Blue Dog artist George Rodrigue painted his last iconic portrait last week.
People who have seen a Blue Dog painting always remember it. They are really about life, about mankind searching for answers. The dog never changes position. He just stares at you. And you’re looking at him, looking for some answers, ‘Why are we here?,’ and he’s just looking back at you, wondering the same. The dog doesn’t know. You can see this longing in his eyes, this longing for love, answers.
Rodrique’s iconic dog shares valuable lessons in meme creation, the creation of a cultural myth that builds on itself. Those lessons include:
- Arresting visual images help.
- When you find the icon let it get GOOD to you.
- Fun mixed with mystery and irony works.
- Good creation story is important.
- When in doubt, paint it BLUE.
- Your icon needs to become THEIR icon.
- Turn a pattern on its head a little.
The last bullet, turn known patterns on their heads al little, is Godin’s Purple Cow effect. I like to call it the Red Cab effect. When, as the authors of Made To Stick suggest, turn a pattern on its head we inherit the pattern’s benefits while creating surprise.
Surprise is one of the most powerful Internet marketing lessons. Creating visual surprise, surprise that creates a smile and a desire to investigate is at viral marketing’s core as blue dog’s artists proved.
Thousands adopted the blue dog from presidents to vodka makers adding speed and furry to the blue dog’s passing. Vaya con dios blue dog and thanks for the smiles, mystery and fun.