By Jeffrey Hedquist
Every commercial is designed to solve a problem. Before you can create one that works, you first need to be clear on what the problem is. Once you’re clear, your next steps in the creative process will be easier.
How do you get clear? Turn the problem into a question, in fact several questions. Not the same ones your client brought to you, but questions from different points of view.
Ask smart questions, dumb questions, naive questions, impossible-to-answer questions or rhetorical questions.
“Why do I want to keep all my teeth? Why would I want to pay someone to nag me about flossing? Why would I want to have my mouth poked and prodded for an hour and end up with a numb tongue for an afternoon? What’s the difference between a visit to the dentist every 6 months and the agony of a root canal? How would I feel about being embarrassed to smile because people would see my teeth? What would regular maintenance mean to me if it would give me another 40 years of healthy teeth? What’s keeping me from going to the dentist now? What else do I hate about going to the dentist? How do I choose a dentist?”
Ask questions from the points of view of: The owners. The owner’s relatives. The employees. Customers – happy ones, unhappy ones, quirky ones. Advocates. Devil’s advocates. Prospects – ones who need the advertiser, ones who don’t. Competitors. A six year old. You – what would make you want to spend your money with the advertiser?
The answers you get to these questions may not be the ones you expect. This is good. They may lead to a unique copy approach. They may reveal little-known benefits. They may suggest a new service for the advertiser to offer. This is also good.
This process will help you define the problem, find a number of innovative ways to introduce it to the audience, give you a path to a solution and form the basis for a campaign.
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