06 March 2023 • James Hurman examines the 2022 IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix winner for Cadbury, ‘There’s a glass & a half in everyone’ by VCCP London, in the first installment of his EFF BOMB series which looks at effective advertising.
24 June 2020 • Following the launch of The Effectiveness Code, James Hurman takes a deep-dive into how to apply the Creative Effectiveness Ladder – a six-step framework for creative effectiveness that draws on insights gathered from over 4,500 case studies – to your marketing.
11 June 2015 • In 2010, our agency was briefed by a big brewery to have one last go at reviving a beer that had been in decline for a decade. The previous agency had done seven big brand campaigns for DB Export Gold over that decade, and none had worked. Nobody liked Export Gold much. It wasn't great beer. It had no brewing credentials and a vaguely metrosexual personality that didn't impress men much. Even the client recognised the hopelessness of a beer without a proper story – apparently Export Gold had been invented in the 1990s by the marketing department.
12 May 2015 • In 2011, the innovation world realised that the way we created new products was wrong. In his book The Lean Startup, Eric Ries exposed the risk of spending millions, pre-launch, creating a perfect product behind closed doors. This old approach, accepted as inevitable by every company in the world, produced a failure rate of 80% as most of those 'perfect' products flopped with real customers. Our cloistered R&D and processes failed so often because the actual market hardly ever responds the way we think it will.
13 April 2015 • Last April, Rob Campbell played a joke. On his blog, the Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai planning head wrote about 'Method Planning™'. This new research methodology was inspired by the notion of method acting, whereby actors literally spend 24/7 in character to more deeply assimilate the motives and psyche of the person they're playing. Rob wanted to explore whether this quest for authenticity would bear fruit for planners looking for more authentic consumer understanding.
12 March 2015 • A few years ago, at Colenso BBDO in Auckland, we got a call from Levi's. It was the head of marketing in San Francisco. He introduced himself to our receptionist. She was having a busy moment, heard him say 'Levi's', and put him through to Levi, one of our creatives. Levi came running into the office where I was sitting with our MD and ECD and told us there was a guy from Levi's on the phone wanting to talk to us. He handed us the phone.
13 January 2015 • When I was a kid I remember being taken to Pizza Hut. It had the restaurant with the funny shaped roof and the red gingham tablecloths. It was a treat - a large pizza was about $30 and in the 1980s that was a lot of money. I remember loving it. You got spinning tops and little red pencils to play the games on the paper place mat. There were happy waitresses gliding around and a low light ambience that made it feel like stepping into another world. And the pizza was pretty much the most delicious thing I ever got to eat.
09 December 2014 • Four years ago, my friend Peter Field came to New Zealand. He was here to talk about his research on creativity, and he mostly spoke to our agency and clients about creativity's ability to supercharge the effectiveness of good strategy. But something that he quickly touched on in an early slide kept coming back to me in the years that followed.
19 November 2014 • In 2010 in Stockholm, an innovative speed camera system was trialled for the first time. It quickly proved to be extremely effective in changing driver behaviour for the better. Much more so than normal speed cameras. The results were published and spread virally, amazing everybody who saw them. Then, after just three days, the speed camera was taken down and put away. It was never used, anywhere in the world, ever again.
26 September 2014 • For the past 50 years, most agencies have been obsessed with the question 'How do we become more creative?' As an industry, we've got no shortage of great ideas. The problem is getting them out into the world without their dying or being compromised. It's frustrating how common a problem that is. So often we begin with world-changing thinking and end up making something we'd rather forget.
25 July 2014 • Earlier this year, I was invited by the IPA to come to London and talk about creativity in my part of the world. I'm from New Zealand and although you may never have heard of us, we are, per capita, the most creatively awarded country in the world.
About James Hurman
James Hurman is founding partner of innovation studio Previously Unavailable, co-founder of brand tracking SAAS startup Tracksuit and programme director of the Master of Advertising Effectiveness