Creating a Brilliantly Wacky Idea
So you've got a cool idea and now all that you have to do is create it and put it on a Web site for the world to see. Well, let's figure out the best way to make it a reality.
To make this successful and effective, you need to make sure that you know who your audience is. Is it man, woman, young, old, professional, farmer, computer geek, black, white, Asian, everybody on the planet, or something else? Once you establish this, you can focus on a concept that would be useful for that audience.
A good example of this was the campaign for a retail corporation whose name and logo I cannot use. Let's call the company "Red Bulls Eye" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
I created a game for Red Bulls Eye called "Create Your Own Pumpkin." I approached the company with the idea of offering its online subscribers a Flash-animated Halloween promotion with a coupon. The idea was that we would send the Red Bulls Eye customer an email, and within the email would be a code number that would allow them to receive a 10% discount on any online purchase. Also included in the HTML email would be an animated GIF showing how the "Create Your Own Pumpkin" was to be played. All the user had to do was click on the animated GIF to be taken to the Internet to use the online coupon and play the actual Flash-animated Halloween game.
Not only did this enable the user to get a discount with any online purchase, but it also let him play an interactive, fun game (with sound) that allowed him to drag and drop different eyes, ears, noses, hats, and glasses onto a pumpkin. If the user wanted to start the game over, he could simply hit a reset button. When this action was taken, the game said, "Happy Halloween." The idea was simple, creative, innovative, and powerful enough to become viral. To ensure that this would happen, we added a Send to a Friend feature on the Internet page.
The Red Bulls Eye campaign proved to be successful on many levels. It became viral because a Red Bulls Eye consumer recommended it to a friend through the Send to a Friend feature. It also offered the consumer a coupon for an online purchase, and we provided the "Create Your Own Pumpkin" game that was interactive and fun. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved. Remember to keep the ideas simple and creative. If this can be achieved, you will get an audience that will make your site a must-see on the Internet.
To view the animated GIF and actual Pumpkin game, go to http://www.rocket15.com/halloween.html.
Where Did the Idea Come From?
Ideas are always floating out there in the nether regions. You've just got to know when to pick them out of the air at just the right time. When I need to open up my brain, I usually get into a brainstorming session either with myself or with a group of people. I flush out as many ideas as possible. It doesn't matter if they're brilliant or downright goofy. You must go through this process to get to the meat.
This is how I created the Red Bulls Eye "Create Your Own Pumpkin" game. By going through this process, I was able to create a fun, interactive game that enticed consumers to visit the Web site, where they could make an online purchase. This was my main objective. I wasn't creating a game for my ego. I had to have a concept in place that was simple to use and interesting enough that it would attract and entertain an audience that has high expectations from Red Bulls Eye.
During my process of brainstorming, I always look for the simplest and most effective approach to resolving a problem. Many people confuse simplicity with complacency. I disagree 100%. Simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve. My goal on all my projects—and in life—is to find the simplest way to get to the answer. I don't mean make it easy—I mean, make the person say to himself, "I could have thought of that." If that were the case, of course, then we all would have thought of the paperclip or PostIt notes or bottled water. Sometimes when the answer is staring you in the face, you can't see it, but when you step back from the situation far enough, the problem becomes easier to see as well as to resolve.
So, remember, when you're looking for the right answer to your problems, try these approaches:
Brainstorm anything and everything to get you to the end result to finding the correct answer.
Keep it simple. Remember, simplicity is the hardest thing to achieve, but it is the most effective way to ensure that everyone in your audience understands what's going on. In simpler terms, make it Homer Simpson–proof. If he gets it, then everyone will get it.
Make sure that you answer the questions to your client's needs. If you come up with a brilliantly simple idea but it does nothing for your client, then you're wasting the client's money and time. Remember, it's about solving the problem with a simple answer.