Rory Sutherland on Plan Bee

Edward Usher 2

By Ed Usher


Rory Sutherland Plan Bee


Rory Sutherland was just in.


He explained why everyone drinks wine.


He demonstrated that removing bells and whistles can vastly increase the success of a product.


He waxed lyrical on why people buy kitchen roll, and why Five Guys throws chips everywhere.


He told us to test counter-intuitive solutions to problems.


He showed us that a big part of brand preference is shite avoidance, and that without a certain degree of randomness, the beehive dies.


And out of all the insights he shared with us, this left the greatest impression on me.


It’s exciting, and it’s true. Without the rogue ideas, the unexpected characters, and a certain degree of serendipity, some of the most exciting developments in advertising and in society more generally would never have happened.


The pollen that clients think they want has already run out. We must be the few who pursue the new.


I think that’s why it’s so important to have fun with our work: something I’ve been having trouble with recently.


Without fun, there can be no digression from the expected, the well-worn, the insidious, from the advertising that people see every day; the advertising my mother thinks of when I tell her what I’m going to be doing. If you’re going to be a bee, be the ones who bugger off any which way.


It all ties into another of the bees in Rory’s bonnet, that advertising agencies have the potential to do far more than they are currently briefed to do. They must pursue non-marcoms briefs. They should, in essence, be distilled into problem-solving agencies.


Those would be really exciting places to spend time, pursuing minimal, oblique, non-obvious solutions to the world’s problems. And I suspect my mother would like that more.

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