Evidence of Intelligent Life

Thomas Puckett Advertising

Big Ideas Come From Little Boxes

Creativity was once thought to be a form of magic; a mystical gift bestowed on the lucky few. Today, parallel advances in neuroscience and psychology reveal creativity is more like an expressive form of deductive intelligence. The process of arriving at Eureka! moments can actually be quantified to a large extent, which means creative enterprises like ad agencies can do much more to cultivate creative thinking than they ever dreamed possible in eras past.

Breakthrough thinking doesn’t come from expansive, unfettered imaginings. It comes from being mentally cornered. To cite a famous example, Bob Dylan wrote Like A Rolling Stone after hitting the wall creatively. An ad agency that seeks to maximize the quality of its creative output is well served by surrounding its creative people with a very tight box of strategically conceived creative direction.

This direction forms The Box. It is the What To Say portion of the equation, and it receives particular emphasis in our agency. All good ad agencies can solve the How To Say It part of the challenge. In fact, we can all make ideas that are completely misconceived look and sound appealing. No one will know it’s a beautiful mistake until the campaign is launched. Then money starts burning like rocket fuel but sales never leave the launch pad.

Truly great advertising agencies work with their clients to thoughtfully conceive of What To Say before a finger is lifted on creative executions. This is the foundation of effective work. It is where The Box is built. And if it’s built well, if creative people are surrounded by tight corners that echo the ideas conceived in this very finite space, the initial frustration of the challenge will give way to the calm that precedes a creative breakthrough. Then, like Sir Isaac Newton, you pause, think consciously of nothing about the challenge at hand, and allow the apple to fall into your lap.