How Abba and Beyoncé can help you write

Creative inspiration can come from many sources: sometimes it’s best to look far outside your field for new methods of working, writes CR’s ad correspondent Ben Kay

Many great creatives will tell you that the last place you should look for inspiration is an advertising award book. For a start, by the time an ad has reached its pages it will inevitably be somewhat dated, and besides that, all the work you’ll see has already been done, so how can it lead to true originality?

I actually think that award books are helpful, but for a different reason: they contain hundreds of diverse images and sentences that might send your thoughts off in a new direction. How might a treehouse work in a beer ad? Could a kitten be a jumping off point for a car commercial? What if the word ‘redolent’ appeared in a Nike endline?

But that has its limits. Better you seek out an art gallery, walk in the woods, or foreign city to recalibrate your thinking more completely. Or perhaps you could try an entirely different creative process.

For example, the methodology of songwriting could lead you to some unexpected concepts, techniques and standards. What’s your ad’s chorus? Its middle eight? And most importantly, its hook?