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(Call me stupid but...) The Nike engine looks facinating, but can you elaborate on how it works?

Jeffre Jackson

I suspect that you're just not stupid enough. The best Nike ads are usually based on very simple but evocative truths about sport. This is just a mechanical way to generate a lot of such possible truths.

For example, if you need an idea for a Nike Air ad, you might think, ok, this might be about cushioning, reducing pain. What's an interesting way to think about the role of pain in sport? You go down that column and maybe a few ideas jump out. Pain is music? Hmmm. What about a musical ode to pain? That might lead you to the lovely Johnny Cash "Hurt" ad on air now.

"Muscle is beauty"? How about an Edward Weston style photo exhibition with close-up images of athletes muscles?

"Sweat is strength"? What if an athlete had saved some of his sweat from every competition he'd ever been in to remind himself how far he'd come? (Kind of gross, but interesting.)

"Sport is rhythm"? How about getting Afrika Bambaataa and Savion Glover...oh, did that already.

"Preparation is lonliness"? Why is it that the crowd only shows up for the last 0.001% of the athlete's journey? Is a star still a star when she's alone in the weight room during the off-season?

"Injury is beauty"? Did that one already too. ("You Are So Beautiful")

"Play is wonder"? There is something magical about play, isn't there? Something that gets lost once it becomes sport? What if we explored the sense of play among great athletes?


great the brief-o-matic. i think it's a very simple and rich idea. i tried to create something similar but for naming. i really don't think it was a fruitful one. you have some ideas or tools for naming?

Jeffre Jackson

I haven't done a lot of naming, but the few times I have, my best tool was Lexical FreeNet. It shows you lots of relationships between and around words that make sense but often in an unexpected way. Which is another way of saying "interesting."


This is excellent. I've never thought of doing this before, but it really works. I suspect you need to have a brand alreay nailed down - but once you have, to help reinventing it, perfect.

One of the things I've often found difficult is that process of moving a strategy forward, especially if you created the original one. So often I find I'm tied to its original foundation, but this seems like a good technique in which to help keep the idea fresh.


Lee McEwan

Priceless. Autofill planning. After all, the best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas ;-)

John Griffiths

I have built several planning data 'toys' using Excel for targeting and business casing. Partly because I learned how use sliders and buttons in Excel which makes whatifs very intuitive - you can drive graphs with them. The toys were used to look at the shape of purchase funnels for cars, revenues for putting phones on planes and how to use other comms channels to replace door to door selling for cable companies (that shows how long ago it was). I even wrote a direct response calculator in Starbucks one lunch time to look at the sorts of returns different channels would give. They really don't take that long to throw together.

Probably the most elaborate model was a media planning one I wrote back in 1994 - which would recommend a media schedule based on historic response to financial ads in different publications. It would show the ROI efficiency uplift versus putting just one ad in each publication. Not rocket science but a fabulous way to get clients more dependent on the agency because we ensured we kept our mitts firmly on it.


fascinating idea that random connections lead to ahas. here is one other planning engine. take three words loosely related to the conversation you are having on a planning issue. force yourself to do a "skit" or a small play using all the three words. it is mad, sometimes hillarious but throws up fascinating new connections.


That sounds like a great idea. Besides the mechanical or random-ish connections that improvisation generates, you might also unearth some more organized, but perhaps subconscious ideas that people have in their heads.

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