Start with the truth – creativity inspired by honesty

“Don’t tell lies, kids” – your mum

If your mum is anything like mine you would have heard this many times, from a young age. For the most part I think people would say they try to adhere to these wise words from mum throughout their lives (if you don’t then you’re probably a bit of tool – sort it out…).

Nevertheless this fundamental part of being one of ‘the good guys’ is often forgotten when it comes to advertising, marketing and design. All you have to do is open a paper or turn on a TV and you will  be confronted with communication that, for whatever reason, doesn’t feel honest. As communications professionals, we have all had difficult briefs where the direction or response is not immediately obvious, but hopefully nobody intends to produce deceitful work.

People don’t like being lied to, and so it follows that when establishing ways to position a brand, product or service in a distinct and clever way we should start with an insight of truth. This insight can be based around just about anything but the closer to the brand the less generic the outcome will feel.

The following examples show that when what we are trying to say is true, everything opens up in the creative process:

1. Guiness – Good things come to those who wait

It takes longer to pull a pint of Guiness than it does other kinds of beer. This is not necessarily good or bad, or even particularly interesting. It is however an irrefutable truth. This insight distinguished Guiness from its competitors and set the canvas for the creative team to produce what is often voted the best television commercial of all time.

2. Vovlo trucks – The epic split

The quality of Volvo truck’s engineering separates them from their competitors. In essence, they are really good at driving in straight lines. There is nothing remarkable about this insight, however it led to one of the most popular adverts of 2014. Rather than limiting your possibilities, sticking to the truth allows for complete creative freedom.

3. Volkswagen – Mini Darth Vader

In 2011 Volkswagen released the Passad with remote engine ignition. This wasn’t unique to Volkswagen – the technology had already been around for a few years. It was however a simple truth. Refining what you want to say with your communication to a simple truth can open the door to truly engaging outcomes.

Talk to us if you want to utilise honesty in your communications.

Credit: This post was influenced by a great D&AD talk by Jon Kallus. Check it out here