Ever wonder what goes on in the minds of creative teams? How do they constantly come up with fresh ideas? We sat down with four members of our creative team, Bob Konold (SVP, Group Creative Director), Dave Paulus (Creative Director, Art) and Amy Gibbons (Associate Creative Director, Copy), to find out more about their creative inspiration. Here is what we found out.
Q: What inspires you?
BK: One thing we often talk about is that we’re inspired by everything. Each of us finds our own inspiration differently. Sometimes I’ll go on sites like StumbleUpon. Or I’ll use Communication Arts. Sarah does Pinterest like crazy. We all receive constant emails from reps about the newest commercials. Inspiration comes from everything.
AG: Advertising is, in a sense, storytelling. You’re inspired by every story you ever hear in any fashion you hear it. Commercials are a huge inspiration for me. My whole life, I’ve always paid close attention to commercials even before I got into advertising. It’s inspiring to see what other people are doing.
DP: I’m inspired all the time by a ton of things, and I try to find a way to make that useful on the business side of things. You can’t control when or where you’re inspired. From a direct mail piece you receive or the new way HBO treats their intro to their shows – there are new little things inspiring you everywhere you look, even when you’re not looking for inspiration.
Q: What do you do to keep your creative inspiration flowing?
BK: I try to take a walk at lunch every day. One of my architecture professors in college not only took a walk every day, but also walked home a different way every single day so he could experience new things.
DP: When I’m in the zone, I have to stay in the zone. If inspiration strikes at 6:00 PM, I’ll stay up through the night. It’s different than a 9-5 job. And my family and friends have to respect the zone I’m in.
AG: Part of creative is percolating. You never know when it’s going to hit. I keep a notebook everywhere – in my car, next to my bed. When we’re concepting on something, we’re constantly working. We’re always thinking about it until the inspiration strikes. I’ve been known to pull over and text Sarah headlines while I’m driving because I can’t forget them! [laughs]
BK: I’ll get up and scribble an idea down in the middle of the night.
AG: And then you wake up in the morning to read it and realize it makes absolutely no sense!
BK: It sounded brilliant at the time!
Q: Our business can be very vertical at times. How do you continue to create fresh, new campaigns on the same topics (heart, cancer, etc.)?
AG: You have to challenge yourself not to pull anything out of the drawer. You don’t give yourself permission to reuse an idea. Plus, if you’re looking for what’s really unique about a place or a client, then you’re inevitably going to come up with something different because you’re not just selling heart, you’re selling heart THERE.
Q: What’s different about working in healthcare versus other industries like consumer packaged goods?
AG: In healthcare we can’t always be as off the wall or funny as other industries. Plus, most of the time it’s not singularly focused because these subjects (heart, cancer, etc.) just have way more detail to get across. And, hospitals don’t always have the kind of money to throw around that these big name products have.
Q: What are some creative solutions for SPM clients that have interesting inspiration behind them?
AG: There was another campaign we did for a cancer center that was inspired by why the center was built in the first place. A man living in a smaller town had to travel far from his family to get high caliber cancer care at MD Anderson. After he passed away, his family donated money to build a cancer center that offered that same level of care in their small town so other people wouldn’t have to endure that long distance care. We came up with an entire creative idea around that. It was a really simple idea that came from a real story we heard during fact-finding.
BK: I agree. A lot of great ideas come from fact-finding. One of our campaign’s tagline came out of a conversation with one of the hospital’s doctors. We asked him the difference between his hospital and the other academic medical centers in the area. He said, “Well those people down at hospital X, they like mice better than people. We like people better than mice. Everything we do is for the patient.” And that idea of how medicine should be about the patient became the backbone for our creative campaign.
DP: For one of our clients, we were incredibly inspired by our first fact-finding conversations. These people literally could not sit still because they had enormous enthusiasm and unwavering certainty about their solution and how it was going to cure cancer. And, had we not been there, as creatives, it may have been overlooked. I made a joke on the video we took of the fact-finding interviews to one of the docs to sit down because I couldn’t keep following him with the camera.
And that’s what inspired a campaign we did for them.
Q: Any parting thoughts?
DP: A lot of times inspiration comes from within the agency. We’re inspired by each other. The people I work with inspire me. Inevitably, we are learning from each other. It seems like folklore, but it’s true.
And there you have it! Despite being in a category where the topics might seem redundant, there are so many different ways to stay inspired and create fresh, insightful creative solutions for our clients. Always be open to inspiration because it can strike from anywhere at any time!
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