Hello Flo

Just when you thought advertising for Feminine Hygiene products couldn’t get any more interesting (Ha!) Hello Flo went and created a highly entertaining film using a fictional young girl’s first period as inspiration to tell a very amusing story!

And their website http://helloflo.com is a highly engaging site as well focussed on everything to do with Females and Female issues.

Screenshot 2016-02-19 20.52.46

Nice to see a brand breaking free from  the mould of the “happy girl running carefree along the beach” cliche.

Storytelling in Advertising

Great ads tell great stories, most advertising people agree on this. Even in a digital world, a great idea still takes the audience on an interesting journey.

So, how do we write a great advertising storyline? There are a few overarching idea arcs that good ads have in common.

An overview of Advertising Storyline Structures

  1. Based on Human Insight: Where an idea captures a culturally relevant insight or trend (a category insight or a universal human insight) and links it to the brand in a relevant way. The tone of voice will vary across categories and brands (humour, camaraderie, joy, nostalgia or other emotions) but at their core, they connect with an underlying human truth.
  2. Creating a fictional world: This approach builds an intriguing fantasy world that helps demonstrate a brands proposition.
  3. Using Projection: Based on the human ego, this technique allows the audience to transfer or extend their hopes and desires onto the product or service being sold. This arc can also work in reverse, using fear or threat to warn the viewer of the potential dangers of making an incorrect decision. Either way, it’s about understanding the hopes and fears of the audience and then tying this up with the product in a relevant way.
  4. Product demonstration is when there is a stand out or new product feature that is best showcased with a stunning demonstration.

Here are some examples to make things clearer.

Human Insight Approach

IKEA are experts in simple, lighthearted ads that effortlessly communicate its proposition in witty and insightfully creative ways. The ad below is an example of instinctive / insightful communication built on a modern cultural truth about the way we live in a digital world.

IKEA BookBook

Creating a Fictional World

On the other hand, this campaign for Georgetown Optician is an imaginative story that tells the fictional story of a family obsessed with eyewear. It effectively communicates the point that Georgetown opticians are experts in glasses.

Georgetown Opticians

Using Projection

This campaign for NIKE, taps into peoples hopes and aspirations by empowering the audience to dream about the person they could become if they associate with NIKE.


Product Demonstration

In this ad for Apple Watch, the product does all the talking

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The greatest communications are the most orginal. For your next broef, try using one of these story arcs or even breaking the mould and trying something totally new.

How to get to where you want to go.

Not another dinosaur.

I think ‘strategy’ is the most over used word in this industry.  Too often it is misunderstood, and too often people use it inter-changeably with just ‘a thought’.

Good strategy is creative, just like good creative has to be strategic.

Good strategy is a jump from the mundane. It’s based on an idea. It makes a statement about what the brand is up to. Following from this people either buy into the brand or they don’t.

When you think about campaigns like Avis’s ‘we try harder’, or Honda’s ‘power of dreams’ it is very obvious what the brand is up to, the strategy stands out.

Here are some jump starters for writing good communication strategy:

1. Develop an insight or story, and then summarise it as a strategy.

2. Think ‘what is my creative angle on this problem’ what’s the larger than life proposition to the world?

3. Think ‘what…

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Home Economics and the breakdown of old Structures.

In grade 7 I took compulsory Home Economics class which taught basic sewing and cooking skills. I was pretty good at it and although much fun I wrote it off because in my mind it wasn’t for ‘ambitious modern girls’ who wanted to use their ‘intelligence’ and pursue a ‘career’ or who aspired to be ‘more’ than ‘just’ a ‘housewife’ *rolls eyes*. How wrong I was!


At the time, we were led to believe that girls can do anything and we were trained in girl power. We weren’t taught to value craftwork because that would be taken over by machines and technology and it wasn’t for the new generation of highly educated women who went to University and studied for years and years and ended up in high powered positions.

I agree with encouraging girls to follow challenging pursuits, but in hindsight I have also learnt that success in life is about finding something you enjoy doing and doing that in our individual and unique way.

In any case, what my teachers and career advisers didn’t foresee was the huge cultural and attitudinal shift which has led to the DIY Revolution and the Maker Movement. Independent cafes, restaurants, art galleries, grassroots community initiates such as urban gardening and food and craft markets as well as self-reliant transition towns have burgeoned in the last few years.


If I had known that the future would be about artisanal crafts, community building, creativity and individuality, and that there was space to grow beyond the big corporates maybe I would have pursued my talent in Home Eco’s at least as a side pursuit.

I have no regrets about working hard to go to University and I loved what I studied and my area of specialisation. Every choice we make has a story to tell us about who we are and I have definitely learnt a lot about myself back then and the context surrounding my choices by examining them many years later.

I encourage you to make your decisions based on what you enjoy and what feels right to you, not based on projections of future earning potential or hot-job list.


Chance Favors The Connected Mind.

I believe a link exists between creativity and the environment that surrounds it, and there are crucial processes that foster creativity.

For starters, ideas take time to mature into something useful and accessible. Breakthrough ideas take a long time to evolve and may even spend a long time dormant in the background. Environments that foster patience and are comfortable in the grey zone of unanswered questions will be more likely to develop creativity.

Ideas start off as small ‘hunches’ that evolve over time, but good ideas usually come in the form of smaller collisions between smaller hunches. Side projects need to meet and other people’s ideas need to collide.

Ideas need time to incubate and they spend a lot of time in ‘hunch’ form.

The Impact of an Always-On World

Our internet lifestyle means we are constantly distracted, always connected, multitasking and over-thinking. This state of being does not seem conducive to the slower pace necessary for creativity.

So, will our shift away from slower, deeper contemplative states lead to less sophisticated ideas? In our distracted reality, how can we create infrastructure and systems that foster patience and allow ‘hunches’ to collide together?

Coffee Houses were for a long time engines of creativity because they allowed ideas to collide and develop into new forms.

For starters, we have many new ways to connect and reach out or stumble serendipitously on new ideas. Certainly, the driver of scientific and technological innovation has been our hyper-connectivity and ability to reach out to others who help turn hunches into something new.

Chance favors the connected mind.

This lovely stop motion film unpacks the creative process in a post analogue world and shows that just as the days pre-internet, creativity is about making connections.

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What Your Social Media Likes Say About You.

Click the image to watch the video.

Watch this short yet insightful talk touching on consumer behaviour / modelling / data / predictions / privacy.

I believe creative agencies can’t survive if we don’t model consumer choices and drivers of behaviour.

Sure we might be Creative Engines but it doesn’t mean that data \ technology \ research shouldn’t be driving and informing the creative engine.