Inspiration on the go – @LeonoreLeitner

By Leonore Leitner



Inspiration on the go


New Blood is coming up and the intensity in the studio is rising. Push craft, babes.

To get my head out of the briefs, I currently read Dave Trott’s new book Creative Blindness. After Vikki recommended it, I can hereby do the same, as it is the perfect lecture for some inspiration. It contains loads of small stories, about creativity used in other fields than those usually linked to it. Even if you just need a 10 minute break you can enjoy some of the short, easy to read stories.

Here are some of my favourites (compressed) so far:

Calling the play

In 1985, everyone in Washington DC wanted tickets to see the Washington Redskins football team. In fact, they were so desired that the waiting list for a season ticket was 25 years.
A cable TV company used this shortage to its advantage. They sent invitations for a free game to a random list of lucky people. The recipients couldn’t believe their luck. It seemed to go to be true.

It was a luxury event: brunch at the Washington Convention Centre, then a bus to the stadium and the game. It was a party atmosphere: whooping, high-fives, cheerleaders hugging them.
After being led into the hall, they were addressed by the Head of Marketing. He said, “Ladies and Gentleman, we’ve got a special surprise for you today. You’re all under arrest. Get down on the floor, now.”

Then the doors burst open, dozens of armed police rushing in, handcuffing every one.
The entire event had been a sting operation. All the people were fugitives from the law. They made 119 arrests that day and got 101 convictions: murderers, robbers, violent criminals, rapists.

All the stuff like the cheerleader were Us Marshals, patting them down for weapons. All the fugitives also brought their ID’s to prove they are the person the ticket belongs to. It was amazing no one suspected anything and everyone turned up. But the lure of free tickets to the Washington Redskins overrode caution.

Lesson: It’s always about understanding people. The naked truth

In the 18th century 216.000 people worked in the mines. Many of them woman and children as young as 5 years old. Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper was a reformer, who thought children should have some education. He didn’t think they shouldn’t work, but rather thought they should be allowed time for study. Mainly studying the Bible.

He tried to limit children’s working hours to ten hours a day. This was defeated and the limit stayed 12 hours.

After a thunderstorm caused to flood the pit, Lord Ashley tried to use the flurry of media interest for his cause. He revealed to the papers that boys and girls were preferred because of the small pits, sometimes only two feet high. They had chains fastened around their waist and legs.
But this wasn’t horrific enough to gain attention from a Victorian audience. The poor were expected to have rough lives.

So Lord Ashley revealed something else to the newspapers. Woman worked alongside men and due to the heat, they were stripped naked to the waist. The mining man often wore nothing but their hats. Their male organs on full display, alongside the woman and children.
The shock of Victorian England was so great, woman and children were quickly banned from working in the mines at all.

The lesson: To get what we desire from our audience, we must find what’s important to them.

Because you’re worth it

At age 23, Julius Caesar was a junior politician. Sailing across the Aegean Sea he was captured by Sicilian pirates. They demanded 20 talents of silver (around $600k), as a ransom. Caesar told them they were being ridiculous. He couldn’t possibly allow to be ransomed so cheaply. He insisted on them demanding 50 talents of silver (around $1.5million).

The pirates were confused, but didn’t argue about it.

They let Caesar’s men go back to Rome to raise the money. Caesar suddenly became very famous. No one had ever ransomed for such a huge sum before. He must be very special, he must be incredibly important.
Caesar invented the Veblen effect. (When consumers perceive higher priced goods to be worth more, simply because they cost more.)

He had placed a value on himself, greater than anyone in Rome. Because he was now so highly valued, it was easy for his men to raise the ransom money.
They returned and freed him.
But because of his fame and importance, it now also was easy for him to raise a force. So he hunted down the pirates, killed them and took back all the money.

Now he was very rich and famous and he soon became the ruler of Rome.

Lesson: Stake a claim in the human mind, by creating a perception. Control the mind and you control reality.

Thinking on the fly

In 2004, Camden council spent 250k pound removing fly-posters. They issued an order (Anti- Social Behaviour Order) against the biggest offender, Sony. Sony stopped fly-posting. Other councils began using these orders against the biggest offenders like Islington, Greater Manchester and Hastings.

This still left the problem of a lot of other illegal fly-posters for furniture sales, raves, concerts, etc. If the council simply takes down the poster, it costs a lot of time and money; but it doesn’t cost the fly-poster something.
So a council in the East Midlands found a more creative way.

Instead of taking down the poster, they simply slapped a sticker over it saying ‘cancelled’. This poster would now be telling people to stay away from the event. The fly-posters now began rushing around tearing down the posters themselves. Within eight weeks the number of fly- posters had dropped to zero.

Lesson: If you can’t solve a problem, reverse the problem.

They went from “We don’t want those posters up”, to “How can we make them want to take those posters down themselves?”.

Hope these short stories inspired someone x



The copy scores 72.8 in the Flesch Reading Ease test

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