By Mike Barry, Creative Director
What’s so good about a cigar?
You might think there’s nothing good about a cigar. But there’s always something good about something. You just need to find it.
Watch the above clip (from the wonderful, semi-new online show Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee). In it, you’ll see (amongst other things) how Larry and Jerry discover what’s so good about a cigar.
When I first saw this, it almost made me stop shovelling Coco-Pops into my mouth. (It was Saturday). I may not be a stand-up comedian (yet) or a celebrity (yet), but there was something very familiar to me about this interaction. It was something I’d seen before, something I’d even occasionally experienced for myself.
Yes, my friends, what we have here is a great example of how good advertising ideas are born.
Now I’ve participated in plenty of brainstorms in my career. They haven’t all been good. Many have actually been kind of painful. Unproductive, frustrating and exhausting. But if you’ve ever been in the office at 11:30pm surrounded by nerf-bullets and takeaway pizza boxes, smelling not so great and feeling the pressure to come up with something wonderful to present to the client at 9am the next morning, you know how amazing it feels when you actually hit upon a good idea.
So where do good ideas come from? How do you find them?
Do you sit your best creatives around a table and get them to yell out random thoughts?
Do you go for a walk?
Do you load up on Vanilla Coke and Black Forest chocolate and just start typing?
Most of the time, however, good ideas don’t arrive on their own.
They spring from the discovery of a hidden truth.
That’s why I love this interaction between Larry and Jerry. By going back and forth, asking each other questions and building on one another’s observations, they discover a hidden truth. They manage to work out what’s so good about a cigar – Someone smoking a cigar is in no hurry.
Of course, when it comes to advertising, discovering the hidden truth is only the beginning. And actually, a good strategist will have already done this for you in the creative brief.
What’s really important is what you do with it next.
Armed with a freshly discovered hidden truth, your real task now begins: Find the most entertaining, compelling and convincing way to help everyone else discover it too.