Upstream Creativity

Chris Wilkins used to tell me Jeremy Bullmore was the cleverest person he’d ever met.
I asked Chris to give me an example.
He said, in the 1970s Jeremy was giving a speech in front of assembled advertising bigwigs.
It was at a fund raising dinner in support of a charity.
Jeremy asked everyone for a donation.
In fact he asked everyone to put their hand in their pocket and give £10 to the charity.
There were the usual groans.
Everyone moaning they couldn’t afford it.
Jeremy said he wasn’t asking anyone who couldn’t afford it to contribute.
He only wanted £10 each from those who could afford it.
He said the test of whether or not you could afford it was your bank balance.
Did you know your bank balance to the nearest £10?
If you didn’t, that was proof that you could afford it.
How brilliant is that?
Hardly anyone knew the balance of their bank account to the nearest £10.
And the charity got its biggest donation from a single fund raising event.
For me it’s a proof that the answer always lies in one of two places.
The product or the consumer.
The thing being sold, or the person buying it.
Most charities assume the answer lies in the product.
They tell you what is important about themselves, and why you should contribute.
Jeremy decided to reverse accepted wisdom.
He assumed the answer lay in the consumer.
He anticipated their objection.
He observed a simple, unnoticed human truth.
And he came up with an intelligent, unexpected answer.
That’s real creativity.
No visuals, no headlines, no YouTube, no latest technique.
No Frank Budgen or Jonathan Glazer, no social media, or rebranding.
No iPhone apps, or ambient, or viral, or flash mobs.
Just thinking about a way to come at the problem from a different angle.
Before you get anywhere near doing an ad.
That’s upstream creativity.

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    that’s brilliant.

  • An amusing as well as instructive reminder that every great campaign or brand idea is rooted in an understanding of your audience and developing the messages that resonate with them. Doing it on the hoof as JB did was a flash of genius.

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    ‘A wise owl’ is how a human would describe Jeremy B, but given the fact that humans have so little understanding of hanimals, I will correct that misjudged assertion. Jeremy Bullmore is a wise ‘Grilla’. Now, that’s a truer reflection of who actually has the brains in the hanimal kingdom.

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    Dave, u r under sustained attack from the planet Pingback – shall I gather The Fellowship of the Ring, or shall u?

  • There’s plenty of Upstream Creativity on my website!

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    Grilla,
    Obviously, a lot of people in America think what I’m really saying in this blog is how much I need a good condition, second hand truck.

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    Pingbacks drive me bananas too Grilla.

    It’s as if people think their comments are so important, everyone else has to make the effort to read them. It makes me think of the “in your head” strategies that many agencies and clients still do whichy reflects why Dave’s story is so apposite.

    How many successful campaigns do you know of that start: “Come with me down this long dull alley, then turn left and jump through a few hoops before reading the message I have for you?” Nobody cares. Exactly Trevor Beattie’s point years ago when he wrote in Campaign inside column about sitting on a bus needing YOU to capture HIS attention and not the other way around. I’d rather play Mafia Wars on Facebook.

    I’m just going to bury myself in the allotment like acid in a dungheap until this middle-class lack of commonsense just rots away. For God’s sake people, get a life. Flush your Blackberries down the toilet and have a real interaction called conversation.
    You will all learn so much more and become so much wiser because of it.
    Get out more.

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    how’s the allotment doing Kevin?

    My onions are going like mad and the local rabbits are plotting raids on my lettuce patch – but the carrots are nowhere to be seen and I’ve got this huge empty spot where the potatoes are supposed to be…

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    Dave, you aren’t alone. My words are oft misconstrued ‘swell.

    Hi Kevin + gotno!

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    Hugh Salmon headed Upstream – like it.

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    all our words are misconstrued. people often project on what your saying, when all you’re doing is thinking and talking 🙂

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    Dave ,
    This is a real gem – and my daughter who works for Leukaemia Research is mailing it all round the building as I write this.

  • Thank you Dave. I’ll be thinking about this next week when I’m working on a charity account. But I’m sure it could be helpful on any client’s business.

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    Hi Gotnoteef,
    I managed to laserblast the Seedling Tomatoes under a sheet of glass, but Southern Tatties are doing well. No sign of Carrot Leaves here either, strawberries flowering. As for the rest? I’m still learning the difference between a weed and a vegetable, so I asked an old hand who told me to let it all grow.
    Apparently Marigolds, Garlic, and onions keep all the beasties away.
    Still no sign of ripe Bananas, but a few Raspberries on the way…

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    whatever you do, don’t mention BANANAS Kevin!

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    Did someone say Ba-ba-ba

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    Hello Kevin

    midland spuds started to show over the long weekend – happy days – apparently you need to wait until the green stalks and leaves are about 4 inches tall and then bank up the earth around them (right to the top of the new leaves) and this will increase the yield of the plant.

    My tomatoes are going great guns – up over the top of their cut-down pop bottle homes and reaching for the sky – but my pepper plants are still a little weedy. Carrots are still a no-show, but the lettuce and spring onions are going well and my beans are starting to grab for the canes.

    I’m using sweet peas to draw in bees and I am going to plant marigolds amongst my lettuce in the hope of keeping the scheming rabbits at bay.

    My strawberries have flowered and I’ve got the start of little white fruits – same on the raspberries and black currants, but the blueberries are taking their sweet time (and a whole lot of water). My fruit trees are also starting to get going with mini apples, cherries, plums and pears in the offing. Fruit crumble at chez gotnoteef this autumn!

    Sorry Grilla – no climate for bananas – but I’d gladly knock you up a smoothie with fair-trade from the supermarket and a complement of gotnoteef’s garden fruits.

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    Grilla and there’s me thinking you were very quiet today, i’ve been all over the place, couldn’t see you anywhere! (hello Gotno 🙂

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    Was considering a name change to
    yeswegotnobananaswegotnobananastoday
    but now gotnoteef has thrown me a lifeline. Cheers, Mister!

    Helloo, Jayne, Kevin, and Dave, if you’re lookin.

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    Hello Jayne – hope the world is treating you well.

    This is getting a bit like a love-in amongst Dave’s regulars – that and a bit of gardener’s corner.

    Sorry Dave – hope you don’t mind us using your blog like a social network – Dave’s Friends’ Space – a source of inspiration, insight and uncommon good times shared by like-minded individuals.

    I’ll sip my beer in your honour Mr Trott – chin-chin

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    thanks Gotno, i’m VERY happy at the mo 🙂

    better a love-in than.. well i won’t go there..

    i bet Dave doesn’t mind, plus i figure as he’s written two more blogs since this one, we regulars can muck around at the bottom.

    glad your fruit and veg is doing well and you’re looking after G 🙂

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    VERY happy, Jayne? I was VERY happy once. Or was it… twice? Such a long long time ago it’s difficult to recall with any great certainty. Can you say muck around at the bottom on BR – u know what they were like with the Les B Avenues. [Dave’ll like that 1 – his dad was a sergeant in the police force].

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    ah G.. very happy once? or just twice? i was very happy once too.. about 4yrs ago.. think i’m very happy again now, tho something is BOUND to come along and spoil it all, so please don’t mention the Les B Avenues or the police. you can be happy again Grilla 🙂 X

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    Knowing u r VERY happy makes me VERY happy-ish, Jayne.

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    i won’t be properly happy Grilla, till i know you’re properly happy 🙂