Do you like new creative ideas?
I do. I love it when someone comes up with an idea that is genuinely clever, new and racy. I get excited by the potential opportunities such ideas present.
In almost twenty years as a marketer I have seen my fair share of agency pitches for advertising campaigns. Or proposals for communications collateral to support a proposition launch. I’ve seen budgets for such campaigns as low as a few thousand pounds to many millions.
But no matter how much budget was available to entice the agency to win the job, I’ve occasionally felt disappointed when I see their pitches.
Sometimes they are too “samey”. Others are too safe or lack any originality. Granted the agency responds to a brief written by me so I have to make sure that I haven’t caused my disappointment with poorly written requirements. But when I know I have given a strong brief, the heart sinking feeling of disappointment is even harder to bear when a pitch lacks that unique spark.
For the last few years I’ve been involved with the Product Design students at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) to run a creative project. Last year we asked them to invent four original ideas for a brand new financial services company.
In the past I have been very impressed by the concepts the students have come up with, so I was looking forward to seeing what their ideas were. Could they make financial services interesting?
Needless to say their presentations overwhelmed me. The six students had locked themselves away in a brainstorming room for a week. Not only had they met our brief and come up with four concepts, but they had also produced posters, leaflets and copy explaining the proposition, and flow charts to show their processes.
Their production was professional. The material was eye-catching. Their copy was simple and to the point.
But the jaw dropping moment came when I realised that they had come up with two ideas which were genuinely original. In fact they were innovative, clever and racy. I almost felt like nipping out and filing a few patents.
Yes really their ideas were that good.
Okay so there might have been a bit of naïvety in some of the high level concepts, but these students are not (yet) business people.
And here’s the thing. They put all this together for a prize amount of just over a grand.
Their ideas were fresher, more interesting, and more exciting than agency pitches I have seen for a hundred, maybe a thousand times that amount of money.
These students have a very bright future.
And do you hear me big corporate enterprises? If you end up employing one of these guys, don’t you dare stifle their creativity with bureaucracy and governance.
And if you are thinking of spending a fortune on an agency, why not try some students first, and then refine their ideas with an agency later? That’s what I’m going to do. I bet I end up being disappointed much less in future.
Now it’s your turn: I would really like to hear your stories about new creative and innovative ideas. Where do you go for inspiration. What’s the most unlikely source of innovative thinking that you have found. Please leave a comment below or paste a link to your own articles.