Guerrillas should be attuned to world happenings, to the world situation, the local situation, and up-to-the-minute trends. It’s important to take a look at competitors’ marketing campaigns. If you’re not keeping up, you’re falling behind. Guerrillas can’t afford to fall behind. Armed with this knowledge, you can do what many people define as the essence of creativity: you can combine two or more elements that haven’t ever been combined. For instance, when 7UP wanted to boost its sales up there with Coca Cola and Pepsi-Cola, it referred to itself as “The Uncola.” This put it in the category of the colas, yet proudly proclaimed that it was different. By combining the prefix un, which means “not,” with the word cola, 7UP exercised great creativity. The advertising person who dreamed up the concept used his knowledge of popular art and chose psychedelic art for print and television advertisements. By using their knowledge of their product, competition, target audience, current users and the trends of the day, 7UP produced an exceptionally creative advertising campaign. The proof of that creativity was in the increased sales and profits enjoyed by 7UP. And the seed was basic knowledge. The Marlboro cigarette company exercised creativity when it combined the ideas of a cowboy and a cigarette. The AT&T telephone company used creativity when it combined the ideas of an emotionally charged situation and a telephone (“Reach out and touch someone”). Avis Rent-a-Car showed creativity when it capitalized on being the second largest, rather than the largest, car rental company, and flatly stated, “We try harder.” In truth, Avis was the third largest, trailing Hertz and National, but “second largest” sounded more appealing. Microsoft showed creativity in TV commercials that demonstrated many of the business and personal capabilities of owning a computer and their effect on people, starting when they were kids. Nike, in aiming to be a global leader, established its name not with words but with a simple line it calls a “swoosh,” creatively crossing all language barriers. In all of these cases, creativity started with plain and simple knowledge.
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