Reviewed by Alex.
In every Creative department there is always that one person who knows the awards annuals back to front and can immediately point out when something has already been ‘done’ (even if it’s 15 years earlier), which is why I wasn’t too sure about this book from Mark Earls. Even the job title ‘Creative’ suggests that we’re always meant to be unique, imaginative and come up with the newest, most creative way to solve a brand’s marketing problem – and never copy.
However the book is designed to challenge that anti-copying sentiment and embrace the thinking that someone else has already done to short-cut your way to the truly creative part where innovation lives.
In fact one of the most useful parts of the book is about helping you to be able to define what ‘Kinda thing’ your problem is. The 4 quadrants system based on buying behaviour challenges most assumptions (e.g. not all problems are around convincing consumers that your product is better) and saves you hours trying to define your unique problem, when most likely there have been many similar problems from a range of categories with a similar choice structures that you can learn from.
The rest of the book, comprising of Earl’s 52 strategies, becomes a handy resource for brainstorming first thoughts - almost having someone in the room that’s asking ‘what if we did this’ to spark a new angle. Although the key is to copy well… that is loosely… to create something new.