Whether you work in an agency, for an advertiser or in a start-up, your creative spirit and yourself are regularly called upon to find ideas. But how to know if your idea works?
Let’s picture your typical day. You are sitting comfortably at your desk when suddenly you get up to look out the window and start scratching your head in an ultimate attempt to stimulate your thoughtful mind. Now your brain is overwhelmed, before your eyes start rolling you focus on the raindrops on that same window, before you finally sit down. You start spinning on your chair then stop. Now you are thinking it was completely unnecessary. Arduously chewing on this outstanding branded pen, you think about this weird brief and open a tab in your browser.
Hundreds of web pages later, you browsed the whole worldwide web and skimed the whole D&AD, Cannes Lions and other festivals database rewarding the best (and sometimes the worst) of advertising ; you feel like you want to surrender. For the moment…
It’s now the evening and you don’t know yet but you are going to encounter serendipity. While you spend your evening drinking, reading, eating, smoking, binge-watching, flirting, doing the dishes, playing, socializing, nibbling an ear, having a shower, brushing your teeth or just working on something else, Eureka! You got it! You rush to your notebook (that one your employer gave you complimentary) and write down your idea. The day after at the office, swaggering, you decide to develop and present it to your colleagues, your boss or your client. But is it a good idea? That question is turning you upside down. But let’s suppose it is, what criteria makes you so confident?
This good practice comes straight from Cairo (ancient Egyptians were known to have written ads on papyrus), where JWT Middle-East Africa, has developed some years ago a tool to assess ideas. Let me introduce you a great way that allows you to assess the potential of your concept, to improve it and avoid some rush jobs in the end.
Made of 10 cards numbered from 1 to 10, the tool invites you to ask yourself the right questions and to mature your reflection gradually:
Ask yourself the right questions :
This thing shouldn’t have been made. It’s damaging to the brand, the client and the agency’s reputation. You’d be better off making a sandwich.
This thing is a waste of resources and is poorly made. People will actively avoid it. This sort of thing does nothing for any brand.
This kind of thing is out of date. People will find it very ordinary and will lose interest quickly. It is unlikely to help your brand.
This kind of thing has been made before. People already know all about it, and will be looking beyond your brand almost immediately.
This thing is interesting and well made. People will appreciate it, but there are not that many ways to participate with it. It will do something for your brand, but could have done more.
This thing will get some attention. People can participate with it. They will feel rewarded because of that, and it will enhance your brand.
This thing is innovative and a great example of the things we should be making. People will participate with it and look for more things like this from your brand.
This is one of the best things around. People are starting to find new ways to participate with it, and it will do great things for the brand.
This competes with the very best things in the world. People are participating with it in many ways. It will make the brand, client and us famous.
This sets a new standard for brands. It’s something people have never seen before and will reinvent how the world interacts with the brand.
This method could appear surprising or old school. Nevertheless assessing an idea remains unchanged for years despite the several changes that currently impact advertising industry.
You are doing a job of which fundamentals have not changed. Whether a message is delivered via a medium as ancient as the poster or as modern as a tweet, it remains based on the idea. And when the idea is based on a human truth, for a brand or a product that answers a human need, and which communicates in an entertaining, engaging or involving way ; it will be successful. Despite all the societal and technological changes, this is what advertising has always been, and always will be a cunning call to action. Rough or artfully made, it is a unique cocktail of art and business. This is what makes it fascinating.