think horsies

I've been reading How to Plan Advertising, edited by Alan Cooper, slowly over the last few weeks (reviews of each chapter to come when some time opens up). The author of Chapter 3, Leslie Butterfield, draws many parallels between planners and doctors, rather than comparing planners to detectives, as is the typical analogy.

Why does the doctor analogy work? I pulled out the 3 main ideas that make this analogy work:
  • breadth of approach required
  • value of experience
  • ability to marry analytical and imaginative skills.
So I've had this stewing in my mind over the last few days. On a somewhat-related note, I've also been watching a tremendous amount of Scrubs lately - tv shows on DVD is one of the best things that has ever happened. Anyways, on an episode I watched last nite a quote really struck me as especially relevant to what we planners do:

"If you hear hoofbeats, think horsies, not zebras"
~ Dr. Cox to JD, explaining that rather than blame an illness on some obscure disease, they should not overlook the obvious

This resonated with me as something to keep in mind - listen to the symptoms of the problem you face and try to think as clearly as possible about how to solve it. Think simple before thinking extraordinary. Sometimes the "golden nugget" that we search so hard for is not so golden, just simple, true, and honest. The Honda UK work is such, especially the grrr... spot, built from the simple strategic idea of positive hate.


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