How long does it take to explain your idea? Do you have to grab several pieces of paper with intricate scamps on them, or play several clips from YouTube to get the idea across? Then stop. I want you to think of the pub.
I have a process at work, one that many of the creatives I’ve worked will have experienced, called ‘The Pub Line’. This isn’t quite as exciting as queuing up several drinks at the bar, it is something much simpler.
It comes down to this. Can you imagine explaining your idea to someone you’ve just met at the local without having to waffle on or pull out examples? Does it still make sense, does it resonate with them? Do they understand?
Many moons ago, long before the rise of wetransfer and dropbox I had the chance to work on FedEx. The agency I was working for came up with the idea of FedEx creating a digital delivery service. Here ‘The Pub Line’ was ‘Fedex can now deliver digital downloads across the web just as safely as they do physical goods around the world’ - this was the whole idea all in one handy sentence. It is one that is easy for anyone to remember and to ponder on.
Another would be when I worked on Skype – ‘To show you can call a land line on Skype I put a guy in the middle of nowhere on camera that anyone can call’
It didn’t require and fancy visual or detailed plan. Those things are there to enhance an idea, not to be the core of one.
Plus in today’s age of face moving campaigns it means you can include your entire campaign message in that single sentence. In a time hungry, choice rich world, that can do wonders for your brand.
This is nothing new, the ‘idea on the fag packet’ is an industry classic. And of course, the ‘Elevator Pitch’. However I think we’ve mistaken these techniques as being about delivering big ideas. ‘The Pub Line’ could be a big idea but it is more than that. It is grounding the idea, it is making simple, stripping it down to its core. Big ideas are ones that resonate with people, ones that seem to come from universal human truths. So this, like many other ways is about testing and refining what you’ve created.
Start by asking yourself what is it about the idea that only your brand could do? What element is the most important? What feeling are you aiming to create? Imagine your idea out in the open, picture how others would talk about it. What is the undeniable human truth that connects with people? Use these elements to help you get your 'pub line'.
If you can build an idea, one that just when explained in its simplest way, that still grabs you then you’ve got a solid, powerful idea.
So this is a call to arms, for creatives to think about the pub. To imagine going up to someone there and telling them the idea that’s bubbling in your brain. To nail that perfect pitch the simplest way... Then, and only then I think a pint or two is called for.