Generation Y, the feared and mighty heirs to the Baby Boomer consumer empire, are actually a pretty nice and sociable bunch once you get to know them. They like to look cool, get stressed easily and tend to go passive as a defense mechanism when startled, like those goats that freeze up and faint when scared. An ingenious coping mechanism if you think about and definitely is one way to deal with all the bossiness and clutter of activities being pushed upon them every day by friends, Facebook and Mom & Dad Co. You can’t beat being passive and fragile. So how do you teach such folks to be creative in advertising?
Well, you’ve basically have to train the fainting out of the goat which is completely doable as I can personally attest to. Wait, did I forget to mention I also happen to be a card carrying member of Generation Y and reformed metaphorical fainting goat? Seriously if you threw a creative exercise my way or told me to be creative on the spot eight months past, I basically fainted like those goats and hoped the predator or issue moved on for the moment.
And it is this insight into how I coped with creative challenges that is paying dividends in how I teach this semester. As a TA/tutor in Creativity in Marketing at Bond University, my main job is helping my undergraduate students hone their creative communication skills and build-up their creative confidence. The problem is how do I foster creative confidence that stands the stress of being hunted or startled, like the aforementioned goat?
The solution was embracing the fact my job is basically developing experiential advertising campaigns for my students. To put more simply, I’m just doing what I had to do in AWARD School each week and applying it to them. My client is my professor and the class subject. My target audience is the students, a motley group of 18 and above international communication buffs hoping to be more creative without really knowing how. The problem is that they tend to herd their thinking together like sheep instead of embracing their goat like individuality and creative nature. The solution is easing them into recognizing their creativity by removing the stress of it all.
So if I embrace this brief every week…
Client: Undergraduate Communication Majors
Product/Service: Hone Creative Communication Skills in Marketing and Advertising
Media: Anything and Everything
Single-minded Proposition: Get the students to develop creative skills in communication (i.e. skip the cliches and be competitive creative advertising talent when they graduate)
Background: These students be wary creatures who want to learn but don’t want to look foolish. Think they’re creative but have massive panic attacks when you take their creativity out of the abstract. They want practical but are uneasy about actual having to “do” instead of theorize. Also easily distracted by bright shiny technology things.
…then I basically am set to cure the fainting from the metaphorical goats in my undergraduate students.
This is where my “Play My Game Teaching Campaign” comes into being. I’m creative when I remove the stress and being-unemployed-at-sixty-because-I-stuffed-up-now paralysis out of the equation. And I do this by embracing the carefreeness that comes with thinking of a fun way to convince a friend or foe or stranger or group to join you in an activity. My creative process is approaching advertising as glorified method of asking someone if they want to play with me.
So I’m embracing this and making my experiential advertising campaigns be play based or inspired and have included a couple of examples of what I’ve done so far this semester. Enjoy!
Google-Free Fact Finding Challenge
The Problem: Cliched and passive data gathering skills in students
Idea: Find facts or truths that you can’t find on Google
Gained Skills: Game helps students learn to look for insights and truths that are the backbone of any advertising campaign.
Rubber Band MacGyver Challenge
The Problem: Big Brand Intimidation Factor
Idea: Find 100 uses for a Rubber Band in less than one hour
Gained Skills: Creative confidence to actually believe that they can come up with some new way to get excited about a brand or product as well as honing their personal creative processes.
The “Do” Card Game
Problem: Paralysing creative insecurity in students
Idea: Have a card game that can only be won by doing challenges, answering trivia and being particularly clever. (i.e like lining up by longest hair, finding the most popular name brand shoe worn that day in class, listing 12 orphaned heroes, listing 31 synonyms for “lists,” etc).
Gained Skills: Students learn to improvise and embrace being creative and clever.