Always Be Crafting. (Apologies to David Mamet.)

ABC. Always Be Crafting. From the moment you come up with the idea to the moment it appears on air on in social media, craft is what separates the good from the great.

God isn’t in the details. You are. And so is every other person who touches your idea. And if there are people who are making your idea worse, kindly ask them to keep their hands to themselves.

The question you need to keep asking yourself throughout the process is this: What and who will make your idea better? You may think your idea is genius right off the printer, but unless you’re David Fincher, you are no genius.

When choosing a director for Geico’s Rhetorical Questions campaign, for example, here are a few questions the creative team asked themselves.

Is the director good at dialogue and humor? Does he or she have a style that feels real–even when the scenario is ridiculous? Can the director suck you into the ad with great storytelling? Can he or she add to the concept, making it even funnier and more unexpected as the story unfolds.

ABC. Always be crafting. Here’s how the director did his part.

The casting specs for the up-front announcer called for an actor in his or her early ’60s. Thanks to the director, we chose a much younger actor. His on-camera delivery was a cross between Rod Serling and Robert Stack.

The original storyboard had the pig, Maxwell, literally running all the way home. The director asked a few “what if’s.”

What if Maxwell carpooled all the way home?

What if he stuck his head out the back window and cried, “Wee, wee, wee”?

What if he was holding pinwheels while he was doing it?

What if he was annoying the hell out of Mrs. A and her son–as if this were a weekly carpool occurrence?

Whether it’s Geico, Google, or Burger King, it’s craft that viewers can feel, see, and taste–even if it’s unconsciously. And it’s craft that, over time, helps define your brand and makes people say, “I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Published by bassetts49

50 years in advertising, 20 years as the creative lead on Geico. A life in creative thinking.

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