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Goafest 2023

Spikes Asia 2017: Build ideas, not ads, says Danny Searle of BBDO Asia

BBDO uses ideas, acts and insights to build strong messaging, said the Chief Creative Officer on the first day of the creative festival

On the inaugural day of Spikes Asia 2017, Danny Searle, Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Asia, talked about how BBDO uses ideas and utilises them in messaging. He said the agencies should build ideas and not ads and to do that, they must focus on three things: acts, ideas and insights.

Searle explained the reason to focus on building ideas and not ads, “In 50 years there is one constant and that is ‘change’. Change is happening so fast that everybody is confused. There are so many mediums to advertise. People are going to and fro from digital to TV and visa-versa.”

Searle said to make the messaging sticky, the agencies need to focus on the three constants and those are acts, ideas and insights.

Acts: The brands must involve consumers in the story they are telling. Acts have the power to pull attention and when something pulls, it has more impact. The three important aspects of acts are to discover insights, bear the act and give proofs, said Searle.

“The world is full of skeptics. When you give proof to people, they believe in your brands. An act is not seen as ads. Like this one is doing something and not just saying.”

To explain it further, Searle gave the examples of ‘The fearless girl’ and ‘#ShareTheLoad’ campaigns, where the agencies not just created ads, but also acts in which the consumers were involved.

In fact, ‘#ShareTheLoad’ ad film was made 18 months after the campaign launch, Searle mentioned.

Ideas: Ideas work better than facts. Brains take decisions driven by emotions rather than rationale. Searle said that three integral parts that makes an idea into a great idea are relevance, insightful and story.

“All these three put together get faith in the brand. If the consumers have faith in your brand then nothing can harm it.”

He gave an example of one of his greatest works he did in Australia, the ‘RTA’ campaign.

At that point in time, road accidents due to speedy driving was very pertinent and in most of the cases, youngsters were involved. So, BBDO spent a lot of time with a few young and rash drivers to understand their thought process. The insight that they got was that, if somebody told them to do something, they would do the opposite, they believed in showing off and their ego was fragile.

To combat the same, the BBDO Australia team came with the ad film mentioned below. The ad film was a huge success and helped combat road accidents.

Insights: Searle said that behind every ad there must be an insight. To explain it further, he gave the example of ‘Imagine the Possibilities’ campaign for Barbie.

The campaign was driven by the fact that small girls play with Barbie dolls to what they want to become in the future and how they imagine their lives going forward.

Ending his talk, Searle said, “Things are changing so fast. Clarity has become very critical. Ideas, insights and acts put together in a story, can help agencies build brands.”

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