• There are many myths around communications ideas and what you really need is a practical road map to select which type are best for specific brands
  • Only by cataloguing, evaluating and building a form of architecture can we truly begin to understand ideas
  • The communications industry has at the same time too many and not enough ideas – too many specific to a medium and not enough ‘bloody hell that’s brilliant’ ideas
  • Ideas used to have a simple, passive function: to inform or entertain in the hope of eliciting a purchase reaction – now advertisers are actively looking to change consumer behaviour
  • Communication ideas are constructs that a brand uses as a foundation or stepping stone to help express it self
  • Big ideas have an existence independent of a particular medium


  • Rigour and magic have always been the two contrasting elements of a decent communication idea: it has to work, and it needs a spark
  • There is a history of communication ideas from pre-1980 (advertising), 1980-95 (amplified ideas), 1995-2002 (through the line), to 2002 (brand ideas)
  • The 7 main types of idea help provide context (advertising, contextual, symbiotic, activation, physical, emotional, brand), with lots of examples
  • HOCOs are Higher Order Communication Objectives: work out whether you want to be top of mind, own values or a role, reinforce product attributes, link to a target audience passion, or link to aperture usage (specific occasion)
  • You can use the ideas to generate strategic ideas: immersion, observation insight, brand atomisation (looking at specific small attributes) and ABC2 (Audience, Brand, Category, Culture)
  • Techniques for developing execution ideas include:
    • What if the brand were 500 years old?
    • What if we only had £1?
    • Throw in a random word and pursue it in relation to the strategy
    • Write down the worst ideas you can think of
    • What would the brand obituary be?
    • Read the bit of the newspaper you usually ignore


  • Not much. You can use the book to work through most brand issues