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Great Ad Ideas: They're Anywhere and Everywhere
By: Anamika Pande Ved
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For the past week, the bus shelters and elevators in Shanghai have been sporting a new elegant, eye-catching Coca-Cola design featuring two hands in the shape of Coke’s iconic white ribbon passing a bottle.

This refreshing, stylish advert, which forms a part of Coca Cola’s ongoing global ‘Open Happiness’ campaign and is now seen all around Shanghai, was not created in the domain of big offices or big agencies. Instead it is wholly a product of the imagination of a 20-year-old student from Hong Kong, Jonathan Mak Long; the guy who was a nobody until October 2011 when he created quite a buzz by creating and posting on his blog the Apple logo featuring Steve Jobs in silhouette.

Steve Jobs

Mak, a communication design student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was tracked down by O&M China and he conceived the design based on just three words: ‘Sharing a Coke.' According to Graham Fink, Ogilvy’s Chief Creative Officer in China, “Mak’s work was pitted against other designs submitted by Ogilvy’s creative directors and yielded some friendly competition between a big guy like Ogilvy and a young designer like Jonathan.”
What does this delightful story mean for the companies and the agencies that strive to generate exposure for their products?
In today’s collaborative world, agencies should ideally work on the premise that ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. In the realm of advertising “imagination is more important than knowledge.” (Albert Einstein) Pure imagination, being an innate human capability, cannot be cultivated but only nurtured and polished by agencies.
There is a multitide of arts-minded people, both connoisseurs and creators, who are imbued with imaginative skills. They are not a part of big companies or agencies, but they can think and offer seemingly infinite ways to highlight the key features or the selling points of the products. Agencies need to embrace them and adopt an innovative, bold, and original approach to involve such artsy people in the creative process.

With technology, people have a broad array of tools and techniques at their disposal. Look around and you will find a growing number of amateurs who are getting better at tasks from vetting new campaign ideas to the actual designing of the ad campaigns. What agencies need to do to thrive is to develop great briefs, give creative and strategic direction to such new talents, and nurture them.
Coke’s straightforward and minimalistic design by a young designer like Jonathan Mak also gives credence to the fact that the best advertising does not need big ideas. Ideas need to be simple, unique, and interesting. They should strike a chord with the audience. Take a gander at Jonathan’s design: it does not even include Coke’s logo and has just two elements in the visual: the ‘Dynamic Ribbon’ and the ‘Contour Bottle.' Nevertheless, it brings “a little smile to your face and warmth in your heart.” (Graham Fink, O&M China’s Chief Creative Officer)

Coke new design

In today’s media-saturated market, there is a need to discover new, piercing, alluring advertising ideas, and chances are that people outside the agency or the company wall perform better in furnishing such ideas. So it’s time for agencies to look around, cultivate content from all sources, and open up to the new possibilities of catching the attention of the audience.


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About the Author
Anamika Pande Ved is a blogger, content curator, and content writer with Global Washington, a non-profit in Seattle, Washington. She is fascinated by commercials, more so if they are used for "social good." She is an avid traveler, reader, and a singer. Find her on Twitter here anamikaved15@gmail.com
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