Pocket Notes

I always keep a notebook in my back pocket. Here are some things I’ve written down.

“when the gut knew, but the brain registers.”

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Culture as echoes

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Only put details where you want people to pay attention

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We need to tell ourselves we have a reason for every choice, even when we don’t.

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Moments of inevitable smirk

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Lobster can’t just be butter.

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“near nostalgia”

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You don’t need a representative sample to DISPROVE. We don’t consider that enough in research

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Advertising is one of the few things that breaks through the filter bubble

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If the hand that feeds you can ring your neck, you’re a turkey

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We are not genetically geared for abundance

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A good strat line should be an aphorism?

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Blow up the moment?

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“Strategy is thinking about a choice and choosing to stick with your decision.”

– Jeroen De Flander

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“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”

– Michael Porter

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You are not paid to be on top of things, you are paid to get to the bottom of them.

–RICHARD HUNTINGTON

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Say big things with small words

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“The bridge is not supported by one stone or another,” Marco answers, “but by the line of the arch that they form.”

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Every group has their thing that only they care about (super lawyers magazine)

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If you kill the stripes on a zebra, the rest of it dies too.

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what you say is not what they hear… Imagine a pilot comes on the intercom and announces “everything is fine”

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A brand’s positioning is not yours to own.

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When two people in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary

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It’s not about the message, it’s about the reaction

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Rolling the dice with zero experience is quite different than shooting from the hip informed by years of practice. One is reckless, while the other is a calculable risk.

The difference is having the discipline to know the difference.

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Smart clients dont give a shit about 30 slides of set up to an idea. they just care if the idea is good.

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The planners’ task is “not so much to see what no one yet has seen but to think what no one else yet has thought about that which everyone sees.”

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Strategy is a way of interpreting what you see.

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Trust, you could say, is simply another word for time.

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you can’t own attention on a platform that you rent.

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Your customers are searching for a feeling.

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Brands should create fame using both statics and flows. Statics are the constant elements a brand is built upon, i.e. brand stories or product features. Flows are the ever-changing face of a brand, i.e. advertising or content. Visibility and talkability should be designed into statics to create long-term self-perpetuating fame, and flows should be in tune with popular culture to boost fame periodically.

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Intelligence is what you use when you don’t know what to do

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They think the job of the brief is to provide a cast-in-stone solution to the problem.

No, the job of the brief is to change, to reframe, the problem.

Creativity is about solving a problem in a new way.

So the job of the brief is not simply to define the existing problem.

We don’t need strategists for that, the client can do that.

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In other words, the real problem is to know what the real problem is.

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As Einstein said “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about the solution.”

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What cliches exist? How can they be challenged?

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Shannon wrote a seminal paper in 1948 called “A Mathematical Theory of Communication“. In it he defined the measure of information as, effectively, its unexpectedness (he called it entropy). The more random, the more information

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80% of CFOs at 400 of the world’s largest companies would sacrifice a firm’s economic value to meet this quarter’s earnings expectations. (link)

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Engagement = causing some sort of emotional flux

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Flash in the pan stunts is like rent — money out the window… Consistent brand comms is like owning a home — building equity

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How can we make people experience brands in new ways?

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One of the paradoxes of life is that our big decisions are often less calculated than our small ones are. We agonize over what to stream on Netflix, then let TV shows persuade us to move to New York; buying a new laptop may involve weeks of Internet research, but the deliberations behind a life-changing breakup could consist of a few bottles of wine.

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The paradox of the connected world is that we have more ways to reach people but it’s becoming harder to connect with them.

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effective advertising must find new ways to repeat itself.

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for a brand, I believe the starting point must always be simplicity.

And that’s because its primary role is to reduce the cognitive burden.

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advertising creates demand and direct response marketing aims to fulfill it.

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“The value of a brand is that it reduces uncertainty,”

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Is the goal to make something no one has seen before or is it to make something that makes people question everything they have seen before? I don’t think that’s a trivial distinction. The former is about trying to remove yourself from history, the latter is fully confronting it.

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The electric process (the internet) makes us all nobodies desperate for identity

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‘The fast-moving trends get most of the attention. The slow-moving trends have most of the power.’ Stewart Brand

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Positioning is a competitor driven, not customer driven, approach.

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Every strategic decision should face a simple test: could you make the opposite choice without looking stupid?

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You can be relevant as hell and still boring as fuck

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“You’ve got to talk to a broad audience at some point in time, if you want to grow your brand. This is something that has been forgotten in recent years, we thought technology was the answer and we forgot how to build brands. The famous quote that ‘a brand is made great not just by the people that buy it, but the people that know about it’ is true.”

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Slot machines make more money in the United States than baseball, movies, and theme parks combined.

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would we rather be wasteful and effective or efficient and impotent?

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In anthropology, folkloristics, and the social and behavioral sciences, emic and etic refer to two kinds of field research done and viewpoints obtained:[1] emic, from within the social group (from the perspective of the subject) and etic, from outside (from the perspective of the observer)

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Messages can be microtargeted, but meaning has to be mass-produced.

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If someone disagrees with you, it’s not because they’re wrong, and you’re right. It’s because they believe something that you don’t believe.

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The greater the similarity between two products, the less reason/rationality has a place

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Advertising defines itself by output (advertising) not outcome (the building of brands)….And for the most part it’s still in the business of asset delivery, rather than the building of long-term platforms and systems… Because in real life emotional truth is more often inferred than declared; it is more often implicit than explicit.

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“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” Herbert A Simon

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What’s intellectually complicated merely becomes emotionally obscure in a 30-second spot.

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There are three elements to a culture: behaviors, systems, and practices, all guided by an overarching set of values.

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“Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away.” — Philip K. Dick

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Don’t tell me you’re a comedian… Make me laugh

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“Brand” is another word for reputation

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“Around 400 BC, Democritus said “All there is in the universe is atoms and void, everything else is mere opinion.”

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Art is whatever you can get away with

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power of mnemonics

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“the memorable never emerged from a formula”

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We can be outrageous to a purpose. That, for me, is great advertising.

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People can’t agree with a great thought before it’s done. Because, if it’s a great thought, it breaks the rules.

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it’s our job to excite people, not to try to herd them.

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Why doesn’t most advertising work? Because it’s ‘right’. It’s been debated, discussed, argued, briefed, researched, debriefed, rebriefed, until it’s ‘right’.

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Every purchase decision is a combination of ‘desire’ and ‘permission’

(If you want to buy something, but you can’t justify it in any way, you don’t buy it. If you can justify buying something, but you don’t want it, you don’t buy it. It’s that simple.)

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“it seems to be a different thing to know and to execute” Cardano

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Use Metaphors more

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Consumer truth +universal human truth + brand/product truth = core thought

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See I have this addiction to chaos. I love it when I’m a bit anxious.

It’s a sickness, okay. But it works for me.

And the older I get, the more I need what upsets me, shocks me, makes me squirm, or get angry.

The older I get the more I value what forces me to take a second look.

The more I respect people who don’t automatically respect me.

Chaos does this amazing thing that order can’t: it engages you.

It gets right in your face and with freakish breath issues a challenge.

It asks stuff of you, order never will.

And it shows you stuff, all the weird shit, that order tries to hide.

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“Just because a person can dismantle a bicycle into its constituent parts does not mean that they know how to build a bicycle.”

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If your segment is populated by different people who want different things, it is not a segment. It’s a joke and so are your skills as a marketer.

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The brief is the what we are doing. The creative is the how

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NOTICABLE, MEMORABLE, IRREFUTABLE

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Where there is tension there is truth.

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Don’t underestimate the value of the totally obvious

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Brands as a collective fiction that allow shortcuts in decision making. They help people sort out a world full of stuff without becoming paralysed by choice.

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Brand either appeals to senses (smell, sight, etc), reason, or emotion

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One Message at a time: Brevity + Simplicity + Clarity

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Drama grabs Creative’s attention

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Strategy is a GUIDE to making choices

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“Our study showed that there were four kinds of emotionally compelling content: funny, useful, beautiful, and inspiring.”

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Get the fuck out of the office

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imagined orders and devised scripts

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“You can’t co-opt dissent and then tidy it all up”

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The danger of averages: The average person is a 24 year old chinese man named mohammed with a cell phone and no bank account.

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Familiarity bias- that’s what advertising does. You’re more likely to notice something (at point of purchase) if you’ve seen it before

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“Sharp’s first law is that brands can’t get bigger on the back of loyal customers”

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give creatives a constraint

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6 principles of successful ideas: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credentialed, Emotional, Story

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MAKE THINGS PEOPLE WANT

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The role of advertising is simply salience — get the brand to be the first one that comes to mind in buying situations

That means from an execution perspective, the worse thing you can do is produce formulaic advertising because no one will remember it

It also means make it stir the emotions, they get the brand encoded into the memory better than ‘rational messaging’

It’s more than that, you need to make the brand distinctive.

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Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Anger, Envy and Pride. This is a great place to start. Look at that list because at least one of those sins is present in all comedy at all times.

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Or job is to ID Intersubjective realities

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the key output of the strategy is an idea that will get someone to see themselves, the world around them, the product, or the brand differently.

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“Planning was only ever designed to answer one question. Why the F*** should they?” — Tony Stead

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Couch the problem in a customer’s — not a business’s — point of view if possible. Avoid phrases like ‘we need more sales’, ‘we need to become more relevant’ and ‘we need awareness’ — these things are table stakes.

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Designing principle = story process+original execution

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People share content for three reasons:

1) Because it strengthens their bonds with others (e.g. if I share a piece of content with you I’m not just telling you I like it, I’m telling you that I like you, too)

2) Because it defines a collective identity (e.g. team affiliation)

3) Because it gives them status (e.g. for finding it first, or being the person that finds funny videos)

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What to apply right now (a summary of the main points)

1. Find the real problem and state it succinctly, interestingly

2. Find a deep human insight — hit a nerve

3. Find what’s truly unique and motivating about the brand/product (one thing can suffice)

4. Link the insight and brand/product truth to a simple strategy statement

5. Try to flip the perspective on the issue/brand/product/person with your core strategic idea

6. Don’t feel you need to do it alone — talk it through

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‘This feels borderline reckless,’” recalls Mark DiCristina, MailChimp’s senior director of brand marketing. “That’s when I knew we were onto something.”

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Author Anand begins by suggesting that managers focus on why an event spreads, not on its triggers. Example: A ‘trigger’ for a forest fire may be lightening, dropped cigarette, etc., but the reason it spreads rapidly is because of prolonged drought. Thus, it could be much more effective to focus on reasons for rapid spreading

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a strategy is an informed and measurable opinion on where to take a brand/business. Yes, an opinion.

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Make it provocative, say it short, say it in one picture.

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Insights are unspoken human truths, truths the subconscious recognises when it sees them. Often, insights are the arsenal of comedians and poets. A lot of creatives look up jokes about particular issues as inspiration for their ideas for this reason.

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“strategy is a creative act.” It should conjure up something that wasn’t there before.

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Where in the consumer journey is the actual brand challenge

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Most approach strategy as a practice in reduction, when in reality it’s the art of emergence

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We are then, in the business of igniting and sustaining momentum.

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challenge re; brand or product?

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innovation is a product of constraint.”

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Draw out the process consumers go through to 1) buy a product 2) become loyal to a brand 3) advocate for a brand (In advertising, you need to be clear about which of the three you’re aiming for, because each has a different path)

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“strategy should be about finding insights and then flipping them so that the key output of the strategy is an idea that will get someone to see themselves, the world around them, the product, or the brand differentl”

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How to explain an idea: a mega post

http://www.markpollard.net/how-to-explain-an-idea/

via Instapaper

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It’s all about the “record scratch” and the “click”

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“Fictionally speaking, desire is the sugar in human food.”

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to be human and alive is to be addicted to something, and the real power comes in choosing to what you might find yourself beholden

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According to the law of the wild web, the spoils go to those with fewest fucks to give.

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Good Planning is “The punchline comes at the end.” Good Storytelling is keeping peoples’ attention until the punchline.

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Good advertising is visible, behavioral triggers are invisible

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The absolute best advertising let’s people come to their own conclusions

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“The ad industry has a talent, lifestyle, and purpose problem.”

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Seek out intellectual discomfort

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At at the core of every good creative brief are answers to three questions:

What’s the difference between your brand and others? (e.g. more bleach)

What does it mean? (e.g. more cleaning power)

Why should I give a shit?(e.g. less time cleaning means more time with the kids).

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A good advertising idea has to be original enough to stimulate people and draw an intense response from them… Any advertisement is competing not just with other advertisements but also with editorial, programmes, people, events and life itself… if an advertisement is to succeed it has to involve the receiver and entice him into participating actively in whatever is being communicated about the brand”

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1. What problem are we trying to solve for our user? (Or what are we trying to do for them?)

2. Who is having this problem (or who can we help)?

3. What is the best way to help them solve it?

4.What could we do or make?

5.What would make people share/participate?

6.What is the context (where and when) for engaging?