When it comes to creating ads there are two schools of thought: come at the problem like a consumer, with no real knowledge of the product and category other than that which you’ve picked up in your everyday life; or immerse yourself in the product, learning every single thing you possibly can the better to educate the target market.
The position you take may depend to a degree on the extent to which you are lazy. After all, the former option can be done from the comfort of your desk, with little effort required beyond just being magical old you.
The second option might involve doing what we can express in a representative practice: the factory tour. Of course, today this might mean a time-consuming and taxing visit to the corporate website or a flick through any available corporate literature.
This can, however, mean an actual tour of a factory.
About five years ago I went on the factory tour of all factory tours. We were about to pitch for Birdseye, so all the competing agencies were invited to (I think) Suffolk to check out the Birdseye HQ.
Was it helpful? Ultimately not. Some twat from McCann Erickson spilt a large jug of orange juice across the large table we were working on. The resultant physical discomfort from the fallout of this spillage made walking round miles of frozen peas and fishfingers a fairly unpleasant experience.
But overall, I’d suggest that the more crap you can stuff in your head about a product, the more likely it is that something interesting is going to come out.
Here’s an example of an ad that was created by two teetotal creatives after a visit to the pub to enjoy a pint for research purposes only:
Good, isn’t it?