Trying to pick a campaign? Stop thinking about it.
May 29, 2012
Conventional wisdom has always maintained that when making a decision, thorough and careful deliberation will yield the best results. But when it comes to complicated decisions like choosing an advertising campaign, studies are showing that conventional wisdom might not be right.
The theory goes like this: when a choice requires you to think about just a handful of considerations, active deliberation is the way to go; but when the choice is complex with a dozen or more things to consider, it's better to "sleep on it."
Why? Researchers suggest that your unconscious mind - your brain's back burner if you will - has a higher capacity for processing information. So when you're not actively thinking about a complicated problem, your brain might actually be doing more work to solve it. In one study, researchers found that "Deliberation Without Attention," as they call it, worked better when choosing things such as apartments and cars.
Since there are so many factors to consider when choosing the right ad campaign, advertising might be the perfect place to put this theory into practice. A great example of this is Dos Equis Most Interesting Man. When first presented to Dos Equis, brand managers thought it wasn't conventional enough. They were rationally comparing it to their preconceived notions of what the campaign should be, not the more complex factors such as originality and viral potential. When the ad agency re-pitched the campaign some time later, they worked with brand managers to gradually make them more comfortable with the idea, and it was finally produced. Sometimes with so many things to consider, the brilliance of a big idea can't be seen right away.
There's so much to think about when choosing the right ad campaign. Will it send the right message, will it appeal to audiences, how long until it gets stale, and the most subjective question: "is it good?" With all those issues and more in play, it might be better to distract yourself for a bit. Switch gears to a different project, take a walk, sleep on it, and let your unconscious mind do its thing. You never know, you might start seeing things differently, an idea might grow on you, and maybe you'll create something brilliant.