By Nick Stanley
Vegetable Express Man wears brogues, has the power to shift peoples’ perceptions and is motivated to do so by grievances with TFL.
The above was the result of a class last week in which Marc gave us creative superpowers.
We were afforded a generous 30 seconds to scribble down as many superhero names, outfits, powers and motivations/backstories as possible. VE Man is just one potential combination from the lists I created in this exercise.
The character is clearly a bonkers idea. Yet it brought to mind the following from a real superhero, a Mr. D. Ogilvy of Adland.
Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret. Suddenly, if the telephone line from your unconscious is open, a big idea wells up within you.
The above quotation has long been a favourite of mine for many reasons. In this case, however, it serves as a justification for the wandering mind and random interests of a creative.
Activities that, to some, may seem a waste of time fall under stuffing your conscious mind with information. And it has dawned on me that I need to do a load more of it.
When I looked through my superhero names, outfits, powers and backstories I was struck by how ‘me’ they were. I had expected to be able to cast my mind wide and come up with an eclectic mix of ideas for Marvel’s next protagonist.
Yet a lot of the outfits were clothes my friends would wear. Many of the powers and names were derived from my hobbies and interests. And as for the backstories, I think it best that stays between me and a psychotherapist…
The lesson I took was that Ogilvy was spot on. Information of any kind is important. The weirder the better, in fact. The wider one casts their mental net, the more chance they give themselves of coming up with Ogilvy’s big – relevant – idea.
In this spirit, who wants to spend a weekend away visiting the National Dog Collar Museum in Leeds Castle, followed by a meal from Mussolini’s cookbook and a Bollywood film? Somewhere within you might find the answer to that next brief…