Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

At the heart of any brief to designers, art directors, strategists and copywriters lies the same request: the plea to solve a business problem for a client. This can range from differentiating an average brand to reaching the right audience at the right time. Essentially, clients rely on creatives to solve problems using good ideas.

As an industry, that’s what creatives are good at, and it provides an avenue to take these good ideas a step further and use good ideas for good. Why not work towards identifying local, societal, national or even global issues and work with clients, and the tools creatives have at their disposal, to solve them?

The creative industry is uniquely equipped to come up with innovative and thought-provoking solutions. This is due to the way creatives are trained to think, which is to tackle every problem using a two-pronged approach.

To create a successful campaign, creatives use two types of thinking; divergent and convergent. Divergent thinking refers to the process of looking at a problem with “fresh eyes” and coming up with a range of original ideas or solutions that address the problem analytically from every possible angle, without judgment. It’s the type of analysis that facilitates free-association and blue-sky thinking.

The big take-out:

Creatives should be using their problem-solving abilities to create work that does good.

The next step is to make use of convergent thinking to evaluate these ideas – ensuring they are not creative simply for the sake of creativity, but that they will actually work to solve the problem effectively. It’s also where the ideas and solutions generated in the divergent phase are massaged into concepts that will work in the real world, without compromising their originality.

A case in point was a campaign Boomtown developed for Sovereign Foods. Using this approach, we partnered with our client to achieve the common goal of making a tangible difference, by using the client’s product – chicken breasts – as a catalyst for women to check their breasts for cancer more frequently and in the correct way. Along the way, the campaign helped to raise R250,000, which was donated to PinkDrive.

Considering the prevalence of advertising – it’s everywhere – and its inherent ability to solve problems, there is every reason to use its omnipresence for good. We can, and should, use our good ideas to do work that “does good”.

  • Wessel Stoltz is associate creative director at Boomtown strategic brand agency.


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