NABS Fast Forward week4: Loz Horner on Insights, Strategy and Briefing

Words by Richard Smith, client director at Maxus and Fast Forward mentor

We are now in week four of NABS Fast Forward 2017; the half way stage. So, on the final straight, it is great timing for this week’s guest presenter(s) from Lucky Generals.

Laurence (AKA Loz) Horner, Strategist, has been a regular speaker talking about “Turning Insights into Ideas” and how you get there. It is not always linear and there are so many ways you can source your insights – Loz brought this to life during the session with fantastic examples. Additional to last year, Loz was joined by the creative pairing of Ed Cole & Lewis Mooney to illustrate how they interpreted the insights & brief and ultimately, how this played out in the creation of ideas.

“The unearthing of insights. Having ideas”

So where do they come from? How do you generate them? and how do the creatives then take these and create inspiring work? There are tips and tricks on what makes a great insight; great insights feel like undiscovered clichés, they feel obvious. So why has no one pointed them out before?

Loz made reference to Michael McIntyre, who makes a living out of spotting things in everyday life and turning them into comedy. The “Man Drawer” sketch is pure genius and based on a real life observation. Every man has one;full of old batteries,  out-of-date foreign currency, keys to houses that we no longer live in as well as instructions to appliances that we don’t own any more. He takes “life moments” and makes them interesting. Great insights can be uncomfortably true and derogatory but lead to something inspiring and honest. Their work for Premier Inn exemplified this, with the insight being “No one goes to a premier inn to stay there but they go there to do something and it becomes a great place to start” – this becoming the essence of the creative campaign. Embracing the awkward truth about the brand turned out to unearth a great idea!

If you are on the search for great insights, turning to expensive research is not the only way to uncover the story. Loz shared with us nine effective ways to unearth those hidden gems.

1. Start with the data – Knowing that Bulmers Irish Cider was 100% Irish, made from Irish apples and only available in the Republic of Ireland, drove the direction of the campaign and celebrated a fact that was true to the brand and relevant to the audience.

2. Use your contacts – friends, family & your network – These are the people you are trying to engage. What do they think? Tapping up old colleagues about the D&AD Yellow pencil led to a realisation that the pencil mattered. It was cherished to the point thatif someone’s office was on fire, that is the first thing that would save. “So what if we took it away from them?”.Reactions became part of the campaign, making it funny and personal to the industry.

3. Go and hang out with audience – Can bit a little awkward but myths can be dispelled or confirmed. You may even discover something new about your audience.

4. Tune into social tools – You can learn a lot from what people are actually saying. Anyone can see what conversations are happening with a simple search.

5. Listen to what the client is telling you – The client could quite possibly be giving you the insight; something will resonate that just feels right.

6. Read absolutely everything – Even down to product reviews. They can unearth some truisms that unlock a key direction and convince others

7. Chat to an expert – Chatting to a barman lead Lucky Generals and Kahlúa to lead a cinematic cult movie campaign with Jeff Bridges to front it.

8. Think about the politics – Faced with the challenge of trying to get major football stars linked to big brandsengaged in a campaign for a betting company around kicking gay prejudice out of the game. A simple pair of Rainbow laces sent to players got the message across! Embrace the practicalities.

9. Consider what another category would do –Scotland’s favourite larger, a true institution to the nation, acted like a public service brand by serving helpful advice and information.

Above all “Look under the rocks” to unearth the hidden gems

So how do the creative teams take these ideas and turn them into compelling campaigns? Ed & Lewis gave us examples following the brief/insight delivered by Loz. HostelWorldwas definitely the room’s favourite, starring 50 cent.

The brief was that hostels are pretty bad (toned down!). Needing to dispel the myths, they started thinking how music might play a role which led to MTV Cribs. Researching Cribs, they found that 50 Cent’s episode was the most viewed and at the time he was having financial issues, having been declared bankrupt.“Welcome to da Hostel World” was born – great work driven by a strong insight.

The best advice from Ed & Lewis was to generate loads of ideas! They can be brilliant, they can be crap but nothing should the discounted. And finally, don’t stress!

You’re just looking for interesting solutions for clients. Enjoy it, there is no magic formula.


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