By Steve Favell
Chocolate Eggs a Week After Easter
During our first week back, and our final term at SCA, we are being Creative Directed by the person who has won more Cannes Lions awards than any other Creative Director in the World. None other than my namesake, Steve Harrison, and today he kicked me.
The three masterclasses we have had so far have included plenty of Easter eggs of wisdom from our industry as well as blueprints, as outlined in his books, for doing great creative work, which has left wondering how many more times the penny can drop for me on this course. Each time a new take on doing creative clicks it feels like the rising sun slowly revealing more of a room cast in shadow and I can see a little more.
I feel at pains to mention that this room will never be fully illuminated. As Steve told us today those of us who leave SCA thinking they have learned everything there is to learn have missed the point completely. Those who release they still have so much to learn will be the ones who get the furthest. Which is good for the cuckoo feeling that follows me
I am starting to release that there are many different approaches to the job we do. Everyone has a slightly different take or angle and feel extremely privileged that I am in a position where I have this kind of access and I can absorb as many of these approaches as I can sponge up.
Steve defiantly comes from the old school of thought on advertising. Having been mentored by David Ogilvy, he is a prolific reader and researcher into advertisings history, sighting books by John Caples, as well as being an expert on one of the giants of the industry, Howard Luck Gossage. His depth of knowledge doesn’t only stay in the past though, as he references insights from Danish web usability consultant, and researcher into ‘all things screen’, Jakob Nielson. It feels as though Steve is a true student of our industry who is now at maven level and it is an absolute honour to have him teach us.
Building on David Ogilvy’s statement about the importance of your advertising containing a big idea, Steve believes:
“You need two great ideas.”
A marketing idea and a creative idea. A marketing idea could be a problem being faced by the consumer and the solution the product can offer. A creative idea is a demonstration or dramatisation of the proposition born out of the marketing idea. Steve’s famous formula for this is problem/solution, relevant abruption.
“People are conservative to change but susceptible to a solution.”
“Solve the customer’s problem, not the client’s.”
This was another big key moment for me. I have never had this outlined in such a clear way and although I don’t believe this is a universal rule I do think this unlocks effective meaningful creative work.
This is something I can struggle with as I have a tendency to want to express as many problem/solutions as possible but as Steve says, chose the problem/solution that will have the biggest impact on the most number of your audience for your proposition.
“You are an uninvited guest in somebody’s home, so you better be polite.”
Don’t be deliberately disruptive with a headline that isn’t relevant to your proposition. This known as “borrowed attention” and once the reader feels tricked they will be immediately turned off to your message.
“Tell ‘em what you’re gunna tell ‘em, tell ‘em, and tell ‘em what you’ve told ‘em.”
Don’t fear being repetitive – we are talking to the general public not a load of advertising execs. And one final Easter egg:
“People read what’s interesting to them… and sometimes that’s an ad.”