Bagging Big Ideas and various other encouragements,
Part 1

by / Friday, 28 March 2014 / Published in Creativity

This is part one of a three-part article on what it takes to bag really big ideas.

“How to stalk idea-prey – 101.”

If you can bag truly great ideas that work in most media, you’ll (probably) find advertising stardom.

Assumption — you already have:
A) A great brief / map, itself created by a great planner, who, like a good hunting guide, can tell you exactly where to find your prey.
B) A great Account Service team, worth their weight in conflict-free diamonds. If so, you’re already miles ahead of many misled idea-hunters.
C) Ideally you have a great mentor to advise you in a practical way.

Your mission:

By Monday morning, deliver the carcasses of three profound ideas to your ECD. Did I mention it’s 4:59 pm Friday, you were just briefed, and your spouse/sig-other just called — “some QT is long overdue and nothing had better get in its way.” Are you sure you want to be in advertising?

Assumption – you can recognize a great idea when you see/produce one.

Relax, like a bad teacher, I’ll pass you my personal cheat-sheet: SOIREE — Simple, Original, ‘Impactful’ (not a real word), Relevant – and ideally Entertaining and Emotionally-engaging. Ideas should also have ‘legs,’ i.e., work well in different media, and survive many iterations over years, but all with the same core idea.

A quick word on Relevant.  Let’s say the ad visual is a fellow homo sapien standing on its head for no other reason than to get a prospect’s attention — it won’t have impact or be memorable. Yet if the same ad was for pants with pockets that keep change from falling out — then it’s relevant.

Re: Simple also applies in terms of execution, not just idea. To misquote the salesman’s mantra, “A-B-M” — Always Be Minimizing. E.g., does the print ad really need a visual, a headline and body copy – would it be say more, faster, with less?

BTW, I’m mainly writing about finding ideas – ad details can be worked out later (like a good call-to-action, execution, etc). Hope you get it, it’s time to move on and ruminate on some (relevant) inspiring thoughts….

David Droga: “Great creatives know when they have found a gold nugget.”

Yet it’s also comforting to remember that:

Jeff Goodby stated, “good ideas are not always recognizable in the early stages.”

So Kenny/Kylie – don’t be discouraged, great creatives had to learn the hard way, surely you will.

BUT . . .  it must be said . . . some people are naturally better at finding / producing great ideas. Sad but true. Others are masters with a turn-of-phrase, visual execution, etc.  We all have different strengths . . . however, bagging big ideas is mainly where the ad fame and fortune are. If you are so gifted (not me, at least not yet), AND willing to work long, hard hours (Droga would sleep in an agency overnight in his early ad days) you might have a shot.

No matter how hard it seems, remember – someone, somewhere, is worse than you! Be comforted.

Let the hunt begin

So an overall structure could look like this:
1) Know your (good) brief very well.
2) Pack your head full of info, i.e., research the product / service, market, targets, etc. (Someone put  a massive supercomputer between your ears, so fill it with something beside knock-knock jokes and video games).
3) Then and only then – brainstorm per example techniques in part 2 of this post (or many others).
4) After you’ve tried a while and feel empty, alone, and talentless – come and read Shawn’s site – then do something distracting that allows your mind to “wander lonely as a cloud,” e.g., take a shower, walk, drive, and ideally, nap.
5) Continue ruminating / brainstorming on the info, sketching / writing, daydreaming, till ideally you see the glimpse of a flawless idea that you chase, catch, develop  and later mount on your trophy wall.

BTW, making a relevant connection between two seemingly unrelated things / thoughts can also make for a very clever idea.

Speaking of clever: “ |ˈklɛvə| • showing skill and originality;  ingenious: a simple but clever idea for helping people learn.”

Part 2, next week…

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