As an ambitious creative person, you will want to study the daily news as intently as you do the show annuals. This is because, every once in a while, there will be some world or local event that meshes perfectly with whatever point you’re trying to make about your brand. At those moments, you will feel that the universe has practically handed you your idea all nicely gift-wrapped on a silver platter. Consider, for example, these recent ads for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority:
Poor Harry’s lapse in judgement also provided a fresh opportunity for Lynx:
The idea of seizing on current events has always been a part of great advertising. With the recent passing of Neil Armstrong, I’m reminded of the great ad that Volkswagen ran in response to the 1969 moon landing:
Later, during the energy crisis of the early 1970s, Volkswagen was equally responsive:
Still later, the legendary copywriter Neil French was able to connect the pain relief of Panadol with the existence of two Presidents Bush:
But perhaps the best and most timely advertising response to a news event came in 1999, when British Airways sponsored the building of the London Eye ferris wheel. On the day the wheel was to be raised, there were technical difficulties that left the wheel flat on the ground. Richard Branson of Virgin Airways immediately sent up a response:
This might not have been a high point in typographic excellence, but it certainly was in advertising brilliance.
Current events don’t have to be global in scale to work for you. If you’re doing a local ad, for example, maybe you can base your idea on the fact that it rained every weekend this summer, or maybe on the fact that it didn’t rain at all. If a major street has been closed for construction, you might poke fun at that, or maybe give customers a special discount for braving all that in order to get to your client’s store.
The big thing about riffing off current events is that you will likely think of it before your clients or account people do. This means there will be no brief. Which means you can do what you like. Thus, you have an excellent chance of producing a simple, uncluttered idea and taking bonus credit for the initiative, both internally and with the client.
It really doesn’t get much better than that.