Guest Post by Kerry Chrapliwy, Co-Founder of WOND3R

Never before have so many people been connected in this great, big world! Social Media is not only changing the way we communicate, but what we communicate. People only share what tickles their fancy - but this begs the question: how do we measure this engagement?

The future of advertising is about integration – it has moved beyond a :30 second spot. Or a print ad. Or a billboard. Or an explainer video. Social Media has been disruptive to the point that it’s empowering everyone to be the next great marketer. Basically, we’re all competing against a pimple-faced 15-year old for the world’s attention.

We encourage brands to differentiate themselves, as I’m sure many others do. When brands realize this, you get to start fresh and truly be free: Free to reinvent, free to create and free to focus on the only thing that really matters to people – wonder.

Our WOND3R and Why

WOND3R’s secret sauce? Collapse functions. Our philosophy is to break down the walls between PR, Advertising, Digital and Social Media. Why have multiple, disparate pieces of communication, when one solid strategic campaign idea will check off all of those boxes?

An example of this is how we were able to create wonder with Vivienne Tam and the City of Houston. We were challenged by the President of Visit Houston to do something different that would put Houston on the global map. It had to be huge and change all preconceived notions of what outsiders think - or don’t think at all - about Houston. A tall order.

Our idea was to expose Vivienne to the wonders of Houston. If we could get her passionate about our city, we knew she would translate her love for Houston to the world. So, we took her to NASA, the rodeo, Rice University, the Menil Collection, Good Dog Houston, the CAM, sushi at KUU, the Mexican flea market on 59, Pinto Ranch, Buffalo Bayou, Comicpalooza amongst others - which resulted in the Rodeo in Space theme, Butterfly Gardens, Indian Paint Brushes and blue bonnets and brilliant dresses inspired by NASA and The Houston Rodeo. We utilized less than 5% of Visit Houston’s annual ad budget and the results were astronomical. Houston was featured in over 200 worldwide articles, garnered 2+ billion impressions and continues to be donned by such human billboards as Paris Hilton and Daniel Campbell.

And due to all the PR and Social Media, Houston continues to make a global impression in great world cities like Panama City, Paris, New York, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Manila, opening more eyes and minds to Houston’s amazing cultural, culinary and experiential offerings.

We should encourage brands to think about this type of differentiated and strategic execution. By collapsing silos, you’re creating a cohesive piece of communication across all departments. That, to us, is far stronger than multiple disparate messages. And it’s the future of advertising. In fact, it’s the right now of advertising. You might see a clothing brand like Louis Vuitton pumping out traditional ads in some magazines, but you’ll hear much more noise about their collaboration with streetwear brand Supreme to create new merchandise and building off of the cultural hype. To the tune of [1]$23 billion USD in the first half of 2017, by the way.

Jack Ma said, "Don't hire the most qualified, hire the craziest". This may sound counter-intuitive, but in a world where messaging has little chance to stand out in an increasingly over-crowded and cluttered marketplace, counter-intuition is often your only hope. That said, if we're using Einstein's theory of insanity (doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results), that's the wrong kind of crazy. Originality and surprise are your best friends. Here is a checklist to ensure success:

  • Don't execute an idea until you can say, "That's impossible...let's do it!" (Impossible" is just another word for something that has never-been-done-before).
  • Is there an opportunity to converge your brand with a successful brand in another (preferably unexpected) category to create something entirely new? For example, if you specialize in waste collection, can you combine with a luxury brand?
  • Whatever you're thinking, think the opposite. It's probably right.
  • Aim to make a mistake. Most genius is the result of brilliant accidents.
  • Take Big Data with a grain of salt. It can only ever predict the past. Create something so engaging, people will come flocking to it.
  • Create emotional connections. [2]Even the biggest purchase decisions are proven to be made emotionally, not rationally, according to Nielsen.
  • Have fun. If you didn't have fun creating something, no one will have fun engaging with it.

And finally, let’s not taint the traditional executions. There’s still a place for them and they won’t be going away. But, the world is moving at lightning speed - and capitalizing on that speed means we’ll have to think even faster, smarter and more strategically. At the end of the day, we’ve still got to tap into wonder in order to capture attention from the cat video that pimple-faced 15-year old just posted.

[1] Estiler, Keith. 2017, July 27. Supreme x Louis Vuitton Collab “Highlighted” as a Reason for LVMH Sales Growth. Retrieved from

[2] Brandt, David. 2016. Emotions Give a Lift to Advertising. Retrieved from


Houston-based WOND3R is a business development agency combining innovation, collaboration and creativity. Founded by Watson Fellow Graham Painter, Technologist Kerry Chrapliwy, and Economist Charlie Le, they believe culture is the new technology. If you would like to contribute your knowledge and experience to the AMA Houston Blog, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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