our unique 'it never fails' ideas process explained

The life of an advertising creative can be a challenging one - tasked with continually coming up with ideas to nail a client's brief.

People in marketing think they know how their agency comes up with ideas but I doubt many people are anywhere near the mark. Everyone assumes that some form of A-Z process is followed, yet the reality is somewhat hit and miss, with very little meaningful structure involved at all. Unless staring out the window is now classed as a structured activity.

In the mhd studio, the 'process' to deliver a new set of creative ideas looks something like this -
  • Brief arrives. 
  • Brief gets read by everybody who works on the account. 
  • Brief gets read again by everybody who works on the account. 
  • Questions get sent to the client on any aspect that doesn't make sense or requires clarification.
  • Wait for a reply (depending on how time critical the job is, this can be between one hour and one week).
  • Start researching the problem that needs addressing - benefits, competition, geography, offer, market, media options etc - to give us a possible angle of approach.
  • Creative gets given the task, along with a deadline for first draft ideas so the team can critique.
  • All pretty structured so far...
  • Said creative then spends hours surfing the internet and looking out the window for inspiration.
  • Two days later, creative can still be seen surfing the internet and looking out the window for inspiration.
  • Decent idea output after three days - zero.
  • Random person who happens to read a single paragraph of the brief says 'Why don't you try (insert funky idea), it could work really well...'
  • Another random person who happens to read two paragraphs of the brief says 'I was having my tea last night and thought that (insert funky idea) could work really well...'
  • Hours later there's a couple of ideas in the bag that everyone thinks could do the job.
As you can see, there's some process involved but it the end, it boils down to influence from any available source. It could be from someone who knows the brief inside out or, just as likely, someone who has very little involvement in it at all.

Sometimes it's down to hard work, perseverance and exploring every available creative angle, yet other times it's a flash of inspiration and a dash of good luck.

Either way, our approach wins awards for our clients so no one is complaining!