Often when I see or read an ad, I try to "reverse engineer" the creative process...

...that resulted in the finished campaign before my eyes. As a veteran of countless, purgatorial hours of "creative" sessions, I don't find it difficult to imagine the conversations and counter proposals at these meetings.
Take the Charmin toilet tissue campaign. (Please!) Why bears? Why are frolicking, dancing bears selling TP? I imagine a creative session that went something like this:
"We need something soft. Something cute. Something cuddly. Yet with some connection to . . . you know . . . what people do with our product."
A sullen silence all around. Suddenly, someone has an "ah-ha!" moment. "I know," this someone says. "Bears!"
"Of course!" the creative director crows. After all, when we want to affirm that something is true, we ask, "Do bears [expletive deleted] in the woods?"
Lo, the odd logic of Madison Avenue at work. And a vulgar expression becomes the driving force for a too-cute TP campaign. Because bears [expletive deleted] in the woods.
Brand advertising: making surrealism part of the ordinary tissue of our lives.

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Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

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Twitter: @jonkranz