Creative Advertising Assignment

Assignment 1:
Please read pdf “How to Get Ideas_Rethink”
Please write a few lines about it. Tell me what stood out to you, and any thoughts/personal
reflections you have on the content. 5-7 sentences is the expected length.
Assignment 2:
See the PPT “assignment_whatif” I upload to read about this awesome creative thinking
technique about combining unexpected things, and complete the assignment included!
Assignment 3:

let’s discuss the “heineken worlds apart” ad!
keeping in mind the lesson of “rethinking our thinking” and the heineken commercial you
just viewed, chew things over. what are your thoughts? what is the takeaway?
leave your own response
Assignment 4:
Keeping in mind our lesson this week about re-thinking our thinking, this assignment is a
chance for you to very literally argue against yourself.
Pick a topic that you feel strongly about. It can be anything as long as it’s a topic that there
are generally two polarized view about it.
First, write a sentence or two introducing the topic and explaining briefly your actual take
on it.
Second, write a 1/2 single spaced page minimum writing a persuasive counter-argument
against yourself. It’s an exercise in really listening to the “other side” and showing that
you’ve at least “heard” that side.
Assignment 5:
Each day, write an entry in your ledger. At the end of this week (and all of the following
weeks that this is assigned) you’ll submit at least five entries (a sentence or two each).
For example:
Monday: Parked two cars up from the yellow “Bumblebee Transformer” car on my street (it
has a Transformers sticker on the side), a new red pickup truck is parked and it has a
Transformers sticker too!
Tuesday: All of the hot peppers in my neighbors garden are finally bright red….
Assignment 6:
Complete the tasks in the pdf “CAFFEINE_WeekNine”
How to Get Ideas
by Jack Foster
Berrett-Koehler Publishers © 1996 (208 pages) Citation
Chapter 8: Rethink Your Thinking
Many people would rather die than think. In fact they do.
-­‐-­‐Bertrand  Russell    
Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.
-­‐-­‐James  Thurber    
A conclusion is the place where you got tired thinking.
-­‐-­‐Martin  H.  Fischer    
The way you think affects what you think about and what kinds of thoughts you get.
And the more kinds of thoughts you get, the more grist you’ll have for your idea mill.
Here are some different ways of thinking:
Think  Visually  
You and I were brought up to think with words. And when we form a thought today—
any thought—it’s probably in the form of a statement. “Haste makes waste.” “The world
is all screwed up.” “Nothing builds confidence like success.”
But many of the most creative minds in history thought with pictures instead of words.
Einstein said that he rarely thought in words. Notions came to him in images that only
later he tried to express in words or formulas.
William Harvey was watching the exposed heart of a living fish when he suddenly “saw”
it as a pump.
Frank Lloyd Wright thought of houses and buildings not as separate structures but as
integral parts of the landscape.
Alfred Wegener noticed that the west coast of Africa fit into the east coast of South
America and saw instantly that all continents were once part of a single continent.
Man Ray saw a woman’s torso as a cello.
Einstein wondered what the world would look like to a person riding a ray of light as it
sped through space.
In trying to come to grips with the concept of infinity, David Hilbert, the mathematician,
imagined a hotel with an infinite number of rooms that were all occupied. He then
imagined a new guest arriving who asked for a room. “But of course,” said the innkeeper,
and he moved the person in room one to room two, the person in room two to room three,
the person in room three to room four, and so on ad infinitum, thus freeing up room one
for the new guest.
Lord Kelvin hit upon the idea of the mirror galvanometer when he noticed a reflection of
light on his monocle.
Freud conceived the idea of the sublimation of instinct by looking at a two-part cartoon—
in the first picture, a little girl was herding a flock of goslings with a stick; in the second,
she had grown into a governess herding a flock of ladies with a parasol.
Niels Bohr imagined in his mind’s eye that an atom looked like our solar system.
Newton saw in a flash that the moon behaved like an apple—that it “falls” just as an
apple does.
And many of the creative people I worked with also think with pictures instead of with
If their company seems to be attracting new customers but is still losing sales, a picture of
a leaking bucket springs to their minds.
If they have to do an advertisement on, say Master Locks, they don’t think of the lock as a
lock, they think of it as a security guard, or as a watch dog, or as an insurance policy for
your house or car or jewelry, or as a bodyguard for your children, or as something
indestructible like the Rock of Gibraltar.
When Bill Bartley, an advertising art director, was charged with coming up with ads
extolling a company’s leadership position, he saw pictures of Churchill giving his famous
“V” sign, and Robert E. Lee in battle, and Vince Lombardi being carried off the field by
his players.
These people don’t think words; they think pictures, they think relationships, they think
metaphors, they think ideas.
“Once you get a visual idea,” one of them said to me, “the words are easy.” And he’s right.
Once you think of a lock as a guard or a dog, it’s easy to write headlines like: “Masterlock.
A security guard who never sleeps.” Or “Now there’s a security guard who never takes a
day off.” Or “Masterlocks. Think of them as watchdogs you don’t have to feed.” Or “We
call our Masterlock, ‘Fido.’” Or “We call our dog, ‘Masterlock.’”
Once you see your sagging sales as a broken toy or a drowning man or an out-of-date
menu, the sooner you can begin fixing the toy or throwing out a lifeline or changing your
Once you visualize the problem of trying to get more shelf space for your grocery store
product as one of those circus cars jammed full of clowns, or as a bathtub full of water, or
as a suitcase with too many suits in it to close, the closer you are to finding a solution to
the problem of how to get more shelf space when there is seemingly no more shelf space
Once you see the slowdown in your production line or distribution system as a neck in a
bottle or a dam in a river or a stalled car on a freeway, the sooner you can start widening
the bottle or bypassing the dam or removing the blockage.
So next time you’re faced with a problem try visualizing it instead of verbalizing it.
What does the problem look like? What does it resemble? What picture does it conjure up?
Think  Laterally  
You and I were also brought up to think linearly or vertically, to think logically from one
point to the next until we reach a sound conclusion, to place one brick on top of another.
Such thinking is analytical, sequential, purposeful. If something doesn’t make sense as we
move along we stop and go in another direction, taking one logical step after another until
we reach a sound conclusion.
But there is another way of thinking, popularized by Edward de Bono, called lateral
In lateral thinking you make jumps. You don’t have to follow the logical path; you can
take side trips down alternate roads that seemingly don’t lead anywhere.
Granted it’s impossible to tell after the fact how a problem was solved, laterally or
vertically. That’s because all good solutions make sense and thus have logical pathways
to them.
But even though most solutions are obvious in hindsight, it is difficult to imagine some
solutions being arrived at logically.
Let me give you an example:
A small company was having trouble with tardiness. Every week all 20 employees
seemed to be getting in later and later.
The owner talked with people individually (a vertical solution). A little improvement but
not much.
Then he called them all together and voiced his concern (another vertical solution). A bit
more improvement. But a month later it was just as bad if not worse than before.
Then he did something that cured the problem and kept it cured.
He took Polaroid pictures of the office every 15 minutes beginning at 9:00 in the morning
when the office opened. At noon he posted the pictures on the bulletin board and marked
the times on them.
The 9:00 picture showed nobody at work.
The 9:15 shot showed only one person in place.
The 9:30 picture showed eight people in place.
The 10:00 picture showed five people still missing.
The next day’s pictures showed some improvement; the next day’s, a dramatic
And by the end of the week everybody was there at 9:00. After another week he stopped
the practice and hasn’t had a problem since.
Could he have arrived at that solution through logical, vertical thinking? Probably.
Did he? I doubt it.
Let me give you another example:
There was a large telephone company in the Midwest, so the story goes, that right after
the Korean War developed a great program for training supervisors of telephone
Graduates of the program were absolutely top-notch and the program was awarded many
commendations, written up in magazines, and studied by other organizations.
But there was a problem: The graduates were so good that as soon as a class graduated,
most of them were contacted by other companies and hired away.
A car company might need three or four supervisors for their communications staff; an
oil company, five or six; the government of Canada, ten. Even other telephone companies
were raiding their sister company for supervisors.
The telephone company tried everything to keep its graduates—it gave them more money
and fancy titles, it erected an “Honor Wall” where their names were inscribed, it
furnished them expensive jackets to wear on the job, it sent their spouses flowers on
every anniversary, it gave them extra vacation time—all to no avail.
The other companies simply gave them more money and even fancier titles and even
more vacation time.
As you can imagine, the heads of the telephone company had many meetings trying to
figure out ways to keep graduates from leaving. During one of these meetings, so the
story goes, one of the managers lost his temper and shouted: “I’d like to chop their damn
legs off—then they couldn’t leave.”
Everybody laughed. Except one person who said: “Yes, of course, that’s it.”
“What’s it?” said his boss.
“Why, we’ll hire only handicapped people in wheelchairs for the program,” he said.
“We’ll redo all our entrance ways, our elevators, our toilets. We’ll furnish modified cars
for them to drive to and from work. We’ll work with doctors and physical therapists to
develop exercise programs. We’ll …”
And that’s what they did.
And the other companies no longer tried to hire the graduates away because they knew
they’d have to redo all their entrance ways and elevators and toilets, and modify cars, and
so on.
And it all started because somebody suggested chopping “their damn legs off”—a very
illogical solution.
That is lateral thinking.
Mr. de Bono wrote a number of books explaining the differences between lateral and
vertical thinking and showing how to solve problems by thinking laterally. I commend
them to you.
Don’t  Assume  Boundaries  that  aren’t  There  
If you’re like most people, many times your thinking is inhibited because you
unconsciously assume that a problem has restrictions and boundaries and limitations and
constraints, when in fact it doesn’t.
If someone asks you, for example, to plant four trees so that each tree is exactly the same
distance from each of the other trees you’ll probably automatically assume that the trees
must be planted on a level piece of land. (I certainly did the first time someone gave me
that problem.) And so you’ll try to arrange four dots on a piece of paper so that each dot
is the same distance from every other dot and quickly discover that you can’t do it.
It isn’t until you break that assumption about all the trees being on the same plane that
you can solve the problem. Then you simply plant one tree at the top of a hill and plant
the other three trees on the sides of the hill and bingo—your problem’s solved.
But please note that you’re the one who created the barrier to solving the problem,
because you’re the one who assumed that the trees had to be planted on a level piece of
Or take the famous nine dots, four lines problem. (You probably know this one, but no
matter; it is the classic example of creating boundaries.) There are nine dots arranged like

Your job is to draw four straight lines through these dots without retracing or raising the
pencil from the paper.
As long as you assume (as most people do) that the lines must not extend beyond the
boundaries set by the outer line of dots, the problem is impossible to solve. But as soon as
you allow your lines to travel outside those boundaries, a solution is possible.
Note that there was nothing in the problem as posed that said the lines must be kept
within the dots. You unconsciously put that restriction upon yourself.
I used to line up my students against a wall in our classroom and ask them to make paper
airplanes and toss them across the room to the opposite wall—about 20 feet away. They’d
make all sorts of planes but they were never able to get one to go that distance.
Then I’d say, “OK you guys, now watch the world champion long-distance paper airplane
builder in action.” Whereupon I’d wad up a piece of note paper into the size of a golf ball
and pitch it underhand to the wall. Bingo.
Who said paper airplanes have to look like paper airplanes?
Here’s another exercise I used to give to my students:
“Imagine,” I’d say, “a piece of pipe about 18 inches long and slightly larger in diameter
than a ping-pong ball. One end of the pipe is welded tight to the floor.
“I’m going to drop a ping-pong ball into that pipe, give you the following things, and ask
you to get the ping-pong ball out of the pipe.
The things I’m going to give you are: Last Sunday’s newspaper, a pair of leather gloves, a
book of matches, an eight-inch screwdriver, a fourteen-inch shoelace, four toothpicks, a
package of chewing gum, and a straight-edge razor blade.”
Over the years I got hundreds of ideas on how to get that ping-pong ball out of the pipe.
Most of them would have worked; some were wonderfully imaginative.
Here are a few:
“Tie the shoelace around the handle of the screwdriver and drop the screwdriver into the
pipe. Tear the newspaper into long strips. Stuff the strips into the pipe, jamming them
down with enough force to cause the screwdriver to puncture the ping-pong ball. Remove
the strips. Carefully lift up the impaled ping-pong ball.”
“Lengthen the string by tying one end of it around the middle finger of the glove. Chew
the pack of gum. Encase the other end of the string in the gum. Lower the wet gum down
to the ball. When the gum has dried enough to adhere to the ball, raise the string.”
“Cut the fingers off the gloves with the razor blade. Fill the fingers with pieces of
newspaper. Light the finger-filled newspapers with the matches and hold them, one after
the other, over the pipe. The fire will draw the oxygen out of the pipe, thereby lifting the
ping-pong ball. When the ball gets close to the top, stab it with a toothpick.”
“Tie one end of the shoelace around the end of a match, the other around the end of the
screwdriver. Light the match. Quickly lower it into the pipe. When the lit match touches
the ping-pong ball, it will adhere to it. Allow the match to cool. Raise up the now united
ball and match.”
It was amazing how many great ideas I got, proving once again that there are
innumerable ways to solve any problem.
But nobody ever suggested pouring water into the pipe.
The reason of course is because my students (and you too probably) limited themselves to
solving the problem with the things I gave them. But I never told them they had to use
those things and only those things to get the ping-pong ball out of the pipe. They put that
limitation on themselves.
Next time you have problems solving a problem ask yourself: “What assumptions am I
making that I don’t have to make?” “What unnecessary limitations am I putting on
Set  Some  Limits  
“Wait a minute,” I can hear you saying. “Didn’t you just tell me not to put any
unnecessary limitations on myself? Now you’re telling me that I should set some limits.
What’s going on here?”
The limitations I talked about earlier were the imagined boundaries, the subconscious
assumptions we often make about the nature of the problem.
Now I’m talking about the need to have a framework within which to work at finding a
I know this sounds like a paradox—creativity needing a framework. “Are you crazy?” I
can hear you saying again. “The creative mind should be free to roam, to explore, to seek
wherever it wants. Put limits on it and it will shrivel up like a worm in the sun.”
Agreed. It is a paradox. In The Courage to Create, Rollo May calls it a “phenomenon.”
But he explains “that creativity itself requires limits, for the creative act arises out of the
struggle of human beings with and against that which limits them.”
Let me give you an example:
When giving a team an assignment to create, say a television commercial, I found that if I
gave them complete freedom they floundered. Too much freedom is chaos. But when
they were forced to work within the guidelines of the creative strategy (see chapter 10)
and a budget and a 30-second length and an established theme line and of course a
deadline, they always came up with solutions.
Joseph Heller found the same thing: “The ideas come to me; I don’t produce them at will.
They come to me in the course of a sort of controlled daydream, a directed reverie. It may
have something to do with the disciplines of writing advertising copy (which I did for a
number of years) where the limitations involved provide a considerable spur to the
“Small rooms discipline the mind; large rooms distract it,” said Leonardo da Vinci.
“There’s an essay of T. S. Eliot’s,” continued Heller, “in which he praises the disciplines
of writing, claiming that if one is forced to write within a certain framework the
imagination is taxed to its utmost and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom,
however, the chances are good that the work will sprawl.”
Duke Ellington composed music within the limits of the instruments he was writing for
and the players who would play those instruments. “It’s good to have limits,” he said.
Walter Hunt was being dunned for money. He decided to invent something that was
sorely needed, something so simple he could make a sketch of it in a few hours. (Talk
about limits.) He invented the safety pin.
The Caesar salad was invented because the chef was forced to make something out of the
ingredients he had. So was chicken marengo. So was bread pudding. And so, probably,
was boiled lobster.
Dryden said he preferred to write verse that is rhymed because “I often had a very happy
thought as a result of looking for a rhyme.”
Rollo May agreed: “When you write a poem, you discover that the very necessity of
fitting your meaning into such and such a form requires you to search in your imagination
for new meanings. You reject certain ways of saying it; you select others, always trying
to form the poem again. In your forming, you arrive at new and more profound meanings
than you had ever dreamed of.”
The most stimulating limitation I’ve ever found is time. Deadlines spur you to get
something accomplished.
Give yourself one.
another great tactic to add into our toolbox of creating thinking tools is the “what
if” exercise. just as we read about in the reading about combining, this technique
is an awesome way to get us to think VERY differently about
in the assignment that follows, consider the brands that I’ve provided. Just as we
did when we were thinking visually, think of some adjectives regarding the brand
and it’s personality. then, follow the prompts provided to play “what if.”
let’s practice with Coca-Cola.
first, what are some adjectives to describe Coke and its
-all american
now, keeping this vibe and these words in mind, let’s look at the
prompts and play what if!
What kind of person would it be?
i envision an easy going, all-american, enjoys the simple
things kind of person.
A man? A woman? A child?
i envision a woman in her 30s.
What is their profession?
hmmm, an elementary school teacher? or a stay
at home mom?
What would the person say?
they’d be cheerful but not too chipper.
great a conversation. a great laugh. easy to talk
How would they act?
see above.
What would the person sound like?
sort of in between outspoken and quiet. a great laugh.
great conversationalist but not super opinionated.
What would they look like?
i see an average height/weight women who is fit. brown, long hair that is sort of wind-swept, maybe in a loose
ponytail. green eyes. a few freckles. great teeth and smile.
How would they be dressed?
classic. vintage white v-neck cotton t. fitted jeans, maybe with a rip or two in the knees. worn in converse chucks,
maybe in red.
What animal would it be?
Hmmmm, a dog, I think! A golden retriever.
Or maybe a horse!
Young or old?
In between for both animals. A middle aged
Domestic or wild?
Domestic. Very loyal and sort of a calm vibe, but
I feel like a golden retriever is a very classic
Breed of dog. And, a dog just sort of feels like
The vibe of coke. I could see the pup sitting in the
Back of an old pickup truck at a lake or in the
The next set of slides are your task to complete as your assignment. Have fun!
Think of Cool Whip’s current
advertising. What is it’s USP?
What is the personality of the
brand (think adjectives here)?
Think, think, think…look up
some ads about Cool Whip to
see how the brand is
What kind of person would it be?
A man? A woman? A child?
What is their profession?
What would the person say?
How would they act?
What would the person sound like?
What would they look like?
How would they de dressed?
What animal would it be?
Young or old?
Domestic or wild?
Example: Cool Whip is…angels dipping strawberries in the clouds in heaven.
Think of 5-7 more visual metaphors for Cool Whip…
Think of Gain’s
advertising. What
is it’s USP? Think,
think, think…it’s
all about the
SMELL! Look up
some ads about
Gain to refresh
your memory.
What kind of person would it be?
A man? A woman? A child?
What is their profession?
What would the person say?
How would they act?
What would the person sound like?
What would they look like?
How would they de dressed?
What animal would it be?
Young or old?
Domestic or wild?
Example: Gain is…pockets full of potpourri. Gain is…running through a rose garden.
Think of 5-7 more visual metaphors for Gain…
1. Does it give you new ideas on how you could advertise it?
2. Does it make you think about the product in a way you wouldn’t have before?
3. Will you try this exercise in the future when thinking about other advertising
dilemmas or challenges?
Caffeine  for  the  Crea-ve  Mind  

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