NABS Fast Forward Session 5: Ideas

Words by Nathan Gainford, managing partner at LIDA and mentor at Fast Forward

Nathan Gainford_

Last week we reached a pivotal point in the process. Everything so far; client briefings, talking to consumers, sifting through the data, unearthing insights and structuring their strategic argument has been leading to this. It’s time to write an inspirational creative brief to enable ideas to flow and flourish.

A big challenge awaits our delegates in the form of a blank piece of paper which demands ideas. How do you get started, let alone getting to a pitch winning, effective campaign idea?

Fortunately NABS offered one of the industry’s finest creatives in Dave Henderson, DLKW (his partner, Richard Denny unable to attend due to illness) to offer some inspiration and practical advice for developing ideas and the art of the start.

Dave shared 10 approaches or ‘ways in’ to creating ideas and populating that blank sheet of paper. Without wishing to give all Dave’s secrets away, here are some highlights.

The first is to approach the brief from the opposite angle – reverse.

This approach came to life beautifully with an Australian road safety campaign. Rather than telling people that speed is bad, tell people slow is good. If life is a race, where does it end and what is the prize? The ad itself was slowed down, lasting a whole 3 minutes, in other words the whole of the ad break rather than a rushed 30”. The VO, delivered methodically and soothingly, asks us to think of the car as a sanctuary from the life race, to leave speed behind and enjoy life at the right speed. Enjoy the ride.

Second was activation – ideas which get people to do something rather than just asking them to do something. Dave showed us the ‘My blood is red and black’ blood bank appeal campaign from Brazil. People tend to only think about or feel motivated to give blood when it is for someone they know or love. I’m not overly familiar with Brazilian culture, but I do know they are passionate about football. This idea taps into this passion. The Vitoria football team has the colour red removed from their shirt, leaving just black stripes. The more blood people donated, the more red was reintroduced to the shirt, with progress being clear for all to see at each match. The media coverage was immense making international news. According to Dave, it was so successful they struggled to find storage space for the additional blood donated. Genius.

The third highlight (and my personal favourite) was an experiential idea, placing the product into people’s hands. South Africa wanted to reduce the child death rate for preventable diseases in disadvantaged areas. Educating children to simply get into the habit of washing their hands regularly would dramatically reduce the risk of disease. The idea was equally simple and extremely effective: Hope Soap – a toy placed inside a see through bar of soap. The more you wash, the closer you are to the toy being all yours. Apparently kids not only got into the habit of washing hands, but looked forward to it, with the prize of a new toy getting ever close with each wash. The potency of ideas to change behaviour never ceases to amaze.

And finally an idea which powerfully lands the idea that if you’re not an organ donor, when you die you take someone with you. A beautifully shot ad but as Dave highlighted, the music makes this film.

Before he wrapped up Dave gave a couple of nuggets of practical advice, one of which we could all keep in mind at times; Turn the computer off to remove distraction and give yourself quality thinking time.

So I’ll do that now and get back to the day job.

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