Scott, my friend, called me the other day when I was working back home and told me that he planned to ask his girlfriend to marry him. He has the assumption that the marketers are creative people because they build brands and create new products. I received his request just as I was in the creative team of an advertisement agency to receive a piece of brief sent by a client. (Brief is a kind of worksheet which includes criteria of creative tasks such as the aim, the key points of the design, the brand image, and the task deadline etc.)
Actually, I was running a promotion campaign for a can coffee brand on Valentine’s Day, which was to buy two cans of coffee to get an authentically designed mug free of charge. The original idea of the campaign came from the mandarin pronunciation of mug (Bei Zi, first set of tone) was very similar to that of the word life-long or forever (Bei Zi, fourth set of tone). So that means a boy who sends a mug to his girlfriend will be regarded that he will spend his rest of life with the girl, which is very sweet.
At first, I just wanted to sell the idea to Scott directly and to suggest him buy a beautiful mug to propose. Then, I realized that I could not do that because wedding proposal was a significant event and a mug was too cheap.
I was extremely tired because of working over times for four weekdays. When I was crossing the underpass to take the metro, I saw an outdoor print advertisement of Tissot, a watch brand. Almost every marketer has the weird working habit of buzzing and making comments on various advertisements, promotional materials or activities such as TV commercials, road show, any printing ads like newspapers, magazines or even a small piece of flyer. I was staring at that outdoor advertisement and murmured myself, “This advertisement is just OK; the graphic design and colour layout are not so eye-catching.”
At that moment, some idea flashed my mind. You can say that is inspiration. I called Scott immediately and told him to put a watch in a mug and gave the gift pack to his girl friend. The meaning behind the idea is that watch means time; so putting a watch in a mug means that he will spend rest of his life to accompany her. Scott’s proposal was successful and they two will get marry later this year.
I did not realize that creative thinking can be learnt at that moment; I was just excited that I could also be creative sometimes. The motivation of my creativity is to help my friend propose successfully and I compiled the idea of a marketing campaign and my working habit. I discovered my pre-existing database of lives and see the connection between the separate pieces and figure out some way to present them.
The whole process of my creative experience indicates that creative thinking can be learnt. Creative thinking is based on what we learnt and experienced. What I did in the proposal case mentioned above was just connecting and presenting two pieces of ideas. The bottleneck or the hardest part of creative thinking was to see the connecting point.