We are lucky to be in an industry that brings with it exciting new developments on a daily basis and, let's face it, moves faster than Superman on a speed binge.
Barely a day goes by where we don't see an ad campaign that is so innovative or a piece of design so mind-blowing, that we cannot help but to fervently Facebook, tweet and blog about it to everyone we know. And while the caption of said posts is most often "This is incredible!" we all know that in reality we are probably sitting at our desks enviously thinking to ourselves, "I really wish I had thought of that."
But with these advancements, it is often easy to get caught up in the frills and laces. Daydreaming of the ground-breaking campaign you're going to create next, your mind wanders as you smugly imagine the exorbitant number of 'likes' and views your ad will rack up, and envision your moment of glory as you proudly saunter up to the stage to accept your 'You are awesome' award. And while these are dreams that we should unfalteringly continue to aspire to, we must not forget the fundamentals that will help get us there, and the reason we are hired to do what we do. The great idea
Just as an accountant's goal is to make spreadsheets balance, and a shop owner's is to move products off the shelf, we, too, still have one goal: to develop an idea. An idea that will both serve the consumer and propel a brand forward - creating a conversation that will nurture the growth of our clients and form a sustainable brand presence on which we can build and develop.
The responsibility for this lies not only in our hands, but in the hands of our clients as well. After all, it is our job to sell a brand, but the brand we are selling needs to have substance, benefits and integrity for us to sell it properly. Remembering this, we realise that while advertising has changed drastically over the years, and continues to do so, the core of it is still the same and rests on: The great idea.
Because ultimately, whether it is a simple print ad or an elaborate 3D interactive campaign, a great ad is nothing without a great idea - no matter how fancy the execution. So before we jump to the 'how' and the 'where', we need to remember to first focus on the 'what'.
If the premise of the idea is good enough, the execution will follow, and this is where we can capitalise on the many different opportunities afforded us by both new advancements and platforms, and old faithfuls.What makes it great?
But how do we get to the elusive great idea, and what is it that makes it great? We all know that finding it is no mean feat, and the process is one not easily defined. Sometimes a great idea is hidden in the limp body of the dying prawn staring back at you, awaiting its imminent fate of death by Grunter, as you prepare to bait your fishing rod. The meaning of life insurance suddenly makes sense, as the answer to your insurance brand's latest brief glares back at you. And sometimes the process is a little less glamorous, perhaps involving hazy, coffee-fuelled weeks of brainstorming idea after idea, until finally a glimmer of hope is found, and the idea is gently coaxed and nurtured until it is a blinding ray of greatness.
No matter the process, when I look at some of the ads and campaigns that truly inspire me, and that have reaped both awards and results, it is most often ideas rooted in a solid human insight that manage to turn a good idea into a great one. An insight that has the capacity to add valuable layers to an idea or an advert, taking it from simple entertainment to a piece of communication that resonates with consumers on a deeper level.
Cliché as it may be to quote Bernbach, this man spoke the truth: "Properly practiced creativity can make one ad do the work of ten."
I think this just reiterates the importance of producing work that doesn't just dazzle and shine, but sells the brand and its benefits while doing so.
In part 2 of this series I will discuss how basing an idea on insight can make all the difference.For more: