Is Trott brilliant or what?


Dave Trott was speaking at the IPA the other evening.  He says he likes to make it simple and he’s right.

Needless to say, he’s flogging a book – ‘Predatory Thinking’ I think.  But along the way, he makes a couple of points which are as good a summary as you’ll hear of the principles for good communications.

1.  There’s some proper thinking out there, if you can ignore the complexity.  Choice architecture (for this read, Behavioural Economics or anything espoused by Rory Sutherland) and Brutal Simplicity (M&C Saatchi) are good for strategy.  ‘Repositioning the Competition’ and Disruption (TBWA) are useful for creativity.

2.  Dave’s big thing has always been that seventeen billion quids worth of advertising goes unnoticed.  We spend lots of effort on the nuances of the communication when we should be more focused making an impact.  Hello Tosh… and so on.

3.  the way to stand out is to get upstream and to ask a different question to the obvious one.

Like an example?  I’m glad you asked:

Sainsbury’s (well, AMV) redefined their problem from a) needing £gazillion extra sales to b) asking each customer to spend an extra £1.30 and hey presto “Try something new today”.  From there, it was easy.  They already had Jamie, they;re good at merchandising and off we go.

The killing feature of the original iPod wasn’t ten thousand songs in your pocket as you might expect.  It was the white headphones – because they would become a badge.

Two guys in a jungle are confronted by a tiger.  One puts his running shoes on.  The other mocks him “you can’t outrun a tiger.”  The now fully spiked-up runner replies: “I don’t need to outrun the tiger, I just need to outrun you.”

Trott just makes it all seem like common sense.


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