Monday, August 10, 2009

an empty page is more powerful than a loaded computer

Half-paper sheets, blue painter tape to stick on the wall and a bunch of color markers (water- based, not permanent, stains happen) are my favorite "creative adrenaline tool" to start a conversation.

Writing ideas, looking at them on the wall, changing them, is like harmonic chaos. Creation appears live, in front of your eyes.

let´s make some holes in the silos

I believe that people who decide to work in advertising enjoy the creative process, regardless of the department they work in.
A creative organization should look for ideas beyond the creative department.
Ideas could come from anywhere, even more so nowadays.
Everyone should return home feeling they had a creative day at work.
Cross Brainstorming works.

We ask people from the agency, from different departments and accounts, to present the task and to organize a brainstorming session in groups, and in less than an hour and a half, we get piles of ideas. Then the specific brand leader takes the ideas and reworks them in a smaller group. The people who participate feel rewarded, have fun, create something new and avoid paperwork.
Note: A clear brief with relevant information that could inspire, is key.

behind the scenes, some strategic thoughts

Halls, Cadbury: Brand vision "Fresh Eyes" - ""When was the last time you saw things for the first time". A way to unify function and emotion. Refreshment that makes you feel renewed. Triggered by the consumer insights that view Halls as a "like a shower in a candy".
Ibupirac, Pfizer: The category is saying: "Take a pill so you can go on". We suggest taking care of yourself, so you would not need us. Example: warm up before physical exercise.
Insurance, HSBC: To promote taking an insurance, we work on the insight that losses are more intense than winnings, that’s why we developed "Real value: the real value of stuff is the efforts behind" (Print Awarded in Cannes 2007)
Knorr, Unilever: To reinvigorate the brand and category. "Soup comforts your body and soul".
PediaSure, Abbott: A nutritional product for picky consumer. After understanding moms everyday fights with their kids we uncovered the real insight: "when a kid rejects mom's food, mom feels that her son is rejecting her". Then we become the ally with: "Don´t give up, keep on trying to teach him to eat healthy food, one day you will succeed" The product role is to give her peace of mind that meanwhile she is teaching her kid to eat properly the product will cover any nutritional need.
Dolca, Nestlé: ""An instant coffee that says: take your time". Consumers take a long time to prepare their coffee in a personal way. It’s not an instant coffee. Understanding coffee moments as opening doors to emotional connections.
Gain, Abbott: "The future is Today". Every day is important in kids development.

Global Workshops:"Although I said yes, that does not mean I agree with you"

Multi-cultural workshops bring about surprises.
We are all different, nevertheless companies could build their own common "English Marketing Jargon" that seems to be understood by the company culture.
This could hide big differences! In general the differences are more "political" (have their own agendas) than linguistic. We need to be prepared for this.

Have a plan, and be ready to live it aside and to be flexible.
Our workshops are not presentations in which we just present something and run away.
We need to build consensus and to create something together.
We are involved with the end results.
That means trying to understand what is "happening" at the meeting, at each table.
To help our client to build an agenda that really understands the audience: what is the desired output and which are the battles to fight (some battles are not worth it).
And to have clarity on the moments to be open to creativity and to embrace new ideas.

A workshop is a combination of a rational agenda and an emotional experience. Ideally it should pursue to bring out the best of every participant.

(Workshops: in Shanghai, Honk Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Madrid, London, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Singapore, etc)

creative brief: the "H"

Something I'm very proud of is the development of the "H" creative brief, with S. Codeseira and F. Cabarcos.
It was an insightful re-invention of a creative brief format that we believe that helps us to generate better conversations with clients, as well as account managers and creatives.
Besides the challenge (or communication problem to solve) we find three columns: What, Filter or Prism, How.
What: The Facts: What to say, Support and Brand DNA.
Filter or Prism: The Target, Insights, Broader Cultural trends or context.
How: Conceptual creative triggers.

People like stories

People love good stories.

But we don´t have to be naive: "Cases" are unreal. The process are not lineal, some ideas not necessary convey into another. We need to be flexible, be open, and have fun. Write a case means to "edit", transforming reality into a nice story.

But everyone still love good stories and they are one of the most powerful way to transmit knowledge.

(Picture: APG Argentina 2007 Gold award: Knorr case)

APG Argentina an incredible group effort

(picture: APG Argentina edition of "How to Plan Advertising")

Being less boring, try to show things visually

The challenge here: How we can show a competitive analysis in one chart, that inspire discussion, not only information. Avoiding wasting time with information that the client knows in advance.