The G.A.S Test

At OMD UK we believe in creating ideas that earn a greater share of people’s lives or attention.  Ideas that offer something that ordinary people will genuinely pay attention to – either because the idea has offered a useful service, has delivered more clarity and convenience or offered something fabulous and magical.

To help us check that we are staying true to this mission we use a simple test – It’s called the Give a Shitability test.

The test is as simple as this – to ask the question whether your target audience would absolutely, genuinely care about what you have to say.

The test gives us permission to use our gut instinct. It speaks to our human being, not just our inner marketer.

I shared this excellent leveler at Tech Department’s recent Tech Off, alongside three considerations that I’ve found helpful in the creation of ideas that will pass the Give a Shitability test.

Here they are:

  1. Assumption is the mother of all f*ck ups

We all make assumptions and have blind spots because we see the world, as we are, not how it is.

To break our assumptions and get to why someone would care requires the art of empathy, putting oneself in someone else’s shoes, and the art of insight, digging out the underlying truth that reveals a fresh approach.

An anecdote credited to copywriter David Ogilvy illustrates this neatly – on passing a blind beggar holding a sign that read ‘I’m blind, please help’, Ogilvy changed the sign to ‘I’m blind. And it’s springtime’.

In three words he put passers-by in the beggar’s shoes at a particularly pretty time of year, and the beggar’s cap was filled.

  1. The power of context

The attraction of businesses like Netflix, Spotify, Uber and Airbnb is not so much that they are offering something new. How the service is experienced and accessed is the useful bit for their millions of fans.  The revolution is in the platform.

This applies to communications ideas too.  Getting under the skin of the ‘how, when and where’ a message or service meets our target audiences and using this as a creative ingredient for your ideas is a great way to pass the Give a Shitability test.

Cannes Lions winner ‘Melanoma Likes’ campaign used an algorithm to identify people out in the sun on Instagram and Twitter. Sun worshippers got ‘Liked’ by Melanoma calling attention to the issue at the right moment, on the right platform and when behavior could be changed. #killersun indeed.

  1. The serendipity of diversity

Last month a team of female-only scientists discovered an important new evolutionary link in the cradle of mankind in South Africa.  Only women were small enough to fit through the entrance that led to the cave in which Homo Naledi’s remains were found.

This highlights the importance of diversity. You never know what might happen when you put different types of people, skills and viewpoints together.  This is fertile ground for ground breaking.

Just don’t expect everyone to agree.


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