitch would label the creators of Nike’s famous tagline “Just Do It.” as “creative chemists.” He writes that through the process of bricolage, “we take the ordinary materials in our hands (in this case three small words and a period) and turn them into new living matter–the ‘green gold’ of the alchemists.”
Unforgettable brands are birthed from, bathed in, and interwoven with bricolage (e.g. the Rolex crown, Apple’s bitten apple, Ferrari’s red). Just as Beethoven crafted his own music, to an amazing extent, of nothing but scales, so can successful advertising–whether through a logo, tagline, positioning statement, or headline–create something extremely powerful…a memorable brand.