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 What is a ‘BIG IDEA”:- The big idea is the idea that an advertiser
selects for communicating the brand’s strategic message in a
creative way; it is a link between strategy and creative execution.
 In other words, it is a creative concept to execute the advertising
strategy and serves as an umbrella or central theme for a series
of ads in a campaign.
 Once the strategic direction has been finalized, the hunt begins
for the big idea and then follows its creative execution.
 A Big Idea involves all – the head, the heart and the gut feeling.
 To come up with a big idea, a creative leap needs to be taken. The
advertiser needs to distance himself from the shelter of the
strategy statement and plunge into the alien creative arena.
 While there are no outlined steps for arriving at the big idea,
advertisers usually begin by reviewing the advertising strategy
and the researched information to get into the heart of the
problem they are trying to solve.
 Then begins the creative process of generating various
alternative ideas for the problem in question.
 Next, the ideas are evaluated from a reality check – whether
they are really good, whether they would solve the problem and
whether they are in alignment with the strategy or not.
 If answer to any of these questions is in the negative, the idea
is rejected. Finally, the one best idea is selected for execution
while the other ideas are retained as backup or support ideas.
 Hitting on an idea that communicates the strategic message in
an artistic, imaginative & exciting way is not an easy task.
Advertisers need to lubricate their grey cells and put on their creative
thinking caps for best results.
 Creativity is both an art and a science that can be acquired with
practice.
 Creativity:- Creativity is about giving birth to something that
did not exist before. It is the application of past experiences or
ideas in a novel and unexpected way. It is about being
innovative, imaginative, original and different.
 Traits of Creative Minds:- Creativity requires qualities like
flexibility, imagination, expressiveness and openness to
change. These skills may be genetic, acquired or situational.
Additionally, the following traits signal the presence of creativity:
i. A Questioning Attitude:- Have you ever noticed why a child learns
the fastest? Or why things seen or heard in childhood remain etched
in memory? That’s because a child has an insatiable urge to learn or
know. As an infant, it tries to absorb the surroundings through its
various senses.
 When a child learns to talk, it can’t stop asking questions which
seem to be quite silly to others. Like, ‘How do ants talk? Why do cars
have four wheels and we have only two legs? Why can’t we walk on
water?’ These are grassroots thinking.
 But, unfortunately, before curiosity could kill the cat, modern
education and social system kills curiosity. First parents get bugged
of the questioning and then the teachers. We are taught to accept
things as they are and to kowtow.
 Asking too many questions is considered pester-some. But,
Creativity calls for breaking from this conformity and
reasoning things out.
ii. The Courage to take Risks:- We are all taught to tread the
beaten path. Risks are only for the adventurous ones. But the
truth is that it is those who take risks that succeed. Of course, their
chances of failure are higher too, but that does not intimidate them.
 Creative people do not care much about the consequences of a
certain action or what others will think of them.
iii. A Sense of Humor:- Humor is an indicator that the creative
system is at work because, to be funny it requires thinking
from a different perspective.
 Although a sense of humor is a trait that some people are born
with, it can also be cultivated by learning to laugh at one’s
idiosyncrasies and follies. Don’t carry the undue baggage of
grumps and grumbles, worries and stress. Don’t make tragedies of
trifles ……. Laugh them off.
iv. The Habit of Observation:- Tax your memory for a few minuts and
answer the following questions:
• What items were placed on your dinner table last night? How full
was the ketchup bottle?
• What did each of your family members or people you interacted with
wear yesterday?
• What do the labels on your T-shirts say?
• What brand of bathroom fittings do you have in your house?
• What does the first hoarding outside your house say? What is the
background colour used?
• To whom is the book you are reading dedicated to?
 If you’ve not been able to answer most questions satisfactorily, don’t
worry. You are like most people who are too preoccupied to observe.
But observation skills can be developed, and they needs to be, for
creative people have a highly developed observation sense.
 They are alert and watchful, and often reach conclusions through
instinct than through reasoning.
v. The Ability to Visualize:- Creative people have a good visual
imagination although they can be quite verbal. They don’t think of a
monster called Shrek, they can see it in their imaginations – green
and ugly and big.
 They remember their shopping lists by visualizing the items kept in
the ‘to-buy shelves’ of their minds. They organize numbers in visual
‘spaces’ in their minds. They think not only in words, but also in
pictures.
 They are good at describing the looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feel
of things either verbally or visually. They are also very imaginative
and can visualize the nonexistent.
vi. Openness to New Experiences:- How many times did you taste the
new dish on the menu instead of your usual favorite? Did you ever
hang out with a bunch of people you weren’t very familiar with? Do
you always take the same road to college or home or try to explore
newer routes?
 Creative people are open to new and unknown experiences. This
essentially follows from their courage to take risks. However, new
experiences are not so much risk-bearing as they are different. One
just has to prepared for a change and be willingly embrace it.
 ‘New experiences give a novelist more characters to write about, a
painter more scenes to paint, and the creative team more angles from
which to tackle an advertising problem.’
vii. A Positive Mindset:- There is an old saying ‘A man becomes what
he thinks’.
 Several years ago an experiment was performed in a school in San
Francisco. The principal had called in three teachers and said,
“Because you three teachers are the finest in the system and have the
greatest expertise, we are going to give you 90 selected high IQ
students to teach. We’ll test how much they learnt at the end of the
year.” The principal told a similar thing to the selected students as
well. By the end of the school year, those students had achieved 20-
30% more than other students in the entire city. However, the truth
was that the chosen teachers and students were just run-of-the-mill
teachers and students, selected at random by drawing names out of a
hat.
 How then, did they perform at such an exceptional level for the
entire year? The answer can be found in their attitudes. They had an
attitude of positive expectations; they believed in themselves and
one another and that attracted positive results.
 Tips on Stimulating Creativity:- If creativity is not inborn, using
the following tips you can stimulate creativity:
i. Meditate on your Goal:- Don’t lose sight of your dream. Think of
the rewards your would get when your goal is accomplished.
Basking in the glory of achievements is a great impetus to
working hard. Create an atmosphere around you that constantly
reminds you of your goals.
Ex:- If you want to take up photography as a career, start noting
photographic situations and setting, taking pictures with a
beginner’s camera, making a paper-box camera, trying out different
compositions, visiting photography exhibitions, talking to experts,
reading photography-related magazines, etc.
ii. Meditate on your Self:- By meditation, we mean sitting in silence.
In the modern day, we are constantly bombarded with inputs from
the media, other people, etc. Hence, we never spend time in silence
with ourselves.
 As long as our mind is full of thoughts, we can’t touch base
with the subconscious. In meditation, we relax and let the
thoughts flow, and that is when most creative ideas come to
us.
iii. Journal your Thoughts:- Journaling is akin to meditation. It is
the free flow of pen to get past our conscious thoughts.
 In her book, The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal, author
Julia Cameron advises to write anything that comes to your mind
until you fill three pages because by then you’ll have gotten past
most of your conscious thoughts.
 It is best to try this technique earlier in the day, when you are not too
full with the events of the day.
 Don’t censor yourself, don’t let your pen stop and don’t use a
computer. When the mind gets purged of routine thoughts, creative
ideas take deeper roots.
iv. Sleep on Problems:- Sleep stir up lateral thinking. During sleep, our
brain reorganizes our episodic memories, which store information
about place, people, exchanges and experiences.
 This shuffling of the day’s events leads to thinking about problems
afresh. It is also a time when the powers of the subconscious brain
can be utilized.
 When you sleep, brief your subconscious mind of the problem you
are mulling over and command it to come up with creative
suggestions.
v. Take some Time Out for Yourself:- To read. To think. To take a
vacation. To watch a play. To indulge in a hobby. To take a leisurely
walk in a park. To purge your brain free of all the garbage it keeps
receiving everyday.
 It is important to revel in the simple pleasures of life. Also,
sometimes it is necessary to filter out the clamor of the modern day.
Throw your newspaper in a garbage bin and keep your television and
mobile turned off. The stock market is not going to do any better if
your follow it, nor are the Lok Sabha or the Ruling party.
vi. Nurture Hobbies:- Dance, sing, read, travel, take photographs,
collect stamps …… do something interesting. Hobbies lubricate your
creative machines and prevent you from rotting from the daily rut.
 Hobbies provide a vent for self-expression. They foster
creativity. Also engage in creative activities that catch your fancy.
Sketch cartoons, visit an art gallery, attend a musical symphony,
watch the latest hit movie, read a wacky novel, hang out in places
brimming with youngsters, and the like.
 Apart from aiding the creative process, they offer a change of activity
from the trite routine and kick-start the thinking process.
vii. Watch your Company:- People are known by the company they
keep, and they get affected by it.
 If the company you keep is creative, positive-minded and vivacious,
you will be too become like that.
viii. Have Fun:- All work and no play makes a person dull. That is why
people are most creative in their childhood. Playing and having fun
recharge your mind, exercise the creative muscles, and increase the
flow of positive energy.
ix. Speed Up:- Your conscious mind is slow, unlike the fast reflexes of
your subconscious mind. Hence, to circumvent your conscious mind
and tap into the creative power of your subconscious mind, go fast.
 You can start this with journaling and brainstorming without
pausing, and can gradually bring the speed to other areas of your
thought process.
 Brainstorming for Creative Ideas:- One very useful technique for
generating alternative ideas is brainstorming. Brainstorming is the
process of coming up with creative ideas in a group.
 In the words of Alex Osborn, the father of brainstorming, this is “a
conference technique by which a group attempts to find a solution
for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously by its
members.”
 It is a technique where participants put social inhibitions &
rules aside and temporarily suspend their judgment with the
aim of generating maximum new ideas, regardless of their
worth.
 Characteristics of a Brainstorming Session:-
i. Unpredictable:- You do not know where the discussion is going to
head. You may start out discussing ‘ways of exaggerating the
bonding power of your glue’ but may end up discussing everything
from ‘craft ideas for your glue’ to ‘comparison of your glue with
competitors.’
ii. Energetic:- People should participate with full enthusiasm and
ready to take the problem head-on. To boost the energy levels, some
agencies line up chocolates and sugared goodies for the participants.
iii. Playful:- Brainstorming is a fun process. You can let creativity run
wild without any checks and controls.
iv. Collaborative:- It is a group process. Don’t feel pressured that you
have to come up with the big idea entirely on your own. You can take
cues from others and build on their ideas.
v. Surprising:- Since there are no bounds within which to play, it can
unfold many surprising solutions.
vi. Challenging:- It taxes your brain. You let ideas flow till you have
nearly sapped your mental resources.
vii. Unstructured:- Brainstorming is a random process in which ideas
are not discussed in a structured fashion. Form discussing colour
ideas, one may immediately skip to location ideas and then towards
the end once again make a point on colours.
viii. Rapid:- The rule is that no one should halt. One after the other ideas
should keep flowing freely, no matter how juvenile or stale. Stop,
and the link will be broken. Besides, that isn’t brainstorming. That is
structured thinking.
ix. Imaginative:- Brainstorming is an effort to bring out those
imaginative ideas that were locked away because you thought that
the budget might be tight or the boss might not like it.
x. Spontaneous:- ‘Think before you speak,’ or ‘Look before you leap,’
are quotes that do not apply to brainstorming. In this process, there
is no premeditation. Ideas are not held back. When you hit on an
idea, you spit the idea.
xi. Ownerless:- Ideas belong to the group. No one person claims
ownership of the idea.
xii. Illogical:- Not all ideas need to have the rational edge. Creativity
springs from the irrational and the unthinkable.
 Often brainstorming sessions are arbitrated by an expert who keeps
the tempo up and ensures that the group stays on course.
 During the session, ideas are recorded by a designated person. After
the session, good ideas are sifted out from the rest.
 The quantity of ideas is often more important than the quality
because it is often the 51st idea that becomes the breakthrough
concept. Also, bad ideas can many a time serve as catalysts for good
ideas.
 The Art of Brainstorming:- When you begin brainstorming for
advertising, the first rule to remember is not to think in terms of
advertising but to think in terms of ideas. Create an
environment of collaboration and comfort for ideas to spawn.
 Ideally, the brainstorming room should be spacious, with a large,
long table in the centre, and a facility for pinning large piece of paper
to the wall.
 Summaries of preparatory work displayed around in the room can
serve as sources of inspiration. There should also be a large roll of
paper and coloured marketers on the table for people to jot down any
random thoughts.
 Often, agencies also include representatives of the client in the
brainstorming session.
 While there is no standard outlined process of coming up with ideas
big and small, one can discuss on the following variables:
i. Strategy:- One can begin by reviewing the strategy statement, as it
checks one from going astray. Moreover, strategy tells us what to do.
It speaks volumes about the vision and mission of an organization,
its customers, the message to be conveyed etc.
Ex:- The strategy for Air India Express was to establish itself as a
budget airline that didn’t look and feel budget. To give the airline a
decorous look, one of the ideas chosen was of showcasing India to
the world using the plane’s exterior as a canvas. The agency hoped
that this would also portray the airline as the cultural ambassador of
India. Each plane’s tail thus had different designs on each side
ranging from the festivals of India to Indian motifs to musical
instruments to camels and elephants. The chosen designs, look and
feel were to give the airline a distinctively Indian and yet a
contemporary look. The designs got the designer the ‘Best Graphic
Designer Award’.
ii. Target Audience:- The member of your audience is not a mere
statistic and the demographic profiling can hardly take you
anywhere. Think personality, think lifestyle, think behaviour. What
does your potential customer do, like, eat, wear, drive, speak, watch,
etc?
 Jot down words and visuals that come to your mind when you think
of your potential customer. Dark, loves pink, is independent, plays
with friends in the evening, always on the go, loves movies etc.
 However, it is unlikely that all members of your target audience will
match all the characteristics you describe.
 Nevertheless, you can think of that characteristic customer who
defines the group.
Ex:- Many years back Surf had defined its typical consumer as a
thrifty Indian housewife who demanded her money’s worth. She
paid heed not only to cost but also to cost-effectiveness.
In other words, she bought not a cheap detergent, but a value-
for-money detergent. She was intelligent and vociferous and did not
shy away from fighting for her rights if need be. She was a middle-
class housewife, with a kid of around 10 years of age and dressed in a
traditional sharee. This detailed profiling of the target audience
helped Surf give birth to the onscreen character ‘Lalitaji’ who went
down the advertising hall of fame for her persuasive power.
iii. Product Names and Definitions:- Create new names or definitions
for the product. Himalaya Ayurvedic Concepts calls its dental
product ‘dental cream’ instead of toothpaste. Livon calls itself ‘silky
potion’ instead of hair conditioner.
 So, the idea is to come up with names that are catchy, tell you
something about the product, intrigue the audience, are easily
pronounced and do not have similar sounding competitor brands.
iv. Media:- A lot of times the characteristics of the media you advertise
in will serve as the springboard for ideas.
 Often it is more productive to think first about the right media: in-
store communication, advertising, promotion, events, direct
response, the web, public relations, etc. And then think about the
idea and how it applies.
 Never get stuck thinking that the world exists on a vertical page or a
30-second block of commercial time. Rather, think of some
unconventional media that you could use to promote your product.
Ex 1:- Some 10 years back a few clever media planners discovered
the value of animated moving logos on television during critical
moments in cricket matches. Today it is Indian cricket’s most
expensive property.
Ex 2:- Similarly, to arose the sensitivity regarding bad body
odour, Rexona deodorant stuck life size stickers of people on
automatic sliding doors of departmental stores. When someone
approached, it looked like people moved away from the nearing
person owing to body odour. The entering person found the brand
message inside “People move away when you have body odour.”
v. Situation:- Try to figure out the situation when consumers will
come across your advertisement. Think where the billboard will be
put up, what route will the bus you advertised will take, what would
people be doing when they watch Sony channel at 8:30 p.m., where
would people be listening to the radio at 9:00 in the morning, what
page of the newspaper would your ad be featured on, etc.
 Answers to questions like where and when a customer will see your
message, in what condition, etc. can spur a lot of creative ideas.
Ex:- The billboard of an apartment home scheme read, ‘If you
were living here, you would be home.’ Or a radio ad that was
broadcast in the evening rush hours urged listeners on their way
back from work to turn their cars towards a shopping mall for
availing benefits of a mega promotional offer that closed that day.
vi. Current Affairs:- Current events quickly occupy people’s minds and
catch attention. Consider whether something noteworthy happened
in the news or whether an issue has been hotly debated about.
Ex:- Amul, a forerunner of such ads, has always kept its
promotions up-to-date with current events and issues. “Coach na
Kaho! Amul Unite for it” (After Indian Cricket coach Mr. Greg
Chappell resigns after debacle in ICC World Cup 2007 and bitter
feud with players)
“<Cheeni Kum, Butter Zyada> Amul <Sexy taste>” (On
Bollywood romantic comedy film ‘Cheeni Kum’ (A Sugar Free
Romance) in which superstar Amitabh Bachchan shares time with a
little girl, suffering from leukemia and wise beyond her years)
“Hoggers School of Wizardry! Amul Casts a spell” (On the
popular movie ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ with
Harry Potter and other characters at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft
& Wizardry)
“Setting a President! Amul Easy choice” (On Congress-led UPA
and Left Party’s nominee Ms. Pratibha Patil for Presidential election)
“Sindhustan Hamara! Amul Shuttley Butterly Delicious!” (On P.V.
Sindhu’s achievement in the Olympics)
 While this tactical approach always keeps the communication fresh
with new and changing ads, it is an expensive one and not
recommended if a given ad is intended to be in use for long time.
vii. Competition:- Often competition can be a source of creative ideas
that can be used at a tactical level, if not a strategic one.
Ex:- The continuous war between Surf and Tide, Colgate and
Pepsodent.
viii. Shortcomings:- Consumers are usually smart in finding out what
you do not have. Instead of trying to veil the obvious, accept it
gracefully and even cash it to your advantage. Perhaps it’s not such a
big deal as people are making it out to be, or perhaps you have
something else that makes up for the inadequacy.
Ex:- Avis, a US-based car-rental company humbly accepts, “We
are #2. We try harder.”
Similarly, Pepsi turned around a missed opportunity when
competition picked up the official pouring rights to the Wills World
Cup in India in 1996, with the immensely popular “Nothing official
about it!” campaign in inimitable Pepsi style.
ix. Correlations:- Does your product look, feel or behave like someone
or something?
Ex:- Garnier Wrinkle Control cream compared wrinkles with
the skin of a bulldog.
A print ad of Samsung mobile phone’s instant messaging feature
correlated text messaging to body language messaging by depicting
an under-the-table shot of a lady trying to signal something to a man
with the touch of her foot. The headline read, “One-touch
messaging.”
x. Personifications:- How would your product be if it were a living
and breathing person or animal? What if it could sing and dance?
Imagine your product doing the office work, cleaning kitchen,
fighting germs hidden in your kids’ teeth, etc.
Ex:- The pink and flexible Big Babool chewing-gum man also
quickly communicates the product’s properties and entertains
children.
 Personifications are powerful because they can communicate at
many subterranean levels effortlessly. You could even personify your
product’s enemies to make them look harmful, ferocious and calling
for urgent solution, viz. your product.
Ex:- The sales of an agricultural pest killer increased manifold
when the pest in question, which was invisible to the naked eye, was
shown in an enlarged version as a horned, evil-looking and notorious
crop destroyer.
xi. Popular Culture:- Films, music, books, sports, arts, etc. are often
the inspiration behind many ads, like the ad of Eveready batteries
showed Amitabh Bachchan in the sarkar movie style setting, telling
the story of an unfortunate man who didn’t use Eveready. Similarly
many brands weave advertisements around cricket during the time
of some important cricket series.
 Popular culture is often the best way of establishing fast connections
with audiences.
xii. Colours:- Think colour. Can it be your product or communication
differentiator? Print ads as well as television commercials of Ever
Yuth’s Orange Skin Vitalizer are orange whereas those of its
Cucumber Clear Skin Mask are green. Everything form the models’
dress and accessories to background items are colour coordinated
with the product colour.
 Eveready batteries go to the extreme of claiming, “If you aren’t red,
you are dead.” In all the advertisements the jingle “Give me red”
continues in the background. There is no other creative
differentiator for this product other than its distinguishing red
colour that stands for liveliness and long life of the battery.
xiii.Shapes:- Shapes too can be used imaginatively. Absolute Vodka
uses the shape of its bottle to signify something different in each ad.
In an ‘Absolute Jaipur’ ad, the bottle shape could be seen carved in
the Jharookha of a haveli.
xiv. Words and Visuals:- Consider communicating the message with
just pictures or just words like, Tide detergent showed three ghostly
figures dressed in white and one being the whitest of them all.
 On the other hand, the message is communicated through works
alone in a print ad for Cox & Kings that reads:
TIGER. WOODS.
Jungle safari. A round of golf. Now enjoy both on the same
holiday.
 Myths Regarding Brainstorming:-
i. More brains-more brainpower:- A group size of 6 – 12 is ideal.
Anything larger than that ceases to be a group and becomes a crowd.
With a smaller group it is easier to build on ideas and easier for ideas
to be heard.
ii. Everybody is good at brainstorming:- Not quite. Brainstorming is
a skill and talent. However, most people get lot better with practice.
Unfortunately, most brainstorming sessions are arranged in crisis
situations and there is hardly any time for practice or revisions.
iii. The best ideas are the first ideas:- Not usually. Studies say that
more than three quarters of good ideas come in the second half.
iv. It only works if you know all about the product:- Contrariwise,
brainstorming works best with a mix of experienced folks and
beginners. Those who know about the brand well bring insight
whereas the greenhorns bring fresh ideas.
 Checklist for Brilliant Brainstorming:- Experts suggest the
following checklists for ensuring that you are brainstorming right.
How did you feel? Feel like a great participator
Expectation
Mood
Responsibility
Knowledge
Comfort
Flexibility
Expect to have fun
Embrace playfulness and humour
Take responsibility
Let go of what you know
Feel at ease
Be open-minded
How did you think? Think differently
Start-ups or bounces?
Linear or leaping?
Verbal or visual?
Cognitive or sensory?
Knowing or experimenting?
What else?
Keep the ideas flowing
Don’t stick to a pattern; think non-linearly
Think in pictures and words
Think with all five senses
Experiment
Challenge your own thinking
How did you behave? Act differently
Mostly speaking or thinking?
Taking risks, breaking taboos and
crossing the lines?
Spontaneous or pre-meditative?
Present or engaged?
Were you having fun?
Owning ideas?
Be vocal, not cerebral
Be risk taking
Be spontaneous
Be present
Be yourself. Be somebody else
Don’t stake a claim to ideas
How did you respond? Respond differently
Built on ideas or simply listened?
Noticed judgements going on in your
head?
Wanted to figure out the final answer
before y0u spoke or could you leave it
undefined?
Build on others’ ideas
Defer judgements
Trust the process
 Killer Phrases:-
 Good idea, but ….
 I don’t like that
 We’ve done that before
 That was my idea
 Our pockets are not that deep
 Let’s be realistic
 I’ll sound stupid if I say this, but ….
 That’s not our strategy
 That won’t work because ….
 Time out
 Killer Behaviours:-
 Dominate the room
 Figure out how it will work
 Impress everybody
 Edit, inhibit or censor others
 Stop the flow
 Own ideas
 Discuss problems with the idea
 Tips on Creating Creative Ads:- These can be few tips to come up
with creative ads:
i. Be a Constant Learner:- In advertising, ideas can come from
anywhere. You may be working on a liquor brand but the idea you
develop could be based on your knowledge of animal behaviour.
 Similarly, subjects like anthropology, world heritage, photography,
quantum physics, child psychology, botany, astronomy, astrology,
music and more could be sources of ideas for totally unrelated
products.
 Keeping one’s learning antennae up can also help in finding
advertising insight, one of the most difficult things to arrive at. This
is because insight is not something that can be necessarily found
from sheaths of data or consumer research work. It may come
through powers of observation, personal experience or past learning.
ii. Indulge with Your Product:- If you are working on say Coca-Cola
then “Sleep Coca-Cola, eat Coca-Cola, drink Coca-Cola”.
 It is important to see, touch, feel, hear, read and experience your
product to understand it fully. How does it look like? How do you
use it? What is it made of? Try finding facts about your product and
list them out.
Ex:- An advertiser’s fact-file on milk would read something like:
milk is white, liquid, usually obtained from cows and buffaloes,
called wholesome diet, considered children’s drink, loved by
mothers and hated by children, an important ingredient for many
recipes, almost always consumed in some form by everyone, not
consumed by naturopaths and lactose-intolerants, always boiled
before consumption in India (even if pasteurized), often mixed with
water by milkmen, etc.
iii. Understand Your Audience:- A creative professional needs to put
himself in the audience’s shoes. He ought to know how the audience
thinks and feels, what it values and what makes it tick.
Ex:- An advertiser of sweets might want to try out how his
consumer feels if he does not have sweets for days. Even interacting
with consumers and involving them in the brand development
process can lead to newer ideas.
iv. Brainstorm:- Brainstorming is popularly used for arriving at the big
idea. When you totally immerse yourself in background
information, play with it and exercise the flaccid brain muscles, you
hit on ideas that are all – relevant, original and impactful.
v. Know the Rules before You Break them:- There are no sacrosanct
rules in advertising and often the most creative ads have been the
ones that have been bold enough to break rules. However,
advertisers need to be aware of what usually works and what might
be a risky bet.
vi. Base Creativity on Strategy:- One of the biggest advertising
mistakes is to come up with a brilliant execution idea and then try to
force the problem to fit it.
 Remember that in the lexicon of advertising, strategy comes before
execution. A creative execution that strays away from the strategy
will lose its relevance.
 However, it is not bizarre for the strategy to change as the creativity
is being developed. While creativity should not be at the cost of a
sound strategy, if creative ideas lead you to newer and better
strategies, don’t shy away form embracing the best solution.
vii. Learn to Work without USPs:- Not all products have Unique
Selling Propositions, through brand managers may tell you
otherwise.
 Petroleum is petroleum, be it of Indian Oil Corporation or Bharat
Petroleum. Research has convincingly proven that consumers cannot
accurately differentiate between two colas but nonetheless, they
prefer one over the other.
 Creativity lies in how you present products in ads – that’s what
makes all the difference.
viii. Arouse Audience’s Interest:- Remember that most ads are viewed
as an intrusion to the activity that people are doing – reading,
viewing or listening. Thus, advertisements not only have to deliver
the message but also have to capture the audience’s fancy; in other
words, entertain them.
 However, while you attempt generating interest, also remember that
what you are most concerned about is attracting of your “target
audience” and not of any passerby flipping through the magazine or
surfing through the channel sporting your ad.
 It is better to draw the attention of a serious buyer through a simple
ad than use a clever ad and pull other flippant readers who wouldn’t
be interested in the product anyways.
ix. Break free from Stereotypes:- Average advertising always sticks to
stereotypes, but good advertising breaks those stereotypes and
creates a spark.
 It’s time consumers got to see something more interesting, and also
something that they can relate to. The advertisers have to become
more and more creative.
x. Don’t Overpromise:- Overpromising will only heighten
expectations and increase the chances of product failure so leave it to
the Indian political parties.
 So, when advertisers claim. “Sab kuchh dho dale” or “Gori, Gori
sirf 15 miniton mein”, they need to think twice if they have left any
holes unplugged. Instead, make promises that are tempting enough
and also safely deliverable.
xi. Reinforce Your Identity:- Apart from using creativity for attention-
grabbing, use it for getting the brand registered.
 Mention the brand name, and also the logo where appropriate, as
many times and wherever you can in your advertisements – in the
script, in the headline and copy, and in the close of the commercial,
else you would end up like the Energizer ‘Bunny’, which for a long
time was mistook by many as Duracell’s icon.
 Unless a brand weaves its identity in its ad, people will remember
only its creative execution, and not the brand.
xii. Emphasize benefits, Not Product features:- Leo Burnett once
said, “The greatest sales strategy in the world is: Don’t tell me how
good you make it; tell me how good it makes me when I use it”.
Women don’t buy cosmetics, they buy beauty. People don’t buy
insurance, they buy risk cover.
xiii.Use numbers with Caution:- Advertisers are often obsessed with
punching numbers into their ad messages with a view to add
seriousness to the product.
 Numbers can add to the credibility, offer a competitive advantage or
prove to be meaningful when they are put into context. For instance,
in the case of Britannia cheese, which says one slice is equal to two
glasses of milk, or Maggi, which claims to be a two-minute noodle.
Or even for categories like computers or cars where tangible results
are required to be shown.
 But often, numbers can baffle and inundate consumers – ’12 times
more volume’ mascara, natural care tea with panch ayurvedic
tatwa, a fridge with sixth sense cooling, a toothpaste which fights
10 problems, etc.
 Also, if the product fails to deliver on the promise, numbers can lead
to a quicker doom. Hence, they should not be used for their sake
alone.
xiv. KISS:- Keep it Simple and Stupid. Make the point clearly. Simple
messages are effective, but not easy to come up with.
xv. Keep the Communication Current:- While a brand’s value
proposition may remain the same, its message strategy may
periodically adapt itself to the times.
 Creative executions should be refreshed even more frequently as
fresh executions recreate the interest in an otherwise old brand.
Ex:- The way Amul and Cadbury builds a bond with Indians.

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Creative strategy

  • 1.  What is a ‘BIG IDEA”:- The big idea is the idea that an advertiser selects for communicating the brand’s strategic message in a creative way; it is a link between strategy and creative execution.  In other words, it is a creative concept to execute the advertising strategy and serves as an umbrella or central theme for a series of ads in a campaign.  Once the strategic direction has been finalized, the hunt begins for the big idea and then follows its creative execution.  A Big Idea involves all – the head, the heart and the gut feeling.  To come up with a big idea, a creative leap needs to be taken. The advertiser needs to distance himself from the shelter of the strategy statement and plunge into the alien creative arena.  While there are no outlined steps for arriving at the big idea, advertisers usually begin by reviewing the advertising strategy and the researched information to get into the heart of the problem they are trying to solve.
  • 2.  Then begins the creative process of generating various alternative ideas for the problem in question.  Next, the ideas are evaluated from a reality check – whether they are really good, whether they would solve the problem and whether they are in alignment with the strategy or not.  If answer to any of these questions is in the negative, the idea is rejected. Finally, the one best idea is selected for execution while the other ideas are retained as backup or support ideas.  Hitting on an idea that communicates the strategic message in an artistic, imaginative & exciting way is not an easy task. Advertisers need to lubricate their grey cells and put on their creative thinking caps for best results.  Creativity is both an art and a science that can be acquired with practice.
  • 3.  Creativity:- Creativity is about giving birth to something that did not exist before. It is the application of past experiences or ideas in a novel and unexpected way. It is about being innovative, imaginative, original and different.  Traits of Creative Minds:- Creativity requires qualities like flexibility, imagination, expressiveness and openness to change. These skills may be genetic, acquired or situational. Additionally, the following traits signal the presence of creativity: i. A Questioning Attitude:- Have you ever noticed why a child learns the fastest? Or why things seen or heard in childhood remain etched in memory? That’s because a child has an insatiable urge to learn or know. As an infant, it tries to absorb the surroundings through its various senses.  When a child learns to talk, it can’t stop asking questions which seem to be quite silly to others. Like, ‘How do ants talk? Why do cars have four wheels and we have only two legs? Why can’t we walk on water?’ These are grassroots thinking.
  • 4.  But, unfortunately, before curiosity could kill the cat, modern education and social system kills curiosity. First parents get bugged of the questioning and then the teachers. We are taught to accept things as they are and to kowtow.  Asking too many questions is considered pester-some. But, Creativity calls for breaking from this conformity and reasoning things out. ii. The Courage to take Risks:- We are all taught to tread the beaten path. Risks are only for the adventurous ones. But the truth is that it is those who take risks that succeed. Of course, their chances of failure are higher too, but that does not intimidate them.  Creative people do not care much about the consequences of a certain action or what others will think of them. iii. A Sense of Humor:- Humor is an indicator that the creative system is at work because, to be funny it requires thinking from a different perspective.
  • 5.  Although a sense of humor is a trait that some people are born with, it can also be cultivated by learning to laugh at one’s idiosyncrasies and follies. Don’t carry the undue baggage of grumps and grumbles, worries and stress. Don’t make tragedies of trifles ……. Laugh them off. iv. The Habit of Observation:- Tax your memory for a few minuts and answer the following questions: • What items were placed on your dinner table last night? How full was the ketchup bottle? • What did each of your family members or people you interacted with wear yesterday? • What do the labels on your T-shirts say? • What brand of bathroom fittings do you have in your house? • What does the first hoarding outside your house say? What is the background colour used? • To whom is the book you are reading dedicated to?
  • 6.  If you’ve not been able to answer most questions satisfactorily, don’t worry. You are like most people who are too preoccupied to observe. But observation skills can be developed, and they needs to be, for creative people have a highly developed observation sense.  They are alert and watchful, and often reach conclusions through instinct than through reasoning. v. The Ability to Visualize:- Creative people have a good visual imagination although they can be quite verbal. They don’t think of a monster called Shrek, they can see it in their imaginations – green and ugly and big.  They remember their shopping lists by visualizing the items kept in the ‘to-buy shelves’ of their minds. They organize numbers in visual ‘spaces’ in their minds. They think not only in words, but also in pictures.  They are good at describing the looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feel of things either verbally or visually. They are also very imaginative and can visualize the nonexistent.
  • 7. vi. Openness to New Experiences:- How many times did you taste the new dish on the menu instead of your usual favorite? Did you ever hang out with a bunch of people you weren’t very familiar with? Do you always take the same road to college or home or try to explore newer routes?  Creative people are open to new and unknown experiences. This essentially follows from their courage to take risks. However, new experiences are not so much risk-bearing as they are different. One just has to prepared for a change and be willingly embrace it.  ‘New experiences give a novelist more characters to write about, a painter more scenes to paint, and the creative team more angles from which to tackle an advertising problem.’
  • 8. vii. A Positive Mindset:- There is an old saying ‘A man becomes what he thinks’.  Several years ago an experiment was performed in a school in San Francisco. The principal had called in three teachers and said, “Because you three teachers are the finest in the system and have the greatest expertise, we are going to give you 90 selected high IQ students to teach. We’ll test how much they learnt at the end of the year.” The principal told a similar thing to the selected students as well. By the end of the school year, those students had achieved 20- 30% more than other students in the entire city. However, the truth was that the chosen teachers and students were just run-of-the-mill teachers and students, selected at random by drawing names out of a hat.  How then, did they perform at such an exceptional level for the entire year? The answer can be found in their attitudes. They had an attitude of positive expectations; they believed in themselves and one another and that attracted positive results.
  • 9.  Tips on Stimulating Creativity:- If creativity is not inborn, using the following tips you can stimulate creativity: i. Meditate on your Goal:- Don’t lose sight of your dream. Think of the rewards your would get when your goal is accomplished. Basking in the glory of achievements is a great impetus to working hard. Create an atmosphere around you that constantly reminds you of your goals. Ex:- If you want to take up photography as a career, start noting photographic situations and setting, taking pictures with a beginner’s camera, making a paper-box camera, trying out different compositions, visiting photography exhibitions, talking to experts, reading photography-related magazines, etc. ii. Meditate on your Self:- By meditation, we mean sitting in silence. In the modern day, we are constantly bombarded with inputs from the media, other people, etc. Hence, we never spend time in silence with ourselves.
  • 10.  As long as our mind is full of thoughts, we can’t touch base with the subconscious. In meditation, we relax and let the thoughts flow, and that is when most creative ideas come to us. iii. Journal your Thoughts:- Journaling is akin to meditation. It is the free flow of pen to get past our conscious thoughts.  In her book, The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal, author Julia Cameron advises to write anything that comes to your mind until you fill three pages because by then you’ll have gotten past most of your conscious thoughts.  It is best to try this technique earlier in the day, when you are not too full with the events of the day.  Don’t censor yourself, don’t let your pen stop and don’t use a computer. When the mind gets purged of routine thoughts, creative ideas take deeper roots.
  • 11. iv. Sleep on Problems:- Sleep stir up lateral thinking. During sleep, our brain reorganizes our episodic memories, which store information about place, people, exchanges and experiences.  This shuffling of the day’s events leads to thinking about problems afresh. It is also a time when the powers of the subconscious brain can be utilized.  When you sleep, brief your subconscious mind of the problem you are mulling over and command it to come up with creative suggestions. v. Take some Time Out for Yourself:- To read. To think. To take a vacation. To watch a play. To indulge in a hobby. To take a leisurely walk in a park. To purge your brain free of all the garbage it keeps receiving everyday.  It is important to revel in the simple pleasures of life. Also, sometimes it is necessary to filter out the clamor of the modern day. Throw your newspaper in a garbage bin and keep your television and mobile turned off. The stock market is not going to do any better if your follow it, nor are the Lok Sabha or the Ruling party.
  • 12. vi. Nurture Hobbies:- Dance, sing, read, travel, take photographs, collect stamps …… do something interesting. Hobbies lubricate your creative machines and prevent you from rotting from the daily rut.  Hobbies provide a vent for self-expression. They foster creativity. Also engage in creative activities that catch your fancy. Sketch cartoons, visit an art gallery, attend a musical symphony, watch the latest hit movie, read a wacky novel, hang out in places brimming with youngsters, and the like.  Apart from aiding the creative process, they offer a change of activity from the trite routine and kick-start the thinking process. vii. Watch your Company:- People are known by the company they keep, and they get affected by it.  If the company you keep is creative, positive-minded and vivacious, you will be too become like that.
  • 13. viii. Have Fun:- All work and no play makes a person dull. That is why people are most creative in their childhood. Playing and having fun recharge your mind, exercise the creative muscles, and increase the flow of positive energy. ix. Speed Up:- Your conscious mind is slow, unlike the fast reflexes of your subconscious mind. Hence, to circumvent your conscious mind and tap into the creative power of your subconscious mind, go fast.  You can start this with journaling and brainstorming without pausing, and can gradually bring the speed to other areas of your thought process.  Brainstorming for Creative Ideas:- One very useful technique for generating alternative ideas is brainstorming. Brainstorming is the process of coming up with creative ideas in a group.  In the words of Alex Osborn, the father of brainstorming, this is “a conference technique by which a group attempts to find a solution for a specific problem by amassing all the ideas spontaneously by its members.”
  • 14.  It is a technique where participants put social inhibitions & rules aside and temporarily suspend their judgment with the aim of generating maximum new ideas, regardless of their worth.  Characteristics of a Brainstorming Session:- i. Unpredictable:- You do not know where the discussion is going to head. You may start out discussing ‘ways of exaggerating the bonding power of your glue’ but may end up discussing everything from ‘craft ideas for your glue’ to ‘comparison of your glue with competitors.’ ii. Energetic:- People should participate with full enthusiasm and ready to take the problem head-on. To boost the energy levels, some agencies line up chocolates and sugared goodies for the participants. iii. Playful:- Brainstorming is a fun process. You can let creativity run wild without any checks and controls.
  • 15. iv. Collaborative:- It is a group process. Don’t feel pressured that you have to come up with the big idea entirely on your own. You can take cues from others and build on their ideas. v. Surprising:- Since there are no bounds within which to play, it can unfold many surprising solutions. vi. Challenging:- It taxes your brain. You let ideas flow till you have nearly sapped your mental resources. vii. Unstructured:- Brainstorming is a random process in which ideas are not discussed in a structured fashion. Form discussing colour ideas, one may immediately skip to location ideas and then towards the end once again make a point on colours. viii. Rapid:- The rule is that no one should halt. One after the other ideas should keep flowing freely, no matter how juvenile or stale. Stop, and the link will be broken. Besides, that isn’t brainstorming. That is structured thinking.
  • 16. ix. Imaginative:- Brainstorming is an effort to bring out those imaginative ideas that were locked away because you thought that the budget might be tight or the boss might not like it. x. Spontaneous:- ‘Think before you speak,’ or ‘Look before you leap,’ are quotes that do not apply to brainstorming. In this process, there is no premeditation. Ideas are not held back. When you hit on an idea, you spit the idea. xi. Ownerless:- Ideas belong to the group. No one person claims ownership of the idea. xii. Illogical:- Not all ideas need to have the rational edge. Creativity springs from the irrational and the unthinkable.  Often brainstorming sessions are arbitrated by an expert who keeps the tempo up and ensures that the group stays on course.
  • 17.  During the session, ideas are recorded by a designated person. After the session, good ideas are sifted out from the rest.  The quantity of ideas is often more important than the quality because it is often the 51st idea that becomes the breakthrough concept. Also, bad ideas can many a time serve as catalysts for good ideas.  The Art of Brainstorming:- When you begin brainstorming for advertising, the first rule to remember is not to think in terms of advertising but to think in terms of ideas. Create an environment of collaboration and comfort for ideas to spawn.  Ideally, the brainstorming room should be spacious, with a large, long table in the centre, and a facility for pinning large piece of paper to the wall.  Summaries of preparatory work displayed around in the room can serve as sources of inspiration. There should also be a large roll of paper and coloured marketers on the table for people to jot down any random thoughts.
  • 18.  Often, agencies also include representatives of the client in the brainstorming session.  While there is no standard outlined process of coming up with ideas big and small, one can discuss on the following variables: i. Strategy:- One can begin by reviewing the strategy statement, as it checks one from going astray. Moreover, strategy tells us what to do. It speaks volumes about the vision and mission of an organization, its customers, the message to be conveyed etc. Ex:- The strategy for Air India Express was to establish itself as a budget airline that didn’t look and feel budget. To give the airline a decorous look, one of the ideas chosen was of showcasing India to the world using the plane’s exterior as a canvas. The agency hoped that this would also portray the airline as the cultural ambassador of India. Each plane’s tail thus had different designs on each side ranging from the festivals of India to Indian motifs to musical instruments to camels and elephants. The chosen designs, look and feel were to give the airline a distinctively Indian and yet a contemporary look. The designs got the designer the ‘Best Graphic Designer Award’.
  • 19. ii. Target Audience:- The member of your audience is not a mere statistic and the demographic profiling can hardly take you anywhere. Think personality, think lifestyle, think behaviour. What does your potential customer do, like, eat, wear, drive, speak, watch, etc?  Jot down words and visuals that come to your mind when you think of your potential customer. Dark, loves pink, is independent, plays with friends in the evening, always on the go, loves movies etc.  However, it is unlikely that all members of your target audience will match all the characteristics you describe.  Nevertheless, you can think of that characteristic customer who defines the group. Ex:- Many years back Surf had defined its typical consumer as a thrifty Indian housewife who demanded her money’s worth. She paid heed not only to cost but also to cost-effectiveness.
  • 20. In other words, she bought not a cheap detergent, but a value- for-money detergent. She was intelligent and vociferous and did not shy away from fighting for her rights if need be. She was a middle- class housewife, with a kid of around 10 years of age and dressed in a traditional sharee. This detailed profiling of the target audience helped Surf give birth to the onscreen character ‘Lalitaji’ who went down the advertising hall of fame for her persuasive power. iii. Product Names and Definitions:- Create new names or definitions for the product. Himalaya Ayurvedic Concepts calls its dental product ‘dental cream’ instead of toothpaste. Livon calls itself ‘silky potion’ instead of hair conditioner.  So, the idea is to come up with names that are catchy, tell you something about the product, intrigue the audience, are easily pronounced and do not have similar sounding competitor brands. iv. Media:- A lot of times the characteristics of the media you advertise in will serve as the springboard for ideas.
  • 21.  Often it is more productive to think first about the right media: in- store communication, advertising, promotion, events, direct response, the web, public relations, etc. And then think about the idea and how it applies.  Never get stuck thinking that the world exists on a vertical page or a 30-second block of commercial time. Rather, think of some unconventional media that you could use to promote your product. Ex 1:- Some 10 years back a few clever media planners discovered the value of animated moving logos on television during critical moments in cricket matches. Today it is Indian cricket’s most expensive property. Ex 2:- Similarly, to arose the sensitivity regarding bad body odour, Rexona deodorant stuck life size stickers of people on automatic sliding doors of departmental stores. When someone approached, it looked like people moved away from the nearing person owing to body odour. The entering person found the brand message inside “People move away when you have body odour.”
  • 22. v. Situation:- Try to figure out the situation when consumers will come across your advertisement. Think where the billboard will be put up, what route will the bus you advertised will take, what would people be doing when they watch Sony channel at 8:30 p.m., where would people be listening to the radio at 9:00 in the morning, what page of the newspaper would your ad be featured on, etc.  Answers to questions like where and when a customer will see your message, in what condition, etc. can spur a lot of creative ideas. Ex:- The billboard of an apartment home scheme read, ‘If you were living here, you would be home.’ Or a radio ad that was broadcast in the evening rush hours urged listeners on their way back from work to turn their cars towards a shopping mall for availing benefits of a mega promotional offer that closed that day. vi. Current Affairs:- Current events quickly occupy people’s minds and catch attention. Consider whether something noteworthy happened in the news or whether an issue has been hotly debated about.
  • 23. Ex:- Amul, a forerunner of such ads, has always kept its promotions up-to-date with current events and issues. “Coach na Kaho! Amul Unite for it” (After Indian Cricket coach Mr. Greg Chappell resigns after debacle in ICC World Cup 2007 and bitter feud with players) “<Cheeni Kum, Butter Zyada> Amul <Sexy taste>” (On Bollywood romantic comedy film ‘Cheeni Kum’ (A Sugar Free Romance) in which superstar Amitabh Bachchan shares time with a little girl, suffering from leukemia and wise beyond her years) “Hoggers School of Wizardry! Amul Casts a spell” (On the popular movie ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’ with Harry Potter and other characters at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry) “Setting a President! Amul Easy choice” (On Congress-led UPA and Left Party’s nominee Ms. Pratibha Patil for Presidential election) “Sindhustan Hamara! Amul Shuttley Butterly Delicious!” (On P.V. Sindhu’s achievement in the Olympics)  While this tactical approach always keeps the communication fresh with new and changing ads, it is an expensive one and not recommended if a given ad is intended to be in use for long time.
  • 24. vii. Competition:- Often competition can be a source of creative ideas that can be used at a tactical level, if not a strategic one. Ex:- The continuous war between Surf and Tide, Colgate and Pepsodent. viii. Shortcomings:- Consumers are usually smart in finding out what you do not have. Instead of trying to veil the obvious, accept it gracefully and even cash it to your advantage. Perhaps it’s not such a big deal as people are making it out to be, or perhaps you have something else that makes up for the inadequacy. Ex:- Avis, a US-based car-rental company humbly accepts, “We are #2. We try harder.” Similarly, Pepsi turned around a missed opportunity when competition picked up the official pouring rights to the Wills World Cup in India in 1996, with the immensely popular “Nothing official about it!” campaign in inimitable Pepsi style. ix. Correlations:- Does your product look, feel or behave like someone or something?
  • 25. Ex:- Garnier Wrinkle Control cream compared wrinkles with the skin of a bulldog. A print ad of Samsung mobile phone’s instant messaging feature correlated text messaging to body language messaging by depicting an under-the-table shot of a lady trying to signal something to a man with the touch of her foot. The headline read, “One-touch messaging.” x. Personifications:- How would your product be if it were a living and breathing person or animal? What if it could sing and dance? Imagine your product doing the office work, cleaning kitchen, fighting germs hidden in your kids’ teeth, etc. Ex:- The pink and flexible Big Babool chewing-gum man also quickly communicates the product’s properties and entertains children.  Personifications are powerful because they can communicate at many subterranean levels effortlessly. You could even personify your product’s enemies to make them look harmful, ferocious and calling for urgent solution, viz. your product.
  • 26. Ex:- The sales of an agricultural pest killer increased manifold when the pest in question, which was invisible to the naked eye, was shown in an enlarged version as a horned, evil-looking and notorious crop destroyer. xi. Popular Culture:- Films, music, books, sports, arts, etc. are often the inspiration behind many ads, like the ad of Eveready batteries showed Amitabh Bachchan in the sarkar movie style setting, telling the story of an unfortunate man who didn’t use Eveready. Similarly many brands weave advertisements around cricket during the time of some important cricket series.  Popular culture is often the best way of establishing fast connections with audiences. xii. Colours:- Think colour. Can it be your product or communication differentiator? Print ads as well as television commercials of Ever Yuth’s Orange Skin Vitalizer are orange whereas those of its Cucumber Clear Skin Mask are green. Everything form the models’ dress and accessories to background items are colour coordinated with the product colour.
  • 27.  Eveready batteries go to the extreme of claiming, “If you aren’t red, you are dead.” In all the advertisements the jingle “Give me red” continues in the background. There is no other creative differentiator for this product other than its distinguishing red colour that stands for liveliness and long life of the battery. xiii.Shapes:- Shapes too can be used imaginatively. Absolute Vodka uses the shape of its bottle to signify something different in each ad. In an ‘Absolute Jaipur’ ad, the bottle shape could be seen carved in the Jharookha of a haveli. xiv. Words and Visuals:- Consider communicating the message with just pictures or just words like, Tide detergent showed three ghostly figures dressed in white and one being the whitest of them all.  On the other hand, the message is communicated through works alone in a print ad for Cox & Kings that reads: TIGER. WOODS. Jungle safari. A round of golf. Now enjoy both on the same holiday.
  • 28.  Myths Regarding Brainstorming:- i. More brains-more brainpower:- A group size of 6 – 12 is ideal. Anything larger than that ceases to be a group and becomes a crowd. With a smaller group it is easier to build on ideas and easier for ideas to be heard. ii. Everybody is good at brainstorming:- Not quite. Brainstorming is a skill and talent. However, most people get lot better with practice. Unfortunately, most brainstorming sessions are arranged in crisis situations and there is hardly any time for practice or revisions. iii. The best ideas are the first ideas:- Not usually. Studies say that more than three quarters of good ideas come in the second half. iv. It only works if you know all about the product:- Contrariwise, brainstorming works best with a mix of experienced folks and beginners. Those who know about the brand well bring insight whereas the greenhorns bring fresh ideas.
  • 29.  Checklist for Brilliant Brainstorming:- Experts suggest the following checklists for ensuring that you are brainstorming right. How did you feel? Feel like a great participator Expectation Mood Responsibility Knowledge Comfort Flexibility Expect to have fun Embrace playfulness and humour Take responsibility Let go of what you know Feel at ease Be open-minded How did you think? Think differently Start-ups or bounces? Linear or leaping? Verbal or visual? Cognitive or sensory? Knowing or experimenting? What else? Keep the ideas flowing Don’t stick to a pattern; think non-linearly Think in pictures and words Think with all five senses Experiment Challenge your own thinking
  • 30. How did you behave? Act differently Mostly speaking or thinking? Taking risks, breaking taboos and crossing the lines? Spontaneous or pre-meditative? Present or engaged? Were you having fun? Owning ideas? Be vocal, not cerebral Be risk taking Be spontaneous Be present Be yourself. Be somebody else Don’t stake a claim to ideas How did you respond? Respond differently Built on ideas or simply listened? Noticed judgements going on in your head? Wanted to figure out the final answer before y0u spoke or could you leave it undefined? Build on others’ ideas Defer judgements Trust the process
  • 31.  Killer Phrases:-  Good idea, but ….  I don’t like that  We’ve done that before  That was my idea  Our pockets are not that deep  Let’s be realistic  I’ll sound stupid if I say this, but ….  That’s not our strategy  That won’t work because ….  Time out  Killer Behaviours:-  Dominate the room  Figure out how it will work  Impress everybody  Edit, inhibit or censor others  Stop the flow  Own ideas  Discuss problems with the idea
  • 32.  Tips on Creating Creative Ads:- These can be few tips to come up with creative ads: i. Be a Constant Learner:- In advertising, ideas can come from anywhere. You may be working on a liquor brand but the idea you develop could be based on your knowledge of animal behaviour.  Similarly, subjects like anthropology, world heritage, photography, quantum physics, child psychology, botany, astronomy, astrology, music and more could be sources of ideas for totally unrelated products.  Keeping one’s learning antennae up can also help in finding advertising insight, one of the most difficult things to arrive at. This is because insight is not something that can be necessarily found from sheaths of data or consumer research work. It may come through powers of observation, personal experience or past learning.
  • 33. ii. Indulge with Your Product:- If you are working on say Coca-Cola then “Sleep Coca-Cola, eat Coca-Cola, drink Coca-Cola”.  It is important to see, touch, feel, hear, read and experience your product to understand it fully. How does it look like? How do you use it? What is it made of? Try finding facts about your product and list them out. Ex:- An advertiser’s fact-file on milk would read something like: milk is white, liquid, usually obtained from cows and buffaloes, called wholesome diet, considered children’s drink, loved by mothers and hated by children, an important ingredient for many recipes, almost always consumed in some form by everyone, not consumed by naturopaths and lactose-intolerants, always boiled before consumption in India (even if pasteurized), often mixed with water by milkmen, etc. iii. Understand Your Audience:- A creative professional needs to put himself in the audience’s shoes. He ought to know how the audience thinks and feels, what it values and what makes it tick.
  • 34. Ex:- An advertiser of sweets might want to try out how his consumer feels if he does not have sweets for days. Even interacting with consumers and involving them in the brand development process can lead to newer ideas. iv. Brainstorm:- Brainstorming is popularly used for arriving at the big idea. When you totally immerse yourself in background information, play with it and exercise the flaccid brain muscles, you hit on ideas that are all – relevant, original and impactful. v. Know the Rules before You Break them:- There are no sacrosanct rules in advertising and often the most creative ads have been the ones that have been bold enough to break rules. However, advertisers need to be aware of what usually works and what might be a risky bet. vi. Base Creativity on Strategy:- One of the biggest advertising mistakes is to come up with a brilliant execution idea and then try to force the problem to fit it.
  • 35.  Remember that in the lexicon of advertising, strategy comes before execution. A creative execution that strays away from the strategy will lose its relevance.  However, it is not bizarre for the strategy to change as the creativity is being developed. While creativity should not be at the cost of a sound strategy, if creative ideas lead you to newer and better strategies, don’t shy away form embracing the best solution. vii. Learn to Work without USPs:- Not all products have Unique Selling Propositions, through brand managers may tell you otherwise.  Petroleum is petroleum, be it of Indian Oil Corporation or Bharat Petroleum. Research has convincingly proven that consumers cannot accurately differentiate between two colas but nonetheless, they prefer one over the other.  Creativity lies in how you present products in ads – that’s what makes all the difference.
  • 36. viii. Arouse Audience’s Interest:- Remember that most ads are viewed as an intrusion to the activity that people are doing – reading, viewing or listening. Thus, advertisements not only have to deliver the message but also have to capture the audience’s fancy; in other words, entertain them.  However, while you attempt generating interest, also remember that what you are most concerned about is attracting of your “target audience” and not of any passerby flipping through the magazine or surfing through the channel sporting your ad.  It is better to draw the attention of a serious buyer through a simple ad than use a clever ad and pull other flippant readers who wouldn’t be interested in the product anyways. ix. Break free from Stereotypes:- Average advertising always sticks to stereotypes, but good advertising breaks those stereotypes and creates a spark.
  • 37.  It’s time consumers got to see something more interesting, and also something that they can relate to. The advertisers have to become more and more creative. x. Don’t Overpromise:- Overpromising will only heighten expectations and increase the chances of product failure so leave it to the Indian political parties.  So, when advertisers claim. “Sab kuchh dho dale” or “Gori, Gori sirf 15 miniton mein”, they need to think twice if they have left any holes unplugged. Instead, make promises that are tempting enough and also safely deliverable. xi. Reinforce Your Identity:- Apart from using creativity for attention- grabbing, use it for getting the brand registered.  Mention the brand name, and also the logo where appropriate, as many times and wherever you can in your advertisements – in the script, in the headline and copy, and in the close of the commercial, else you would end up like the Energizer ‘Bunny’, which for a long time was mistook by many as Duracell’s icon.
  • 38.  Unless a brand weaves its identity in its ad, people will remember only its creative execution, and not the brand. xii. Emphasize benefits, Not Product features:- Leo Burnett once said, “The greatest sales strategy in the world is: Don’t tell me how good you make it; tell me how good it makes me when I use it”. Women don’t buy cosmetics, they buy beauty. People don’t buy insurance, they buy risk cover. xiii.Use numbers with Caution:- Advertisers are often obsessed with punching numbers into their ad messages with a view to add seriousness to the product.  Numbers can add to the credibility, offer a competitive advantage or prove to be meaningful when they are put into context. For instance, in the case of Britannia cheese, which says one slice is equal to two glasses of milk, or Maggi, which claims to be a two-minute noodle. Or even for categories like computers or cars where tangible results are required to be shown.
  • 39.  But often, numbers can baffle and inundate consumers – ’12 times more volume’ mascara, natural care tea with panch ayurvedic tatwa, a fridge with sixth sense cooling, a toothpaste which fights 10 problems, etc.  Also, if the product fails to deliver on the promise, numbers can lead to a quicker doom. Hence, they should not be used for their sake alone. xiv. KISS:- Keep it Simple and Stupid. Make the point clearly. Simple messages are effective, but not easy to come up with. xv. Keep the Communication Current:- While a brand’s value proposition may remain the same, its message strategy may periodically adapt itself to the times.  Creative executions should be refreshed even more frequently as fresh executions recreate the interest in an otherwise old brand. Ex:- The way Amul and Cadbury builds a bond with Indians.