Cryptozoological Marketing Solutions
This project proposes and outlines an organisation – Cryptozoological Marketing Solutions – that fabricates myths in order to create and support tourist economies.In the early stages of the project, I found that one of the monsters’ key roles would be to function as a brand that reinforces a tourist economy. Currently, these monster-based brands are not explicitly designed, and the few monsters and their respective ‘popular’ tourist industries have become so without intentional human intervention. In this project, I aimed to recreate this success through design. I synthesised a body of research that investigated the popularity of monsters into a method used by Cryptozoological Marketing Solutions to construct popular myths. Utilising this method, I carried out the organisation’s first project – a monster for the Isle of Arran.This project’s outcome existed as two interlinked proposals. Firstly, I constructed the organisation Cryptozoological Marketing Solutions, which involved a synthesis of research into a design method. Secondly, I employed this design method to design a monster for the Isle of Arran. The monster was named Orran, and his fiction was realised through a spectrum of contextual props, such as bespoke hoaxing tools and souvenirs.This project was shortlisted for the Design in Action Award for Commercial Potential in 2014, and it was shortlisted at Design Parade 11 for their young designer award in 2016.
Cryptids have very rarely been ‘sighted’. The public’s understanding of the cryptid (in form and personality) is primarily defined through their representation in popular media.
Desk and Field Research
While I was aware that the subject for this project would be ‘the cryptid’, I was unsure as to where there would be design opportunity. My knowledge of the subject was relatively basic, and thus with the first phase of research I was able to approach the subject in an open-ended manner, and without significant bias.
Through desk research, I was able to gain an understanding of both cryptozoology and its associated stakeholders, forming some base-level hypotheses. I then tested these hypotheses through field research – a case study conducted at Loch Ness. There I was able to observe and partake in ‘the mystery,’ as well as interview various individuals involved in the surrounding industry.
Loch Ness Case
Interviewed individuals who were involved in the myth of the Loch Ness Monster and its surrounding industry. Full transcripts of these interviews are available on request.
joined the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau
in 1967, and now operates as a tour boat captain.
"I find an awful lot of Americans think 'that's the Loch Ness.' They think 'the Loch Ness' is the possible creature. So they forget the word monster for some reason."
e leads the Loch Ness Project
, and designed the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre
— he is generally regarded as a 'skeptic'.
"The society that we are in, informs what you might expect to see, and the expectation will affect what you see — it will — but nonetheless, what's being seen is not imagination."
I concluded the research phase with the opinion that the cryptid is an object of longing, and an assemblage of various disparate entities. It plays an important role for its local area, acting as a brand for the site in which it is situated; its story, form and personality inform the public’s perception of its associated site. This insight highlighted a key opportunity – the manufacture of a monster could be shrewdly exploited for commercial gain.
Initial observations suggested that the cryptid might be an amalgam of pre-existing local myth and current local wildlife.
Exploring this space further, I defined a concept to drive forward the project: create an organisation that designs monsters to boost tourism in areas with struggling economies.
To fully develop, legitimise and frame this idea, I had to create a method and framework within which an effective myth could be designed. In the early research phase, I had gained various insight into the construction and realisation of a successful and popular monster. Synthesis of this research allowed me to structure these insights into a monster-designing method.
I was also keen to explore how this concept might work as a business venture, and so created a fictional organisation – Cryptozoological Marketing Solutions. Ultimately, I selected a site – the Isle of Arran – and applied my method to the site, creating a site-specific monster named Orran.
A method synthesised from project research that could be applied to create a relevant and appealing monster.
A Framework (right):
An outline for the fictional company who would provide the proposed service to a client.
Isle of Arran (right)
Photographs taken on the Isle while investigating it's unique characteristics, history, and geography.
While I had designed the monster, a monster is only an idea that is conveyed through a whole spectrum of peripheral artefacts: news, sightings, stories, souvenirs and imagery. To communicate the myth of Orran, including both the creature’s form and its personality, I produced a series of these artefacts, including hoaxing equipment, souvenirs and fabricated evidence. All of these were created in line with the predefined ned ‘Brand DNA’ of the monster, and together formed a patchwork representation of Orran.
Hoaxing Equipment (right)
Wearable hoaxing equipment given to the local community to help hoax the tracks of Orran.
(far right and below)
Kitsch tourist products designed to communicate the tone and personality of Orran.
A body of evidence created to shape a skeleton story of Orran. While this evidence is completely fabricated, in most instances the fictitious elements were grounded with some hard facts.