Where big ideas come from, according to Ogilvy

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I’ve been drunk my fair share of time and I’ve also found myself in only my own company after being drunk out of those fair share of times. To say I’ve had some really wild ideas or a very crisp and clear understanding about some things while under effect of that devilish juice would be an understatement.

I always used to think that when one of those wild ideas pass through my brain that I’ve stepped into another world and take it out of them. That all great ideas live in an idea-land and all great work ever done must be done by plucking ideas from that wonderful flowery idea-land. That that is the only way to get great work done or make beautiful art.

Maybe this idea land is what they call the ‘Muse’.

And the only difference between the talented and the non-talented was that the talented didn’t have to get high to step into that idea-land. Then I came through this piece of literal gold from David Ogilvy the advertising legend on how creativity works and from where great ideas come from.

“Big ideas come from the unconscious. This is true in art, in science, and in advertising. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process. You can help this process by going for a long walk, or taking a hot bath, or drinking half a pint of claret. Suddenly, if the telephone line from your unconscious is open, a big idea wells up within you.”

That’s why I always keep a diary or an app with me at all times where I can spit out my thoughts because I don’t know when my unconscious might want to talk dirty to me. You need to fill your conscious with things because that’s the only way the unconscious can work. The unconscious doesn’t have an input valve.

I’m both ashamed of myself for thinking weird theories to romanticize the craft and astonished how well Ogilvy put in a few sentences what I’ve been thinking too much about.


The book ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’ by David Ogilvy.

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