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January 08, 2008


Interesting blog


I like to think of 'think small', also, as a way of looking at your brand with a (to give it my own definition) microscope to see if there are not any hidden potential great ideas lurking there - instead of looking out of the brand into the broader world. (Of course the second way, is an invaluable way, of coming up with great ideas - and I like to call this telescope-thinking).

When beer brand manufacturers were trying to make beer something to get excited with (associate with having an exciting good night on a Friday evening, say), around 15 or so years ago, Guinness was in a quandry: Guinness was about being cool and relaxed, not wild and excited. And it literally takes a couple of minutes or so for the stuff to be poured (not very exciting when you want to get back to your mates with the drinks).
So what do Guinness (or their account / brand planners) do? They see that a waiting-for-a-pint-Guinness-to-be-poured is only boring, depending on how you look at it. In fact waiting-for-a-pint-of-Guinness-to-be-poured can be intriguing and exciting.
And Guinness has enjoyd phenomenal success in their advertising ever since (Surfer ad, and many more)!

If Guinness had tried to look out / think big (according to the official definition of 'thinking big' then this is 'thinking big', I know) then things might have been very different. In this instance, looking into the brand, and examining it inside out, is a way I like to look at 'think small' even though it is quite not the same as the official definition (but who cares as long as it develops a new way of thinking / looking at things).

The Guinness ad is a good example, also, of brilliant disruptive thinking. Turning a perceived weakness in the brand into a huge strength.

My other favourite example of microscope / telescope thinking (although the example / the approach of the planning is a bit different to Guinness) is when David Ogivly, was getting desperate to come up with a 'big idea' for Rolls Royce and began sifting through every brochure / piece of product literature he could find on the product. And then - bam - he suddenly found what he was looking for (a fact about the product), and it is now one of the most famous ads of the last 50 or so years: 'At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.' (You could argue that this is a more case of a creative concept than a brand planning idea - I think it is an example of both - a brilliant case of creative planning / creative work - but the important thing I am trying to get across, though, is that success of the ad lay in microscope-thinking).

Agree and some great examples. One could argue that in a world of ever more similar products the small details are the only differentiators. But I would tend to think along your lines that small details reflect bigger details. Such as the VW Lemon ad. The fact that one out of every 50 or so cars is deemed a lemon and thrown out, speaks to the greater quality control effort.

It takes a creative person to tell this point in an interesting way. But that's exactly the sort of detail a planner can uncover and give greater context to amplify what you can do with it.

Thanks for sharing Telescope Thinking. Neat way of thinking about it.

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