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.

AIA appoints Anthem for New Zealand rebrand

  • Advertising
  • March 22, 2019
  • StopPress Team
AIA appoints Anthem for New Zealand rebrand

AIA has appointed Anthem to oversee its rebranding in New Zealand.

Read more

StopPress noticeboard: 21 March

  • Noticeboard
  • March 21, 2019
  • StopPress Team
StopPress noticeboard: 21 March

Deals, expansions, launches and acquisitions across the Industry.

Read more

Grey Matters: boycotting digital behemoths and strength in diversity

  • Voices
  • March 21, 2019
  • Graham Medcalf
Grey Matters: boycotting digital behemoths and strength in diversity

Graham Medcalf takes a look at the week that was, covering advertisers moving away from Facebook, Google and YouTube, and the value of inclusive ads.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and StopPress have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

topics
Follow The Money
Follow The Money
Follow the money. It’s an axiom that journalists have believed in for years and a ...
Regional Rundown
Regional Rundown
StopPress takes a trip down the country to see who the audiences and agencies are ...
Beyond the Page 2018
Beyond the Page 2018
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Insight Creative
Insight Creative
Insight Creative specialises in shaping business stories out the core insights that often lie under ...
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the Surface
In this series, brought to you by Microsoft, we talk to a conceptual photographer, illustrator ...
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 ...

SXSW 2019: E–M–P–A–T–H–Y Find out what it means to me

  • Voices
  • March 21, 2019
  • Sarah Geel
SXSW 2019: E–M–P–A–T–H–Y Find out what it means to me

Anthem’s senior account director, Sarah Geel, looks at how empathy is turning the dial on customer experience.

Read more
“Have our own voice”: Hello Zukeen on taking risks, celebrating the arts and the joy of magazines
news

“Have our own voice”: Hello Zukeen on taking risks, celebrating the arts and the joy of magazines

StopPress talks with Sam Fraser-Baxter, editor of arts and culture magazine Hello Zukeen, about self-publishing, the magazine's nonsensical name and the expectations of print.

voices

How media plan to cover the accused Christchurch shooter's trial

  • Media
  • March 20, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
How media plan to cover the accused Christchurch shooter's trial
The accused in court Photo: NZME

Media outlets have begun discussions on how best to cover the court case of the accused Christchurch terrorist without giving him a platform for propaganda.

Read more

Storytelling wins Harrisons February Ad Impact Award

  • Ad Impact
  • March 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Storytelling wins Harrisons February Ad Impact Award

Kicking off another year of Colmar Brunton Ad Impact Awards is Harrisons, which takes out the award for February.

Read more

Assignment joins with Y&R to create VMLY&R in New Zealand

  • Advertising
  • March 19, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Assignment joins with Y&R to create VMLY&R in New Zealand

WPP AUNZ has announced Assignment Group and Y&R NZ will join forces to form the local arm of VMLY&R.

Read more

Farmers account awarded to Clemenger Group

  • Advertising
  • March 18, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Farmers account awarded to Clemenger Group

99 and Colenso BBDO have won the creative and customer experience business for Farmers. The win, after a competitive pitch, sees the advertising account return to 99 after a six-year hiatus.

Read more

IABNZ Q4 Revenue Report: digital revenue exceeds $1 billion in 2018

  • Advertising
  • March 18, 2019
  • StopPress Team
IABNZ Q4 Revenue Report: digital revenue exceeds $1 billion in 2018

IABNZ's Internet Advertising Report for Q4 2018 has been a released, with total digital revenue in 2018 reaching $1.058 billion following four consecutive quarters of double-digit growth. The total represents nearly 15 percent growth year-on-year.

Read more

Marketing Industry Responds to Christchurch Tragedy — Social Media Platforms Need to do More

  • Advertising
  • March 18, 2019
  • ANZA and Comms Council
Marketing Industry Responds to Christchurch Tragedy — Social Media Platforms Need to do More

The Association of New Zealand Advertisers and the Commercial Communications Council have released a joint statement following the role social media played in the events in Christchurch.

Read more

Why privacy scandals don’t scare us off social media

  • Media
  • March 18, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Why privacy scandals don’t scare us off social media

Facebook knows who we message, the calls we make and the contacts in our phones, so why aren't we all closing our accounts? Max Towle investigates.

Read more
More than one model in the sea, part two: how organisations are taking the reins of their advertising
features

More than one model in the sea, part two: how organisations are taking the reins of their advertising

The marcomms industry is a fluid place. Clients come and go, new screens and platforms lure audiences’ eyes, talent moves from place to place, and in the face of these changes, the most efficient way to get a job done may not always be the same. Erin McKenzie takes a look at some of the clients doing it for themselves and the changing role of agencies, and finds there's more than one model in the sea.

Why slow is the new fast for marketing

  • Voices
  • March 18, 2019
  • Richard Brett
Why slow is the new fast for marketing

Richard Brett, Opr CEO, writes about the rise of slow TV, New Zealand's ageing population and the stigma attached to loneliness.

Read more

This is us: James Mok on New Zealand's darkest day

  • Voices
  • March 18, 2019
  • James Mok
This is us: James Mok on New Zealand's darkest day

VMLY&R managing director James Mok reflects on the 15 March terrorist attack in Christchurch, and how the industry can do better to represent New Zealanders.

Read more
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!

©2009–2019 ICG 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