Know thy product and the creative path will be revealed to you


Issue 65: Product Speaks The Truth

Product Speaks the Truth

We spend quite a bit of time each year judging our creative, celebrating our cleverness, looking for proof of our value or the magic formula that we can use to sell ourselves. In our search for the holy grail, we often forget the importance of simplicity. The focus of our communications must be simple and clear. It all comes down to how good of a listener we are. How well do we understand our clients’ problems? How much do we care about the products we are selling?

And when we are out looking for answers and inspiration, we must not forget what is right in front of us. Our creativity must be based on a relevant truth. As Bernbach said, “The magic is in the product.” Our relationship with the product cannot be superficial. We need to live with it. Get steeped in it. Understand the soul of it. Before we can be creative in our business, we must be able to clearly define what we want to say in a single purpose.

It’s this understanding of the need for absolute clarity of message that informs many of our best ideas this award season. It’s exactly what DDB New Zealand did to create their humorous Silicon Valley promotion for SKY TV. They celebrated the inherent nerdiness of the product through a simple but “ludicrously difficult” campaign, requiring radio listeners to crack a 395 character URL, or URXXL, as they called it.

For DDB Paris, the magic of the product was not just central to their idea for Play-Doh, they actually used Play-Doh to beautifully craft the work itself.

DDB Hong Kong got to the heart of it, quite literally. They understood the true value for jeweler Des & Co and created custom rings crafted by the digital heartbeat of each customer. A simple message that brought a whole new meaning to the brand.

In Chicago, We Are Unlimited turned a discount soda promotion for McDonald’s on its head. Removing the obvious, they developed a completely unbranded campaign that had the entire country Googling to learn about McDonald’s other “secret sauce”.

And Tribal 121 in Peru turned around their media and budget problems for Peruvian Tourism to create a simple, single idea that now travels the world.

The best ideas are generally right in front of you. It simply takes hard-core listening to find it.