We are often told to “think outside the box.” This is not an unfamiliar phrase. And it is used so much the meaning has become less impactful in society. “Looking outside the box” is a way of thinking or getting outside the norm (aka “the box”). It can be both a scary and difficult concept to perform. It is a task I am personally faced with each day in an attempt to being creative. Even after a long time, it is still not always a so simple task.


Practice looking “outside the box.” Yes, practice it. Don’t just expect it to happen, its not magic.  Start by acknowledging that there is all sorts of ideas out there yet to be thought up or created.  Can you look at or visualize something normal, in an abnormal way? I wonder what the picture hanging on the wall would look like upside down. What if the tree outside the front door had fuchsia pink leaves instead of the normal green ones. Not too hard, right? What if the doorbell rings, it is answered and there is a unicorn dressed as mail carrier delivering your box from Amazon? Now you are putting a twist on an experience, even without reason for a unicorn delivery.


That “out of the box” But that simple concept engages and develops a story in the mind of the beholder. From a philological standpoint, the element that doesn’t fit engages the brain to say: “Huh? What is going on!” It causes a unique memory formation because it is not the normal is comparison to all the other memories floating around in the brain. This is a great thing if you are in marketing or advertising because you can form a memory in a potential customers brain and with any luck hook some branding along with it too. And that is something any marketer can get behind.


An example I am seeing this occur in is pre-roll video. (If you don’t know what I am talking about, picture the 6-15 second video that plays and doesn’t have a “skip ad” button on it when you want to watch something on YouTube.) Not much time to tell or sell you on a product or service in 6-seconds. However, with a bold, odd, shocking, or memorable off-the-wall happing followed by your branding or logo can assist in someone possibly remembering your brand without even getting to the point of what it is or does, or what is being sold.


I have recently witnessed a campaign using exactly this. Using images of things happening a customer should avoid or not do, in a funny laughable way. This tongue-in-cheek humor is a break from what they usually do, and it hooks the mind into thinking about the imagery ending with their standard branding. It is being used on billboards (and short TV spot), I found it to be quite effective (it snagged me while driving!) And it all has nothing to do with what they sell, but engaged me as a viewer/consumer into remembering their “outside-the-box” messaging.