I Played the “Wash-a-Pig” Headline Game

For those of you who have’t heard of it, Wash a Pig is a headline writing game currently on Kickstarter.

The name is inspired by a quote from the infamous Luke Sullivan “Creativity is like washing a pig. It’s messy. It has no rules. No clear beginning, middle or end. It’s kind of a pain in the ass, and when you’re done, you’re not sure if the pig is really clean or even why you were washing a pig in the first place.”

So the history and sentiment behind the name alone makes me very happy right off the bat. Also, the look and feel of the whole thing is very well done. Everything down to this quirky detail on the deck box.

So how it works:

  1. Grab a WHAT card.
  2. Grab a WHO or HOW card.
  3. Put them together.
  4. Start writing.

I must say, these prompts really provide great jumping off points for exercising your creative muscles. I personally liked challenging myself even more by picking a “who AND how” card to pair with my WHAT card (see image below). It felt more realistic too since a real brief includes what you’re writing, who you’re writing for, and how to go about it/previous knowledge of what the current brand voice is.

I will say, playing this game for me did feel a bit like work though- I mean, I do this all day. That being said, I do think it’s great for 3 purposes:

  1. Teaching: If you are an ad teacher or CD looking to expand a junior’s conceptual skill set, having them play this game is a great way to do it. It’s a good way to help lift the pressure and self filter off and just write.
  2. Getting rid of concepting block: Whether you are a writer or not, taking time to step away from a project and just write headlines based on specific challenges separate from the ones you were working on, can help inspire you. And it does so in a bit more of a hands on way versus deck of brilliance for example.
  3. Proving to friends/family that your job is hard: Now I wouldn’t normally say this game serves as a party game/for people outside of advertising, BUT this can be a fun way to show that our job is hard even though we get to show up to the office at 10am in ripped jeans to do it.

So if you’re looking to up your headline game, it’s still available on kickstarter. Happy headline writing!