Category Archives: Creativity

Hello Flo

Just when you thought advertising for Feminine Hygiene products couldn’t get any more interesting (Ha!) Hello Flo went out 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 is a highly engaging site as well focussed on everything to do with Females and Female issues.

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


Storyline Structures in Advertising – AKA Storytelling in Advertising 101.

Great ads tell great stories. I think most people agree on this. So, the question is, how does one write a great ad with a great storyline?

I think advertising storylines have a few overarching idea ‘Arcs’ in common. Once we recognize them, it might help us generate better ideas.

  1. The first is centered on using an instinctive approach. Here an idea captures a universal or culturally relevant insight or trend, and links it to the brand in a relevant way. Sure, the tone of voice will vary across categories and brands – some might use humor, camaraderie, joy, nostalgia or other emotions – but at their heart, they connect with an underlying ‘truth’ associated with the brand or category.
  2. The second type of story structure is the imaginative approach. This approach builds an intriguing fantasy world that helps demonstrate a brands proposition.
  3. The third approach is using projection to get the audience to transfer or extend  their hopes and desires (ego) onto the product or service being sold. Of course this method can also work in reverse – using fear or threat to warn the viewer of what could potentially go wrong if they make an incorrect decision. Either way, this is about getting the viewer to project their hopes and fears and then tying it up with the product in a relevant way.
  4. In the final category, when we have a stand out or new product feature, we can showcase it with a simple product demonstration done in a beautiful way.

Here are some examples that may make my points clearer.

Instinctive 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

Imaginative approach: 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

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.


And finally, in this Product demonstration for Apple Watch, the product does all the talking!

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Hopefully this deconstruction will help in your next brief. Try to see where some of your favorite ads fit into this spectrum. And whatever you do, “keep it real or keep it edgy”.

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 us 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 Modern girls who wanted to use their Intelligence and have 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 trained in ‘girl power’. We weren’t taught to value ‘skills’ because skills were not for the ‘highly educated’ who went to University and studied for years and years and ended up in high powered positions.

Although I don’t disagree with encouraging girls to follow their ambition, what our teachers and career advisers didn’t foresee was the huge cultural and societal shift which has led to the DIY Revolution and the Maker Movement. Independent cafes / restaurants / art galleries, grassroots & community initiates such as urban gardening / food and craft markets, transition towns have burgeoned in the last few years.


If I had been advised then, that the future would be about self-subsistence, conservation, eco-friendly activities, community, creativity, individuality, taking pride in one’s own work, providing an alternative to the big corporates – in that context maybe I would have paid more attention in Home Eco’s.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the Coffee.

Chance Favors The Connected Mind.

Is there a link with Creativity and the Spaces and Environments around us? There are patterns that are crucial to creating environments that are recurrently creative.

For starters, ideas take time to mature to become useful and accessible. Breakthrough ideas take a long time to evolve and may even spend a long time dormant in the background.

Not only do 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.

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

So how can we create systems that allow these hunches to collide together? For example, Coffee Houses were for a long time engines of creativity because they allowed ideas to collide and develop new forms.

So will our always connected, multitasking, internet lifestyle create less sophisticated ideas as we move away from a slower, deeper contemplative states (like reading)? Yes, the great driver of scientific and technological innovation has been our connectivity and ability to reach out to others and turn hunches into something new. But, although in our new internet lifestyle we are always ‘distracted’, but we have so many new ways to connect and reach out or stumble serendipitously on new ideas.

Chance favors the connected mind.

This lovely stop motion film describes the process so we can do it more often.

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What Your Social Media ‘Likes’ Say About You.

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Important 10 minute talk touching on consumer behaviour / modelling / data / predictions / privacy | How social media “likes” help marketers tailor their message.
I believe creative agencies can’t survive in the future if we cannot model consumer decisions – and more importantly what influences 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.