123

Great ad. Where’s the idea?

  • Voices
  • March 10, 2017
  • Michael Goldthorpe
Great ad. Where’s the idea?

What do you call a machete massacred deer with no eyes and no legs? Still bloody no idea. That’s one of my favourite progressive pun jokes. He hasn’t got eyes so he’s a no-eye-deer. He can’t run because he has no legs. Still no idea. You get the point. When you’re eight it’s hilarious.

It’s the same basic premise as the Wonkey Donkey. Brilliant book, great word play, if you have kids, get a copy. But wait, I’ve missed the point. Sorry, I got caught up in the interestingness of execution and forgot to communicate the idea. And that, indeed, is the point. In an industry built on the power of great ideas, how often do we slip straight into execution and forget to have ideas at all? I reckon it’s too often.

What’s an idea?

An advertising idea is a creative leap designed to connect dots within the zeitgeist and help everyday people remember our messages. It’s that simple. Ideas are a communication tool. One example that always sticks in my mind is the ‘Speight’s on a boat’ idea from about ten years ago. Speight’s wanted people to remember that they make damn good beer. That was the brief. And that got the creative people wondering what life would be like for expats in London who were missing out. So they put a bunch of beer on a boat and took it to London. Then they told stories about the idea and everyone got the point that Speight’s was a damn good beer. And they bought it. Simple.

Simple ideas aren’t simple.

The best ideas seem really simple. But getting there is far from easy. It’s a reductive creative process that usually involves coming up with stacks of different ways to crack the same nut. These thoughts are then filtered through different layers of thinking brains and reduced to the simplest, most appropriate, most cut-through idea. This process includes brainstorming or concepting time, filtering time, any number of ‘overnight tests’ and the importance of fresh perspective and creative guidance. Every creative falls up the arse of their own ideas. It takes a team with time and talent to wrangle, craft, cultivate and simplify an idea into something really good.

Where do ideas come from?

Ideas are simply collisions of different thoughts. They are born of insight and focused through a tight, single-minded brief. Firstly you need to know what you want to communicate. That seems obvious, but it isn’t always. It should be simple, single-minded and founded in a truth about the product. That’s the hardest bit, but it’s essential. Next, you need to mine for a customer insight. Why will our message resonate with people? Not why we want it to. Not the business benefits of customer engagement. But a genuine insight that stacks up and makes sense. We use a simple tool to sense-check that: Why would anyone care? Why would they share? Once you’ve nailed a tight brief and honest insight, all you need is a team with talent and time.

Ideas are the currency of change.

People don’t remember facts. They remember feelings. We know this, because Maya Angelou told us. But we’ve spent thousands of years recording history by sharing stories. Memorable stories are ideas wrapped up in execution.

Another example of a great idea is an Amnesty International campaign that ran a few years ago. They needed to raise awareness of the plight of people imprisoned around the world for crimes that weren’t really crimes. That was their brief. They knew that people were too busy to notice and fundamentally thought ‘no smoke without fire,’ if you got banged up you probably deserved it. That was their insight. So Colenso had the idea to scrape people’s Facebook feeds and highlight imprisonable transgressions that everyday people make every day. What happened? People connected with the idea, understood the need to help and put hands into pockets to make a difference. Simple and effective.

Great ideas make all the difference.

When advertising campaigns are built around great core ideas, great things happen. Firstly, people get it. Multi-channel messages ladder up to one core thought so that everything we say helps communicate the core thing we’re trying to say. More importantly, people remember. Our brains are built to collect, filter and discard random facts but we all remember stories. We remember emotions. And when we get it right, we all remember ideas.

That’s what I reckon, what do you think?

  • Michael Goldthorpe is the owner of creative agency Hunch. 

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

features

The Hot List winners: biggest move

Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.

Recreating the Christchurch Cathedral: Realityvirtual is calling all videographers and photographers to help bring the landmark in VR

  • Media
  • July 19, 2018
  • Elly Strang
Recreating the Christchurch Cathedral: Realityvirtual is calling all videographers and photographers to help bring the landmark in VR

Realityvirtual’s Simon Che de Boer recently had a hand in documenting one of the world’s most ancient civilisations in VR. And now, he’s keen to get to work on his passion project: local cultural preservation work of the Christchurch Cathedral. He wants to resurrect the old Cathedral in VR using publicly sourced photography, so is putting out a call to the public to submit any photos or videos they have of the building pre-earthquake, and using deep learning, a company can fill in the missing data and build a VR experience around this.

Read more

2018 News Media Awards: News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media lead the finalists

  • Awards
  • July 18, 2018
  • StopPress Team
2018 News Media Awards: News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media lead the finalists

The 2018 News Media Award finalists have been announced after a panel of 50 industry judges narrowed down the entries to shortlists across the 32 categories.

Read more
topics
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the Surface
In this series, brought to you by Microsoft, we talk to a conceptual photographer, illustrator ...
Insight Creative
Insight Creative
Insight Creative specialises in shaping business stories out the core insights that often lie under ...
20/20 (tele)vision
20/20 (tele)vision
Media consumption is changing. But by how much?
The Hot List
The Hot List
Our rundown of the hottest shows, brands and creators in New Zealand media. 1. magazine ...
Cannes Lions 2017
Cannes Lions 2017
All the winners, the shortlists and the drama from this year's edition of advertising biggest ...
Merger Mania
Merger Mania
All our stories on the nation's two failed mergers in one place
Bauer Beyond the Page
Bauer Beyond the Page
When it comes to creating branded content, there are few better in the Kiwi market ...
The Indies
The Indies
Over the course of this series of articles, we look at how always-nimble indy agencies ...
AdRoll on automation
AdRoll on automation
Marketing automation is tipped to eventually become the only way advertising is traded in the ...
Game Changers
Game Changers
It’s all about PEOPLE. Join us as we discuss global insights, ideas and innovations from ...
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
Celebrating all the winners of the 2015 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
Future Tense
Future Tense
In a new series, StopPress talks to a range of newsmakers currently trying to shine ...
Beyond the Page
Beyond the Page
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Up Country
Up Country
In conjunction with News Works, the Up Country series talks with some of New Zealand's ...
Sounding off
Sounding off
As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we've asked a few of the company's ...
StopPress Podcasts
StopPress Podcasts
We sit down for a chat with industry leaders to find out what they're up ...
Beyond the Page 2018
Beyond the Page 2018
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
features

The Hot List winners: creator

Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.

Bayleys celebrates its Kiwi ingenuity in new campaign

  • Advertising
  • July 18, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Bayleys celebrates its Kiwi ingenuity in new campaign

Bayleys has launched a campaign that celebrates the real estate company’s ethos of teamwork and collaboration.

Read more
voices

ASA launches AdHelp service to help advertisers

  • Advertising
  • July 17, 2018
  • StopPress Team
ASA launches AdHelp service to help advertisers

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched its new AdHelp Information Service.

Read more
Sponsored content

NZME's chief executive officer Michael Boggs on radio

StopPress talks to Michael Boggs, NZME's chief executive officer, about why radio is such a strong platform, engagement with audiences, and the latest Commercial Radio Survey Results.

Pak'nSave marks Stickman's birthday with a June Ad Impact Award

  • Ad Impact
  • July 17, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Pak'nSave marks Stickman's birthday with a June Ad Impact Award

June was another month full of great ads, but it was Pak’n Save that topped the ranks to win Colmar Brunton’s Ad Impact Award.

Read more

Ads of the Week: 17 July

  • TVC of the Week
  • July 17, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Ads of the Week: 17 July

ANZ, Spark and Forsyth Barr show us how it's done.

Read more

Movings/Shakings: 17 July

  • Movings/Shakings, brought to you by Marsden Inch
  • July 17, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Movings/Shakings: 17 July

Industry happenings at Stuff, Colmar Brunton, Fish & Clips, Carat New Zealand and Hula.

Read more
features

The Hot List winners: media product and start up

Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.

Adshel Live enters into Tauranga market

  • Advertising
  • July 16, 2018
Adshel Live enters into Tauranga market

Adshel New Zealand has announced the expansion of its Adshel Live network to include Tauranga.

Read more

Preserving Egypt's heritage: how a New Zealander is using VR to take people on a tour through the tombs

  • Advertising
  • July 16, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Preserving Egypt's heritage: how a New Zealander is using VR to take people on a tour through the tombs

The man behind what’s been dubbed ‘the world’s most realistic VR’ is earning worldwide acclaim for his hyper-realistic VR cinematography. Now, Simon Che de Boer’s latest release, Nefertari: Journey to Eternity, takes viewers up close-and-personal in VR to an ancient civilisation that’s not experienced in many people’s lifetimes: Nefertari’s tomb in Egypt. This plays right into the passion driving Che de Boer’s work – to document heritage sites so they’re preserved digitally for years to come.

Read more

Josh Borthwick joins Stuff as commercial director

  • Advertising
  • July 16, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Josh Borthwick joins Stuff as commercial director

Stuff has announced Josh Borthwick will be joining the team as commercial director - agency and direct.

Read more
features

The Hot List winners: content marketer

Back for another year, NZ Marketing has selected the best of the bunch in the media business. While the editorial team put their heads together to figure out who and what came out on top for the judges' choice, our avid StopPress readers with their fingers on the pulse cast 11,293 votes to decide the People's Choice winners.

Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise

Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit