Workshop 3: One Day Brief

My third ‘advertising and branding’ workshop was a follow-up to the lecture we had the previous day about the workings of an advertising agency. It involved us researching, developing and creating an advertising campaign – in just one day. It started off with our small, four person teams being grouped together with other teams to make three large groups. In my case, I am in ‘Team 5’ and we were working with Teams 4, 6, 7 and 14. For the rest of this post I shall refer to us as Group B.

After the lecture the majority of us, in Group B, found each other and thanks to Paula’s iPad we read the brief straight away. It talked about how men are notoriously bad at visiting their GP; how many major health issues such as depression are ignored; how there seems to be a collective ‘head in sand’ syndrome when it comes to health. Rather than tackling these issues however, our campaigns aim was to:

“Encourage young adult men to visit their GP’s by targeting woman”

Our target audience was therefore to be woman: girlfriends, mothers, wives, friends etc. (Basically woman who know/have a relationship with men). You can read the brief here if you like. After a quick discussion about the brief we decided that each of us would do some desk research that night, to prepare us for the next day. We also appointed Anna to be team leader.

My Desk Research

I found lot’s of Statistics online which backed up the brief such as “men visit the doctors 20% less than woman”. I specifically highlighted the one I thought was most telling: (yellow box in picture above) how even though more woman get skin cancer – more men actually die from it. Whilst I did do a few pages of desk research I quickly realised that everyone else would probably be getting the similar stuff. I decided to mock up the field research idea that came into my head as I had been walking home earlier. I thought it would be good to know the most influential woman in men’s life. Knowing who men were influenced by the most or would go to first for health advice might help us make the campaign more effective.

So I created this chart as a research method suggestion:

The idea being they ticked which woman in their live would most influence them; or which one they would take advice from; or even more directly asking who they would take health advice from.

Thursday Morning

The morning kicked off at 9 am where we found a giant desk to sit around and have a group meeting. We went round everyone individually to find out what we had did, found out or thought about last night. It was a good chance to hear early idea’s and sort out any problems. After the discussion we split up into pairs to do some field research. Each pair was assigned an area of Dundee and one of three research methods:

  • Influence Chart

This was the one I suggested although the group helped me tweak it a little to include a ‘friend’ and ‘other’ category. The idea was to just approach men on the street and ask them: which of these woman in your life would you go to if you needed heath advice. It was to be a quick tool that only took a few seconds to answer and produced a high volume of results.

  • Body Concerns

This was Fay’s suggestion: an outline of a body, where woman could mark the area(s) of a mans body that would worry her most were he were to complain of having pain there. The idea was to approach woman on the street and ask them to circle areas on the cartoon body outline. This tool was slightly more interactive and allowed the pair to initiate a conversation with the subjects, if appropriate/possible.

  • Chat / Interview

This was a more in-depth method which featured strategic, open questions for men regarding their attitude towards going to the doctors. The idea was that whilst the pair would not get a high volume of results, they would get more in-depth opinions and personal stories.

Each pair (using methods 1 and 3, i.e speaking to men) would also ask their research subjects: what would be their first port of call if they had a health concern. The idea was to find out which NHS service was most popular amongst men.

My Morning Research

Lindsay (from my Team 5) and I paired up  and we were to tackle the city centre (together with the Perth Road from DJACD to the city centre)

We got on really well; the majority of the men we asked stopped to look at the choices and consider their answer. A lot of them were rushing though and only took part because we assured them it was “just one quick question”. We did get a few rejections but it comes with the territory; we also got one man who said he would ask all of them! The first twenty men (first sheet) had no problems with it however the second sheet flagged up a problem. One man looked at it then told us that “Judie Dench” would be the one he would go to… A short while later another man told us he would go to the “blonde one” before another man said “Phoebe”. This confusion was my fault, I knew when I was making it the night before that I probably should draw the representations. I didn’t really have enough time so thought that movie stars who could be associated with being ‘a mum’ or ‘a sister’ would be fine. Unfortunately it wasn’t. We corrected the men that the woman were ‘representations’ and got their proper answers. Lindsay then quickly folder the paper in such a way that hid the faces but kept the text and we continued on.

At least I will always remember this research failure and learn from it for future experiments. Celebrities are not good for research representations!! Draw them if you have time otherwise use stock photographs of ordinary people.

Our Morning Research Results

After our hour and a quarter of field research we all met up to discuss and add up our findings.

The top four on the influence chart were not at all what I had anticipated, I guess it just goes to show the importance of doing research and not assuming things. One thing we did discuss, but didn’t seem to act on, was the idea that each pair doing the influence chart should concentrate on a specific age group. Had we reinforced this, the research might have worked out differently. However, because we did the research personally we were able to roughly remember. For example: the majority of men who said ‘mum’ were younger – about eighteen to thirty. The men who said ‘friend’ were also in this range. The majority of men who said ‘wife’ were about twenty five right through to seventy or eighty. The men who said ‘daughter’ were over sixty.

The group doing the body outlines found that the heart, head and joints were generally of the most concern to woman. The group doing the questionnaires told us how the men would wait until their condition got more serious before going to the doctor. The collective results for the NHS services showed that most men would go to their GP; a very surprising but positive result.

We moved on to do some mind-maps and brainstorms for the rest of the morning.

Some idea’s were blowing about but the main themes that kept coming up were ‘embarrassment’  and ‘nagging’. A lot of people were also keen to include ‘fun facts’ and statistics. The majority of the group were keen to go down the humour route instead of ‘shock tactics’. This was backed up by our desk research and questionnaire results which both suggested humour and fun would be most effective. For this reason we decided to focus on small ailments (such as a cough, rash or small pain) that get worse when left untreated. Serious illnesses such as heart disease or cancer would be inappropriate for humour. The idea being that if a man is encouraged by a woman to go to the doctors to get a cough seen to; he would be more likely to go again with a serious problem, such a lump.

I remember at the point we were discussing coughs getting worse, Fionnlagh told us about a video he had watched on Youtube for his desk research. We watched it and agreed that it had a good tone. He had just casually ignored her nagging, she persisted but neither did it in an argumentative way.

One idea that came from this was a woman looking up a mans symptoms on the NHS website but him pretending not to care. When she walks off, he quickly goes and check’s out the laptop. The idea being he does it when she’s not looking, he doesn’t like to make a fuss. The rough tag-line was “it does make a difference”. I quickly drew it out and stuck it up on the wall.

As you can see we had a few other sketches and post-it notes but there was a lack of general idea’s. We had a lot of big brainstorming sheets etc. I also stuck up a slightly out of context motivational poster…

There was a lack of doodling and writing things down however – I think we were just too comfy sitting down. We did discuss a lot of idea’s however and I remember one girl saying something but dismissing it herself as being targeted at men. However someone else like it, reversed it and made it work for woman. This was a great example of listening and group collaboration!

Here are some quick snaps of the things we did write down and put up:

Afternoon Session

After a short half hour lunch break we got back in the zone by doing some quick personas based on our field research.

These three woman were the ones we were to keep in mind for our campaign; asking ourselves regularly if it would appeal to them. This took a little longer than anticipated but it helped us do some mind-maps of places these woman would go. Noting down things like shopping malls, cafe’s, salons etc. gave us an idea of the places and types of media we could use for advertising.

At this point it became quite clear that we were all thinking along the same lines. We wanted a man who was ill and a wife who was nagging (telling) him to go to the doctors. He didn’t and as he got progressively worse (sneezing, spluttering, skin breaking out…) the woman would get progressively more embarrassing in the way she told him to go to the doctors (notes in lunch-box, leaving voicemail messages, flying past on a plane…). It was the sequence of events that was causing some problems and it was hard to keep track of everyone’s suggestions. I remember Anna taking charge at this point and suggesting we split off into small groups. Each group was to draw a potential storyboard for a television advert in ten minutes:

This is the one my group came up with:

We spent far too long discussing it and found it hard to settle on a sequence and what imagery would go with it. I do remember feeling a little bit lost at this point; I think it was just a combination of too many ideas/opinions and trying to connect too many things. As you can see this affected our sketching.

Anyway, even though it did take slightly longer than ten minutes, it did force us to quickly visualise the advert. The idea was to look at them all then pick and choose a sequence of events.

It was pretty much all go from there, Anna delegated tasks to certain people to help get things done quicker. So the illustrators and some of our good drawers were in charge of drawing up the final storyboard visuals:

The rest of us discussed the advertising, pitch and possible guerrilla advertising tactics that would link up with the campaign. We looked at our potential strap-lines narrowed it down very quickly to “eventually he’ll get the message” as it was more or less the unanimous favourite.

We then took a vote on whether it should be “eventually he’ll get the message” or “eventually he’ll get it”. The first one very much had the majority. I have say I was quite pleased, I felt it related more to the idea of the woman leaving/sending the man messages. The other one, for me, was just a bit vague – especially for an new, ‘unestablished’ campaign.

We developed the ‘cards’ idea that had came up earlier where our strap-line was written on a mock medical appointment card. We also decided upon handing them out prior to the campaign. Fay had told us that the old Wispa adverts were on before the product was launched. They were so obscure that they didn’t give away what was being advertised. This got people’s attention as they wanted to find out what it was. I actually looked up the campaign and it was quite clever:

“The bar was launched by teaser advertisements in 1983 bearing the phrase “Have you heard the Wispa?” but without identifying the product as a chocolate bar”

You’ll probably know that Wispa vanished only to be temporarily re-introduced in 2007 then permanently in 2008. I watched this video about the making of the advert and it’s actually really interesting. The advertisement was made up of ordinary people who had pledged themselves… For example one woman telephoned to pledge them her bear costume and herself wearing it!

Anyway, sorry, back on track. The early distribution of the cards would hopefully create interest and get woman wondering ‘what the message was’. Our previous personas’ research helped us when it came to the places these cards would be ‘placed’. So we thought about salons, retail outlets, cafes, gyms and indeed doctors surgeries. The cards would have web addresses and social networking logos’ directing them to the campaigns online presence. We were really keen to have a youtube video that would hopefully turn viral.

It was during this discussion that I had an idea for reinforcing the campaign in ‘reality’. One of the scenes from the final sequence involves a note from the woman written on a steamy mirror when the man comes out the shower. I thought that we could make transfers that would stick on mirrors in ladies restrooms (in public places such a shopping centres). A frosted print effect would make it look as if it had been written on condensation.

Other guerrilla ideas involved buses and billboards like the ones from our final sequence actually being put into action. We were very keen to develop the bus in particular and make it actually relate back to our main concern: encouraging men not to delay a visit to the doctors. We discussed it being a touring bus that delivered health education/awareness demonstrations and drop-ins. it was also cleverly suggested that it could become a touring surgery with real GP’s on board. I am not sure about the logistics and red-tape involved but it’s an idea. Kind of like the blood donation vans that go to offices and retail parks – delivering the service as near as possible.

All of these ideas featured in our pitch together with our final sketches or ‘comps’ (comprehensive layout – the proposed design initially shown to a client). Here are my notes from our discussion about the our pitch and how we would present everything.

We decided to actually mock up some dummy post-it-note ‘cards’ that said “eventually he’ll get the message” and stick them about the space where we would deliver our pitch. Whilst the team were going about sticking these up, a few us went over the plan for the pitch. Lindsay volunteered to do the pitch (or rather she was suggested and then gently persuaded to) so we had a run-through of what she would say and when. This all happened really fast and within no time at all it was deadline time and we summoned to the gallery space to deliver our pitches.

We were second and I must say Lindsay did it brilliantly; she remembered everything as she talked through our concept, advert and entire campaign.

I have written up the entire pitch as a campaign proposal so click here to read it.

The feedback we got from both our tutor and the other groups was really positive. Someone suggested it was more aimed at men but after a lot of discussion it was decided that it actually just lacked a woman in it. They felt that the suggestion of her was not enough and should be reinforced with her actually writing the notes and doing the thing’s. My tutor also commented that some of the things such as the billboard were a bit unrealistic. He was getting at the point of well how did she do that? Rather than a billboard could she maybe graffiti one instead. They felt it was appropriate both humour and target audience wise and liked our further development ideas – particularly the ‘drop-in surgery bus’.

Final Thoughts

Gosh. I would say overall I was happy with our final campaign. There obviously were things that I would not have did had I been doing myself but that’s just as much of a positive as it is a negative. It was interesting just on an experiment level to be part of ‘big idea’ that around twenty people were contributing to. It was nice to watch it grow and develop over time. I was conscious that a lot of good ideas had to be disregarded and some key things were overlooked.

I remember one idea was for the bus to have something embarrassing written in the destination bit. Along the lines of digital text that would normally read ‘city centre’ instead reading ‘doctors appointment’ or something along those lines.

Another one was my suggestion of making it a kind of sitcom style where each scenario was separate and a new successive one came out every couple of weeks. I thought this would give us more room to play up the scenes and make them quite detailed. The idea being people look forward to finding out ‘what happens next’ and maybe start subscribing to the youtube page in order to find out. The momentum would be maintained by regular new adverts and related guerrilla techniques so that peoples interest was maintained.

There were load of others and I think we were just overloaded and forced to make quick decisions in order for it to be ready in time.

For example if you look back at the quick sketches we did about the sequence of the advert you will see the woman in most of them. In fact, most of them are normal as well and contain her doing things she could actually do – such as phoning him up at work. Fair enough some of them are far-fetched, like the aeroplane banner, but she was driving it… I think she somehow just got lost in translation.

It would be really easy to re-instate her back in and tweak the scenarios a little. In fact the whole campaign could be built up and taken further. So yes, I think we created a good ‘big idea’ and I learnt a lot about the process of working in a big group.

It was also a brilliant opportunity to eat lots of sweets and sample Fay and Veronica’s home-baking:


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