Say hello. Talk about how this presentation was written in a hurry as some sort of foil for the possibility that it’s all crap!
Start with a good rant about misused words and the abundance of buzzwords in marketing - usually to the obfuscation of any real meaning. Try to remember to use the word “obfuscation” in particular.
Talk generally about insights - the multitude of different types that exist - the fact that this list may not even be exhaustive and definitely contains some areas that don’t make for particularly good insights. At least, not that I’ve seen to date. But, you never know… Reference some real examples that are coming later - like the Crispin Porter Burger King stuff that rides the wave of anti-metrosexual eating. And, the Got Milk work from Goodby Silverstein that found an insight in the relationship between Milk and other foods. Maybe mention the need for some friction - that Milk exists out of the negative - that finding some of these insights requires that you push against the usual patterns of behaviour. This could come later, though!
Maybe admit that at the outset the author was going to rubbish insights as passe - the thing of yesteryear. But, upon reflection and a bit of digging, it became clear that the real problem isn’t that they’re no long useful - it’s that so many ads don’t actually contain real insights and we’ve spent so much time talking about them that they’ve become part of marketing language. They’re oft talked about, but rarely found. Much as we’d like to pretend that it all came from planners, it probably didn’t - in reality, a lot of the time it’s the creatives who inject the insight. That’s part of the process of creating work. And, more often than not, the account team were responsible for making a leap of thinking that exposed a real insight. However you find them, though, they are definitely worth having. When you look around, you’ll find that a lot of really great work has a great insight at the heart of it.
Bit of a last-minute thought - what have the main Cannes winners had - insights or not? And the answer’s pretty clear - very few are insight-based. Doesn’t mean that insights are useless - just be careful not to think they’re the only route to a great ad.
The interesting bits being accurate - although that sounds pretty obvious. But, Intuitive - and I think that is important, because it’s not about rational thinking and slavish research. You need to find something that strikes a chord with people - it’s a gut-felt response we’re looking for, and not a head nod.
Equally, and the only reason I pulled this in as well - there needs to be a degree of ‘perceptive’ in there. Something that is perceptive, can’t be too obvious - it can’t just be an observation - which is a key distinction.
Yet more words! Probably the most interesting thing about this is that it’s one of so many definitions that exist - and, to be honest, I just chose this one because Herve told it to me and it was really rational. It feels like the minute you talk about it this mechanically that you lose some of the sauce you’re looking for.
Naturally, talking to people we know here produced far more interesting results. Particularly the last one, from Jo, which is kind of an insight in itself.
Talk about Chiat and HHCL and disruption - finding conventions and breaking themTalk about general insights being less disruptive, but equally potent. The need to actually find something with a point (or a point of view). Wang on for while about creativity and insights - the fact that some ads have great insights and yet are rubbish (like AA which we ﾕ l l look at later) and maybe P&G falls into this camp - although you have to admire ﾒ L ove Dirt ﾓ because that was actually great.
We know that we’re avoiding a trap here - which is that our “insight” is just an observation and maybe not even a particularly astute one. So, for me, the important word is “revelation” - the need for something that changes our opinion… and that can be done in many different ways, but is definitely a key part of the best communications.
Talk about how maybe it doesn’t need a definition anyway - after all, nobody has an agreed definition, so maybe it’s because it’s a bit more complex than that. In which case, maybe we’re better off using a set of questions to see whether we’ve got a good ‘un…
For me, one of the best tests of anything that you think is a breakthrough, an idea or an insight is to write it on a piece of paper - on its own and make sure that it ﾕ s large type in the middle of lots of white space. Then judge it - can it stand the test of brevity ﾉ No support ﾉ All that. Do you still feel proud?
I don’t think I can really tell you how to find them, since it involves some inspiration and some degree of looking at a problem in a way that nobody has before - otherwise, it won’t be fresh enough to be an insight. So, instead, I thought I’d touch on a couple of things I think then use examples - nice cop out!
First off, I want to be vitriolic about research. It’s not that I don’t think we should do it, it’s just that I think it’s become a crutch for everyone. And, as such, it no longer produces the magic we’re looking for. Unless you do something weird with it. Take business people out to dinner. Or go on field trips with consumers. Basically, do something different with them if you want to find a different answer. AND MAKE SURE you know what you’re asking - always go in with a new hypothesis to test. Otherwise, you’ll probably find what everyone else discovered 5 years ago.
Discovery isn’t exactly the revolutionary term I was looking for, but it will have to do - since I couldn’t think of anything else last night at 8pm. But, if you’re thinking about exploring and discovering, then you’re at least thinking bigger than research. And, the research will need to live up to more in itself. So, go discover. And make it a big old trip so it’s got a good chance of digging up something new...
Finally, and I know this is a bit of a side point - don’t kid yourself that you’ve got a great insight when you don’t. There’s nothing worse than pretending. Because it probably means that you won’t find another part of your brief or strategy to upweight instead. After all, the insight isn’t everything!
Right, time for some examples. And some ads to keep you awake! Hopefully these will give you some ideas beyond the obvious for finding an insight as well as be ads that you haven’t seen. In the hope of keeping it interesting, I’ve purposefully gone with a majority of US ads. Also, mention the Rob T. dig about being “West Coast” proud! The main point is to show different ways that people FOUND these insights, though - so don’t just watch the ads.
Crispin Porter & Bogusky Employed a social scientist to make a bigger cultural observation about what people are eating and why, revealing a dissatisfaction amongst men...
Goodby Silverstein & Partners Observed that Milk was best with food... then they used a deprivation study to find the insight...
HHCL Saw that AA members talked about how friendly the AA repairmen were (hence the previous ads). But, when they talked to the phone operators, they found a far more provocative insight ﾉ that people are in a real panic when they call - they are in an ﾒ e mergency ﾓ and not looking for a friendly face so much as a saviour.Cue ﾒ 4 th emergency service ﾓ ad - Not on adcritic, nor on YouTube - I ﾕ l l try to get a link later on.But, I was shocked to see the ad wasn ﾕ t as great as the insight - I remembered it as being one of the great ones, but it isn ﾕ t - it ﾕ s a bit straight and not HHCL-like at all. Oh well.
Fallon Nobody understood or particularly cared about IT outsourcing until it was brought to life in a different way. An insight they found within a comment from the CEO... An ad that opened the door for a company that nobody understood nor saw reason to meet with. It even got mentioned by Bill Clinton, so it got a presidential seal of approval!
Goodby Silverstein & Partners Delving into people’s playlists, they found that the mash up of music was far greater than you’d ever expect - Bach next to U2, Interpol, Eminem, Willie Nelson and so on... This insight enabled us to do something with a brief that seemed impossible: to co-exist with the iPod ads without looking totally lame!
Everyone shows cabrios/convertibles in the sunshine. Until Arnold did this night spot - which brought to life the hidden joy of a night drive. All because the creative director, Lance Jensen, had a different view of convertibles from his own college years. His comment: “Everyone thinks beach and sun, but at night it’s like you’re in a space ship.” Personally, I love this - it nails that secret joy of having a convertible - driving when it ﾕ s warm and night (not something you ﾕ l l get to do often in the UK, admittedly) is sheer magic. And it ﾕ s totally different - even the idea that the kids were more responsible, more taken with the mood than a party.
Another agency to take a slightly different perspective. Chiat Day. Who took the whole team out to the studios of Game Show Network for a day initiation. And spotted something that research probably never would. The fun isn’t in taking part - it’s in knowing the answer when the idiot in the chair has frozen in fear! I spent ages looking for ﾒ M arsupial ﾓ but I couldn ﾕ t find it. Then I found ﾒ B otulism ﾓ on visit4info - click here , but I can ﾕ t see it on YouTube ﾉ I ﾕ l l look and try to find it later, too. It ﾕ s that great ad with people shouting ﾒ B otulism! ﾓ at the screen with increased intensity - until the dim-witted contestant is seen saying ﾒ s almonella? ﾓ - endline: You know you know.
I thought I ﾕ d finish with a couple of examples that mixed it up - one that shows a great ad that isn ﾕ t based on an insight - but with the APG paper that talks about the insight in detail ﾉ then one that we could debate as a group as to whether it had an insight or not ﾉ
I found this in an old APG paper from 1993 - you can only assume that people were more lax on ‘insights’ in those days! I thought we’d look at it because it’s a prime example of a product fact wrapped up as a insight for no good reason. After all, it’s a great brand, a great product fact and a great ad.
Can’t argue with that, can you?
Then you see this. Where’s the insight? After all, this isn’t exactly new news!
And this! Yet again - not an insight in sight. Good product fact, though.
Bold claims, beautifully written, but totally devoid of actual insight. Look at the ad, though - another great one. Didn’t need to be an insight - they should have just been honest and said that they found a really compelling product nugget.
And, this paper refers directly to the ﾒ F ace ﾓ ad that British Airways launched in December 1989 - and it ran for 4 years. It was that good. It still looks good today (although that Australian beer one kind of trounces it with the humorous take on the same idea!). I still maintain that ﾕ s a great ad. It ﾕ s just not an insight!
This came up when we were talking about this in the planning meeting last week. We quickly decided that it was a great example of an ad with an observation, but not an insight. But then, maybe not - the insight is that we go crazy for the sun in the UK - “every second counts” Dunno - but it’s definitely closer than BA was!
Maybe ﾒ T he British Summer ﾉ Blink and you ﾕ l l miss it ﾓ is the real insight?
And, then I began to wind it up. Enough is enough. So, I finished by trying to reiterate that we shouldn ﾕ t get obsessed with insights - that ﾕ s probably why they get claimed so often when there isn ﾕ t one. You don ﾕ t have to have an insight, nor do you have to have anything else in the brief. Except a thought - something that opens a door for the creative teams. Something that sparks a new thought. Something that is interesting, exciting, new, or just so brutally simple that it ﾕ s the easiest thing in the world to write around.And, personally, I don ﾕ t think it ﾕ s even about finding one thing - the more the merrier. But, that ﾕ s another debate ﾉ
So I finished with this slide, because it looked colourful. You know, like Russell ﾕ s presentations, although it ﾕ s still just typed!
1. insights What they are And what they’re not Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
2. Generally, ‘Insights’ is just a horribly misused word! Along with ‘Brand’ and ‘Strategy’ Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
3. consumer cultural future insights insights insightsproduct brand marketinsights insights insightspurchase usage owner insights insights insights Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
4. Why insights are important Strong insights often lead to great work.Not all the time, but enough to make them worthwhile Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
5. Idea Insight• Sony - Balls • Honda - WhatIf?• Guinness - Noitulove• Honda - Cog • Honda - Grr• Budweiser - Whassup• Orange Film Board• Fox Sports Net• Nike - Tag• Subservient Chicken• Apple - 1984• Ikea - Lamp Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
6. in•sight |in¡sït|NounThe capacity to gain an accurate and deepintuitive understanding of a person or thing Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
7. in•sight•ful |in-sahyt-fuhl|AdjectiveCharacterised by or displaying insight; perceptive Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
8. Diageo’s definitionAn insight is a penetrating observation about consumer behaviour that can be applied to unlock growth Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
9. Stuff WCRS planners said, when asked…“A new Point of View that’s immediately recognisable” “An insight is NOT an observation - it explains why, rather than just observing that people do something”“It must be cause AND effect - insights prompt effect” “Insights... They’re things that other people think of, then you immediately wish you had” Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
10. Disruption insightObservation Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
11. My Opinion (as of yesterday)An insight is a revelation that produces great work (there should be a degree of “Fuck me. I never thought of it like that!”) Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
12. Judging your insight… Will people get it? Is it something new? Is it simple enough? Can you support it? Will it effect change? Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
13. Write it on a blank sheet of paper, with no supporting words Is it still interesting? Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
14. How to find insights…To be fair, good insights are usually hard to find… Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
15. Research ≠ Insights Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
16. Discovery » Insights(research being one tool for discovery) Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
17. Don’t pretend it’s an insight when it’s not! (you’ll only get found out) Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
18. Some examples... Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
19. Burger KingCrispin Porter & BoguskyEmployed a social scientist Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
20. QuickTime™ and aSorenson Video 3 decompressor are needed to see this picture. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
21. California Milk BoardGoodby Silverstein & Partners Used a deprivation study Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
22. QuickTime™ and aSorenson Video 3 decompressor are needed to see this picture. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
23. The AA HHCLTalked to the phone operators, instead of just customers Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
24. QuickTime™ and a YUV420 codec decompressorare needed to see this picture. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
25. EDS FallonFound an insight within comments from the CEO Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
26. QuickTime™ and aSorenson Video decompressorare needed to see this picture. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
27. HP iPodGoodby Silverstein & PartnersDelved into people’s playlists Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
28. QuickTime™ and aSorenson Video 3 decompressor are needed to see this picture. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
29. Volkswagen Arnold, BostonA Creative Director reminiscing Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
30. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
31. Game Show Network Chiat Day, San FranciscoA group outing that inspired the campaign Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
32. QuickTime™ and aSorenson Video 3 decompressor are needed to see this picture. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
33. Two final examples...Proof that insights aren’t always the answer Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
34. British Airways Saatchi & SaatchiGreat ad - no insight! Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
35. Insights are often unrecognised fundamental human truths. So begins the section on “insight” from the Saatchi & Saatchi’s APG paper for British Airways in 1993... Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
36. The emotional insight:The central nerve that runs through peoples emotional attitudes to flying is that it brings people, families and loved ones together. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
37. The ‘size’ insight: Having excavated all the data and figures on BritishAirways, we felt that the most compelling megafact about it was still that BA is chosen by more flyers internationally than any other airline - 25 millionpassengers, of all nationalities, fly with BA each year. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
38. It is often said that creativity is the result of two previously unrelated thoughts crashing together. We combined these two emotional and rationalinsights and got a potential contradiction in terms. A caring megafact, so to speak. British Airways brings 25 million people to other people all around the world every year. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
39. QuickTime™ and a YUV420 codec decompressorare needed to see this picture. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
40. Boots Suncare MotherLovely observation, or great insight? Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
41. QuickTime™ and a YUV420 codec decompressorare needed to see this picture. Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
42. Finally, don’t get too hung up on them Many insights are creative rather than strategic Many great ads contain ideas but not insights Just make sure your briefs are really clear and contain something that is useful to creatives! Simon Law - October 11th, 2006
43. insights The End Thanks! Simon Law - October 11th, 2006