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Best New Thinking Winner 2010



Kata – routines- algorithms – patterns

If you have ever done any martial arts then you will know about kata the exercises practiced solus to improve technique, speed and accuracy.  This section of the website will add a series of such exercises for account planners!  Think of them as mental workouts particularly when you are in a jam.  We all fall into familiar patterns of thinking and responding.  And we all know of planners who seem to have been successful doing one thing very well.  Over and over again.  But most of us get stuck from time to time and need jogging out of the ruts we get into.  Which is what this section is all about.

Some of the kata I want to post here are legendary. Arguably a creative brief is a formalised kata most agencies cannot survive without.  Think of them in two ways, as ways of jumping out of the loop and as checks as to whether you have been thorough enough at following a particular routine through.  WARNING: Whatever happens don’t try to do several at one time.  They will tie you up in knots!! By the way I’m not the bloke in the illustrations: there’s a limit isn’t there to self promotion?

Kata No 1 Reframing

We all get stuck in ruts – we all get bogged down. Here are 10 ways to reframe the communications task to get you out of the rut.

Kata No 2 Original Spin

One of the biggest problems for planners working in agencies is coming up with original thinking or in fact doing any thinking at all! Thinking is hard work and temperament and environment can often conspire to stop us ever putting our thinking caps on. This isn’t about brainstorming.  We’ll visit de Bono and wack ourselves on the side of the head at another time.

Kata No 3 How to Cock Up Magnificently every time

Agencies are traditionally afraid of making mistakes and owning up to them.  Which is a shame considering how essential mistakes are to making genuine breakthroughs.

Future kata will include Grand Larceny – great ways to nick and rehash stuff and as long as I don’t get sued some of the classic memes from the planning hall of greats (What?) brand onions/characters/ USPs/T plans/

Anti Kata No 1 how to get bad ads through research – Dominic Scott Malden

The first anti-kata.  This one is a steal – Dominic published this in Sharp Stick years ago.  But it is still available on the Wardle McLean web site so click on the title above to go to the relevant page.

Kata No 4 Will the real target audience stand up?

I am FED UP with sloppy creative briefs that provide so little lucid and accurate information about the people we aim our communications at.  This is an attempt to find the real target audience and separate wood from trees for once and for all.

Kata No 5 So you want to interrogate the brand?

Still trying to get under the skin of that pesky brand? Well here are some questions you might not have thought of. And I guarantee that you won’t have to resort to imaging what kind of car or animal a brand might be. Well it’s about time…..

Kata No 6 What’s the point of a creative brief?

A few thoughts which came out of a recent discussion with an agency I was working with about how to “improve” the creative briefing format. Creative briefs model processes, they are contractual, they are intended to inform, but also to stimulate. Here are some provocative questions to make you think about what you’re trying to bring about.

Anti Kata No 2 How to kill great creative ideas

The second anti-kata. This was culled from the wit and wisdom of some of the freelancers listed on the site. What are the favourite killer comments that rabbit punch great creative ideas into oblivion and have you ever used them? Framed as a countdown because of the order in which they tend to be introduced. I guess what we need soon is a kata on how to put down such assasination attempts

Anti Kata No 3 Advertisers anonymous

Sailing really close to the wind this time. If you waste advertising money – if you advertise because all your compeitors do at this time of year then you’re damaging the medium you’re using. Time to kick the addiction. This is bound to upset everybody……..

Kata No 7 Comms tracking – fave questions

Thoughts on tracking questions, the good, the pragmatic, the politically sensitive and the genuinely useful.

Kata No 8 Audiences – and how to look at them

Where’s the best perspective from which to look at an audience – I use a number of different authors looking at the English to give you a few suggestions




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