Thinking outside the box that isn’t there.

I recently was discussing a creative project with someone who remarked to me that they had a hard time “Thinking outside the box.”

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, that old cliche. The one that describes the land beyond those four little cardboard walls. The place where incredible, unforgettable ideas float gently across our minds like so many puffy clouds on a sunny spring day.

Which brings me to the point f this post.

Who came up with this box? What’s in the box? What’s outside the box? And, what makes the inside of the box such a bad place for ideas, and outside the box such a great place?

Frankly, I don’t believe there’s a box. Or a tooth fairy. Or a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Or……

You fill in the next one.

I’ve seen “outside the box” thinking that couldn’t sell ski gloves in Alaska in January. Great idea? Sure. Make me want to buy the product. No way.

And, I’ve seen a supposed “inside the box” idea drives sales off the charts. No Gold Lion Winner to be sure. But a solid, creative concept that made me want the product, get up off the couch, and part with some hard earned money. Mission accomplished.

The point is, that whatever the idea, it had better connect with the viewer and drive home some positive, motivating thought. Great ideas that are funny, entertaining and well executed but fail to deliver a relevant differentiating brand message are just that. These messages still have to solve a problem in some way. And, the problem doesn’t have to be a big one. Often the small conquest of a problem can have the most impact… if the idea that solves it is a big one.

Porsche makes some of the most wicked fast sports cars in the world. They built their brand on speed and the adrenaline rush that results. Find a curve in the road, drive fast. Find a straight stretch of road, drive wicked fast. Then, they build the Cayenne. An SUV. With all the Explorers and Grand Cherokees already out there on the road, and selling for a LOT less money, what problem were they hoping to solve?

Remember, there’s no box. Really. There’s just ideas. Big ones and little ones. Smart one and dumb ones. Ones that entertain and ones that really sell. Ones that make people like a brand and ones that make people buy.

There’s just a place in our minds where ideas come from that we have to discover. Over and over and over and over and…

Let’s all go there.