If one were to assume that a blank sheet of paper – complete freedom – is the best way to coax maximum creativity from the human mind, one would be wrong.
The highest levels of creativity are launched from the tightest constraints.
Consider this request made a couple of weeks ago by a student in our monthly webcast.
Hi Roy, I work with a micro-distillery in our province who recently developed a lower-priced brand of affordable liquor. It is called: lōk(ə)l and they spell it phonetically, with a k and a schwa. (ə)
They make vodka, gin and schnapps packaged in plastic bottles. How can we advertise this on the radio to get people to look for the right product? Not to mention there is some muddiness marketing “local” when everyone is jumping on the “shop local” train… there is even another alcohol beverage called Local with a similar style.
Thanks for all your help.
Let’s examine our creative restraints and limitations:
- Plastic bottles shout “cheap.”
- “Locally-produced vodka” is not a strong selling proposition.
- “Local” is an overused generic descriptive, but we’re stuck with it as a name.
- A competing product has the same name, but with the correct spelling.
- If we cannot differentiate our brand, our radio ads are likely to sell the products of companies other than our own.
Bottom line: lōk(ə)l vodka is memorable only because it is spelled with a k.
These are the creative handcuffs we wear as we write a series of 30-second radio ads in an effort to give this brand a personality that says something other than “cheap generic vodka.”
Are you ready to ride?
Lokal vodka is NOT low-cal, low calorie, lightweight vodka. You’re thinking of a different brand. Lokal-with-a-K is full-bodied, genuine, authentic vodka made right here in Saskatchewan. Vodka is spelled with a K, not a C. Lokal-with-a-K is old-school vodka, the kind that will kick your ass if you drink too much of it. We also make gin and schnapps. This stuff is fabulous, but to make it affordable we put it in plastic bottles, ’kay? Lokal-with-a-K is available in every store that has good taste.
Lokal-with-a-K vodka is made right here in Saskatchewan, which also has a K. And Vodka is spelled with a K, so we spell Lokal with a K. You say, “Hey, you also make gin and schnapps and they don’t have a K.” But in THIS deck of cards, Vodka is KING, Schnapps is QUEEN, Gin is the JOKER and the joker is wild. Drink has a K. Kick has TWO K’s, but Compromise is spelled with a “C.” Lokal-with-a-K is fabulous, but to make it affordable we put it in plastic bottles, ’kay? Lokal-with-a-K is available in every store that has good taste.
Lokal-with-a-K vodka is made right here in Saskatchewan, and because you love it, we’re now making it with extra K. We also put extra K in our gin and schnapps. Vodka is KING, Schnapps is QUEEN, Gin is the JOKER and the joker is wild. With these three in your hand, you’re on your way to a Full House. Drink has a K. Kick has TWO K’s, but Compromise is spelled with a “C.” We don’t compromise. Neither should you. Lokal-with-a-K is available in every store that has good taste.
By the time we get to the third ad, this campaign is promising wild parties in a full house of people where everyone gets their kicks. Did you notice?
Incongruities, anomalies, gaps and disturbances naturally attract attention. Learn to leverage them as memory hooks.
What if we were asked to differentiate that other brand of vodka, LoCal?
Let’s ride again, shall we?
Vodka is clean, pure, and colorless… Like diamonds… And sunlight… And the music of angels. But it will also make you FAT and we don’t want THAT. My vodka is Local vodka. At least that’s how most people pronounce it. Look closely and you’ll see that it actually says Low-CAL… Low-CAL. Lo-Cal vodka won’t give you a fat ass. Lo-Cal vodka is diamonds, and sunlight, and the music of angels. [pause] It comes in a small, tight can. Because isn’t that really what we’re after?
I don’t want to drink wide-bottom vodka. You don’t want to drink wide-bottom vodka. We want the low-CAL vodka that tastes like diamonds… and sunlight… and the music of angels… all of which, by the way, are also low in calories! This heavenly designer vodka is cleverly disguised as, quote, “local” vodka. But look closely and you’ll see it says, Lo-CAL. You’ll spot it immediately. [pause] It comes in a small, tight can. Because isn’t that really what we’re after?
Pour it into a glass and you’ll see diamonds, and sunlight, and the music of angels. Lift that glass to your lips and you’ll taste diamonds and sunlight and the music of angels. Share it with your boyfriend and he’ll see diamonds and sunlight surrounding an angel. And that angel will be you. Some people call it Local vodka, but look closely and you’ll see that it actually says Low-CAL… Low-CAL. [pause] It comes in a small, tight can. Because isn’t that really what we’re after?
When writing ads, don’t worry about what you don’t have. Work with what you do have. And remember: incongruities, anomalies, gaps and disturbances naturally attract attention. Learn to leverage them as memory hooks.
Indy Beagle told me to say he’ll meet you in the rabbit hole.
Roy H. Williams
Three college friends holed up in a yurt in Santa Barbara, California, 15 years ago. Their crazy dream was to engineer a new sales and marketing software that would help small businesses succeed. (Sound interesting? They had me at “yurt.”) The company that emerged from that yurt is Ontraport and today its 120 employees energize thousands of businesses around the world and the company serves as a role model for how to attract and keep high-quality, happy employees. Flash back with us 7 years to 2014 as Landon Ray, one of the original 3-guys-in-a-yurt, shares his blueprint for building corporate culture with roving reporter Rotbart. In this humble dog’s opinion, Landon’s guidance is more relevant today than ever. It’s MondayMorningRadio.com – Aroo, Indy Beagle