Simon Higby proposes the incubating model for the advertising business. He also invents new ways to influence behavior by injecting playfulness into everyday life.


Issue 18: Incubating Ideas


Ad agencies are full of lateral thinkers, full of budding entrepreneurial brains. You can find all manner of genius in one place. Brilliant storytellers, great salesmen and women, risk takers, minds that can make the complicated truly simple and ambitious souls whose drive is one of the most powerful natural resources on earth.

So shouldn’t it follow that these should be the best place for new businesses to start? New inventions, new platforms, new products should be flowing out of the doors of every agency like water from a tap. Today, it’s not like that. Surprisingly, in an industry full of so much progressive talent, we are very slow to change. It’s an industry trapped by a system that dates back to the 60’s – paid by the hour to create campaigns in order to sell things.

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Simon Higby and Kobayashi San who invented the car airbag and has really inspired Simon to pursue his thesis and the topics he writes about.

Simon Higby works for the advertising agency DDB Stockholm where he has won numerous awards including the DDB networks first ever Titanium lion, a Cannes Cyber Grand Prix, two Eurobest Grand Prix’s, 15 Cannes lions and the Bill Bernbach award for his work on Volkswagen and McDonalds. 

He has recently returned to DDB Stockholm from a two-year stint at their sister agency DDB Copenhagen, after leading that office to their best ever result at Cannes. 

He is a founder of The Fun Theory, a movement that is based on the simple idea that you can change human behavior for the better by making things fun to do.

Simon is also an MBA candidate at The Berlin School of Creative Leadership and a contributor to The Huffington Post and Forbes Magazine. 

Get in touch via twitter @simonhigby 

Created at DDB Stockholm, this campaign has become a platform based around using fun to change people’s behavior for the better. Why not actually create fun theory branded products and sell them to our global fan base? 

Echo Banner, McDonalds

Created at DDB Copenhagen and used as part of the Coinoffers campaign for McDonalds. This is a media platform where bloggers can get free traffic in return for hosting our banners. Why not expand this thinking and sell it to other brands and organizations?

Bug Run, Volkswagen

Created at DDB Stockholm this branded content campaign was made to generate buzz around the New Volkswagen Beetle Turbo. It was done in association for the betting company Bettson. Why not make this a regular racing event and allow every betting company to cover it? A long shot, but why not?

The Speed Camera Lottery

The winning idea of the fun theory award, submitted by Kevin Richardson, USA. Can we get more people to obey the speed limit by making it fun to do? This was the question Kevin’s idea answered and it was so good that Volkswagen, together with The Swedish National Society for Road Safety, actually made this innovative idea a reality in Stockholm, Sweden.

Why not take the speed camera lottery and franchise the idea out to transport authorities all over the world?

Bottle Bank Arcade Machine

Many of us return our plastic bottles and cans. Noticeably fewer recycle their glass. Maybe that’s because we don’t get any money in return, as we do for cans and plastic. Can we change this attitude by making recycling glass fun to do? So you are not just rewarded with a good conscience, you also get a smile.

”Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do?

Opera Soap, Royal Opera

Created at DDB Stockholm as a campaign for the Royal Opera. Song lyrics are on each bottle so people can sign along in the shower. Why not sell this on a permanent basis?