As part of our series of marketing-related books, we have reviewed Luke Sullivan’s book “Hey Whipple Squeeze This.” While focused on advertising, the book delves into solving problems and understanding consumers. Likewise, it can be applied to other areas of marketing services. We have structured this review on interesting concepts on which the author focused.

Sullivan asserts the value in posing the problem as a question. One of our favorite quotes in the book was when Sullivan stated, “A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.” By focusing on the question, people can facilitate the brainstorming process.

Breaking the Product Category
Sullivan asserts the importance of breaking the product category cliche advertising. In one ad, the agency developed a villain for ads. Other effective ads were those that essentially did not look liked ads. For example, the ads looked more like documentaries or soap operas than ads.

Sullivan advised the importance of focusing on simplicity as part of “Draconian Reductionism”. Sullivan’s ideas on simplicity in advertising are consistent with those of Jon Steel who wrote “Truth, Lies and Advertising”, which we have also reviewed in this blog. He states that you cannot logic your way to an audience’s heart because human thought is not always rational. He asserts that simplicity breaks through advertising clutter and directly conveys the message to the consumer. Copywriters should write like they actually talk in reality. They need to leave a picture in the listener’s mind, start and end dramatically, and focus on one central theme.

Outdoor advertising
The purpose of outdoor advertising should delight people, according to Sullivan. Example of this is Adidas doing an outdoor ride wherein people get inside the soccer ball ride and are thrown everywhere

Creative process:
Sullivan claims that people have a tendency to dislike ambiguity and may be tempted to settle with the first idea that pops into their minds. One approach is to write 100 taglines in a short period time. In so doing, your mind will wander. Then it becomes a lot easier to narrow down to a few golden ideas.

New media
Today’s new Media is itself considered to be creative, such as blogging, advertising on parking space lines, webinars, etc. Guerilla marketing consists of the execution being the creative. An example was IKEA putting on the furniture on the street with a sign saying “Steal me”. This generated free media and generated goodwill amongst those who took the free furniture.

The book is interesting in the sense that it is neatly laid out and has a lot of common sense recommendations. Yet the book does not seem to have one central idea underlying it. Instead, it consists of a slew of recommendations, that while presented clearly, does not leave the reader with the big idea.