Leveraging Creative Tension

One of the most effective ways to jump start the creative process and get to big ideas faster, is by leveraging creative tensions; by using polarities to spark story. Wherever you find conflict or opposing energies, you’ll find conflict. And where you find conflict, you find the rudiments of story.

These tensions can come from anywhere. The tension can come from our culture (triple-patty hamburgers versus the national obsession with being thin). Or it can come from a client’s business category (in finance, it could be Wall Street versus Main Street).

When a strategy or a campaign can be built on top of one of these tensions, great work fairly bursts out of it. Because there’s a natural energy at these points of stress that make them lively birthplaces for ideas of force and substance.

On June 8, author, ad veteran and professor Luke Sullivan, will show how to use the principles of conflict to create everything from a new business presentation to an ad. Participants will leave the session with a powerful new tool they can use to create more ideas, better ideas, and get to great solutions faster.

Key takeaways:

  • Why not having a product benefit is often more interesting than having it
  • If the product or category doesn’t have inherent conflict, make it up
  • Creativity happens in response to a problem. But most briefs are written as solutions
  • Identifying the central conflicts within a client’s products or their category is critical
  • All drama involves conflict. Without conflict, you do not have a story
  • How the human brain is wired to notice conflict
  • Conflict can be as big as good versus evil or Crest versus cavities.


Who should attend:

Creatives;  New business team members;  Anyone who produces content for a living; Storytellers.

An excerpt of this presentation can be seen here on Vimeo.

About Luke Sullivan:

After 30 years in the advertising business at creatively driven agencies like Fallon, GSDM and The Martin Agency, Luke Sullivan is now chair of the advertising department at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

Luke is author of a popular advertising book Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising, and the blog heywhipple.com. Luke is also the author of Thirty Rooms To Hide In: Insanity, Addiction, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Shadow of the Mayo Clinic published by the University of Minnesota Press.