We asked our Jr Copywriter, Viola, how an idea becomes a commercial. Here’s what she had to say:
When it comes to advertising, the source of inspiration is always the creative brief. Just a single piece of paper gives you the needs and desires of a client in hopes of creating a spectacular ad campaign. Doesn’t matter if it’s a TV spot, radio commercial, web or print ad, everything created must respond to the brief. One might think that it would stifle creativity and ideas, but, on the contrary, most briefs are very open-ended. Client state goals such as “ engage customer with unique selling point” or “create a script that features a celebrity.” Sometimes, the brand itself actually is the limiting factor; the clients themselves want something simple. The brief might be vague, but the client still knows what he or she likes and dislikes.
But with the brief in hand, you do any necessary research required to better help you form the ideas. After you’ve learned everything you could about health care reform, or texting and driving, or real estate properties, you pair off with your partner to brainstorm. This means getting away from your computer and desk (or at least your desk). But you move to some corner or comfortable couch to start word-vomiting whatever comes to your mind that could hopefully work as an ad. Seriously, you are spitting out any idea no matter how insane or stupid. That is one of the best things about the creative field, you are allowed to throw out ideas like a woman is abducted by an alien and is impressed with how tidy the alien’s home is. Of course, those outrageous ideas never make it to the final round, but you are able to think freely without fear. And maybe just maybe your fun, bold, risky idea will get chosen. So after you have exhausted talking about the benefits of a water filter and narrowed down your best ideas that could work and impress the client comes the most enjoyable part of the creative process: the break. You throw your notebook back on the desk and go downstairs to play some ping-pong or throw darts, and grab some sugary snacks or coffee or both from the kitchen. This is all in effort to recharge. Breaks are important for the mind. Working on an idea for 3 hours straight isn’t conducive. In the first stages of brainstorming, going at it for more than a couple hours can lead to hitting a wall. Where you and your partner are stuck, staying sitting on that couch won’t do anything to jog new ideas or figure out how to flesh out the good ideas. Sugar and movement are what is needed to re-jog the creative juices.
You then present the best ideas you came up with during brainstorming to the creative director. He or she will immediately dismiss any disliked ideas and give a little nod of approval to the better ones. Getting anything more than a nod, like a smile or emphatic yes, feels like you’ve struck gold. You run with the approved ideas. Come up with several more headlines and taglines and mock up what the ad should look like in InDesign or Illustrator. Create a wonderful pitch deck to present to the client to make your well-thought-out ideas look extra appealing. You stand in front of the room baring your genius, hoping that you are persuasive enough to get the client to see the campaign is perfection. Dying to hear the three magic words “I love it,” but settling for “let’s go with this one.” Whichever campaign the client chooses, you and your partner fully execute.
Take pictures, find some nice stock images, or create a graphic to make your print or web advertisement. Add an eye-catching headline with a punchy tagline and you are almost there. Once completed hand it off to the creative director for final approval. Then it must also go through legal and other channels before it goes live. Sure there are projects that are quick turnaround, but even those go through rounds of concepting and editing. Finally, the day arrives when the ad that you put your sweat, blood, and tears into goes live. The public can see it online, on television, or in a magazine.