In Science speak, it’s called “Piloerection”. For the tastefully macabre, it’s “Horripilation”. The elegant ones call it “Cutis Anserina”. And the mundane dismisses it as “Gooseflesh”. This happens when the muscles of your hair follicles become stimulated and erect themselves because you feel cold. The same goes for being scared or intimidated, being touched or being turned on. When raging hormones can’t be contained, the bumps can’t be controlled.

Goosebumps are hopelessly attached to the sympathetic nervous system. You can hide an erection. But hackles tend to show off. A line from a song, a passage from a book or even a 30-second spot can cause the skin to flex its arrectores pilorum muscles and make the hair follicles contract.

Goosebumps are precursors of shivers, tears, laughter, screams, big and small curses and audible sighs. How life happens is my bottomless  source of goosebumps. Those moments that refuse to be deleted eventually ended up in my stash of ideas.

You can’t fake emotions, and you can’t fake the hairs raising on end

God gave me two preemies for sons. This inspired me to do the touch campaign for J&J. It was adapted worldwide and won quite a number of awards. My daughter’s story became a classic spot for hotdogs: . The list and the prickly skin go on.

As a child, I was the anti-thesis of rambunctious and the exuberant. I was happy being unseen and observing the marvels and follies of human behavior. I filed away the ones that gave me goosebumps and saved myself from being shallow, worn out and extinct.

My teacher’s pancaked face became my campaign for domestic violence. She was battered. She was made up. Her eloquently bruised lectures on Shakespeare made me see her scars under the perfect speech.  My mom’s missile of a half a gallon size pineapple juice thrown like a pro- pitcher gave my dad a huge bump and the realization that a wife’s radar can detect more things than the CIA.  I, on the other hand, used this as my insight and plot for a Del Monte TV spot that sold out tons of sachets and left the sales force with much gooseflesh.

By the pricking of my thumbs

Creativity in any form, in any age or any stage is damn good creativity when it reaches the arrectores pilorum. Goosebumps are even more hair raising in the age of engagement marketing or attention marketing or whatever post-doomsday marketing phrase applies. Technology is making ads more likable. Soon, the target audience won’t be assaulted incessantly by ads that they don’t even like. Eventually, they will be the ones targeting the ads.

Intrusion? Disruption? Interruption?  Not quite. The realization that annoyance should be avoided like the plague has seeped into the modes of engagement.

Pedigree made itself more endearing when it launched the “Doggelganger” website. It didn’t preach about product attributes nor elicit guilt feelings on having a soft spot for abandoned dogs. Rather, the goosebumps came with a program that matched your face with a dog so you get to adopt one that kinda looked like you. It was cute. It was heart warming and mostly, it was inviting and inspiring:

Toyota used smart phones to improve driving skills. The app featured a glass of water that shouldn’t be spilled while driving. Simple and not intimidating at all even for tech- idiots:

Stivoro software created a social pressure tool to help smokers quit. Called “Blackmail Yourself “, the app hid one’s dreaded  facebook photos but published them each time a cigarette was lit. Enough to make your skin crawl:

Burger King’s Whopper Lust used Direct TV and made viewers desire food porn. Free whoppers were given to those that stayed tune to the looped burger shots for 30 minutes. This was food porn made happily digestible:

Just Dance 3, a dance video game , created Autodance, an app that proved anyone can dance. It was stark simple to record any movement and synched it with a choice soundtrack. Hope for two left feet:

In France, the Mini was launched on Facebook with an app that enabled you to customize and drive the car on Google maps. Adventure for those with no sense of direction:

And Google? There’s Field Trip, a phone app that takes you to the exotic or hidden wonders just lurking around . This makes you feel like a local when you travel and gets you shopping, food tripping or just immersing off the broken path. Imagine hair rising moments when you stumble upon a deliciously forbidden find:


Engagement has gotten under the skin. We’ve seen implanted microchips as IDs. These will soon be used to make us experience the product like feel it, smell it and totally be immersed in it at any given time. Ads will reach us when we’re most vulnerable. Research moved out of the fish tanks. FGD’s and other probings are being done with MRI machines. The incidence of posturing and lying is eliminated. Ads can literally reach us through the stems of our brains and the pores of our skin. More intimate. More moving than the farthest reach of engagement. When something wicked comes this way, I will be well prepared for goosebumps marketing.

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By Ompong Remigio, Chief Creative Officer, Campaigns & Grey

About Ompong

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