πŸ’Ž On sailing as close to the wind as possible without capsizing (FCUK ADVERTISING)

To sail as close to the wind as we can without capsizing.

For instance:

Castlemaine lagers campaign, Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX for any other lager.

The poster campaign for French Connection UK:

FCUK FASHION and FCUK ADVERTISING.

The shop in Kings Road that sold brass front-door fittings, called Knobs and Knockers.

The Sun’s headline when Tammy Wynette died,

COUNTRY STAR TAMMY: D-E-C-E-A-S-E-D.

Eddie Izzard’s joke, β€œI come from a very traditional family.

My granddad hanged himself on Christmas Eve and we couldn’t take him down until January 5th.”

This is a naughty, schoolboy, playground sense of humour.

Excerpt from: Creative Mischief by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On how a German village dealt with the problem of neo-Nazis (by reframing the problem)

So the local community has formed a group called EXIT, to help educate and de-radicalise young people, to encourage them to leave the group and help them find better lives.

But EXIT needs funding.

So the townspeople have decided, since they can’t stop the neo-Nazis marching, to use the march for their own ends.

Instead of resisting the march they are now encouraging the march.

Because they are using the march to raise money.

For every metre the neo-Nazis march, local businesses are donating ten euros to EXIT.

So the neo-Nazis will now be marching to fund EXIT.

The further they march, the more money EXIT gets.

If the neo-Nazis don’t like it they can stop marching.

Whichever way they decide, it’s a result for the local community.

Whether the neo-Nazis march or not, the little village wins.

The inhabitants now treat the march as something to enjoy and have fun with.

Every 100 metres there are signs stencilled on the ground, thanking the marchers for the money they’re raising:

YOU HAVE RAISED 1,000 EUROS FOR EXIT.

YOU HAVE RAISED 2,000 EUROS FOR EXIT.

YOU HAVE RAISED 3,000 EUROS FOR EXIT.

And so on.

By the time the neo-Nazis reach the cemetery they’ve marched a kilometre, which means they’ve raised 10,000 euros for EXIT.

So there is a huge rainbow sign thanking them, and the locals throw rainbow confetti over them.

Excerpt from:Β Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It): Real-life stories of remarkable creative vision by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On the false distinction between emotional and rational ad campaigns (demonstrated best by Volkswagen)

In advertising, we assume the only way to get an emotional response is with an emotional appeal.

But Bill Bernbach knew that isn’t true.

Look at the history of Volkswagen advertising.

For fifty years they did product demonstrations.

And they build a brand that has massive emotional appeal.

Ask anyone about VW and they’ll say “reliable”.

That’s an emotional response based on rational advertising.

Because a rational demonstration can have a more powerful emotional affect than something vacuous designed purely to appeal to the feelings.

Done properly, reason is emotion.

Excerpt from: Creative Mischief by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On the best example of branded content being 100 years old (the Michelin Guide)

In 1900 the Michelin brothers owned a tyre company in France.

They wanted to sell more tyres.

And, in order to do that, they needed to get drivers to wear down the ones they had.

So in 1900 they issued the first Michelin Guide.

It showed all the great things to see and do around France.

It encouraged people to get out in their cars and drive to all these places.

It featured a list of sights to see, places to buy petrol, places to stay.

The locations of garages, mechanics.

And, being French, good places to eat.

Excerpt from: Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On the Theory of Omission (why copywriting isn’t like writing a book)

A book may take months to write.

Thats okay because people can take weeks to read it, savouring each word.

Copywriting isn’t like that.

Copy has to compete for attention.

We can’t assume that every word will be pored over, like a book.

That’s what made Ernest Hemingway different as a writer.

Hemingway trained as journalist.

Before he became a novelist, he worked on the Kansas City Star.

He learned the paper’s style, it became his guide to writing:

‘Use short sentence. Use short paragraphs. Use vigorous English.’

He learned to get the most from the least, to prune language.

Later in life Hemingway would call this style ‘The Iceberg Theory’.

By stating the bar minimum, you let the reader’s imagination add the part unsaid, the part below the surface.

In writing classes at universities it’s now known as ‘The Theory of Omission’.

Excerpt from:Β One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž Don’t tell people, show them (how escalators became “normal”)

Then someone had a brilliant idea: proof always works better than a claim.

Don’t tell people, show them.

William ‘Bumper’ Harris was an employee who’d lost a leg in an accident.

He was told to come to Earl’s Court station and ride up and down the escalator.

Just that, ride up and down, nothing else.

People at the bottom would see a one-legged man with crutches nonchalantly hop onto the escalator and ride it to the top.

Then he’d turn around, and people at the top would see a one-legged man with crutches nonchalantly hop onto the other escalator and ride it to the bottom.

‘Bumper’ Harris just did that all day.

When frightened passengers saw him do it they were reassured an ashamed.

Reassured that if a one-legged man could do it anyone could.

And ashamed that they were ever frightened in the first place.

After a day of ‘Bumper’ riding up and down, everyone was using the escalator as if it was the most normal thing.

And once that happened, the problem disappeared.

Escalators became as accepted as the have been ever since.

The lesson was, it’s better to show people than to tell people.

Excerpt from: Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It): Real-life stories of remarkable creative vision by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On the false split between emotional and rational messages (people buy the pearl)

How you say something may well be more important than what you say.

But you have to have something to say in the first place.

If you have nothing to say that will soon be apparent.

No one will be fooled.

Think of it as an oyster.

You start with a piece of grit, and build a pearl around it.

People buy the pearl, they don’t buy the grit.

But no grit, no pearl.

Excerpt from: Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It): Real-life stories of remarkable creative vision by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž Sometimes words aren’t enough to change behaviour (demonstrations are more powerful)

At a school in the USA, the girls in their early teens had just discovered lipstick.

They would go into the female toilets to apply it.

Then, giggling, they’d leave imprints of their lips on the large mirror.

This made a lot of extra work for the cleaning staff.

The head teacher asked the girls to stop.

Of course, they ignored her.

So she took the girls to the toilets for a demonstration.

She said, ‘It takes a lot of work to clean the lipstick off the mirror.’

She said to the janitor, ‘Please show the girls how much work it takes.’

The janitor put the mop in the toilet, squeezed off the excess water and washed the mirror.

Then put the mop in the toilet again, and repeated the process. From that day on there was no more lipstick on the mirror.

That’s choice architecture.

Excerpt from:Β One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On the psychology of price (the Veblen effect)

Sailing across the Aegean Sea he was captured by Sicilian pirates.

They demanded a ransom: 20 talents of silver.

(That’s about 620kg worth about $600k.)

Caesar told them they were being ridiculous.

He couldn’t possibly allow himself to be ransomed so cheaply.

The pirates hesitated, the were confused.

Caesar insisted the ransom must be more than doubled to 50 talents of silver.

(Around 1550kg worth about $1.5 million.)

Now the pirated didn’t know what to make of this.

Normally their captives tried to escape as cheaply as possible.

They didn’t understand what was going on.

But if he said he would double the ransom, why argue?

They let Caesar’s men go back to Rome to raise the money.

And in Rome, in his absence, Caesar suddenly became very famous.

No one had ever been ransomed for such a vast sum before.

He must be very special, he must be very important/

That ransom demand put Julius Caesar on the political map.

He had just invented the Veblen effect.

Excerpt from: Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It): Real-life stories of remarkable creative vision by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On a little bit of controversy going a long way (fixing potholes)

Everywhere potholes are a problem, everywhere councils ignore the,

Sure they’ll fix them, eventually, when they get around to it.

Which usually means months, sometimes a year later.

One cyclist in Bury decided to elevate potholes up the council’s list of priorities.

He knew the council couldn’t be bothered about potholes.

But the council were red hot on covering up graffiti.

Graffiti left on display was like advertising that the council weren’t doing their job.

It was very visible so it was covered up immediately.

He decided to use graffiti to solve the pothole problem.

Wherever there was a large pothole in the road he sprayed a set of genitals round it.

Badly drawn — just balls and a knob, crude in every way.

But suddenly the potholes stood out.

Suddenly the potholes, which had previously been invisible to the council, were seen to be outraging public decency.

The potholes, which had been ignore for months, were repaired and the graffiti removed within forty-eight hours.

Excerpt from: Creative Mischief by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On using political influence creatively to solve problems (a different type of Russian influence)

So he wrote to the Russian embassy in Washington DC.

He told them the story about the poverty-like conditions the people of Vulcan, West Virginia were living in.

He told them America couldn’t even afford to build a bridge.

He knew that Russia had a foreign aid budget that could help build a bridge where America couldn’t afford to do it.

The Russians know this would be a major propaganda coup. They immediately sent a reporter, Iona Andronov, to visit Vulcan.

He could write the story about how the USA couldn’t support their own people.

How the poor people of America were crying out to Russia for help.

But the Russian embassy had to get permission from the US State Department before making the trip.

The US government wanted to know why they were going to the middle of nowhere.

When they found out about Vulcan’s bridge, things began happening.

This could embarrass the US worldwide.

The government told the state to fix it, NOW.

Excerpt from: Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It): Real-life stories of remarkable creative vision by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On the danger of a market leader responding to a smaller brands claims (Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi, Hertz vs. Avis, etc.),

As Napoleon said: “Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake.”

Years ago, Avis ran its famous campaign: “We’re only no 2. We try harder.”

It worked so well it began to harm morale at Hertz, the market leader.

Hertz was forced to respond with a single campaign saying: “For years, Avis has been telling you Hertz is no 1. Now we’re going to tell you why.”

It worked for Hertz employees, but for the public it cemented Avis as an equal competitor to Hertz.

Years later, Pepsi ran “The Pepsi challenge” saying seven out of 10 cola-drinkers preferred the taste of Pepsi to Coke.

Coke was so spooked it announce it was changing its formula.

On the day it did, all Pepsi employees were given a day off.

Because Coke was doing Pepsi’s advertising for it.

A few years back, the RAC ran a campaign about how it could get to a broken-down car faster than anyone else.

Rupert Howell has the AA as a client at that time.

He told me it was all he could do to stop the AA client from running a campaign replying to the RAC claim and disproving it.

Rupert managed to stop the AA from doing the RAC’s advertising for it.

Because Rupert understood what RAC was trying to do.

We shouldn’t be frightened of provoking a response, we should be trying to provoke a response.

Especially from someone bigger.

If we can use our budget to provoke our opponent into spending their money answering us back, it’s a very effective way of positioning ourselves in the public’s mind.

By making them spend their money doing our advertising for us.

Excerpt from: Campaign Magazine article by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On talking to the audience in their language (not yours)

Horse Power was comparison everyone could understand.

Suddenly, Watt had put the steam engine into a language that made sense to the layman. Which is exactly what Steve Jobs did when he launched the iPod.

He didn’t compare it to to other MP3 players for speed and fidelity.

That would have been a market-share comparison.

Steve Jobs had a much bigger opportunity in mind, market-growth.

That’s why he compared the iPod to something ordinary people could understand.

He simply held it up and said “A thousand songs in your pocket.”

Because 200 years later the rules for creative communication haven’t changed. You talk to the audience in their language. Not yours.

Excerpt from: Creative Blindness (And How To Cure It): Real-life stories of remarkable creative vision by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On communicating two strong propositions in one ad (is like welding a JCB to a Ferrari)

Whereas with a complicated proposition you dilute and fragment your message.

Less important points don’t add to the communication.

They detract from the most important point.

That’s what the single-minded proposition is all about.

That’s why we need people to make the effort to decide what is absolutely essential.

Not just people who think of what else they can include.

Welding a JCB to a Ferrari doesn’t make a machine that can dig roads at 200 mph.

It makes something that can’t do either job properly.

Excerpt from: Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On the power of accountability (to reduce littering)

A writer at out agency, Rob DeCleyn, found another great example of choice architecture in his local paper.

A village in Kent had a problem with litter.

Sweet wrappers, crisp packers, soft drink cans and bottles were strewn all over the streets.

But the local shopkeeper didn’t complain or nag the children.

He just wrote their name on the crisp and sweet packets when they bought them.

That’s all, just the child’s name.

And the litter problem cleared up almost immediately.

That’s choice architecture.

The children could still choose to throw their wrappers in the street.

They didn’t have to put them in the litter bin.

The only difference was that now everyone would know whose litter it was.

Excerpt from:Β One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On knowing your place (Do you know who I am?)

It’s an American agency called Wundermann.

Apparently, one day the owner flew in to visit his agency.

He was a big, brash New Yorker.

He drove straight into the car park below the building.

The gruff cockney parking attendant stopped him.

He said, β€˜Where you going, guv?’

The American was indignant.

He said, β€˜I’m parking, of course.’

The parking attendant said, β€˜You gotta permit?’

The American said, β€˜No.’

The parking attendant said, β€˜Then you ain’t parking here.’

The American was outraged.

He said, β€˜Do you know who I am?’

The parking attendant shook his head and said, β€˜No.’

The American got out of the car, raised himself up to his full height, tapped his chest and said, ‘I’m Wundermann.’

The parking attendant said, β€˜I don’t care if you’re fucking Superman. You ain’t parking here’

Excerpt from: Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On needing multiple techniques to understand a consumer (think about the big picture)

This is illustrated by the parable of five blind men walking into an elephant.

Each tries to describe what they’ve bumped into.

One blind man feels the side of the elephant.

He says, β€˜An elephant is like a wall.’

Another blind man feels the elephant’s trunk.

He says, β€˜No, an elephant is like a snake.’

The third blind man feels the leg.

He says, β€˜You’re both wrong, an elephant is like a tree.’

The fourth blind man feels the tusk.

He says, β€˜Sorry, but an elephant is like a spear.’

The fifth blind man feels the tail.

He says β€˜You’re all wrong, an elephant is like a piece of rope.’

All of the blind men mistake their little bit of truth for the whole truth.

Excerpt from:Β One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On why the true creative person wants to be a know-it-all (broaden your perspectives)

One of the best advertising people ever was Carl Ally.

He said the true creative person wants to be a know-it-all.

They want to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, modern manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and lean hog futures.

Because they never know when these ideas might come together to form a new idea.

It may happen six minutes later or six years down the road, but they know it will happen.

Excerpt from:Β One Plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On the importance of being interesting (not just being right)

She wants Mr. Interesting.

In the pub, who do you want to listen to?

The bloke who’s always right?

Or the bloke who’s always interesting?

Being right is overrated.

Because being right is seen as the truth.

But what is the truth?

The truth is whatever you believe it is.

And you only believe what you want to believe.

And you only want to believe what’s interesting.

Excerpt from: Creative Mischief by Dave Trott

πŸ’Ž On how passing up short term wins can bring long term gain (frame the context)

Mark Twain tells the story of a young boy he met in the mid-West. Every time a stranger came into town the other boys delighted in showing the stranger just how stupid this boy was.

They’d hold out two coins, a dime (10 cents) and a nickel (5 cents) and tell the boy he could keep one.

He’d always pick the nickel because it was bigger.

Every time he did it all the other boys laughed.

Mark Twain took him aside and said, β€œSon, I have to tell you that the small coin is worth more than the bigger one.”

The boy said, β€œI know that mister. But how many times do you think they’d let me choose if I picked the more valuable one?”

In the original context, the boy is stupid.

Change the context, and he’s smart.

Excerpt from: Creative Mischief by Dave Trott