"...And Make It Real Creative!" - March 2005

and-make-it-real-creative-logo-3By Trent Rentsch

Our stupid washing machine is broken, and before I realized it, it’s ruined almost all of my clothes. I mean, they’re still coming out nice and clean, with no rips or buttons missing, it does that part just fine. It’s when I try to pry myself into my jeans that I realize that the darn thing is SHRINKING MY CLOTHES! I’d blame the dryer, but even the sweaters that my wife has trained me to air dry are much too tight after a gentle cycle. Even stranger, it’s managed to shrink some of the shirts and slacks that have been hanging in my closet for months! Just last week I was sent into a panic as I tried on one pair of dress pants after another, minutes before I was supposed to leave for a meeting… and none of them fit! And I know that none of them had seen the inside of that evil washer since they had been hung in the closet. Remote shrinkage! That’s what that wicked Whirlpool has been up to! The only lucky break has been that it’s not selective about what it shrinks, and I’ve managed to slide into clothes from my larger days… fat pants from a fatter time.

It was a nice delusion for awhile, but the fact is that the problem wasn’t the spin cycle, but my time off the exercise cycle. Truth is, I’ve been eating more and working out less, and my clothes are NOT getting smaller. I’m getting, well, huskier.

I’m hoping for a happy ending as I write this and trying to forget that there’s a package of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies in the freezer. I’d like to believe that the somewhat thinner person hiding inside me will escape again, and will find a way to use the washing machine lie to his Creative advantage.

Happy ending number 1: let’s say some appliance dealer wants a creative idea for selling washing machines. The Creative revolves around a guy who really needs to replace his old washer because, yes, it’s shrinking his clothes. The appliance dealer offers the Whirlygig Washer, with mega cleaning cycles. “Will it unshrink my clothes?” the customer asks. “If you lay off the donuts and jog during the spin cycles,” the dealer suggests…

Happy ending number 2: Same principle, only this ad is for a diet business. It could be the same set-up, but instead the “appliance dealer” suggests that, instead of a new washer, the customer needs to talk to the people at Nutri-Skinny, the “experts at unshrinking your clothes…”

Happy ending number 3: I actually start working out again and drop by Nutri-Skinny myself. Nah, nobody will believe that’s going to happen…

 The point is that we work so hard coming up with “wildly creative ideas” that we often ignore the silly yet relatable ones that appear in our day to day lives. And silly is only going to grab your listeners by the ears and motivate them if they can relate to a situation.

 Let’s use another example from my quirky little life. I’ve used the frilly smelling shaving cream my wife uses on her legs, and I’m man enough to admit it. That stupid gel shaving cream that I prefer runs out without warning — usually at 4 a.m. as I’m getting ready to head to the radio station. So yes, I’ve gone to work with that just shaved leg smell before. Now, nobody probably notices but me, but what if they did?

Our hero is getting ready for an important meeting, but finds that he’s out of his favorite gel, and is forced to use his wife’s shaving cream. The meeting is disrupted by his fresh as a powder puff scent… should’ve stocked up on shaving gel at Dartboard Drug…

There’s a lot of potential for silly there, but the listener can also find the situation relatable — even if they haven’t actually done it, they’ve probably at least considered it at one time or another.

It’s all a matter of paying attention to the small details of life. We all deal with them: getting out of bed, heading to the bathroom, getting the kids to school and yourself to work, working all morning, going to lunch, working all afternoon, driving home, eating dinner, watching TV, going to bed. Those are the big pictures in everyone’s lives, and while we can all relate to those scenes, it’s the smaller snapshots that can spice up your Creative: Finding yourself without toilet paper during that morning bathroom trip. Your kid arguing that it’s okay to go to school with his pants down to his knees. You find the coffee pot empty every time you go to the break room at work. You realize that, no matter how clearly and loudly you speak, the burger shack will still screw up your lunch order. Your boss shows up in your cube just as a pop-up for some adult site appears on your computer monitor. Your boss pulls up beside your car at the light as you’re singing Take This Job and Shove It on your way home. Dinner is a tofu project your daughter made for school. You have TV remote wars with your wife all evening long, and you would go to sleep if the dog would quit having barking wars with the other dogs in the neighborhood.

Need a Creative idea? Take a moment, nearly any moment of your life. If you can’t use that moment, try another one… you have a lifetime of ideas available, you just have to pay attention to them. 

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