Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Thinking out of the box? Try thinking within!

You know the popular saying "Think out of the box". People have been quoting it so often that they often forget that the flip side of "thinking within the box" is equally challenging and rewarding! What is thinking within the box? The "box" does not always denote conventional thinking or ideas. The "box" can refer to the constraints that you are facing, and that includes your budget, legal restrictions, deadlines etc.

It is great to think out of the box, but if you can develop a great idea while thinking within the box (staying within the budget and deadline etc), that is truly phenomenal! There are a lot of great ideas that one can conceive, but many will either blow the budget or cannot be done in time. If you can be the individual to come up with a amazing idea that can be accomplished within the limitations, that will really help you grow much faster as an individual.

Take the example of this Malaysian advertisement for creative awards. They took a limitation (which I shall not elaborate and spoil your viewing pleasure), and turned it into something creative.

Clever? It is. The role of advertising agencies is not to ignore all limitations and come up with something clever. Rather, it is to take into consideration the operating parameters such as the budget, the timeline, the brand's value, the consumer's perception etc, and come up with an effective campaign that stays within these boundaries. That is a clever campaign.

Let's end off with another clever campaign that defines thinking within the box. This time, the box is probably the budget. What if someone told you that he wanted to run for president, but he could only afford to pay for the TV air time, and had hardly any money left for production? You need to do a TV commercial without any budget for filming. Most people would have dropped the project like a hot potato. The agency who did this ad didn't get fazed, and by thinking within the box, came up with one of the most brilliant political campaign TVC ever...

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