Simon Moriarty
Simon is the EMEA Director of Trends, responsible for content, client servicing and commercial support across the region.

Last week I was in Berlin for a week of cycling, sightseeing and cake-eating, and it was a great experience. One thing that struck me was how the city has embraced its heritage and makes no secret of the disruption and tragedy that has been an unavoidable part of its history. So among the usual trappings of a modern city (fast-food joints, shopping malls, restaurants of every cuisine) there are sympathetic and subtle monuments to those who lost their lives during the Second World War and during the period of East-West division.

What is noticeable, ironically, is how much of this is not noticeable: how much is part of the cityscape. Tiny brass plaques outside houses commemorate those who used to live within; remnants of the Berlin Wall have been turned into the world’s largest outdoor gallery; a row of cobbles embedded into the street show where the Wall once ran.

As well as the emotive power of such cultural signposts, we are also able to see how camouflage and subtly are as effective as shouting a message. Explored in the Inspire trend Chameleonics, this idea suggests how brands and companies can look to make their messages more subliminal, more integral to their surroundings, and perhaps more powerful as a result.

Is quiet and thought-provoking better than loud and brash? How do advertisers and brand managers decide which is better? Should we be asking the consumer what they prefer?