News & Views

Do or Die / Event Debrief

by Contagious Team

Idea Gallery and Contagious show how to turn the idea-finding process on its head

During Tuesday's Do or Die event, hosted by Idea Gallery and Contagious, brand marketers gathered to hear about a new approach to idea generation.
Contagious co-founder Paul Kemp-Robertson set the scene for the session, hosted at Freud Communications in central London. 'Often, business problems require lateral thinking -- and the mind and mentality of a really good advertising creative can help in sparking and fostering those ideas.' Paul referenced a story from Buenos Aires, where a well-known creative director, Jorge Heyman was tasked with promoting the newly developed Puerto Madero district on the banks of the river in 1999. His solution wasn't an advertising campaign, but rather a bridge. The iconic Puente de la Mujer, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, connects the east and west docks, making it easier for pedestrians to access Puerto Madero's shops and restaurants. 'The lesson here is that sometimes the best advertising isn't advertising,' said Kemp-Robertson.

Idea Gallery, founded by John Kane and Ben Sampson (formerly of award-winning Australian creative agency Happy Soldiers), specialises in surfacing category-changing ideas, whether for entirely new products, or to create new conversations around existing products. Stamping a use-by date onto pillows was one such idea, helping to increase sales by 345% for struggling Australian pillow manufacturer Tontine. 

The ideas are not tied to a specific brand, but can be offered or applied to a whole category. 'Any other pillow company could have come up with the same idea,' said John Kane, 'You just have to have the idea first.' And that's exactly where Idea Gallery comes in. For Tontine at the time, it was a 'do or die' moment -- the company had to innovate to ensure that its business could survive in a commoditised market. 

The Idea Gallery founders presented a selection of concept ideas across a range of sectors before introducing the audience to two new businesses recently launched off the back of their ideas. Hungry Mondays is a Sydney-based 'slow cooked fast food' company that makes use of the chefs and facilities of restaurant kitchens during the quieter nights of the week to produce high-quality takeaway food. Currently, around 2,300 vacuum-sealed meals are sold at designated pick-up spots around the city each week, including small businesses like book shops and bars which welcome the additional foot traffic. 

Another start-up, Little Flowers, aims to restore a sense of simplicity to the gesture of giving someone flowers. By picking up just one type of flower fresh from the market each morning, and creating simple, small bouquets, pictures of which are posted onto social media sites, the newly-established Sydney florist can sell its products at a much lower price point than traditional companies. It doesn't require the expense of retail stores, just a small fleet of delivery vehicles.  Interestingly, this has led to a change in how friends and lovers send flowers: 80% of bouquets are ordered by women for female friends. Some romantically inclined men even send flowers each day of the week, rather than one ostentatious bouquet with a hefty price tag. 

Idea Gallery has a network of creatively-minded people, from scientists and engineers to advertising creatives, who submit their concepts to their site. The most bankable ideas are then put forward to suitable brands, who are then able to option the concepts while they go into research. The original contributors receive a percentage of future profits arising from the idea, as does Idea Gallery for bringing it to fruition. More information about Idea Gallery and the concepts and services it provides can be found here

John Almond, consultant for Mondelez, said about the event: 'I really like to experience new thinking and concepts - both were supplied in abundance at Do Or Die. The truth is that bright people tend to have interesting things to talk about. They provoke as well as inform. We all swim around in the ideas business; we all seek the Holy Grail - maybe I got a little closer.'