Creative Creative Works Creativity

Strategy, strategy, strategy: 5 creative campaigns built on human insight

By Emma Grace, Executive Creative Director



The Drum Network article

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June 28, 2023 | 7 min read

The best creative works are often simple yet heartwarming depictions of everyday life. Emma Grace of PrettyGreen spotlights some of the best ads that nail the brief.

Red castle made out of play dough

Some of the best creative ads showcase life's messy moments / Franco Antonio

Not many campaigns stop me in my tracks. Most creative work is a lazy re-imagining of a previous piece of work – “stealing like an artist”, as Austin Kleon puts it in his bestselling book.

But when I am stopped, when the creativity goosebumps do prickle my neck, the reason is always the same.

The work is driven by previously untouched insight. A less ordinary observation of the human experience and its connection to a brand superpower. A human truth that is either so overwhelmingly relatable or astonishingly enlightening that you can’t believe you haven’t seen it before.

Strategy first

The creative strategist and their behavioral insight mining has never been more important to originality. It’s not rocket science, yet so many brands seem to forget the human bit in their marketing. Starting with the person, not the product, is how creativity really cuts through.

So, elevate your creative strategists, give them the space and time to dig for the gold. The following campaigns are the very best examples of how starting with the human is what makes for truly excellent creativity.

1. Vanish: Ambitious About Autism

This is a powerful campaign rooted in an insight about the importance of familiar and consistent clothing to the autistic community. This beautiful docu-ad had me at max goosebumps. Following the daily life of a family with an autistic daughter, we observe how crucial her favorite jumper is in her routine and wellbeing.

The role of Vanish is subtle, but essential. If it wasn’t for Vanish making clothes last longer, this source of sensory comfort would be shorter lived. An excellent example of how a killer creative strategy can make you cry at washing powder (not to mention educating and empathizing).

2. Nurofen: See My Pain

Here, pain relief turns activist. Nurofen cleverly brings to life an insight around women and pain. Surveying 5000 women and men, the brand unearthed that men’s and women’s medical experiences around pain are different – with women much more likely to have their pain dismissed than men.

The campaign saw common dismissal quotes such as ‘maybe you are stressed’ printed onto medical products like plasters and pill boxes and included a 90-sec emotive film of women’s pain experiences. The brand’s long-tail commitment to pharmaceutical training, tackling the issue at grass roots level, also adds a layer of authenticity.

3. Honest Eggs: Fitchix

How do you cut through in the free-range eggs market? Make a chicken more relatable to humans. Tapping into the ubiquity of fitness trackers and step counting, this enviously simple creative translates a human insight into a chicken-y one.

Doing more steps is good; free-range chickens do loads of steps. Print the number of steps on Honest Eggshells as a quality proof point so humans get it. Too clever.

4. Marmite: Baby Scan

A long-term campaign platform born from an insight around taste preferences, Marmite has managed to sweat Love it or Hate it for years. But its new Baby Scans campaign, based on an insight around babies’ taste bud development in the womb, is a previously unexplored one.

This comical film subverts the baby scan experience to be less about ‘what are we having’ and more about are we having a Marmite lover or a hater. Who knew babies could taste in the womb? Give that planner a promotion, please.

5. Play-Doh: Parenting is Messy

PrettyGreen client Hasbro has firmly established itself as a parental ally through its creative communications, comically leaning into the insight that busy, stressed Parents don’t really like Play-Doh, because it’s messy and its them that have to clean it up.

Our latest campaign, 'Parenting is Messy', was driven by the insight that parents are increasingly overwhelmed with the all the ‘how-to-not-screw-up-your-kids’ parenting advice coming from all angles.

And so, the Play-Doh Anti-Parenting Book was born, a story book of real-life parental ball-drops and carnage to show that Parenting is Messy, perfection is impossible, parental guilt is a waste of time, and parenting books should be mostly shredded.

Creative Creative Works Creativity

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