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Insights NEED...

We all know what insights are built on. As Bill Bernbach said, simple, timeless, human truths.

I still believe the best insights for brands are those into people’s deeper needs, a NEED insight. Because that’s where you create a connection with what your brand stands for.

But there’s something else an insight needs.

Can you bear the suspense?

It’s tension.

Without tension, your apparent insight may stun meeting rooms into silence, the audience in awe of your perspicacity.

But it won’t be of any use.

Take the need for Freedom.

We all have it, that’s the truth. In many areas of life we are all, willingly or unwillingly, constrained.

So it’s a need you find in multiple categories. Alcohol, obviously. Snacking. Make-up. Meals out. TV watching. Energy supplier switching. Butter. Property buying. Sauces. And so on.

You can think of it in different ways. To feel carefree, able to let go, unconcerned, spontaneous, uninhibited, even abandonment.

It’s often best seen as a kind of release. But from what? That’s the question to ask. Because it’s where you’ll find the tension.

Here are a couple of examples.

Have you ever thought that the drumming gorilla in the Cadbury’s ad looks a little bit sad? I know he’s been waiting for this moment all his life. And it’s meant to convey the joy of eating chocolate. Freedom.

But he’s a gorilla. In a recording studio. Who can drum. How did that happen? Is he singing under his breath: “So you can wipe off that grin, I know where you’ve been, it’s all been a pack of lies.”

Is that it? Does some chocolate lie to you?

Or how about this?

Ask yourself what it’s Freedom from. Could be gluten. Or effort. Or responsibility. Or guilt. Or fear.

Or is it like Norman Mailer said, that the one freedom that people want most is the one they can’t have: the freedom from dread.

I read that recently on Twitter and I can’t stop thinking about it.

But maybe you can have that kind of freedom, as long as you always try to make the future better, before it’s too late.

That’s the thing with the future. You can feel it coming in the air tonight.

The tension.


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