Amir Kassaei’s Inception Post. Translated.

Hello. I’m a big fan of Inception and spotted that Amir and Björn were having a bit of a tiff about the film. They have a blog and Amir wrote the following text [German version here]. Obviously I like the text because I have translated it for you. I’ve done my best with the translation and I think I’ve done the original justice. Old readers and long term followers will recognise some of the thinking and its pretty obvious why agree with most of what Amir is saying.

Amir is the chief creative officer for the DDB group here in Germany. He also owes me a beer. Enjoy.



Why Inception isn’t a film and what that’s got to do with marketing.


We’ve been discussing Film and the Golden Globe winners today and during the course of our discussion I came up with an argument that intended to show how incompetent the jury was when judging Christopher Nolan’s film „Inception”. For me, and I’m serious about this; and  the longer I think about this the more convinced of it I am, “Inception” is more than just a film.


Looking at “Inception” from a purely cinematic point of view, it’s clearly exceptional; the idea , the script, the camera work and the direction are, each on their own, the best thing that has come out of Hollywood for a very long time. It takes a brave man to take such a complex idea and pour it into a script that becomes so multi-dimensional and takes the viewer on a cinematic rollercoaster ride through their entire range of emotions. As a film it leaves you feeling dizzy, even hours after watching it. 

Inception, however, is so much more than just “a film”. The traditional “cinema format” just doesn’t do the underlying idea and the overall concept justice and would force the disruptive and progressive nature of the story to bow down to traditional, linear forms of storytelling. That doesn’t make the film inferior. The concept behind Inception is bigger, more resounding and has more impact than the traditional storytelling format of film would ever allow. As far as I’m concerned it is a piece of conceptual art; it both hits you in the gut and takes your mind on a journey. It questions the very notion of being, with all the smoke and mirrors, the value systems, consciousness and sub consciousness and it does this without being uber-intellectual  or acting like an overzealous school teacher. Just look at the four dream levels running at the same time.


The glorious thing is that, when the film is over; when we see the closing scene and the credits start to roll, it’s not really over at all. A discourse occurs between the story and the different layers and levels. It carries on in the discussions, interpretations and the discoveries of hidden elements that bubble up on social networks and are only really noticed over the course of time and after serious consideration.  This is, for me anyway, why I think that Inception, apart from being a concept and a film, is an excellent example of contemporary brand and marketing communication.

A brand has to be multilayered and multidimensional. A brand isn’t something that you lead or guide, it’s something that “becomes” and that’s a process that only happens based on people’s experiences with that brand. Regardless of what most traditional ad and communication experts try to do or tell us, brands don’t have linear stories. You have to develop the layers of a brand and its touch points because in this, our interconnected and networked world, the different narrative strands and dimensions of a brand inform and mutually affect each other and this, in turn influences and offers a different perspective of the brand’s story. The brand develops, it evolves but not in the stiff, traditional sense of brand positioning but in a dynamic, interesting and surprising way. 

Inception, literally translated means the beginning. It’s not necessary to finish developing a brand. Not in the 21st century.  The brand is the seed, the starting point, something that should be dealt with as if it were an epic script and something that we allow to have many possible touch points. The brand’s story lives on, it develops. It becomes human and open to interpretation, both positive and negative and that’s the difference between successful brand communications of today and that of the past. The brand becomes true. You don’t always receive praise from the industry, nor the self proclaimed gurus for following this approach but the people that really matter will thank you by engaging with the most valuable thing they posses – their imagination. 


The first photo they took with their new camera

Hello. Did you have a nice Christmas? A good new year? I did. I got a brand new camera for Christmas. That got me thinking, and then searching so I went and had a look on flickr, to see if anyone had uploaded photos and saved them under the orginal file name. I was looking for dsc00001.jpg – the very first photo that they took with their new camera.

Some lovely stuff in there.

The End. Etc. #JMsTV


Germany is a funny old country. I love living here and I love the people but it’s still a funny old place. The Germans are nuts about their data protection and things like google street view just send them potty, as you can see (you’re not allowed to look at this house):


Well a law has been passed in order to protect children and it affects bloggers. Anyone who publishes stuff online must either stick to a “sender time” (how the fuck that’s supposed to work I have no idea – I mean, there’s no such thing as time online – which is why I always greet you with a good morning, good afternoon and good evening) or we have to put an age rating on all of our posts (which I can’t be bothered to do). How fucking daft is that?

I’ve know idea how they intend to enforce this. I bet they don’t either. All I know is that there’s going to be a hell of a lot of lawyers running around the web tying to earn some cash off the back of this.

Interlude (warning you must be over 12 years old to watch this clip. Could you please scan your passport and send it to me per mail before you watch it. Thank you).


I really can’t be bothered to go through all of my blogs and age rate them so I’m taking them down. Or locking them up. Or something.

Here’s a nice video from my youth (warning you must be over 12 years old to watch this clip. Could you please scan your passport and send it to me per mail before you watch it. Thank you).


So that’s it really. No more twitter stalking, no more sitting on the toilet, no more tweet readings, no more ranting and no more silly stuff. By the end of the year it will all have disappeared.


I have hurt and disappointed a number of people in my life and I bet you have too. Those of you who saw my talk at Interesting North know that I’m quite open about my story and accept the responsibility for my actions. I never did anything evil and I never broke the law but I still managed to get myself in an emotional place that hurt a hell of a lot of people. I sort out help and I got it and slowly and quietly I was able to get better and slowly rebuild the trust with the people I had hurt.

This all happened before people started blogging, had Facebook accounts and spread the word on twitter and I’m glad that those things weren’t around back then because, in light of what’s happening with Sam, I would have been destroyed.

The contents of the document that outline Sam’s alleged activities have shocked me. It would appear, if the contents are true, that he has repeatedly hurt people and made some serious mistakes and my heart truly goes out to the people involved. Some of these people I know personally. Sam, if you read this – you really need to get some help and I would like an honest explanation for that text message you sent me.

But I am very concerned. I’m concerned that anger has been blinding judgement. It’s seems to me that the crowd in the coliseum have smelt blood. “The tribe” is ready to remove “this cancer”. There is no reflection, just a general bundle to tweet, retweet and destroy; today the plannersphere died.

I’ve just been left wondering if it really is our responsibility to decide if Sam should work in advertising again. If crimes have been committed and there’s documented proof of these crimes, surely that’s a matter for the police? To those demanding to know where he is; what are you going to do when you find him? Drag him out into the street and stone him?

If true, Sam’s actions are despicable. Without reflection so are ours.