The Power Of Touch
Philip Ellison 12 October, 2015
Touch is becoming an increasingly prominent selling point in the latest generation of smartphones, as demonstrated by the 3D Touch functionality of the new iPhone. Chinese manufacturer Huawei is no different; its new Mate S device features interactive touch technology.
How, then, does a company convey the power and nuance of its touch technology in an ad? By forgetting the phone altogether, and focusing on the sense of touch itself, and what it can mean to different people. TEAMHW, Huawei’s marketing communications group, crafted a series of videos which explore the physical and emotional importance of touch.
In ‘Shark Dancer’, we meet Cristina Zenato, a woman whose love of the ocean has led to a career as a diver, where she swims with sharks. Safely submerged in chain mail, Zenato has come as close as any human being can to taming these underwater predators.
“The first time I touched a shark, I thought it could not be true,” she says. “It’s like the thing that you always wait for your entire lifetime. For me it’s very clear what the shark is trying to tell me. People call it shark hypnosis. It has become a natural feeling between the sharks and myself. From the touch they tell you, yes or no… Touch is the way I communicate with them. It requires the right shark, the right person, the right moment; it’s a huge privilege.”
A lifetime passion is at the heart of another video in the campaign, ‘Feeling Colours’, which centres on the story and work of painter John Bramblitt. After losing his sight due to brain damage caused by chronic epilepsy and Lyme disease, Bramblitt feared he had also lost his ability to paint — then he learned to engage his other senses.
“When I lost my eyesight, I didn’t think I could do art,” he says. “If you’re sighted, you use your eyes to check the lines that you’re making. For me, instead of being able to see the lines, I can touch the lines, I can feel them… I can start drawing again.” Instead of mixing colours by eye, Bramblitt selects different mediums to go into his palette, so that each colour feels different to the touch” “Each hue is completely different, so it gives me a lot of places to feel on the canvas, a lot of landmarks for me to feel.”
“Touch fires up the brain more than any of the other senses,” says Bramblitt. “I think we forget about it, because it’s always there, it’s like breathing. I didn’t start thinking about it until I lost my eyesight, and then I started using touch to be able to not only navigate myself around the canvas, but navigate around the world. For me, it’s everything.”