Guest Column: Coaxing out those Cannes-worthy ideas

Guest Column: Coaxing out those Cannes-worthy ideas

Author | Abbas Zaidi | Thursday, Feb 14,2013 9:03 PM

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Guest Column:  Coaxing out those Cannes-worthy ideas

There is a magical place in your mind where all those Cannes-worthy ideas reside. The sad part is most of the time you have to coax those ideas out of their hiding places. Some days, coax really, really hard. Wish you knew the trick or had access to the pill Bradley Cooper used in ‘Limitless’.

Since you don’t, let’s take a look at some things that you should keep in mind while thinking of the next big idea.

Focus as much on studying the consumer, as you probably do stalking on Facebook. Consumer behaviour is a well spring of insights that can spark off some really amazing ideas. Women like to check out each other’s wardrobes. Music lovers today like to troll fans of other genres online.The urban, hard-working youth turns to the internet and not ‘dadima ke nuskhe’ when he is unwell. Simple, powerful insights.

Everyone knows that cricket lovers in India are a passionate (and sensitive) lot and would go on the warpath to defend their team. An insight that ultimately became a series of videos you know as the Indian Panga League.

Listen to what the brand is saying. Increase the volume and listen again. A soft drink brand is promising happiness. A bike brand is promising fine-tuned, race-ready machines. A ready-to-eat brand is offering royal feasts fit for a king. Your big idea might be lurking somewhere there.

Nike, for example, is all about ‘activity’. Play around with ‘activity’. What if you quantify it? And measure that with a cool, digital wristband!

Sometimes the product (or even the consumer) maybe so dull as to short your creative bulb out and usher in a period of darkness. What do you do then? Look to the medium for inspiration. Facebook has the Timeline. Twitter has 140 characters. Billboards at traffic signals have the advantage of maximum eyeballs. Microsoft Kinect gives you the power to make things happen on a screen by simply moving your limbs. Use it to your advantage.

Facebook’s ‘Like’ function was made more interesting by equating number of likes to discount. Relationship status was twisted through a Facebook application to show the user in a relationship with hundreds of girls. An agency created the world’s first real-time cover photo image that updated itself almost every minute or so.

Also, don’t forget: newer technology usually has a lot of scope for wow! Lynx’s Excite Angel campaign used augmented reality to make a ‘virtual angel’ fall to earth and interact with the user in a digital billboard.

When everything lets you down, you look to the high heavens and pray for a miracle. You’re desperate for ideas and are beginning to seriously doubt your career choice. Your mind meanwhile is expanding its search and after a brief span of more desperation and futility comes something out of nowhere, like a bolt of awesomeness from the heavens. It is an award-winning idea which a minute ago wasn’t even there.

There’s no set rule to what is known as lateral thinking. Sit on a chair or the toilet seat. Doodle something or play a game. Watch a movie or make a sandwich. Let your mind wander aimlessly and it may come back with a brilliant idea. There’s no structured thinking involved here. Anything can set it off – an object on the table, a shape in the embroidery, a song, a picture, anything.

Skittles’ touch the rainbow asks you to put your finger on a Skittles dot on the screen, after which a cat comes and licks the dot making it look like it’s licking your finger. Fun. Cute. And something you are unlikely to forget in the next 50 years.

Heat stamping ‘rotis’ with the message ‘Lifebuoy se haath dhoye kya?’ at the KumbhMela or lending further credence to Rajnikanth’s awesomeness with a website that runs without the internet doesn’t need a careful study of the consumer or the product. Just some crazy, random thinking.

Feel hai, yaar!

Once you have the idea, you have to make sure it is the one. You know, just like it is with choosing a life partner. So how do you know that this is it?

‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ – as is with the girl, is with an idea. If an idea doesn’t give you that feeling of exhilaration in the pit of your stomach, then it is not the ‘one’. If it doesn’t make you so excited that you want to tell your friends, roommates, parents and your ‘bai’ about it, then it is not the one. If it doesn’t give you the feel, then it is not the one.

The feel might be there but still give it a little time. Sleep over it. If it is still as awesome in the morning, then you have found it.

The author Senior Copywriter, WebChutney

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