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Why messaging is the root of creativity

Posted by Ben Smith on 17th August 2023

Maybe it’s because it’s been Cannes and award season in ‘PR and marketing land’ — but there has been some genuinely fantastic work recently.

Three campaigns, though, have really stuck with me — and might be some of the best I’ve ever seen.

I loved Fiat declaring that it was no longer going to let people buy their cars in grey.

Orange produced an exceptional ad using deep fake technology to showcase its support for the French women’s football team.

And I was impressed with Stella Artois using data analytics to determine the probability that subjects of classic paintings were drinking Stella.

These campaigns have, understandably, garnered a lot of attention. And if they haven’t already won awards, then they are going to be winning bundles very soon.

When it comes to why these campaigns have been so widely shared and discussed, it might be easy to focus on the ‘showy’ aspects of all three campaigns.

And yes, it’s safe to say that dipping one of your cars — with your CEO in the driving seat — into a 20ft tall paint tin isn’t exactly subtle.

But actually, these brands have only been able to take these big swings because, under the hood of these campaigns, there is some incredible work around messaging and strategy.

Messaging: perfectly crafted

I would argue that the reason why these campaigns have been so successful is because the core concept, the narrative, the message — whichever term you prefer — that underpins each campaign is perfectly crafted:

  • We don’t do grey cars.
  • Women’s football defies your expectations.
  • We’re such a fact of life we’ve been getting free advertising from the world’s best painters.

As you can see, each statement is deceptively simple. Looked at superficially, you might even say they were quite trivial statements. However, I would argue that these are powerful statements that illustrate something truly fundamental about the brands in question:

  • We’re Italian — and that means we want to embrace all the life and colour that Italy represents.
  • We are genuinely for everyone — we’re not just paying lip service to diversity and inclusion or to our sponsorships.
  • Our history is deep — you can’t fake 700 years of heritage.

Because the campaigns link with these deeper ‘truths’, what you get are three campaigns that just feel ‘right’.

They hit the ear — and the eye — perfectly because they have boiled down what they stand for to the absolute essentials. No film flam. They achieve that much-abused word – authenticity.

This is no easy feat. If it was, then these campaigns wouldn’t be getting as much praise as they have been.

The power of simplicity

But that is not to say these campaigns don’t hold lessons for the rest of us.

For me, these campaigns show the value in not only being willing to be creative, but also in the willingness to approach the fundamentals of messaging and strategy in a different way.

At Wildfire, we have created our own proven messaging process to help our clients unlock the sort of insights and narratives that can be used as the building blocks for genuinely creative campaigns that cut through.

And I’m not just saying this. It’s what led us to buy the UK’s least-viewed billboard for Bango among others.

The key — whether you’re a B2B tech brand or you’re Fiat — is that good messaging and good creativity don’t come from trying to be everything to everyone.

If you want to do work that you can really be confident in — and that really grabs people’s attention — you have to focus. You have to distil. You have to find the essential essence of your brand.

The power of simplicity is the name of the game.

If you want to unlock this power for your brand, then get in touch with us to talk messaging.

Ben Smith

Ben’s deep knowledge of sectors as diverse as electronics and IT, cleantech and medtech means he has a wide range of experience to draw on for his clients – ensuring that no two campaigns are the same. Ben’s expertise lies in helping his clients to raise their profiles beyond trade media and he has a proven track record in running campaigns that deliver coverage in national, business and consumer publications.